If this is your first ‘camera’ that does not have a phone attached, there might be something that you will want know – this article might be just for you.

Fashion & Portrait Photographer – setting up for a winter shoot on location

 

Setting up checklist:

1: Update your firmware.

Your camera might be new to you, but how has it been out the factory? It is highly likely that you will need to do an update. (click here for the Fujifilm Firmware downloads site). Don’t forget about the lens firmware too. All the info can be found on the Fujifilm website. As a company Fujifilm provides a few updates a year, doing these updates will improve your camera & they are free.

2: Charge your battery.

As per the instruction manual – give your battery a good charge before you use it. Look after your batteries your camera is useless without them.

3: Set the time and date on the camera.

Your camera has an internal memory, it can save the date and time to each image. This might seem not that important, but this info lives in the digital photos meaning that years from now you can search for the images you took by date. Very handy when you want to just find that image of the cat pulling the Chrismas down each year. Your camera can save other data too such as the lens you used and the settings of the camera. This is called EXIF data. Some of the fun things you can do are change the name of the files the camera saves and the copyright data about who owns the camera.

4: Warranty & register your stuff.

If you’re like me, your camera was not cheap. Remember to add it to your home insurance, fill out the Warranty card and if you use any serial number register sites – update your accounts. Keep a note of your serial numbers. The Fujifilm Professional Service is something we full think you should have a look at too. Get more info here: www.fujiholics.com/fujifilm-professional-service/

FPS service includes:

·         Maximum 15 day turnaround for X Series camera’s and lenses and a 10 day turnaround for Fujifilm GFX bodies and lenses. This is calculated between pick-up & delivery.
If the turnaround time cannot be met, for example, if parts are not available… Fujifilm will offer the customer a free loan until the customers repaired camera is returned to them.

·         Free health check and sensor clean for up to 2 products in any one year

·         Dedicated telephone line support

·         15% discount on any out-of-warranty repair

5: Get out, take photos and take over the world.

The handbook is not for show, it does have some stuff that is important. You don’t have to read it cover to cover and it won’t help you learn photography, but it will help you navigate around and find the buttons. Photography is not a science, nor is it pure art – it is a unique blend of two – learning the technology will help you create the photos your mind sees. There is no race, no finish line and to a large extent no wrong way to take a photograph. The only thing that will help you be a better photographer is time, patience and practice.

Jodi Lakin – Rooftop in Birmingham

At first, it may not all make sense to you but your manual will help you get past the first few steps. It will help you set up your camera and get started. I am not saying to study it and learn it word for word but later as you start to use your camera you may recall reading something that you can then go back to as a reference.

Set the time and date on the camera, check that you know, how to change some of the settings, knowing how to change core settings and what the core settings mean is the first few steps, however, the most important thing about your new camera is the understanding that it is a camera, it is tough, well built and will be able to take some knocks. Keeping it in a box on the shelf is not going to help you with your photography. Keeping the camera handy, charged and ready to go is the best idea. Building up trust and a bond with your camera is the way forward, I say this with the best intention, don’t worry about a few raindrops, scratches or carrying about with you, your camera is way tougher than you think.

Every photo is not going to be a keeper, in 10 in 1000 is a really good hit rate, I have been shooting 15 years now and if I add 5 photos to my portfolio in 2018, it will be an outstanding year. Scale this down to any level and the idea is that, while learning about cameras, manual modes, shutter speeds, focal lengths the first few thousand photos are most likely not going to make a gallery show. This is normal, just as getting frustrated with blurry photos is normal. The secret is to keep it simple and keep going, don’t be disheartened.

If reading manuals is not your ‘thing’ that’s total fine,  the internet is a wonderful tool, just be aware that anyone can post anything they like, we would recommend talking to other people in communities – just like Fujiholics. There are also lots of options of workshops that Fujiholics provide to get you where you want to be. Check the website out for more information.

Getting ready for your first big outing with your new camera here are a few things you may want to consider before heading out. Have you got a camera strap, a bag, spare batteries, memory cards or maybe a tripod? What are the next few steps going to hold? What are you off to photograph?

Camera Straps.

