Caroline Tran uses the FUJINON XF50mmF1.0 R WR mid-telephoto prime lens to preserve the love, passion, and romance of an engagement
“I love telling stories,” explains commercial and portrait photographer, Caroline Tran – and it is for this reason that she particularly enjoys photographing couples’ engagements. “Engagement sessions allow me to document this transitional milestone in two people’s lives,” she continues. “I love getting to know their intimate story and documenting it for them.”
In order to ensure her portraiture work does these stories justice, Caroline looks for two things in particular when choosing a lens: the quality of bokeh and rendering of skin tones. Therefore, when she got the opportunity to try FUJINON XF50mmF1.0 R WR, she was very excited to see what it could do. The combination of its superwide F1.0 aperture, portrait-friendly 76mm equivalent focal length, and Fujifilm’s renowned color reproduction had all the makings of the perfect setup.
“Beautiful bokeh and skin tones are qualities that define my work and came from shooting analog film – it’s really important to me that my digital work keeps these qualities as well,” explains Caroline.
With so many ideal features, Caroline knew that she wanted to use XF50mmF1.0 for a portraiture project, specifically an engagement session. “I wanted to frame something that goes amazingly with shallow depth-of-field. I wanted to use the F1.0 aperture to create some really romantic and dreamy images,” she explains.
Creating a dreamy feel to her images proved to be easy with such a wide aperture, but that was not the only benefit of using this lens. When the sun got low in the sky, it presented new difficulties, with light shining directly into the lens. In order to achieve the right effect, Caroline needed a tool that could stand up to the challenge. “I want flare, just a fine balance between ethereal and blown out,” she explains. “XF50mmF1.0 handled it really well.”
As the light continued to change, Caroline found that the lens came into its own. She highlights how fast the lens is, and how that helped considerably when she wanted to keep shooting after the sun went down.
However, for Caroline there is more to portrait photography than just image quality and lens performance. A huge part of the process is building a relationship with your subjects. “The most important step during an engagement session is to get the couple comfortable and gain their trust,” she reveals. “That’s the only way genuine and deep stories can unfold.”
An essential part of achieving this is eye contact and full engagement with the couple in front of you. With the easy-to-use aperture ring on XF50mmF1.0 and external dials on FUJIFILM cameras, your settings are visible whether the camera is on or off, ensuring you spend less time looking at a screen and more time building a strong rapport.
All this comes together to create a new favorite for Caroline. “This is now my go-to portrait lens. A staple in my arsenal,” she tells us. “It’s a definite must for any portrait photographer! It’s also great for products, landscape, and fine art, and any film shooter or photographer who loves shallow depth-of-field,” she continues, concluding that this mid-telephoto prime lens makes a great addition to the FUJIFILM X Series.
“It’s a great setup for portrait photographers who either can’t afford or don’t need medium format. It produces an amazing quality of bokeh! I love the colors that FUJIFILM renders. The system is so intuitive to use and has the heart of the analog film that I’m used to.”
Learn more about Caroline’s creative process with this exclusive behind-the-scenes video!