PHOTOGRAPHER: Rinzi Ruiz
BASED IN: California, USA
KNOWN FOR: Moody monochrome street photography
SHOOTS WITH: FUJIFILM X100F Camera, X-Pro2 Camera, FUJINON XF18mmF2 R Lens, XF35mmF1.4 R Lens
Born in Manila, FUJIFILM X-Photographer Rinzi Ruiz moved to California with his family when he was seven. An art lover, he studied graphics in college and worked as a professional graphic designer. Searching for a creative outlet to rejuvenate his creative passion, Rinzi got into photography in 2009. After exploring and taking pictures with a point-and-shoot camera, he eventually decided to learn more about photography and now shoots with FUJIFILM gear. In this Interview blog post, Rinzi talks to us about his approach to street photography, the perfect gear for a street photographer, and how we can all overcome our fear of failure.
What do you think is the secret to great street photography?
I think great street photography is all about taking a picture that produces an emotion or makes you think a little. It’s being able to notice a moment that most others wouldn’t and, once you have done so, framing it in a way that creates a balanced composition, or even imbalanced, if it really works. When the viewer looks at the photo, it might result in laughter or disgust. Some could be moved by the composition or perhaps be transported into that world to relate to what’s being shown.
How does FUJIFILM X Series help you to realize your creative vision?
The X Series cameras and lenses help me to realize my creative vision by being amazingly great tools to work with. For me it is the perfect gear for street photography. I can remember when I first held the original X100 and how it compelled me to go out and take pictures. There’s something about it that inspires. There’s a feeling that you get when you hold it in your hand and put it up to your eye. The dials and classic way of setting the exposure really make you feel like you’re in control of the process. Every FUJIFILM X Series camera I’ve had ever since has produced that same feeling and has inspired me to go out and take pictures.
Then there’s the glass and, in the X100F, the X-Trans CMOS III sensor combination. Light is a huge factor in my street photography. I can’t really explain it, but the XF lenses seem to take in light in a beautifully specific way.
I shoot mostly black and white photos but the FUJIFILM colors are just fantastic so I’ve been doing a lot more in color too. I love the ACROS Film Simulation for my black and white photos and for color I usually use PROVIA but I really like CLASSIC CHROME because it’s so smooth and nostalgic. I also like Velvia for night photos or if I just want more pop in the color.
How often do you go out to shoot and what’s your hit rate like?
When I started out I was taking a lot more photos, but over time I slowed down and became more specific, so I take fewer pictures now. I went from probably around 100 photos a day to 20 or less.
I’m actually not sure what my hit rate is, but I do know that there were some months I seemed to get more photos that I like. After a week of shooting I might have one shot I really love. I sometimes have two or three images if I’m really in the zone.
At the end of the month I’ll edit my favorites and keep maybe one or two I love. I also try to let my photos sit for a long period of time before I look at them again and decide on which ones work for me. The period of time can be a few weeks to a few months so that I can see them in a more objective way.
How do you place the odds in your favor to improve that hit rate?
I try to focus on the things that have worked in my favor such as focusing on light, being patient and just letting go so that I can let my intuition guide me. Because I’ve been using the X Series since 2011, I’ve really gotten to know the cameras and lenses. Knowing your gear really helps.
What X Series kit is in your bag on a typical shoot? And why do you choose these items?
On a typical day out in the city, the X Series kit that is usually in my bag consists of the X100F, the TCL-X100 II and the EF-X20 flash. It’s such a lightweight and small setup so I can carry it in my jacket pocket if I wanted to. However, I do use a small bag most of the time so that my gear can be a bit more secure.
I prefer to keep my street shooting setup as lightweight as possible, especially if I’m planning to be out all day, which is why I use X Series cameras and lenses. Even if I bring the XF56mm and the XF90mm, it’s not as heavy as full frame DSLR gear.
The 23mm (35mm equivalent) is just a great, versatile lens, so that is my go-to. However, I do also like the XF35mmF1.4 and XF56mm. I have found that I really like the longer focal lengths, even for street photography, because it allows me to frame things in a more specific way.
What, in your opinion, is the most important factor to consider when shooting street photography?
In my opinion, the most important factor to consider when taking street photographs is enjoying the process. If it’s not fun then why do it?
Also, it’s important to remember that failure is part of the process. If you keep shooting and focus on getting better, that fear of failure soon goes away.
Rinzi Ruiz is a compensated FUJIFILM X-Photographer.
To see more of Rinzi’s work, visit his website.