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10.16.2020 Kara Mercer

X-S10: Kara Mercer Shines a Light on Beauty

Kara Mercer

Kara Mercer is a commercial and editorial photographer and art director based on the West Coast. She specializes in developing content for fashion, travel, and lifestyle brands from around the globe.  Known for her use of light and her eye for creative direction, Kara believes every image should stand strongly on its own while also contributing a unique yet complementary voice when serving as part of a collection. Her work is influenced as much by minimalism and thought-provoking conversations as it is by contemporary studies in human psychology and the emotive, sometimes ethereal feel of romanticism. With these influences, she seamlessly combines playful narratives with a timeless aesthetic for commercial media campaigns (print and digital) and editorial work. Some publications/clients include: Fujfiilm, Huffpost, Conde Nast, Adobe, Ona Bags, Tour Alaska, Visit Jordan, Ebay, Lands End, Larsson & Jennings, J. Crew, Madewell, Zappos, Iams & Filson.

Fashion, lifestyle, and travel photographer, Kara Mercer, makes the most of FUJIFILM X-S10’s versatility when she pairs it with FUJINON XC15-45mmF3.5-5.6 OIS PZ to create beautiful portraits.

Kara Mercer thrives on the process of creating something from nothing and using that creative outlet as a form of expression – something she tells us is more important than ever in the current climate. “Our art is something we all resonate with,” she says. “I think there are a lot of times in life where there are words you want to express, whether it’s to people or to things that are happening in the world, especially now. And that’s what photography is for me.”

Not only is this the reason why Kara makes images in general, but it’s the basis of her most recent project. “During quarantine, I’ve been creating a book with a friend, expressing the emotions we are all going through this season,” she explains. “In a lot of ways, with Covid-19 and all the challenges we’re facing in the world, we’re shining a light on things that can bring us together and that create a lot of beauty.”

Kara continues: “You’ll see throughout the whole session that the light changes in various ways. Sometimes it’s really stark and sometimes it’s really soft and golden, it shines a light on things that maybe you hadn’t thought of before.”

Photo © Kara Mercer | FUJIFILM X-S10 camera and XC15-45mmF3.5-5.6 OIS PZ lens, 1/400 sec at F5.6, ISO 1600

For Kara, the process of creating is all about collaboration. The idea that a number of different minds come together, each adding a little bit of their own personality, is what a great project is made of. “There’s just something beautiful about collaborating on photo shoots, whether it’s for a client or for personal reasons. I love that we all infuse a piece of ourselves into the results,” she says.

Kara goes on to say that using X-S10 for this session made the collaboration process much easier, due to the camera’s easy controls and convenient features. “If you’re fidgeting with gear the whole time, it hinders a lot of the connection you can have with your models and your team,” she explains. “So, I’m always a fan of putting things in place that make it easier for me to communicate and be in connection with my team, while achieving beautiful images.”

Photo © Kara Mercer | FUJIFILM X-S10 camera and XC15-45mmF3.5-5.6 OIS PZ lens, 1/1250 sec at F6.4, ISO 250

She specifically highlights the camera’s compact and lightweight body, plus the vari-angle LCD touchscreen. “X-S10 was really amazing. It’s super-lightweight. I love that you can turn the screen, especially for a short person like me! It’s also really useful if you need to clear some reflection that’s hitting the top of the camera,” Kara enthuses.

Photo © Kara Mercer | FUJIFILM X-S10 camera and XC15-45mmF3.5-5.6 OIS PZ lens, 1/1000 sec at F6.4, ISO 320

Kara feels X-S10 took the best from the X Series and rolled it all into one, with the larger handgrip and ergonomics reminiscent of X-H1, the 26.1MP X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor, quad-core X-Processor 4, and five-axis in-body image stabilization from X-T4, all inside a body as small as X-T30. This all came together to make it a pleasure to use X-S10 handheld.

“Everything I shot was handheld and X-S10 was really cool. I love the grip! It felt great to be able to just hold the camera up quickly and get the shot,” she tells us. “I feel like this is a beautiful segue into all of Fujifilm’s camera systems. It was like a mix between X-H1 and X-T30 and it gives you these beautiful color profiles that Fujifilm is so good at.”

Photo © Kara Mercer | FUJIFILM X-S10 camera and XC15-45mmF3.5-5.6 OIS PZ lens, 1/70 sec at F5.6, ISO 4000

For this set of images, Kara used the ETERNA Film Simulation mode, which provides beautifully soft highlight and shadow tones, along with a low color saturation to create a cinematic look. And although she had never used it before, she tells us that she will certainly be using it again. “It lent itself beautifully to keeping the warm tones I had throughout the whole shoot, so I think it will definitely open up more opportunities in the future,” she says.

The grab-and-go feel of X-S10 is another reason Kara feels this camera is a keeper. “It’s simple and lightweight to take with you anywhere you go,” she says. “Whether you’re traveling or trying to get portraits. I’m always a fan of having a camera just readily available to take with you.”

Photo © Kara Mercer | FUJIFILM X-S10 camera and XC15-45mmF3.5-5.6 OIS PZ lens, 1/250 sec at F5, ISO 400

Such versatility is why Kara believes X-S10 is a great option for content creators. Its ability to create professional-quality stills and cinema-standard 4K/30p video, along with its simple interface, comfortable ergonomics, and ability to share wirelessly, mean it’s a very powerful image-making tool.

“I feel like this camera is going to be incredible for any type of vlogger or blogger who needs a lightweight camera to carry on the go. It’s extremely capable for stills and for video, so I think it will be amazing in situations like outdoor lighting sessions, especially as the light goes down.”

Find out more about Kara’s creative process with this exclusive behind-the-scenes video!

Photo © Kara Mercer | FUJIFILM X-S10 camera and XC15-45mmF3.5-5.6 OIS PZ lens, 1/250 sec at F5, ISO 400