Let me start by saying I am primarily a street photographer so this article is based on that genre. However all the points raised below could equally apply to whatever area of photography you like to shoot.
I love street photography. It is my passion and has been for many years. However much as I enjoy this area of photography, sometimes I feel I can’t be bothered to go into town (London in my case) and spend a day walking the streets. So I decided I needed to inject a fresh impetus into my photography; a reason to start enjoying taking pictures again. So I took a look at the gear I normally would use and take into town. Of late it’s mainly been my X-Pro2 coupled with the XF35mm f2 lens. This is a great, fairly lightweight and compact combination to walk the streets with. I know a lot of street photographers prefer using one of Fujifilm’s 23mm lenses with their 35mm full frame equivalent viewpoint, but I prefer the ‘nifty fifty’ full frame equivalent that the 35mm gives me. So this combination has tended to be the one I work with the most.
But I realised that I have become almost bored with this combination and the viewpoint it gives, so decided to take another lens with me this time to freshen things up. So what did I choose I hear you ask? Well I went for my 56mm f1.2 Fujinon lens that normally I would use on my professional wedding and portrait shoots. Being an 85mm full frame equivalent lens this would hopefully force me into shooting a different type of photograph to my normal style. And guess what it did!
Being a much longer focal length, I found I was drawn naturally to closer shots of people, as hopefully can be seen in my examples posted here. I did find the lens a bit slow on the autofocus on the streets, although in fact very few shots were missed because of this. I know the new XF50mm f2 would be much faster focusing and lighter than my older lens, but as of yet I don’t own one of these. I also noticed that using the OVF on the X-Pro2 proved invaluable in anticipating people walking into the frame.
I returned from my day in town revitalised. Just changing the lens really freshened things up for me and I found myself enjoying my street photography again. Amazing really that just by altering the field of view of your lens can change the way you see things and your photos.
So apart from changing your lens, which if you use any of the X100 series is impossible of course (apart from of course fitting one of the lens adapters that would give you a wider or narrower field of view), what else could you do?
Well here are some more ideas below:
Change your lens (as already discussed above)
Do you find yourself always going to the same ‘hunting ground’ for your street photography? Try going to a different area or town or even country!
Change the time of day:
Are you a daytime photographer? Force yourself out when it is dark at night. The lights from shop windows and neon lights can be a great backdrop to your photographs.
Change the weather:
Are you a fair-weather photographer? Go out when it’s raining. Rain adds another dimension, particularly when it’s a sudden summer downpour and people aren’t prepared for the rain. They will run for cover and/or protect themselves from the rain with sometimes the strangest of things!
Change your viewpoint:
Most of us are lazy and shoot standing up with the camera raised to the eye. Try shooting from the ground, very easy if your Fuji has an articulated screen. It really adds to the drama in a photo. Or why not try and get high and look down?
Change your camera:
I don’t mean go out and buy a new one, although there is nothing like a new camera to make you want to go out and shoot! It could just mean if you are lucky enough to own two or more different models of Fuji, then just switch if you normally tend to always reach for the same one each time.
Buy a photography book:
This is a lot cheaper than a new bit of gear and just as inspirational. Look for a collection of photographs by one of the masters in your genre. For example if you are enjoying street photography like me, then perhaps a collection of photographs by Henri Cartier-Bresson or Garry Winogrand. Just seeing and looking at other street photographers work can give you new ideas.
Take a photography course:
Go for one that perhaps has a topic or location that would be new to you. Also meeting the other photographers on your course can be inspiring.
Join up and go on a photowalk:
A lot of these can be free or if not then the fee tends to be low. FujiLove organised a worldwide photowalk last year and I ran the London one. I met a whole group of FujiLovers that were new to me and we all had a great time just chatting about photography and even more fun taking pictures on the day.
If you feel your photography is getting into a rut or you just can’t be bothered to go out and shoot, then hopefully trying even one of my ideas above will rejuvenate you!