So as day 50 feels like an achievement I thought I would use a couple of photos I took today and discuss my process, from taking the photo to uploading it on my blog! I am by no means an accomplished street photographer having only done it since I started this blog, but I thought some people may like an insight into the way I work my images. I will start by posting today's two images as they were SOOC (straight out of camera) with no adjustments at all. So here they are!
As you can see from the movement between the two images I saw my subject from across the street and approached. I snapped the first shot and incorrectly guessed my range, I could have been closer, the 18mm lens does give you a lot of space, I think sometimes the 35mm would yield me more shots as you can stay further away. As I rounded the corner I fired off another shot. Here I will highlight a mistake, I failed to change my shutter speed from my previous shots in my rush to capture this. This is why they are so dark, although I will say that this high speed shutter helped as I was walking and shooting from the hip.
I now shoot all my street photography with the X-Pro1 set to manual focus, effectively setting a focus trap, its usually between 3-4ft. I have found this distance gives the greatest results, especially if I can get my f-stop around 5.6. Another bonus of the X-Pro1 great photos from the ISO range enabling faster shutters and better f-stops.
After I was a safe distance from the subject I had a look at the spoils on my screen, I knew instantly i had some images for today's post. At first glance they may not seem great, especially the first one, but i could see something in there I could pull out! This is where the Fuji X-Pro1 file quality really helps.
You need the right tools for the job and I always use Capture One Pro, it has its frustrations and yes it does crash a lot but its worth your patience. The process engine is superior to that of Adobe Lightroom in my opinion. I have worked for the last 6/7 years retouching and assisting on the sets of huge advertising campaigns and have never seen or heard of anyone using LR, Capture One would appear to be the industry standard alongside Apple and Eizo products.
So from here I get my RAW files into Capture One and begin to see where they want to go and how far I can push and pull them. I would usually process out a file really flat and neutrally balanced and I always disable sharpening too as find it damages the file quality. I will share with you the settings I applied to the shots, I took them in the direction I wanted to go, nothing complicated at all, just exposure adjustment, contrast and desaturation. Keeping it simple seems to work for me!
From here I process Hi-Res and open up in Photoshop CS6, as I already have a good starting point from my Capture One process all I have to do is play with the light that is in the file. The Key here is to NEVER fight the file, always go where it wants to take you, it should always be obvious once you put some contrast into it. In these images i wanted to create more drama by accentuating the shadows and pushing the highlights, dodge and burn if you will, but i am doing it with curves.
Here is a screen shot of my layer setup in Photoshop, its minimal curves, i just pulled out some highlights and darkened some shadows. I have cropped the frame to pull the focus in more and added a layer of 35mm grain and a warming layer. My masks are super fast soft brushes, you really don't need accuracy with shots like this, its all about how it feels!
As I mentioned before I saw something usable in the first wide shot, and because of the Fuji X-Pro1 file quality I was able to crop into it rather a lot and create a whole new tighter frame. I also rotated it slightly so that the straight lines were vertical (an important little touch). I find the files from the Fuji can take far more pushing and pulling in Photoshop than my Canon G9 files ever could, they seem far more malleable. If I was shooting on a small point and shoot I would not have been able to pull an image out of that frame with such ease, this is why the X-Pro1 is a serious camera! So to my finished images for today's post!
I love the moment I caught of the guy blowing out his smoke, if it wasn't for the X-Pro1 I may not of been able to use that, well if I was using a canon 5D2 I would yes, but that's not a small portable camera. This is why I rate the Fuji so highly, to have that kind of image quality inside a coat pocket is a revelation, I never took photos outside of a photo shoot before because I couldn't be bothered to cart a big camera around with me.
From downloading the memory card to finishing the images took about 25 minutes maybe less, very fast and I think it demonstrates how easy it is to get your images looking good quickly! With a bit of thought and creative cropping some of those shots you thought were nothing might turn out to be pretty awesome!
Thanks for reading!