Shoot Natural Portraits with Michelle Turner and X Series Cameras

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PHOTOGRAPHER: Michelle Turner
California, USA
KNOWN FOR: Fun-filled shots of families and weddings
SHOOTS WITH: FUJIFILM X-T2 Camera, X-Pro2 Camera, FUJINON XF16mmF1.4 R WR Lens


Michelle Turner is a photographer based in California, USA. Her wedding, family and portrait images are vibrant and full of life. Shooting primarily on location, Michelle is a master at using the environment to add color, light and dynamism to her shots. In this Technique blog post, Michelle tells us about her style of natural portrait photography, what goes into getting a great shot, and how a smaller, more portable gear set can help you to get the job done.

Michelle Turner

I am a wedding, portrait, and commercial photographer and my FUJIFILM cameras are essential for my style of shooting. If, like me, your lifestyle portrait shots are photographed on location, then the FUJIFILM X-Pro2 and the X-T2 are the perfect tools for those sessions.

The compact size of the X Series cameras is wonderful for shooting on location because it allows you to keep your bag small and light. This is great when you are moving from place to place, especially when you are working in a public space.

For destinations that require a substantial amount of travel, it’s easy to fit your entire kit in your carry-on luggage, even on the smallest of commuter planes. Not only is the small size/weight easier on your back and shoulders, but the smaller size of the gear is also less intimidating for younger or inexperienced subjects. They are able to focus on you and all the fun that you are having at the session, rather than on your camera.

And if your subjects have a quiet, connected moment as a family, the compact size of the X-Pro2 and its quiet shutter allow you to remain unobtrusive as you work.

This kind of photography calls for you to shoot from above your head and from the hip quite a bit. At times like these, the smaller size of the X Series helps you to balance the camera while holding it and operating it with just one hand.

When shooting groups against a sunset, it can be useful to use off-camera flash to add a bit of fill light from time to time. If you frequently hold your camera in one hand and your flash on a monopod in the other hand, the articulating screen of the X-T2 is a wonderful feature. It allows you to keep an eye on your composition as you hold the camera above your head.

If there are kids or family pets running in and out of the frame, it is a good idea to switch over to the rangefinder-style viewfinder of the X-Pro2, which allows you to see subjects outside of the frame so that you are ready to capture the perfect moment when they run into the image.

Another tip is to make the most of the eye sensor in the X Series cameras. I love it. I’m constantly taking my eye away from the viewfinder to make eye contact with my subjects to both put them at ease and give some gentle direction while I snap away. When I do that, the live view pops up on the LCD monitor so that I can quickly glance over to ensure that everything is still properly framed.

I find that shoots tend to start off slow and then speed up. Once everyone warms up, things start to move very quickly and you don’t want to miss a key moment or a beautiful expression. The electronic viewfinder helps you to make exposure adjustments on the fly without needing to play back the images. A good in-camera exposure means that you will spend less time on the computer after the session.

With an X Series camera, you can trust the autofocus to be quick and accurate, and the electronic viewfinder gives you the chance to spot-check your depth of field. If you need to make small adjustments to your settings, you can make those quickly and easily through dedicated buttons and dials rather than digging through a complicated menu system.

The X Series is great for those who like to customize the controls on your camera. You can reassign most common camera settings and set your camera up so that it perfectly matches your shooting style.

For example, I like to adjust the kelvin value of my white balance as I shoot, because when you shoot on location the light is changing all the time. To make this easier, I assigned the white balance setting to an easy-to-reach button. Throughout the shoot, I make small adjustments to my white balance as the temperature of the light changes.

The electronic viewfinder is also wonderful when it comes to adjusting your white balance because you can see the image change in real time as you make adjustments. That means you instantly know when you have made your image a little too warm or cool and you can fix it in camera, rather than spend time fixing it in post-production.

The X Series cameras allow you to capture moments as they happen without worrying about or fussing with your gear – they just work perfectly, each and every time.

Michelle Turner is a FUJIFILM-compensated professional photographer.

To see more of Michelle’s work visit her website.

To explore the full X Series lineup visit X Gear Chooser.