Shooting with the E-M5 has been a fun experience: it’s small, super fast and the file quality is excellent. I don’t really know what else to say other then I love using this camera!
Although I’ve been shooting assignments with the E-M5 for some time, I haven’t been able to share the photos due to contractual agreements. Now I’m finally able to talk about and show the work publicly. My first assignment was an editorial feature on craft beer. For this project I was assigned four location portraits to run on the interior of a print publication. Since I knew ahead of time that the images were going to run small I made the decision to travel light using available light and when needed and the FL300R as a fill.
I packed one small shoulder bag with everything I need.
My gear of choice for this project -
- OMD E-M5
- Olympus Pen Mini (as backup)
- Manfrotto Unica VII
- Manfrotto tripod (fits in the bottom of the Unica!)
- Zuiko 12m, 17mm and 45mm lenses
- Zuiko 12-50
- Heliopan and B+W circular polarizers
- iPad (for model release)
- Sandisk and Eye-Fi cards
Shooting with this basic kit would allow me to travel light and shoot fast while keeping the image quality high. Since the deadline for the finished images and the budget were tight, operating like this was a necessity.
Lets take a look at how the images worked in the layout and how they were made.
Piero and Arwen
Piero is a true home brew craftsman. He’s a bit of a rebel and I wanted to show that in his portrait so I wanted funky and contrasty to be the theme of this image.
For the first time, I really understood the value of having a fold out touch screen. Rather than lay down on the ground and get dirty, I simply sat and folded out the screen which allowed me to point the camera up towards the sky and compose the image just as I wanted. To focus and shoot I simply touched the screen where I wanted to camera to focus and the E-M5 instantly focused and release the shutter. Awesome.
Because the sky was a strong backlight I used the FL300 on camera to splash some light on Piero while the harshness of the direct flash added contrast and pop which worked well for the rebel theme. I used a Heliopan circular polarizer to give definition to the clouds and enhance the overall color of the image.
Arwen is one of the founders of The Craft Brewjas, an organization that creates awareness about craft and artisanal beer. The location was relaxed, yet classy, rich with warm tones and well-lit with window light that made shooting her a breeze.
The shoot time was mid-day so there was lots of spill into the bar from the large front window. Although I could have shot this hand held I used the Manfrotto tripod to keep the image as sharp as possible. Because the background is a bit busy I wanted to isolate Arwen using a shallow depth of field. To accomplish this I shot with the Zuiko 45 which is one of my favorite lenses for its sharpness and pleasing perspective.
Rather then hide behind the camera using the EVF I decided again to use the touch screen to focus and shoot. One of my favorite features of the E-M5 is the OLED touchscreen. Shooting with the screen allows me to connect better with the subject which is a very important part of shooting portraits and one of the aspects of photography I love the most: connecting with people.
Schnebly and Nick Armada
Schnebly is a winery that is now getting into the craft beer market in South Florida. They setup their brewery in a large warehouse, so I wanted to show the size of their operation. To emphasize the size of the space, I shot with the Zuiko 12mm wide angle lens to expand the perspective.
The brewery had very large doors that I opened so I could flood the location with beautiful soft light similar to what you would get if you shot through a 16X16 diffusion panel.
Shooting towards the end of day meant the light was not that powerful, so I had to use a slower shutter speed and shoot quickly before the sun set. I decided to shoot handheld and rely on the in body image stabilization (IBIS) of the E-M5 which worked out great.
Nick Armada was just getting his craft beer club setup when I met him at his warehouse so things were a bit chaotic. Every location is a challenge in its own way and Nick’s portrait was no different. He had a bunch of beer bottles around his warehouse which he recycled for his members to use with their own beer. One of his members, a carpenter by trade, built a bar for the club. At the end of the bar was a white wall so I took advantage of these three elements to create this beautiful portrait.
I set up the bottles on the end the bar forcing the perspective a bit which helps guide the viewers eyes to Nick’s face. The labels of the bottles would be distracting and busy, so to blur them out I shot with the 45mm wide open. Shooting with the 45 at any aperture is sharp and since it is a mid telephoto lens it compressed perspective allowing me to fill the frame with the bottles while not overpowering the image with their size.
The left side of the frame was a bit dark and muddy to I employed the FL300R mounted to the Manfrotto tripod to add some fill which was controlled wirelessly from the E-M5. I didn’t want the flash to look obvious so, using the touch screen controls on the E-M5, I dialed back the power -.7 of a stop. I kept the camera stable on the bar and giving Nick a bit of direction I finished up this portrait.
I must say I’m really enjoying how the E-M5 operates and the file quality is tops. The touch screen and the IBIS really sets this tool apart from anything I owned in the past and the fact that I can shoot some assignments with everything I need in a small bag is just awesome.
I like shooting with a small camera so much. The freedom of being able to take everything with me, the quality of the images and the overall speed of operation and setup is a dream.
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Have a cool story on using Micro 4/3 gear on assignments personal or otherwise? Let me know in the comments below.