houston wedding photographers

Fuji XT-1, is it as good as the D800?

In order to fill the void between wedding shoots I offer actor head shots and am learning the art of food photography.  While learning the latter I noticed something interesting.  I notice there are glaring differences between the Fuji XT-1 and Nikon D800.  The first difference that jumps out at you are the colors.  One is not better than the other but the differences are eye-popping and very noticeable.  The second and equally as noticeable difference is the sharpness and resolution with the clear winner being the…

When it comes to gear I hear all the time that: “the camera is just a tool”.  While that much is true I would like to point out that you would not use a roll of paper towels to hammer a nail now would you?  A ridiculous example I know but back to my point.  Yes, the camera is just a tool and each tool serves its purpose and the Fuji XT-1 is no different.  I am a huge Fuji X fan, I mean HUGE fan of these cameras.  I use the X-Pro1, XE-2 and the XT-1 and by use I mean this is what I carry to shoot 100% of my weddings!  The reasons why I shoot the Fuji X series for wedding are many, and I’ll list some (but not all) of them for you:

  1.  Light weight
  2.  Amazing low light shooters
  3.  Great skin tones
  4.  Stunning B&W images
  5.  Amazing fast lenses with my favorite being the; 56mm 1.2, 23mm 1.4 and 35mm 1.4

When it comes to flash photography the Fuji’s do just OK, but wireless manual flash using my Pocket Wizard in tandem with my Quantum T5-dr’s are as good as anything else compared to any other camera.  Because the Fuji X system cameras are such amazing low light shooters I find myself using less and less flash.  With that said there are some limitations to these cameras the caused me to pick up a Nikon D800 and I’ll get into these reasons now.

Back to my opening statement.  The D800 is not only a great camera but it nicely fills the void left by the Fuji’s.  What void you ask?  Well, I’ll tell you.  First off the D800’s auto focus is, well, better.  As in, no comparison, even with the newest firmware update on the XT-1.  Yea, yea, yea, I know that XT-1 is not designed to compete directly with the pro end DSLR’s, but I am a pro and I am going to talk about this anyway because using the right tool for the job matters!  The other area of difference is the resolution.  At 36 megapixels the D800 captured more detail, period!  Where I noticed this was when I was shooting food and this is where detail is critical and the D800 did not disappoint.  When severe cropping is needed he D800 retains all of the detail, even at a 100% crop which makes the Nikon D800 is the clear winner.  The sharpness, colors and full frame-ness of the D800 really shines in this and other areas of photography.

Where Fuji has the advantage is in the area of mobility and stunning black and white photography.  For all of my street photography the only thing I will use is my Fuji X-Pro1 and 35mm 1.4 & 23 1.4.  I adore the Fuji as a travel camera.  In fact that’s all I ever take with me when traveling.  I am headed back home to New Orleans in August and my XE-2 and X-Pro 1 will be with me for sure.  They are do wedding dresses better than anything else I’ve used.  They are almost noiseless up to 3200 ISO.  They are silent, discreet and most of all my back is not killing me at the end of a 12 hour wedding.  The auto focus is much improved and the lenses, well those lenses are simply put, YUMMY!

So, is the camera “just a tool”? In short, yes. The right tool for the right job in the hands of the right person matters more in my humble opinion.  When you need the most in the way of detail, sharpness, resolution and cropping the clear winner is the Nikon D800. But when you want B&W photos and for shooting brides the Fuji wins.  So is there room for both a DSLR and a Fuji X camera in you bag?  Yes, there is plenty of room for both and the amazing thing about living in “Merica is that you can have both!

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Above D800 100% crop

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Above XT-1 10% crop with 18-55 2.8-4.0 R

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Above Fuji XT-1 with 56mm 1.2

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Above D800 no crop

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Affordable Wedding Photography In Houston

If you are looking for high quality and yet affordable wedding and bridal photography then In Style Photography is your place!

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Is Your Photographer a Boring Downer?

Does the personality of your photographer really matter?

Of course I am going to say yes to this question, and I do have my reasons .  When selecting your photographer most have been told to look at three things: price, quality of work and experience.  While I cannot argue with any of those suggestions I would like to add a fourth to this list, personality!

