Tag: Athol Hill

Through a Photographer’s Eye: 10 Photographers Share Their Advice

Over the last 10 weeks you would have seen ten interviews forming series two of Through a Photographer’s Eye. In each interview, we heard from a handful of Australian photographers and how they use Fujifilm X Series cameras to photograph the world around them.

Before Series Three of Through a Photographer’s Eye begins next week, let us take a look back at what advice was shared when each photographer was asked the question:

If you have some advice for someone starting out in photography what would it be?

 

Rhys Tattersall

Don’t get caught up on the gear side of things. I learned using film and an old analogue camera. Photography being an art in a sense means there is no wrong way of doing things, only how you perceive it and portray it. Don’t be a copycat, find your own style.

 

Jared Morgan

My advice for someone starting out in photography would be to really learn the basic stuff like composition, colour, exposure, etc. Once you have the basics really sorted, you will be able to make the creative ideas you have in your head.

 

Vision and creativity are of course important, but if you don’t understand how to make it happen, it’s not of much use. I think being good at one will often make you better at the other. Secondly, don’t try and force a particular style. Your own style will develop naturally over time. Don’t follow the latest trends just because something may be popular right now. Develop YOUR photography style.

 

Don’t think the journey ends, never stop learning. Study other photographers, try new techniques and explore your ideas. Remember you will fail, learn from your failures. Lastly, always remember you make your images not the latest gadget!

 

Tony Gardiner

Persistence, keep shooting. Shoot as often as you can and learn from every shot you take. I have been working on professional sets since I was 16 and almost every day I still learn new tricks or techniques that I can store in my bag of tricks.

 

Greg Cromie

A lot of people seem to have a fear about how to use their new gear. I see a lot of questions appear on forums from new photographers saying that they have camera X and lens Y and they want advice on the best settings to shoot something straight forward. This is so unnecessary as unlike in the film days, digital cameras give us limitless opportunity for trial and error. Your only real obstacle is how long your battery will last or how much your SD card can hold.

Be brave and take lots and lots of photos. If you are using a camera like one from the Fujifilm X Series, then set the Aperture and ISO to A (Auto) and just experiment with the Shutter Speed manually for a day or two. At the end of your shoot review your images and take note of the ones that you love and the ones you hate. What settings did you use? The next day, just use ISO on manual to see how this changes your images. Carry your camera everywhere and shoot everything. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your camera. As long as there is a hint of light, you can make an image.

 

Clèment Breuille

The great thing about photography is that you have a lot of different genres to explore. For example, someone who is an excellent portrait photographer might find a new challenge in landscape photography. That’s why I love photography. You always have news technique and things to learn, it never stops.

My first piece of advice would be to not invest too much money in your gear. The most important aspect of your gear is to understand how it works. For that, you should bring it with you daily, take it to work for instance. Shoot as many different subjects as possible, until you learn what settings are best. There’s no need to have a professional camera body to start off with. I’ve seen a lot of people investing in professional cameras without even understanding it.

My second piece of advice would be not to limit yourself and your creativity. Recently I’ve participated in a creative meetup at the Vivid festival in Sydney. The purpose of the event was to produce an image based on the particular brief. By participating in meetups like this, you will find your creativity. As a designer, I’ll never be able to produce something if I didn’t have direction from the client. The same should be said when it comes to your photography. Try and push your ideas so that they develop into photos.

My final advice would be to stay aware and connected. With the chance to live in a connected world, where it’s easy to share and learn from other people it’s a great place to learn. I have watched a lot of tutorials on YouTube and other social media platforms to understand how to achieve things in my photography journey.

Share your work and ask for feedback. Even if the feedback is negative, remember people are judging an image not you. By listening and exploring your creativity, you will only improve your work.

 

Bhagiraj Sivagnanasundaram

Learn how to be a tough critic of your images. You can book a trip for a few thousand, buy the most expensive photography gear to take to your exotic location, but at the end of the day in the hotel room; you should be brave enough to delete most of those images which you think are not the best. You shouldn’t reflect on the amount of effort you put in to get those shots.

There is a difference between ‘creating’ images and ‘taking/capturing’ images. Photography is an art; we have to be the creators of the art. Perfection needs experience, and even with the best experience, it’s highly doubtful that anyone would become just perfect in image making, but keep fighting for it. Cherish the better pictures that you make today and compare these to the ones you shot last week and keep going. Keep connecting well with fellow photographers and share knowledge. Remember, it is not about the destination, but more about the journey. Good Luck!

 

Joe Allam

The best advice I can give to anyone starting out is to always have a camera with you. Sometimes you never know when you may come across a shot, but more importantly, it’s about knowing your camera inside out, so that when you do come across the right shot, you’re prepared for it, with a camera you know how to use.

On too many occasions I see beginner photographers get frustrated in a situation because they can’t get a look or style they have in mind, or the camera is “acting weird”. Take the time to truly get to know your equipment by shooting often, and you’ll soon find that your creative side will start to improve as you try to find better ways of shooting your everyday life!

