PHOTOGRAPHER: Alexander Tran
BASED IN: Washington, USA
KNOWN FOR: Modern and moody outdoor portraits
SHOOTS WITH: FUJIFILM X-T2 Camera, FUJINON XF18mmF2 R Lens, XF23mmF2 R WR Lens, XF50mmF2 R WR Lens, XF18-135mm F3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR Lens
We all like shooting selfies, especially when on vacation, but by using our FUJIFILM X Series cameras we can be way more creative than when just snapping away with our smartphones.
Alexander Tran has mastered the art of including himself in his travel photography, using the FUJIFILM Camera Remote app to compose and shoot pictures wirelessly. We asked him for some advice on shooting the ultimate self-portrait.
Traveling alone can be a liberating and rewarding experience. You have full control of the itinerary, and you can slow things down and get out your camera any time you like. Perhaps the only downside is that, when you want to use a human element to add a sense of scale to a scene, there’s no one else there to help out.
This happened in one of my first solo trips, so I decided to just make myself the subject of the story. It’s an approach that’s done me well many times since too, so here are my tips for capturing the ultimate travel selfie, using an X Series camera, a smartphone and the FUJIFILM Camera Remote app.
Setting Up Your Camera
When setting up your shot, mounting your camera on a tripod is the best way of doing things, but if you don’t have one handy then a stable surface, like a bench or picnic table, works well. To get the framing just right, try changing the camera’s angle by wedging an object underneath it – your backpack, a wallet, or even your shoe will work just fine.
Practice, Practice, Practice
The process of connecting your camera to your phone’s FUJIFILM Camera Remote app is easy once you get the hang of it. But, before your trip, I recommend taking some time to get familiar with the sequence of connecting your camera and phone. You don’t want to be fumbling around with your camera and phone, trying to get it to work on location.
It’s All About Timing
Utilize the two-second timer feature on the app. The delay will give you time to compose yourself after pressing the shutter button and also give you time to hide your phone from sight. With the timer enabled, your camera will beep and flash the self-timer lamp, letting you know the exact moment the shutter will fire.
Take Advantage of the App’s Features
When shooting using the app, nail the focus by tapping on the subject (in this case yourself) on the screen. This is especially useful if you’re moving a lot in front of the camera and need to refocus. If you normally shoot in manual focus mode, be sure to switch your camera into an autofocus mode before connecting to the FUJIFILM Camera Remote app. In this way, the tap to focus feature will be enabled when shooting.
Not sure if you got the shot? Press the playback button on the app to view the images you just captured. It’s better than constantly walking back and forth to the camera, which spoils the composition. Also, pressing play on your camera breaks the connection with your phone, meaning a new setup each time.
Capture Selfies Near and Far
Play around with composition. Capture far away shots of yourself looking out into the distance, or walking away from or towards your camera. Use the opportunity to capture some close ups of yourself as well. Instead of standing squarely in front of the camera, try angling your body away while looking back. Try looking up to the sky or towards the ground in front of you. These angles make your portraits more interesting and natural.
Shoot Until You’re Satisfied
Just like more traditional selfies on a mobile phone, you’re not limited on how many photos you can take. Move around and try different poses, positions and expressions. The more shots you take, the more likely you’ll take one that you like.
Alexander Tran is a FUJIFILM-compensated professional photographer.
To see more of Alexander’s work, visit his website.