Taking senior photos in the Puget Sound during mid October can only mean one thing — rain. No point in rescheduling, no point in getting upset about it, and no point in trying to pay attention to the weather forecast. Plan for rain. That’s exactly what my clients and I talked about in the weeks leading up to todays shoot.
Normally for a session like this (in good weather), I would use my Canon 5Ds and a 70–200mm f/2.8L II. Also, I would take another lens with for tighter angles like a 24–70mm f/2.8L II. I’d also plan on taking a radio trigger for my flash, a light stand with some sort of flash modifier (small soft box or even an umbrella), and also a sand bag to keep the light stand in place. At the very least, I would bring along a reflector. However, with today’s weather, I didn’t want to end up changing lenses, packing two Canon DSLRs with heavy zoom lenses, and a flash. That setup would be very cumbersome. Not to mention, that the flash itself, soft box, and reflector are not weather proof, nor is the Canon 5Ds.
What to do? Well, I’ve been using my Fuji system for family and fun stuff for quite some time now, but today I decided to put it to the test. I grabbed my Fuji X-T2 and Fuji X-Pro2. The X-T2 had a 50–140mm f/2.8 attached and the X-Pro2 had a 16–55mm f/2.8 attached. Both cameras and lenses are reported to be weather resistant and capable of surviving in a downpour, but today was really my first time planning on shooting with them for an extended period in the rain. Even though I brought two cameras, it turns out I ended up only using the X-T2 and 50–140mm f/2.8.
Regarding lighting, we started shooting early morning — right after sunrise. We shot for two hours and quit before the sun got too high in the sky. Because of the rain, clouds, time of day, and ultimately the soft diffused sunlight as a result, I mainly shot available light. Now, I did use flash for a couple of photos, but since I do not own any Fuji flashes, I opted for a Canon 600EX-RT attached to the camera (with a plastic bag on it to protect it from the elements). I used it in manual mode, and it worked just fine.
Personally, I always prefer to bring someone along on the shoot to hold gear, watch out for weirdos, protect the model, and offer suggestions / help. Today, Sita’s mother, Nicole, came along. She had some great ideas and helped out with poses and getting the best out of her daughter.
One suggestion Nicole made was to let her daughter pose with a cell phone and take selfies of herself. In the photos below, you’ll see that these are really some of the best shots! Definitely a technique I’ll have to try again in the future with others.
How’d the X-T2 perform? Beautifully! I used the EVF for every shot. It’s so nice to be able to see a level, and realtime exposure adjustments while shooting. For most all of the photos, I had it set up for face/eye detection and it worked more often than not. Also, the battery life was wonderful. I took over 1000 images and only had to change the battery once!
Image wise, I’m very pleased with the photos. Is the Canon 5Ds and Sony A7R II superior? Yes, yes they are — hands down. However, neither one is water resistant. Thus, I wouldn’t hesitate on using this Fuji setup again for future portrait sessions.
Now — on to the images! All of the photos below were processed using Capture One Pro 9 and Athentech’s Perfectly Clear for some light retouching.
Originally published at bershatsky.com on October 16, 2016.