27.09.2022 Marie Wynants

X-H2: Portraiture x Marie Wynants

Marie Wynants

While enrolled as a visual arts student at the LUCA School of Arts in Brussels she slowly refined her passion for the imagery of the human body. Her years as a photography student saw her experimenting with different dancers & models, slowly developing her own unique photographic reality. She started shooting with unique characters that fascinated her, for music bands with a personality, photos for record sleeves and as a visual director for video clips. Aside from her shoots with brands like Ann Demeulemeester, Cartier, Delvaux, Samsung, multiple awards and nominations for her work as a video director, Marie Wynants most importantly became critically acclaimed with her iconic pictures for Oscar & The Wolf’ Max Colombie. 

My name is Marie Wynants and I’m a photographer.
I work mainly in fashion and music and today we are shooting some new press pictures for Emma Bale, while testing the new X-H2.

X-H2 & XF56mmF1.2 R WR

When you’re shooting another artist it’s important to work around the artists’ world they’ve build for themselves. You’re not working with a model that only listens to you. Working with an artists means you have to capture their alter ego or the persona they are. On top of that you have to add your vision and aesthetics.

It’s a 50/50 collaboration. For Emma we wanted to create a story that’s honest and pure. Not too much styling, not too much props… Just a lot of nature and a touch of drama.

We planned a shooting by the beach.
As you can see the weather was not very sunny, but we were well prepared.

X-H2 & XF56mmF1.2 R WR

There was a lot of wind and sand so we def needed a camera and lens that were weather sealing. In this condition it would not been safe to work with a camera without weather sealing. Also big fan of the high speed burst function that allowed me to take multiple pictures during her moving in the wind. Cause we all know that timing can make or break a photograph.

Fashion shoots are never done without a team. We work with a stylist, a MUA, a producer, a light assistant… So being a fashion photographer means a lot of preparations.

You have to inform the team, pick a location, make a solid moodboard… In my work everything is set beforehand. Plenty of emails will be send before the day of the shooting so everyone is on the same page and well prepared.

X-H2 & XF80mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro

Of course you leave some room for spontaneous things to happen during the shoot, but the better the preparations is done, the better the results are. Well that’s what I learned over the years.

For this shoot we’ll be working with an XF prime lenses : XF18mmF1.4, XF56mmF1.2 R WR, and the XF80mmF2.8 macro. These three lenses cover a wide range and a solution for every shot I want to make from close-up to wide angle.

X-H2 & XF80mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro

Personally what I also love to do is taking a lens out of it’s expectations. Like shooting a full editorial look with a 100mm macro lens. Or taking landscapes with this XF56mmF1.2… I love to play around and test the lenses in a way they might not be ideal to use, but that’s what creates character in a way people don’t expect it.
I must admit that I often find it a bit limiting to shoot only prime lenses, since my models and myself move a lot so it’s easier to follow and be reactive to the movement.

X-H2 & XF56mmF1.2 R WR

But for this project it seemed like a more logical decision to work with prime lenses in order to highlight the 40MP sensor from the X-H2 camera.

The 40MP APS-C sensor is just incredible to work with. It’s faster than full frame and the quality is just absurd. I mean look at this sharpness. I’ve never worked with a sensor as fast and as clean as this one. It has more magnification than a full frame.

What I also like is that is gives you to option to reframe afterwards.
When you shoot with prime lenses you get the highest quality, but maybe not the crop or the frame you aimed for…
With a 40 mp camera it opens this possibility to crop and reframe afterwards on your picture without loosing too much quality.

And it’s important to have the images in a very good quality, so we can use them in large quality prints.

X-H2 & XF18mmF1.4 R LM WR

To be honest, I’m not a very technical photographer. And when I shoot I prefer to focus on the feeling and mood that we’re creating rather than making purely perfect technical pictures… That’s why I need a camera and lenses that support me well on this. I love the autofocus of this camera. It has definitely made further improvements to its AF system. It follows very well and is outstandingly good in dynamic shootings even with low light. The eye detection option is also a game changer which you definitely need when you shoot wide open. The image stabilisation got improved a lot as well and I’ve never worked with such an incredible viewfinder. You really live in the moment through that viewfinder.

X-H2 & XF56mmF1.2 R WR

It’s not often that I shoot wide open, I like to work on f5.6 and that’s about the maximum I go most of the times… I prefer some hardness or edginess in my pictures rather than them becoming too dreamy because of an open aperture.

The poetic or dreamy character will be shown in the emotion of the model, but less in a low aperture with strong bokeh.
We usually shoot with cable tethering. It’s important for me to see the images on a bigger screen and to evaluate them immediately when they’re shot. Also for the client or artist to follow and It’s easy to make first adjustments or changes.
We wanted to test the wireless tethering but sadly no Wi-Fi on the beach.

Fujifilm has taken the look and feel of their 35mm film and digitalized it as a filter option on their camera.

X-H2 & XF80mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro

I like to work with these film simulations cause they give your image a first tone when you’re shooting. When the client or artist is next to you on set it’s easier to review the pictures when the colours have a first layer instead of reviewing it from a raw file. I use the Pro neg (std) color filter and the Acros monochrome filter. You see a lot of the across filter in the series. It gives you that raw vintage look.

I usually use a lot of grain in my pictures, but for this series we wanted to show you the optimal results that the 40MP sensor creates, so we left them out.
(That’s also why we worked on ISO 125 for most of the images)
But again, if you don’t do your colour grading in post, you should take advantage of the preset film simulations. You can really create your finale image in the camera itself. You can adjust clarity, sharpness, add some extra grain…

X-H2 & XF80mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro

It’s a feature that is not really found in other camera’s… it’s so handy for hobbyist and professionals.

The ergonomics on this camera are fantastisc. Everything is in the right place.
A separate knob for shutter, iso and aperture. There is also a sizeable display on top of the camera that allows you to check your battery life, storage status and key settings. It’s very efficient. I used it a lot.
I have my X-T4 camera which I love and shoot a lot with when I’m travelling.
The H-X2 was overall easier to use then the x-t4. The quality is more outstanding and all the features got improved.

Honestly loved working with the X-H2. It’s easy to use and quick.
I shoot entirely handheld, never use a tripod so I need lightweight camera’s and lenses.
I want to work with a camera that’s quick and comfortable to use still be able to demand high quality images. The X-H2 is a joyful camera to work with and the image quality is beyond brilliant. I’d recommend it to professionals but also to friends with a passion for photography. Together with the prime lenses and all its new tech… just a dream to work with. The X-H2 is high up on my wishlist.

X-H2 & XF18mmF1.4 R LM WR