Would you be shocked to know that not everyone thinks they are a good idea? A general rule take by most people who shoot often is that a camera should either be in your hand carefully stored away in a camera bag. I personally am not a fan of having my camera on a strap hanging around my neck. Yes, it does give you quick easy access to your camera but you also don’t want all that weight dangling off your neck, not for the cameras sake but for your neck. I have seen my fair share of cameras fall off shoulders, get caught on clothing and just cause more hassle dangling on a strap. If you have anything longer than a 35mm lens it’s just not going to be comfy or practical in my eyes. This being said, they do have a time and a place. If you are using multiple cameras shooting a wedding or at an event for example. Unless this is you, get a little bag and keep the camera tucked away in that to carry about – safer and more secure. If you are looking for a camera strap, either Black Rapid or Peak Design are the brands to look for.

Wrist straps, however, do make an awesome addition to your kit because it means when your camera is out the bag it’s safely attached to your wrist which means if you do drop your camera it’s not going to go anywhere. The system works together meaning you can switch the wrist cuff to the shoulder strap too. If you are shooting with a small system camera, belt clips can be great if you need to store your camera fast. The main worry here is the size and weight of your camera on your trousers belt. I would always go back to the idea that a photo-specialized bag is the best option unless the camera is in your hand.

Photo-specialized bag.

There are many different types and styles of camera bags available, whether you want a waist belt, backpack, shoulder bag or sling bag the one thing they will all do is help keep your camera that little bit safer when transporting your gear. If you are unsure of what bag is right for you to take your camera to the shop and try it out in a few different bags. This will help you double check that your camera will fit in the bag that you like, but will also give you an idea of how carrying that bag with your gear in it may affect you throughout the day. There is nothing worse than having the wrong bag for you and your gear resulting in back pain. Your camera bag is an important piece of kit and not something you want to cheap out on. If its uncomfortable or ugly you are more likely to leave it at home which means missed photo opportunities, it will also take a lot of abuse protecting your gear inside. You want it to be weather resistant and protect your gear from any knocks so good padding is really important. Picking the right bag is key. They range from small amounts of cash to full flight cases for hundreds of pounds and everything in the middle. We like Billingham, Peak Design, and Domke. If you’re looking for some ultimate protection your looking for a Peli case – the least practical option but great for transporting and a place for your camera to live at home.

Billingham’s Hadley Pro Shuolder bag

Battery power

As you start to use your camera more and more you may want to consider investing in a few spare batteries. The best batteries to buy are always those produced by your camera manufacturer, but there are other third-party brands available. A great option is to pick up a battery grip if your a heavy shooter.

The best way to ensure your battery gives you the best bang for your buck is to shoot quick, short and precise. Think about your photos and don’t get carried away. Take a photo & review, if you have the shot, carry on to the next one. When using the LCD, try to remember that screen is the biggest power drain on the battery. Be confident, shoot, quick review and carry on. Do your proper reviews later on a computer – where you can see the images on a better, bigger screen.

 

Memory Cards

There are different sizes and speeds. The faster and bigger the card, the more money you will pay. There are two big brands – Lexar and San Disk, most people trust these brands in pro world. If you try and save money here, do it at your peril.

Most cameras will take SD cards, some of the cameras higher in the range have two card slots. In the settings, you can adjust how these two slots work. Most photographers have the images written to both cards so you have a back up instantly.

You might need to buy an SD card reader if your computer does not have an SD card reader. Go for something well built using a USB 3 connection. Most cameras these days support the fastest cards (SDHC II) and ensuring you have a fast reader will speed up the time it takes to move them over.

DKP’s tip – Go for Class 10 Cards and SDHC cards – but check your camera can handle the cards – if you have a question – Ask the Fujiholics FB group here

If you want to learn more about SD cards – TechRader have a wonderful blog all about this – http://www.techradar.com/news/sd-memory-card-buying-guide

Tripods

You may want to consider investing in a decent tripod. In the learning stages, we really encourage getting your camera stable so that you can experiment about with settings to see what they do.

For anyone looking at landscape photography, it is an essential piece of kit. Some photographers spend thousands on a good tripod, never underestimate how important having your camera stable can be. Because it will hold your camera at exactly the right angle you want and will keep it still so that your images are full of detail and pin sharp. Your tripod is a piece of kit that you will want to invest in, don’t buy cheap because it is the tool that keeps your camera absolutely still, you don’t want out of focus pictures because your tripod moves every time there is a breeze or when you touch your camera. You also definitely don’t want your tripod to blow over with your camera on top. When shopping for your new tripod lookout for one that extends to eye level but also allows you to shoot close to the ground as well. Personally, I am more in favor of carbon fiber tripods because they are durable but also lightweight which is great for traveling. There is a place for heavy tripods and lightweight tripods, big tripods and small ones.