 

Chelsey Elliott

When I dusted off the old Canon DSLR, I took a couple of intensive online courses to brush up on the basics and just started to take shots of everything. The more I practised, the easier it was to remember what the best aperture was for a certain light, what the ISO was for, white balance, metering and all those things that slip the mind.

 

Then once I was comfortable with the basics – I picked a decent camera system (X Series) that I knew I would use ALL THE TIME. So choose a camera that you will have on you, as the best camera to buy is the one you will use. The X Series cameras fit in my jogging backpack, so I take one with me every day I go for a run. That way it’s there for a quick snap if the light looks good, or if something interesting pops around the corner.

 

I encourage everyone to get an Instagram account… even if it’s just for inspiration from the thousands of talented artists sharing their knowledge. It’s a fantastic media channel to review different styles, research your next shoot location or to build a connection with other like-minded photographers. It’s extremely satisfying when one of your favourite photographers leaves a positive comment on your photo; it encourages me to get back out there and create another beautiful image.

 

And finally I recommend taking up a daily photo challenge for a month, it will force you to take chances, put yourself out there and be creative.

 

Athol Hill

Don’t become despondent about the number of good photographs you get when you start out. Novices often have a flawed perception about photography because they’ll see the 50 perfect wedding photographs in an album, not the 400 that didn’t make the cut. They aren’t aware that a studio photographer might take 100 photographs to get that one perfect shot. There are very few perfect first shot photographs, that is reality of photography. In time, your success rates will improve and you’ll have a higher percentage of keepers, but it’s a journey fraught with learnings and failure.

It’s also important to find a medium that allows you to get constructive criticism. It’s great to post a photo on Facebook or Instagram and get 50 likes, and don’t stop that because the endorphins help keep your enthusiasm going. The challenge is 50 likes on Facebook won’t teach you how to make a good photo into a great photo, or a great photo into a spectacular photo and that’s the key to your progression. Don’t be scared of constructive criticism; we all started somewhere and making mistakes is a natural part of learning. Every mistake is an opportunity to do it better next time.

 

Thomas Brown

I grew up on the beautiful mid-north coast of New South Wales. My interest in photography evolved through my interest in cinematography and video editing. I picked up my first real digital still camera in 2011 for the purpose of creating high-resolution time-lapse sequences for a personal short film project.

 

Around 2014 things started to change, and my photography interest overtook my filmmaking interest. Since then I have been in the constant pursuit of making pictures and have really enjoyed the journey so far. Career wise, up until a year and a half ago I had worked as a camera operator and video editor in TV commercial production. I am currently undergoing a bachelor degree in Creative Arts & Graphic Design.

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Athol Hill

Welcome to the Second Series of Through a Photographer’s Eye. In this series, we continue to learn about Australian photographers and how they use X Series Cameras to photograph their world around them. Our ninth interview in Series Two is with Melbourne based photographer, Athol Hill.

 

Athol, you go by the name of ‘The Overrated Photographer’ online, can you tell us why and how you got started in photography?

 

I picked the name because of the keyboard warriors on the internet. I wanted a website where I could document my photographic journey and calling myself “The Overrated Photographer” seemed like a humorous way to eliminate the trolls.

 

Photography was a lazy start for me. I did most people did; I bought a DSLR and left it on auto or used the scene modes. I thought that photography was a talent you were born with. I’d hear people say a photographer had a good eye and I assumed I didn’t have it.

Fujifilm X-T2 – XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR – 1/1400 second – F4 – ISO 200

 

My real introduction to photography came when I was kitesurfing regularly, and there weren’t many people taking photos of kitesurfers. I went through the process of learning the manual settings of my camera and over time, I started to realise that the “photography eye” was something you developed through experience and skill.

With the arrival of my children, my extreme sports photography opportunities dried up. This forced me to extend out to unfamiliar genres to keep myself taking photos, namely environmental portraits, family and street/abstract.

Fujifilm X-T2 – XF35mmF2 R WR – 1/4700 second – F2 – ISO 200

 

 

What do you most enjoy about photography and how have Fujifilm X Series cameras impacted the way you shoot?

 

Photography is my artistic and creative release. I’ve used to feel I had the artistic capacity of a brick because I lacked the ability to do the conventional arts (painting, drawing and sculpting). When I discovered photography it was the realisation that I found my creative art.

Fujifilm X-T2 – XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR – 1/5800 second – F2.8 – ISO 200

 

Prior to moving to Fujifilm, I had bought into the propaganda machine that told us we “need” full frame cameras to create good photos. Fujifilm has given me an appreciation for how small my gear is and yet, I have lost absolutely nothing from an image quality perspective. My photographs look better than they did before and my bag weighs half of what it did.

 

I also think that photography is an ongoing learning process and EVF’s offer more opportunity for improvement because we’ve gone from imagining the photo to seeing them immediately.

Fujifilm X-T2 – XF35mmF2 R WR – 1/250 second – F8 – ISO 200

 

 

If we were to look into your camera bag what Fujifilm X Series equipment would we find?

 

I have a broad set of gear that I choose from depending on type of photography I am doing. That includes:

X-T2

X-E2S

X100T

XF23mmF2

XF35mmF2

XF60mmF2.4

XF90mmF2

XF16-55mmF2.8

XF50-140mmF2.8

Fujifilm X-T2 – XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR – 1/250 second – F3.6 – ISO 400

 

What’s your favourite photo you’ve captured using the XF90mmF2, can you tell us the story behind the image?

