Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Photographing a Fashion Jewellery Campaign with the Fuji X-Pro1

I love working with clients that have a clear vision for their brand and from our very first phone contact and meeting I knew that minds behind new Fashion Jewellery label OUMIRA were very switched on; understood their target market and the kind of eye catching, fashion branding images that would grab a customers attention. As the premier sales point for Oumira is an online shop we decided to go with classic white background, lit and photographed in the studio - great for online retailing and very popular with PR's and Fashion Editors for ease of insertion in magazine 'What's Hot' fashion pages too. The brief was for great energy from the model; and this only comes from great energy between the model and the photographer, to be combined with fabulous lighting,  put it all together and capture those special moments.

Story continues below...

Neon Jewellery, Fashion Jewellery Campaign - Fujifilm X-Pro1 - White background studio photography.
Oumira Biker Chic - Fashion Jewellery Campaign - Fujifilm X-Pro1

Neon Jewellery, Fashion Jewellery Campaign - Fujifilm X-Pro1 - White background studio photography.

I decide that it was time to put the Fujfim X-Pro1 that I have been using for Street Fashion Sydney through its paces on a full scale fashion shoot. There was no doubt in my mind that the Fuji's X-Trans Sensor with its incredible fine-detail resolution together with the optical quality of the XF35mmF1.4 R lens would be perfect for this style of shoot. Lighting was provided with vintage STROBE equipment for its unique light quality (its like moving up a camera format); two swimming pool lights banked together; each the equivalent of  40 individual heads, to provide something a little different for the powerful "Terry Richardson" style we were thinking about.. The STROBE was perfect for bringing out the detail of the jewellery while still being flattering to the model and was perfect match for the high resolution of the Fuji's unique X-Trans sensor.  Continues below...

Classic Beauty Fashion Jewellery Campaign - Fujifilm X-Pro1 - XF60mmF2.4 R Macro

Hippy Chic, Fashion Jewellery Campaign - Fujifilm X-Pro1
Headshot, Rings, Fashion Jewellery Campaign - Fujifilm X-Pro1
We worked through seven 'looks' on the day, all styled by the Oumira team ranging from 'Gothic Biker Chic' all in black leather, 'knuckle duster' ring clutch handbag, black beads & silver skull necklace.  A 'Modern Savage' or was it a Hippy look..  with fur and feathers and more Gothic skulls. Fun and Funky styles with On-Trend Neons and Blue and Pink  fashion jewellery stories too.

RAW conversion & Post-processing details below..
Blue story, Fashion Jewellery Campaign - Fujifilm X-Pro1

Oumira, High Fashion Jewellery Campaign - Fujifilm X-Pro1

Black and White photograph, Biker Chic, Fashion Jewellery Campaign - Fujifilm X-Pro1 XF35mmF1.4 R

Oumira, Tribal fashion story, Fashion Jewellery Campaign - Fujifilm X-Pro1

High fashion, elegance, Fashion Jewellery Campaign - Fujifilm X-Pro1

Hippy chic with crossed dagger, Fashion Jewellery Campaign - Fujifilm X-Pro1
Blue story, full length, Fashion Jewellery Campaign - Fujifilm X-Pro1

Head shot, elegand black and silver beaded necklace and matching earrings, Fashion Jewellery Campaign - Fujifilm X-Pro1 XF35mmF1.4 R

All the selected files from this shoot were RAW converted using the Fuji/Silkypix RAW File Converter EX. Using the Silkypix RAW converter is always a bit trickier than most RAW converters as it tends not to respect the in-camera settings, meaning you need to find the best settings pretty much from scratch! Fortunately on a shoot using the same light source throughout the struggle is worth it as the converted RAW files do deliver a higher quality to start the retouching process with.

Something I always find interesting is that while the files tend to look great right out of the camera, they are never as good as they can be. For me this means a three stage 'photo finishing' and retouching process to bring out the maximum Pop and Impact the image can provide. This is particularly important part of the Photography "Value Chain" when using images to sell products - something I see being overlooked again and again when it comes to businesses using pictures to sell products online.

Finishing each picture requires RAW conversion including tonal and colour adjustment as well as sharpening and in Silkypix the level of demosaicing. The new file is then loaded into Photoshop for retouching, skin fixes, local colour adjustment, airbrushing,  and any little fixes or 'tricks' like flipping a feather, (final frame below) that you can't make anywhere else.. I then add layers for final colour adjustment, sharpening, contrast and saturation.

100% screen grab - Fujifilm X-pro1 Camera JPEG - Fashion Photography

100% screen grab - Fujifilm X-pro1 RAW File converted in Silkypix RAW File Converter EX - Fashion Photography

100% screen grab - Fujifilm X-pro1 final retouched image - Fashion Photography

Pros & Cons of shooting Fashion with the Fujifim X-Pro1

  • A very high percentage of Sharp and In-Focus shots = more keepers to choose from.
  • Exceptional file quality straight from the camera.
  • Great detailed files from RAW - but see the Con below..
  • Ability to shoot with any of the three viewfinder options & I used all three on this shoot.
  • No mirror 'black-out'; you see the shot you are making.
  • Everyone loves the X-Pro1, and the client probably doesn't own one (yet)..
  • You need to remove the tripod plate to open the Card/Battery door.
  • Viewfinder not as large as with a DSLR, I look over the top of the camera if it's a problem.
  • RAW conversion tends to be time consuming - frustrating - impossible under some circumstances..
  • Write speeds not as fast as DSLR - can slow down playback viewing.
  • Minor shutter lag, though not enough to cause me at least to miss any shots..
For me the decision to use the Fuji X-Pro1 on this shoot was definitely the right call. The Camera and the XF35mmF1.4 R were a perfect combination for the contemporary fashion look and feel we were after from the shoot. The image quality is superb and the cameras ability to focus accurately and quickly (in that order) allowed me to focus more on what was happening in front of the camera; the shots, than worrying if the shots were really in focus or not. And as I wrote in my X-Pro1 review on Street Fashion Sydney; this is a camera that enhances your photography instead of hindering it.  Love it!

Client - OUMIRA.
Model - Montana, Chadwicks Sydney.
Hair & Make-Up - Kaori
Assistant - Anthony G.

Kent Johnson,
Sydney, Australia.

0433 796 863


  1. Did you find yourself using MF in conjunction with the AF-L button or straight AF-S more often?

    1. Hi Carsten, I don't tend to need to use the manual focus very often as the X-Pro1 is as - if not more accurate than my eye on a traditional split focus screen. So I tend to keep the camera in single spot AF-S adjusting the size of the focus fame to suit and use a half press on the shutter release to grab and hold focus, or just press and shoot. This whole shot was done AF-S.

      I tend to shoot 'around' a pose, find-it adjust-it fine-tune-it, so rapid speed is not really required. The shot where Montana is throwing a punch with the bag in the 'black leather' set (top of page) was captured in 8 frames, the first of 8 frames..

      I did however use manual focus on a shot a week or so ago when the 60mm was hunting as I had a couple of filters over the front of it. I had the camera on a tripod, used the zoom function on the command wheel to focus at 100% then shoot. Its a bit slow but again, super accurate. You can see that shot over on my flickr page here

      Hope I have answered you question. Cheers, Kent.

  2. That is some pretty impressive photography - I like the way that you have made the jewellery piece the centre of the focus rather than the pretty model such that the viewer is concentrating on the dazzling jewellery specifically.

    1. Thanks J O, thanks for the compliment, much appreciated.

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