We like 3 Legged Thing tripods.

Off Camera Flash.

Depending on your camera, might have a built-in flash or no flash at all. In fact, the more you have paid, the less likely you are to have a flash. Cameras like the X-T2 and X-Pro2 only have a hot shoe mount and don’t have any built-in flash, nor does the GFX. Cameras like the X100f do come with a small built-in flash though.

This might not make sense at first as you would think the more you pay the more you get, this is not always the sense. The small flash you find on cameras is called the ‘on-camera’ flash and is not going to give you the sort of effect that moving the flash away from the camera and really working on your light is ever going to give. The pro range cameras don’t have flash built in, as it’s just not a feature a pro would use.

Taking control of your lighting is going to be something everyone moves on to pretty quick if you want to photograph people or be in a place to be able to create images rather than just find them.

Filters.

The best way to think of a filter is like a pair of sunglasses for your camera and about as many options too.

Companies like Lee Filters have great websites to explain all the options.  http://www.leefilters.com/

There are two main types of filter – ones that screw on to the end of the lens and the system is shown below – this is more known as a filter system. While it gives you more flexibility and options, expect to pay more for a proper system.

My first filter, like pretty much every photographer’s first filter was a protective filter that screws into the lens. It does not change the optics of the lens or affect the settings but does offer some protective elements from UV and physical damage. Normally the next filters people look are Polarisers or ND filters but there are many options. Ask in the Fujiholics group for more info or head to your local dealer.

Editing.

In this digital world, most of the images we take are headed for the internet – they are going to have a digital workflow and be viewed on a digital device. Non-digital photography is alive, but very rare. These days when we talk about editing we are normally taking about software packages like Lightroom or app’s like Snapseed. The import thing to know is that everyone does things differently – there is no right or wrong.

Your photography is your photography. Edit it, don’t edit it – no one should tell you what is wrong or right – but, there are better ways and worse ways to approach it all. The world of digital editing is a massive ever-evolving mass of new apps, tools, processes, and techniques. In the most simple form, you can send images to an iPad or phone and use apps like Snapseed to make adjustments then post them to Instagram or Facebook direct from the camera. From this stage, the next level up would be to use a catalog & editing program like Lightroom. This is where you can start to use the full power of your camera using the RAW format – giving you extra room to edit the images compared to the standard JEPG setting. Programs like Lightroom can be very powerful programs and offer enough for all but the very progressive photographer. Beyond Lightroom programs like Photoshop are your high-end specialty editing program tools. It is worth again pointing out that you can do as little or much digital work as you like or need to tell your story with your image.

If you are using a Fujifilm camera, don’t forget you have the wonderful Film Simulation modes you can access the menu or via the Q button. Many pro-photographers love the Acros Black and white setting. Learn more about the Fujifilm Simulations here :

Exporting, Sharing and online communities.

This might be an odd one to put up on this blog, but I think it’s more important than we might think at first look. To kick this off, I would state that although Facebook is the most obvious place to start, there are better options if you want to showcase your work, and for many reasons too.  Looking at photography based websites and online communities is going to be a better way to move forward.

Knowing the best ways to get your images online in a good way can be tricky. There is so much to cover on this topic, that it’s going to be more of a homework challenge but, I would recommend looking at these sites & looking at how to add watermarks to your images.  Online photo-based portfolio sites like SmugMug take all the hard out of getting your images online, then sites like Behance and 500px are good places to share your work and look at other photographers amazing work too.

Check this pages out for some amazing work:

www.vonwong.com
www.peterdench.com
www.joecornishgallery.co.uk
www.woland.co.uk
 www.davekaipiper.com

What’s next ?

Get shooting, that is the most important element. Look up the exposure triangle, learn what the camera modes do & learn how to active them, change them and get comfy with the camera.

Once you have some image you like and are proud of, get them printed. Your local camera store will help you with that and also if you ask them they might give you some advice on getting stronger images too.

Maybe book on to a workshop where you can not only ask the questions you have but meet other people learning too.

Join an online community and participate – share what you have learned and be proud to show the images you have made. Maybe even join a local camera club? if you have a question – Ask the Fujiholics FB group here

Most importantly, don’t give up and don’t leave the camera at home.