If you stop to think about it for a moment you will realize that you will be spending the majority of your wedding day next to and interacting with your wedding photographer.  Same goes with your guests!  With this said, ask yourself this simple question; Do you want to be around a grumpy old, “I hate my job” kind of photographer?  Or do you want to be around one who is fun, funny, has the ability to relax you and not get stressed out and most of all, one who really enjoys their job?

I would add this component to your selection process when deciding on your photographer be it for your; wedding, family portrait or any photographic event.  So the next time you are talking to a prospective photographer try to ascertain whether her/she is relaxed, open and fun.  I am not talking hiring a stand up comic, but hire one that at least has a sense of humor!

If you have decided to have anything photographed the obviously it is important to you, so a full time professional photographer is vital!

For more information about Scott Evans and In Style Photography click here

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Head Shots Are Vital!

If you use your image for ANY sort of marketing a professional head shots is a MUST!

 

Regardless if you are an actor, realtor, business executive, book author or anyone who uses a image of themselves to promote or sell their wares a professional head shots is important, no, it is a must!  I know this may sound like common sense but I have seen many so called “professionals” with signs, business cards and flyers with photos taken by their friends. And I must say they shots are horrible.  Sorry for being so blunt, but if is the best you can do then you may need to either find better friends or stop being cheap and pay for a professional photographer to take a high quality image.

What is this important you ask?  Simple, because the imagery you use tells the prospective casting director or client that not only do you take yourself seriously but you are professional and deserve serious consideration.  Let me share a personal story as to why this matters.  When my wife and I we house hunting we first had a realtor that had a amateurish head shot or her sign.  I said to my wife this is a sign and maybe we should move on.  My wife insisted that it does not matter and of course I smile and said yes dear.  Long story short, we had an appointment to view a house she really wanted and we waited for 45 minuets for the realtor to show up.  She never did!  11 days went by and the realtor sent a text asking if we wanted to view the house.  The next realtor we used had professional marketing material and we closed on our hour in 30 days with zero issues!

The old saying still rings true; “you never get a second chance to make a first impression”.  So who on earth would you want to me cheap and do things half-assed?  Yes, I am being abrasive and dare I say maybe a little “in your face” but I am this way because I genuinely want to see you succeed!  Below are a few examples of head shots.


 

Actor Head Shots need to be impactful and make a casting director take note.  Sophia needed a "harder" look and less girl next door and I think we nailed it!

Actor Head Shots need to be impactful and make a casting director take note. Sophia needed a “harder” look and less girl next door and I think we nailed it!

Eden is a opera singer and an actress.  She wanted a more up-beat and "bright" head shot.  This was done in her home with 100% natural light.  Eden is amazing!

Eden is a opera singer and an actress. She wanted a more up-beat and “bright” head shot. This was done in her home with 100% natural light. Eden is amazing!

Commercial modeling head shots are tricky.  They need to be inviting and yet convey emotion and this one was a hit with her agency!

Commercial modeling head shots are tricky. They need to be inviting and yet convey emotion and this one was a hit with her agency!

Realtor Head Shot

Realtor Head Shots need to be positive and inviting. The subject needs to come across and approachable and trust worthy and Nora does all of this.

 

 

I hope you can see that at a cost of $99.00 these people were able to obtain a clean, professional looking and affordable head shot.  As a photographer you must have the ability to understand your clients needs and produce images that will help them improve their careers.  For more informations please contact me below:

Houston brides should know….

How to choose your wedding photographer:

  • Do not shop by price alone
  • Ask if they are full time
  • Can they provide references
  • Are they willing to meet with you prior to booking
  • Do they put what they promise in writing
  • Are they nice
  • Ask if they took the images that are on their website

These are some of the basics when choosing a wedding or portrait photographer. Below are my opinions on what I feel is important when choosing your photographer:

1) If you are shopping price alone you are doing yourself a disservice.  Think about this for a second.  Your wedding photos will outlast everything else associated with your wedding.  They will outlast your cake, food, D.J, flowers and even your dress.  So why in the world would you go “cheap” on the one thing that will outlast all others?

2) A fill time photographer usually means they are serious, committed to quality and customer service driven.  Part time photographers will say they are “professional” when in fact they are not.  They are low cost for a reason and that reason is because they are using your wedding for their practice!

