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 last interview in the series is with Sydney based photographer, Reece McMillan.
Can you tell us about yourself and what you love most about photography?
I’m Reece, a (mostly) self-taught, medical school dropout, turned world traveller, turned photographer & videographer. Most of what I shoot falls into the realms of travel, outdoor lifestyle, and fitness. My perfect day is spent outdoors, in the fresh air, on some kind of adventure with a camera in my hand… preferably overseas. It’s hard to lock down what I love most about this career, but one thing would be the lack of a routine. I’m always meeting new people, having new conversations, seeing new places, and photographing new activities. I’ve got a curious mind, and I love to document experiences, so photography is a reasonably great fit.
You were selected to receive some loan equipment from Fujifilm Australia for a recent trip. Can you explain what you used and why?
I took the X-T2 body with Vertical Power Booster Grip, the XF23mmF1.4, XF16-55mmF2.8, XF50-140mmF2.8 and seven batteries. Moving from a DSLR camera, shooting travel, outdoor lifestyle, and adventure, I wanted something rugged, with good image quality, and lighter than my current kit. Shooting a lot more video now, I wanted to test the 4K abilities of the body also. The lenses I selected were direct crop factor equivalents of the lenses I mostly shoot with regularly.
After returning the loan equipment what did you most miss about the Fujifilm X-T2 after returning to your DSLR kit?
I absolutely missed the size and weight of the X-T2 and the quiet shutter. I definitely liked the images that came out of it, but moving back to my big DSLR kit, I felt weighed down by it. I was less inclined to carry it and take it out and much more self-conscious taking photos in intimate settings, due to that typical loud mirror slap. I missed the ease of being able to carry it in my hand on a 7-hour hike and shoot without disturbing people.
Was there anything you didn’t like about the Fujifilm X-T2 body that you would like to see improved?
I’ll never be a fan of mirrorless battery life unless it somehow rivals DSLR’s, but let’s face it, many of us have been spoiled in that regard. The ergonomics took a bit to get used to, and I wasn’t a fan at the start, but after a couple of weeks, they were a non-issue. Anything else was just teething problems from being set in my ways.
Do you have any tips for working with talent or working to a client brief?
The only hot tip I have for working with talent is to be genuine…If you show up with a good attitude, the right intentions, and a warm personality, it’ll get you a lot further than gear, skill, or access. Same can be said about many aspects of life, really.
Can you provide some insight into how Stocksy looks after their photographers when compared to other stock agencies?
I have no experience, and almost no interest in the more traditional stock agencies, where you have to sell hundreds of images to make something resembling a profit. For that reason, and for the aesthetic differences, I’ve only ever wanted to be with Stocksy. A side benefit of joining Stocksy has been the support they’ve given to help me direct my portfolio, and have always helped with content ideas for different locations I’ve travelled to. I don’t know if the ‘inner circle’ of many other agencies would know their photographers like the team at Stocksy.
What advice can you give someone who wishes to make their start as a photographer and why did you choose Stocky to represent your work?
Don’t expect it to be easy, and don’t lose yourself to the creativity gap (google ‘Ira Glass and that’). I chose Stocksy, because their representation and support of photographers seemed next level compared to other stock agencies, and the work I saw displayed on Stocksy didn’t feel like stock photography, it feels more raw, and honest. Honestly, it’s the only stock agency I’ve wanted to join.
Great shots and thanks for an absorbing account of your career, Reece. I just wish I’d had Fuji digital equipment when I was a university student with a six-month job on a ship which called in most ports in the Baltic and Mediterranean back in 1967! Yet even then a 35mm Canon QL17 with a fixed 50mm lens was a great travel companion and about as good a camera as a student could afford at the time. I’m intrigued by your choice of lenses – I’d have thought a 14mm f/2.8 or a Samyang 12mm f/2 might have given an additional wider option but am assuming you duplicated the excellent 23mm function for low-light situations? I have – and would also take along – the two zooms you had but would be tempted by the more dramatic foreground possibilities of the 12mm or 14mm rather than double up with my 23mm… and one or other of these wide angle primes is probably small enough to squeeze in as an allowable “extra”..?
Hey Ian, I had a QL17 for a while, lovely little camera, and would have done you well on the ship! As for the UWA lenses, I don’t shoot a lot of dedicated landscapes, and although I own them with my main kit, they rarely, if ever, get used, so it’s an easy choice for me to exclude them.. The 23mm (35 equivalent) made it into the kit so I’d have a fast prime, and it’s my favourite focal length… personal preferences I suppose
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