Ryan & Heidi Browne
We are a club of like-minded artists all cut from the same creative cloth. Collaborating and challenging each other for the sake of our craft and for the couples we are privileged to work with. We would be lying if we said we weren’t a little competitive, but that only drives us to redefine our work day in and day out. And if we were feeling a bit swanky, we would mention that we’ve been recognized as some of the best wedding photographers in the world by Brides Magazine and were winners of the prestigious Rangefinder Rising Stars award in 2015. But we’re a bit too bashful to ever say that out loud, so just make sure to read this in your head.
We caught up with Ryan and Heidi Browne from the Forged in the North photo and video collective after they used FUJIFILM X-S10, XF35mmF1.4 R and XF16-80mmF4 R OIS WR on a studio fashion photography session.
Ryan and Heidi Browne have years of experience creating images for commercial clients and during that time they have learned the value of preparation. “We try to prep as much as possible beforehand so that essentially all the work is done before the shoot day,” explains Ryan. “All the lighting would have been set up already. All of our ideas for posing, style, hair, and makeup, talent selection – all that stuff will be done ahead of time, so we can really just focus on the actual photography of it.”
It’s for this reason that the husband-and-wife team value a camera that requires as little attention as possible. This is not just because they themselves want to relax into the session and let their creativity take control, but because they also want their subject to relax into the session and be as natural as possible. In that respect, X-S10 was perfect.
“X-S10 is quite small, it has a substantial grip, and it has a stabilized sensor, which make it easy to create handheld images. It’s also great that the camera is less imposing,” continues Ryan. “The last thing you want when you’re working with people is to make them feel uncomfortable or intimidated by either yourself or your camera gear. This camera allows me to really get in close and make a lot of frames that might be difficult if I had a big camera setup.”
For this project, Ryan and Heidi were creating images of a clothing brand’s new collection in their home studio. Heidi tells us that the idea was to create a set of images that conveyed a natural and cosy aesthetic. “We were making images of some new fall looks for a client that day and they wanted to emulate the look of natural, direct light through a window,” she says. “We wanted to show off the fact that even a small camera like X-S10 can perform really well in a studio environment with strobes.”
The pair used X-S10 matched with XF35mmF1.4 R and XF16-80mmF4 R OIS WR to create images in the ACROS Film Simulation mode. This digital black & white picture mode is inspired by Fujifilm’s NEOPAN 100 ACROS analog photographic film, which was known for its fine grain, rich gradation, and outstanding sharpness.
“Because we were asked to use the ACROS Film Simulation it was about creating some interesting lighting setups. Since it’s black & white, you can’t really use color to bring hierarchy or emphasis to certain parts of the photo, so we did that through lighting,” says Ryan.
“Our lighting setup was quite simple,” continues Heidi. “Just a single strobe with a snoot to emulate window light. We wanted the model to feel like she was caught in direct light, creating harsh shadows on her face and the wall/floor around her as if she was outside in direct sun.
“We worked with XF35mmF1.4, which is just a great all-around portrait lens, along with XF16-80mmF4 for wider-angle views of the looks.”
Both photographers were very impressed with the capabilities of X-S10. One of the biggest assets for them was the camera’s size. Having such a small, lightweight body that still offers a comfortable handgrip was a big hit. Add in the camera’s 5-axis in-body image stabilization and precision autofocus and it makes for an ideal tool that will surely help anyone create stunning images easily
“X-S10 performed perfectly,” beams Heidi. “We used face-tracking throughout the shoot which is really useful when trying to achieve images where the subject is moving. Plus, using a camera so small and lightweight made it easy to approach a model up close and still have them feel comfortable.”
Ryan adds: “It’s a very capable camera, especially considering its size. The grip also makes it very easy to record handheld video and when you pair that with the stabilization it’s a massive component for us.”
These factors, when combined with the camera’s 26.1MP back-side illuminated X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor and X-Processor 4 imaging engine, make it possible to create professional still images and cinema-quality 4K/30p video – a fact that was not lost on the pair.
“It can totally work as a professional camera,” concludes Ryan. “The fact that it has the same sensor, internal image stabilization and can use all the same lenses as other FUJIFILM X Series cameras means you can easily throw this into your bag as a second body.”
“It’s also a perfect fit for someone who’s looking to take their first step into more advanced photography,” he adds.
Find out more about Ryan and Heidi’s creative process in this exclusive behind-the-scenes video!