3) Asking for references is something I conflicted about.  What I mean is, no one will ever give the name of someone who is going to say bad things about their photography.  So what can you do to get information to help you make the right decision?  The internet!  Google them, Yelp them.  It is up to you to do your research before writing your deposit check.  But still ask and if they refuse to give references do NOT hire them!

4) If the photographer is not willing to meet with you prior to booking this is a HUGE red flag.  I would go so far as to say immediately remove them from your list.  If they are not willing to meet prior to booking then they may not be willing to actually show up for your wedding!

5) A true, honest, legitimate and professional photographer will always put what you agree to for services in writing.  I provide a contract to all my clients.  If you do NOT get it in writing then you have no legal recourse if things go bad! Simply put; no contract, no sale!

6) Are they nice?  Well, they sure should be right!  The photographer will have more interaction with you and your guests than any other vendor you hire.  If your photographer is grumpy and lacks personality with you on the phone image how they will be at your wedding.  Trust your gut and hire someone who is nice.  In the long run “nice” really does matter.

7) Why ask if they took all the images on their website? Because beginners, part-timers or like I like to call them, “weekend warriors” use stolen or stock images to sell their services.  Some may have had an assistant shoot the images and are passing them off as their own.  When you hire a photographer make sure they are the ones who will actually be taking the photos!

There are a lot of things to consider when choosing your photographer but the one thing that gets ignored the most during this process is your gut feeling.  If you trust what your gut is telling your, both good and bad, and you learn to trust it then you should be ok in the end.

If you have any questions please vista me on-line at: http://www.instylephotography.net


 

First wedding with the Fuji-XT1

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Fuji X100s at 3200 ISO 1/60 with built in fill flash


 

I shot my very first wedding with 100% Fuji X gear and here are my thoughts:

I brought my Fuji X100s, XT1 and XE2 and my X Pro-1 as a back up, to shoot a wedding which was indoors at the Majestic Metro in downtown Houston, TX.  The lighting was complicated to say the least.  Every color known to mankind was there, I am not kidding.  It was dimly lit and white balance was next to impossible.  I was forced to leave the cameras set on AWB, which faired pretty well I might add.  There was one glaring FAILURE with the Fuji’s that night….FLASH!

THE BAD:  If Fuji is hoping to compete with the DSLR world and wants to be considered a viable option to working pro’s like me they must address their off camera flash failure.  A tiny on camera flash will simply not cut it.  I tried everything to get my Fuji EF-42 to do it’s thing, which it did but at stunningly slow recycle times. Please keep in mind I am accustomed to shooting with a Qflash Trio with a Quantum Turbo battery and less than 1 second recycle times.  With that said the Fuji flash was almost useless as a on camera flash.  You cannot shoot fast of a bride walking down the isle with the Fuji flash system, you just can’t!  I ended up setting up 2 Quantum T5DR flashes, bare bulb, in the corners with did help.  Fuji off camera flash is a failure, period!

THE AVERAGE: The XT1 performed well, but not any better than the XE2.  The auto focus seemed the same and neither performed well all in low light.  In fact none of the Fuji’s autofocus performed well in low light.  To be fair by 5D II was not all that and a bag of chips when it came to low light AF, so there’s that.  The X100s actually performed the best of all the camera.  The AF was average but at least accurate and the lens/ISO combo and 5000 actually looked very good, especially in B&W.  One HUGE weak point was that Adobe Lightroom as of this post, does not support Fuji XT1 RAF files, so I was forced to shoot in JPEG which I prefer not to do at weddings.  The XT-1 JPEG files made the skin very “plastic looking” and odd to say the least.  I did not rate that as “bad” because PS CC Camera RAW does support the files and Lightroom will soon follow.  This caused me to use the XE2 a lot more.

Another really noticeable thing about the XT1 is that without the grip (VG-XT1) the camera is very out of balance with the 18-55 or the 60 2.4.  It was OK with the 35 1.4 and better with the 14 2.8.  The fact that Fuji did not release the grips at the time of the camera release is a head scratcher but luckily my grip arrived form B&H today, just in time for my wedding Sunday the 30th.  I will post a follow up to this section afterwards.

