Since the start of February, we are featuring eight Stocksy photographers who use Fujifilm X Series cameras to capture their images for commercial use. Discover what they like about their kit and how they utilise the equipment to obtain the best results.
Our seventh interview is with Melbourne based photographer, Natalie Jeffcott.
Can you tell us about yourself and what you most love about photography?
I fell in love with Photography back in the early 1990’s when studying Visual Merchandising and having Photography as a subject. Post diploma I travelled around the world with a 35mm Nikon SLR and Polaroid camera, returning home in 1999 to study Bachelor of Arts in Photography at RMIT.
Over the years I have worked as a freelance editorial, commercial, fine art and stock photographer.
I love the freedom of photography, it allows me to tune out of life, wander, observe, meet new people and no day is ever the same. I tried 9-5 when I first left school – it didn’t agree with me!
You had the opportunity to loan a Fujifilm X-T2 from Fujifilm Australia. Did the camera meet your expectations compared with your DSLR?
I loved having the X-T2 on loan; it was so much lighter and easier to carry around compared to my DSLR. As much as I love my DSLR, it’s too heavy to throw in a bag for normal day to day wanderings. As an example I had a meeting in Melbourne, so threw the X-T2 in my bag and captured a few images in the city that are now up on Stocksy.
Were there any settings or features on the Fujifilm X-T2 that you would like to see changed or improved?
Not that I can think of. I have always been a simple camera user. I stick it on manual and away I go. I don’t think you need a huge array of gear and fancy features to take a good photo.
Do you think stock photography requires a different point of view? If so, why do you think this is?
Stock is sometimes viewed as commercial photography’s second-rate cousin (if that’s a thing) that it’s for hobbyists etc. However often it can be a lot harder, especially if you actually want to make decent money out of it. You are creating images from an unknown brief for an unknown client. You need to be self-motivated and self-sufficient in your ideas. It’s a definite hurdle to spend your own money on shoots – for models/talent, locations, props etc. with no guarantee your images will sell.
Also, there are now so many stock agencies and so many “photographers” that you really need to create your own style or concepts to stand out.
From a photographer’s perspective, what do you think makes Stocksy different from other stock agencies?
Stocksy is definitely anti-stock. I am continually floored and inspired by the talent and images on there. The fact that it’s a co-op makes a difference too. The more you put in, the more you get out. We have a great community of Photographers worldwide and there’s always people travelling and meeting up like long lost friends. I know that I could turn up in almost any city, send a message and find someone to have a beer with.
You attended a Fujifilm Stocksy Photowalk in Sydney where you had the opportunity to test the Fujifilm GFX 50S. What were your initial thoughts of the camera considering you had previously used the Fujifilm X-T2?
I loved the GFX 50S and if money were no object 😉 The quality is so good. However it is pretty large and hefty like most medium format cameras and you certainly can’t be stealth with it. So to compare it back to the X-T2, I am sad to admit that I found the compact / lightweight X-T2 worked easier for me for those unplanned in my bag camera adventures.
After seeing the image quality, would you recommend the GFX 50S as a camera for stock photographers? Can you show us some image examples?
I think it definitely depends on the types of images you make and obviously your budget to spend on gear. I loved having some time using the GFX 50S – the quality and detail is amazing. It is a beast of a camera. However, in terms of affordability and stock potential, it is a lot to outlay on a camera when you have no guaranteed income coming in from stock photography month to month. You’d want to be a prolific shooter and have some good arm muscles using it out and about on locations!
What advice can you give for someone who wishes to make their start as a photographer and why did you choose Stocky to represent your work?
Oh that’s a hard one. I started out in the world of film, pre social media and Instagram photo stars. I think you need to make good connections with people and offer them something different. Don’t copy the latest style or trend. There really are so many genres and opportunities out there.
Funnily enough I came across Stocksy in 2013 on Instagram via one of their first photographers posting they had just joined. Back when I was studying at RMIT, my dream was to travel and shoot for Lonely Planet / stock libraries, however the logistics then were slide film and sending catalogues out to clients – it all seemed too hard. Fast forward 13 years to the digital world, I liked the idea of Stocksy’s co-op model. They curate the collection – so there is a definite style and quality to the images and video content. So you are not scrolling forever at same, same imagery. The biggest plus is that they pay the artists fairly. We receive between 50-75% of the license. I have images elsewhere and it’s so depressing to see what your work sells for at times.
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