Favorite Photography Lenses, Techniques & Filters

 

Photography

related questions I often receive are “What camera and lens are you using?” or “What filters do you use for editing?” I would not hesitate to answer and that’s why I’m writing this article: To collate all information about how I take and edit my photos. I’ll divide this post to three sections: 1. Camera and Lens 2. Composition 3. Post-processing and I’ll explain in a very concise manner.

Camera & Lens

Camera Body – I use my Fujifilm XT10 I bought from Henry’s last year. Unfortunately, I’m selling it now ’cause I’m upgrading but if you’re a photographer always on the go, I definitely recommend the unit. It has built-in wifi that allows you to transfer photos directly to your mobile phone for post-processing, it is lighter than SLRs and of course it has interchangeable lenses. READ ABOUT XT10 for more information.

livi bautista photographyLens – I only have a few lenses, and all of them are budget friendly (Nothing below 20,000 php). I’ll be writing another article for those who are seeking for even more budget-friendly lenses. I don’t recommend buying too many lenses at once. I started with only one prime lens and I must say, it really helped me be “more creative” with my composition rather than being spoiled with too many lenses. I admit that I am now having a difficult time when I don’t bring more than one lens. It’s always quality over quantity. You can have all expensive bodies and lenses but if you cannot compose the image well, then they’re useless. Do not be intimidated by those price tags; I know that you get what you pay for but I firmly believe that composition is key.

Kit Lens 16-50 mm f3.4-5.6 – I barely use this lens anymore since I’m more of a prime user. It just came with the package I bought. It performs poorly on astrophotography unlike my Samyang 12mm. For daytime shooting and travel, it is convenient.livi bautista photography

Samyang 12mm for Fuji f/2 – I bought it from Henry’s and I use the lens mostly for landscape shots and travel photography. Works well with astrophotography as well, manual focus only.livi bautista photographyFujinon 35mm f/2- This is an automatic lens. Very sharp and works well for portraits since it’s not too tight unlike my next lens which is the 50mm.livi bautista photographyNikkor  50mm 1.8D MF – My only lens before I switched to mirrorless. I still am able to use it thanks to my Fotasy mount. Focus is also manual.livi bautista photography

Composition

Always remember that photography is NOT JUST ABOUT APERTURE (in layman’s term: the blurriness of the background; example to follow) so buying a lens with a big F stop is not the absolute reason to have beautiful photos. Composition plays a big role in photography. I am always told that your first thousand shots are your worst shots so keep practicing.  Art is very subjective as well. My style might not fit yours and vice versa. Anyway, here are my favorite composition techniques which I might have already mentioned in my past post.

Foregrounding – To add depth, I don’t fill the frame with the subject alone.livi bautista photographylivi bautista photography16:9 Aspect Ratio

livi bautista photography livi bautista photographyCandid Emotions

livi bautista photography

livi bautista photographyLines / Patterns that lead the viewers eyes to the subject.

livi bautista photography 14322600_1287883477917884_6318728937552814363_nMonochromatic

livi bautista photography

livi bautista photography

Light play- I’m a big fan of long exposure shots and playing with light.

livi bautista photography livi bautista photography

Integrating my favorite techniques: Emotion, Monochrome and Foregrounding

livi bautista photography

livi bautista photography

Post-processing

I only use three apps for mobile phone post-processing.

VSCO for iPhone – I recommend buying filters instead of using the free ones. I consider it as an investment. Here are my new favorites! (updated already, quite different from my previous post)

02livi bautista photographyKK115204101_120300000908880034_1672189083_oA815215789_120300000908340584_301882493_oA615225336_120300000912474694_1700960721_oM3 15233802_120300000913169588_1103365763_oSnapseed- I use it for editing landscape photos that need more lighting. I also like increasing the ambiance but not too much. Here is an example of the edited photo from Snapseed:15225439_120300000918382656_1287921267_oMastin Labs’ Filmborn – Great for portraiture. Easy to use and gives your photos the film look.15037201_1341563865883178_5421850801328778662_n

Additional tips:

  • Each place has its own “temperature” meaning some places might be warmer or cooler than others. Example, Korea has a very warm tone and the Philippines has a very “bright and blue” tone, filters might be a bit saturated. Adjust the white balance and play with the saturation and hues accordingly.
  • There is no perfect filter. Tons of photos fit tons of filters, So picking the best one is only up to your own taste and judgment.
  • Some photos do not need filter – It is better not to overdo your photos like for example, night photography. I do not use too much filter on skylines and long exposure photography except when I’d like to get a dramatic treatment.

Just practice and keep on shooting. If you enjoyed the article, please do share. Thank you! 🙂

Related article: Phone Photography 101

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