 

My favourites will always come out of family due to the emotional attachment. My favourite is the one of my youngest daughter in a superhero mask, not because of the technical merit of the photograph or the composition, but simply because it epitomises the way children are. They’re about imagination, having fun and enjoying the moment. We forget that as adults and children help remind us.

Fujifilm X-T2 – XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR – 1/900 second – F2.8 – ISO 1600

 

 

What photography genre do you prefer to shoot and why do you enjoy it?

 

Some people find a single genre and stay with it. I found this challenging because I appreciate different sides from each genres.

 

I’ve always loved extreme sports because the athletes inspire me. I enjoy watching people push their boundaries further and when people see a camera out, the “show off” side of their ego makes an appearance. The challenge with a family is finding the time to get out regularly, so more recently my preference now is environmental/child portraits and street/abstract, simply because of the accessibility.

Environmental/child portraits offer more opportunity to convey emotion whilst street, offers a broad variety of subjects and forces you to think outside the box.

 

Fujifilm X-T2 – XF90mmF2 R LM WR – 1/1000 second – F2 – ISO 1250

 

 

Can you mention where you might find your inspiration on any given day before you go out and shoot?

 

Finding inspiration with extreme sports is easier (when you have time) because I actively participate. I can look out the window and if there is wind, I’ll head to the beach for kitesurfing and take some photos before or after the session.

Fujifilm X-T2 – XF90mmF2 R LM WR – 1/110 second – F2 – ISO 200

 

For other genres it’s a little harder, and you have to push yourself outside your comfort zone. I try to carry a camera everywhere with me. That was part of the reason for getting the X100T, it offers accessibility and small size without compromising quality.

 

 

How do you find the Fujifilm X-T2 performs when reacting to something happening quickly before you? Does it get the job done and what’s the image quality like?

 

Pre-children, I used to think photographing sports was the peak of AF challenges, but I’d say photographing kids is far more challenging to AF system. With most sports, you have a defined path the object or person is moving in so that makes it predictable to large degree. A skater goes up in the air, does a trick and you know where he is going to go and when he will do it. Kids on the other hand will do what they want, when they want, and how they want, and there is no warning. The challenge becomes two-fold, keeping the lens on them and having the AF keep up. For these scenarios, I find the AF system in the X-T2 is remarkable. There are very few photos where the AF hasn’t done its job, it’s normally my inability to move the camera quickly enough that’s the problem.

 

Fujifilm X-T2 – XF90mmF2 R LM WR – 1/320 second – F2.8 – ISO 2000

 

I also think having full AF capability on the rear tilt screen is an advantage because it allows you to get low without having to lie down. There are no DSLR’s that offer comparable AF in liveview and in some situations, like a skate park, you can’t lie down or you are in the path of skaters. You must be on the move, getting out of the way quickly.

 

 

If you could see Fujifilm develop a future XF lens that doesn’t exist what would it be and what would you photograph with it?

 

A part of me that is still tied to extreme sports and for that reason, it happens to be one of lenses on the roadmap for 2018, namely the wide angle zoom. The wide angle zoom is something I’ve been waiting for. It’s not because I don’t like the 10-24mmF4, but primarily for weather resistance. When you shoot wide in water sports, you are generally close enough to be hit by the spray. I typically use a rain hood, but if something does happen, you want the environmental sealing for peace of mind.

Fujifilm X-T2 – XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR – 1/1250 second – F2.8 – ISO 6400

 

 

If you have some advice for someone starting out in photography what would it be? 

 

Don’t become despondent about the number of good photographs you get when you start out. Novices often have a flawed perception about photography because they’ll see the 50 perfect wedding photographs in an album, not the 400 that didn’t make the cut. They aren’t aware that a studio photographer might take 100 photographs to get that one perfect shot. There are very few perfect first shot photographs, that is reality of photography. In time, your success rates will improve and you’ll have a higher percentage of keepers, but it’s a journey fraught with learnings and failure.

Fujifilm X-T2 – XF35mmF2 R WR – 1/250 second – F8 – ISO 200

 

It’s also important to find a medium that allows you to get constructive criticism. It’s great to post a photo on Facebook or Instagram and get 50 likes, and don’t stop that because the endorphins help keep your enthusiasm going. The challenge is 50 likes on Facebook won’t teach you how to make a good photo into a great photo, or a great photo into a spectacular photo and that’s the key to your progression. Don’t be scared of constructive criticism; we all started somewhere and making mistakes is a natural part of learning. Every mistake is an opportunity to do it better next time.

Fujifilm X-T2 – XF35mmF2 R WR – 1/350 second – F16 – ISO 200

 

To view more Athol’s work visit his website or follow him on Instagram, Twitter or Flickr.

Other interviews in this series

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Rhys Tattersall

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Jared Morgan

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Tony Gardiner

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Greg Cromie

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Clèment Breuille

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Bhagiraj Sivagnanasundaram

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Joe Allam

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Chelsey Elliott