Michelle and Hemi have loved photographing weddings together since they got married in 2012. Before this Michelle studied photography and got a start photographing her friends weddings; Hemi was doing architecture and was keen to start a creative business – so when the time came they formed Patina and decided to see where this journey would take them.
Through this passion Hemi and Michelle have had the chance to travel the world and feel so lucky that they get to work with such creative, trusting couples. They love meeting new people; from hot pools under the stars in the Nevada desert, to magical snow-falls at Tongariro; the places and experiences this job has introduced them too, have been some of the best they’ve ever had.
Hemi and Michelle have won various awards for their photography – including winning both wedding categories at the NZ Institute of Professional Photography Iris awards and being recognised by Junebug weddings as one of the ‘best of the best’ wedding photographers in the world.
The essence of photography, like any art, is to capture how you see the world. Just as it’s mesmerising to watch the sunrise or the waves crash; to me, it’s captivativing to observe people in love. Every couple expresses love in a different way; sometimes it’s a grand gesture; sometimes it’s visible in the tiny glances and whispers; sometimes it’s about simply standing hand-in-hand, taking in the scene in front of you, beside the person who means everything.
For me photography is about capturing each couple’s unique expression of love, bundling up all of that goodness and giving it back to them. The power of a photo is that it is a little snapshot of right now; it encapsulates all the feelings, atmosphere and emotion to transport a couple back to the way they felt in that glorious moment.
I’m a Fujifilm X-Photographer based in Wellington, New Zealand. My husband, Hemi, and I have been running our wedding photography business, Patina Photo, and shooting weddings for over 10 years. We’re grateful for amazing clients who enable us to travel to the most incredible remote places, allowing us to get lost in their love stories.
I was excited to try out Fujifilm’s latest new camera and see how it can help me capture my couples better. Short answer; It’s amazing! Long answer; keep reading.
I took the new Fujifilm X-T5 on a two-day adventure with (real couple) Ruby + Tu in the wild landscapes of the snow capped Southern Alps. It was amazing to see how this camera enhanced every aspect of my photography. The X-T5 immediately felt familiar, with the same tilt screen and tactile buttons I loved from the X-T3, while introducing huge improvements in ergonomics, battery life and image quality.
The X-T5 stands out as the best Fujifilm camera for a photography focused shooter. It’s impressive that so many upgrades are packed into this little camera body that is smaller and lighter than its predecessor.
The first thing I noticed, even before picking up this camera, is how much smaller and more compact it feels than the X-T4. As soon as you pick it up, it is obviously lighter than the X-T4 (and even lighter than the X-T3 if you compare just the body without the battery —more on battery life later). After years of the X-T series of cameras getting increasingly larger and heavier, I’m excited that the X-T5 reverses that trend.
Weight is a big deal to me! For shoots like this, I travel all over New Zealand, and on wedding days I can frequently be shooting for more than 10+ hours at a time. Over time, I have seen a lot of my peers develop wrist and shoulder issues, but this light-weight system gives me confidence to shoot with two camera bodies with a different prime lens on each.
The X-T5 also introduces a new deeper built-in handgrip; with one of the newer f1.4 lenses attached (23mm, 33mm, & 56mm) this X-T camera feels perfectly balanced hanging in one hand, ready to bring up to my eye in a second.
The small size, light weight, and redesigned built-in handgrip, makes this the most ergonomic X-T camera Fujifilm has ever produced, and the perfect tool for weddings and photojournalist-style work.
One of the things I’ve always loved about Fujifilm is the retro aesthetic (it’s so cute!); as well as being a nod to vintage film cameras that we all love, the look is disarming and allows me to get closer and more comfortable with my couples, or to subtly capture those natural candid photos of guests at weddings enjoying cocktail hour.
I love that X-T5 continues this retro look and feel, combining the best of digital and analogue cameras in a happy mix. All of the exposure settings you could want are readily accessible with actual physical dials; giving you easy access to each component of the exposure triangle. In non-tech speak this is your ISO, aperture, and shutter speed.
Whether you are a seasoned pro shooting in manual, or still learning, you’ll appreciate having full control over these aspects of image making with a turn of a dial. You can even lock the dials, so you don’t accidentally bump your settings while frollicking through a field with your clients.
I’m also so happy to see that the 3-axis tilt screen has made a comeback.
I had never used a tilt screen before coming to Fujifilm, but it changed the way I compose images. With a quick flick I can tilt the LCD screen allowing me to easily position a subject against the sky, or lift the camera high to find a more flattering angle or frame out background mess.
The tilt screen is now something I could not live without. It’s an incredible tool for creativity; allowing me to squeeze into a small wardrobe to photograph that cute moment. And I love the way it allows the camera to get out of the way, so I can have a natural conversation with my couples while shooting from my hip –a good photo session is like a good chat, where there just happens to be a camera involved.
Inside the camera, the new X-T5 has had a makeover and now has the same 40 megapixel sensor from the X-H2. I noticed that the images feel so much sharper! Even with the same lenses; the X-T5 delivers sharpness and detail that outshines my old camera.
The level of detail captured was absolutely incredible at this higher resolution and it makes me very excited to print images shot on this camera because you know that if the image quality and detail on screen is this amazing then the print quality is going to be magical!
The little moments are just as beautiful to me as the big scenes. And when images are pin sharp, down to the individual eyelashes, it makes my job so much easier.
Wedding albums are a very demanding printing scenario; a full-spread in an album can be 24” (over 60cm) wide and couples really like to get in close and really pore over every detail. The 40 megapixel images from the X-T5 are going to look incredible and I can’t wait to see them as full page album spreads and large scale prints for our couples.
The battery life is just as impressive! For weddings I used to carry a small stash of batteries and by sunset I’d be looking for a wall charger just in case. So coming from the X-T3, I was super impressed by the battery life of the X-T5! Even a two day shoot, in cold alpine conditions (which would usually drain the battery), barely made a dent in the battery life.
This is going to make a huge improvement to the way I shoot! No longer will I need to mentally take stock of my batteries and frantically search for powerpoints to get through longer wedding days. I’ll be able to spend less time managing my batteries and more time capturing love.
Overall, the X-T5 was a dream to shoot with! And I’d 100% recommend it to other pros and anyone passionate about photography.
Our clients are hiring us for the way we make them feel, and the memories we help them create and remember. Our camera’s are the medium we use to capture and deliver those feelings, and a good camera is a powerful tool.
The X-T5 stands out as the best Fuji camera I’ve ever used. I’m really excited that Fujifilm has combined all things that I loved about previous models into this cute-but-impressive little camera. It feels like an extension of me, it gives me confidence to go and shoot, to let me connect with my couples in any conditions, and to create work I’m passionate about.