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Fiji X100s at 3200 ISO f2.2 @ 1/60th AWB


 

THE GOOD:  Ok now the good to really good points to that night.  Low light shooting at 3200 to 500 ISO was stunning!  I was able to really work the reception room well with the 35 1.4 and got pretty much noiseless, tack sharp shots consistently at 3200 ISO.  I set my camera to auto ISO at 3200 with min shutter speed of 1/60.  Not because I am shaky but because at a wedding rarely are people still.

The colors were, well, Fuji!  I got great color and of course stunning B&W.  It is here that I feel the Fuji X system really separates itself from all others, including Leica.  There is something flat out amazing about the Fuji X B&W photos!.  The other really good thing was the weight.  Ahhhhhhh no more Canon back pain after a long wedding shoot!  The lightweight and ergo friendly cameras made it a joy to shoot the wedding and with the new grip added to the XT1 things will only get better!

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Fuji X100s @ 5000 ISO f 2.0


 

CONCLUSION:  Do I regret selling all of my Canon gear to go 100% Fuji?  At times I guess, but I truly believe it will get better as I learn the nuances of the Fuji System.  If Fuji address their glaring failure in regard to wireless TTL off camera flash issues, then I will say without hesitation NO, I do not miss Canon.  Fuji has something special here but for a working pro there is a lot of room for improvement and I feel confident Fuji will listen to pro’s and make the changes, and soon!


 

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Fuji XE-2 ISO 400, f4.5 1/100 35mm 1.4 XF

Where the Fuji X FAILS!

You know I love the Fuji X system cameras right?  Here are my thoughts on where their system is a complete failure:

FLASH!  Yup!  Their flash system when on camera, works great, but when you want to take it off camera is really shows how far behind the other camera makers they really are.  Let me get into more detail about what I am talking about.  When I say off camera I am specifically talking about wireless TTL functionality.  One thing that Nikon, Canon and even Panasonic do well is wireless TTL off-camera flash.  I am an event and portrait photographer and having access to this function matters to me a great deal.  It is because of this failure on Fuji’s part that I have not made the complete switch to Fuji.  I still have my 5D II for wireless high speed flash sync functionality.

I understand that on the grand scheme of things the Fuji X system is very much the “young pup” so to speak, and maybe Fuji has no desire to be like the rest in the area of flash.  But don’t forget the Fuji S Pro line was built on the Nikon platform and was 100% compatible with Nikon flashes.  As a pro photographer I want, no, NEED a fully functional off-camera, wireless TTL flash and remote power control.  I did speak to the wonderfully nice people at Pocket Wizard and as of now they have zero plans to produce anything that is compatible with Fuji.  Quantum Instruments also made a similar claim.  I do remember Will Crockett announcing that Quantum was producing something for Fuji, but then Quantum was purchased by Promark International out of New York, who also own flash lines like; Photogenic, Norman, Speedotron, Smith Victor and Cool-Lux.  Quantum did release their wireless line for Panasonic cameras, which Will Crockett uses extensively, but nothing for Fuji.

Now let’s be clear here.  You CAN use Fuji wirelessly which I do often.  I use my Quantum T5D-R with a Pocket Wizard (PW) attached.  A PW on my XPro-1 or XE-2 (silent shooting must be sent to OFF) and can shoot all day in manual mode only and with no wireless power adjustment.

Or is there?

 

Welcome to my photography blog!

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Hello and welcome to the blog site for In Style Photography located in Houston, Texas.

My goal with this blog is to inform the consumer about Houston based professional photography, its trends, pitfalls and successes.  I will touch on a wide array of subject matters from:

  • Wedding Photography
  • Art photography
  • How to choose a professional photographer
  • What to look for in a photographer
  • Integrity in photography
  • Gear and its importance

These are just a few of the topics I will be discussing.  I am always open to suggestions and of course tons of images will be posted!  In addition I am hoping to have guest bloggers offer their experienced based opinions on todays photography.  Make no mistake, this blog is about my passion, photography!  This blog is directly associated with my photography business located on the web at: www.instylephotography.net

Feel free to add comments and most of all I hope you enjoy what you see and read.  Thanks a million!

Scott Evans

In Style Photography