On Assignment with the E-M5 – Miami’s Craft Beer Invasion

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 -

  1. OMD E-M5
  2. Olympus Pen Mini (as backup)
  3. FL300R
  4. Manfrotto Unica VII
  5. Manfrotto tripod (fits in the bottom of the Unica!)
  6. Zuiko 12m17mm and 45mm lenses
  7. Zuiko 12-50
  8. Heliopan and B+W circular polarizers
  9. iPad (for model release)
  10. 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.

E-M5 @ 1/200 with Zuiko 12mm f/11, ISO 200, FL300R

Subvert Ales on Facebook.

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.

E-M5 @ 1/30 with Zuiko 45mm f/2.2, ISO 200, Tripod

The Craft Brewjas on Facebook

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.

E-M5 @ 1/50 with Zuiko 12mm f/2.5, ISO 400

Schnebly on Facebook

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.

E-M5 @ 1/25 with Zuiko 45mm f/1.8, ISO 200

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.

Please support my efforts by putting the word out. Post the link to this blog on Twitter, Facebook, G+ and Instagram. The more the community knows about the M43 system the better for everyone.

Have a cool story on using Micro 4/3 gear on assignments personal or otherwise? Let me know in the comments below.

Thank you!

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About Giulio Sciorio

Since 2009, Hybrid Photography pioneer Giulio Sciorio has been blending still + motion & sound with his photography. Giulio is a Lumix Luminary, commercial photographer and founder of SmallCameraBigPicture.com - the resource for everything Hybrid. A portfolio of Giulio’s hybrid work can be found at GiulioSciorio.com.

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26 Responses to On Assignment with the E-M5 – Miami’s Craft Beer Invasion

  1. Geir June 6, 2012 at 11:43 am #

    I’m more and more sure that this is the way to go. No more photographer’s shoulders:)

    • Giulio Sciorio June 6, 2012 at 12:59 pm #

      Hi Geir,

      yeah my back and shoulders thanks me for shooting light. Be sure to subscribe to get the latest news.

      Thanks for reading the blog.

      • Geir June 6, 2012 at 10:37 pm #

        But what do you thing of this setup as an alternative to the D700 or the 5DMkII/III for wedding photography where DOF/Bokeh is of extreme importance, and also low light photography. Does it hold?

        • Giulio Sciorio June 7, 2012 at 4:26 am #

          I wish I had the right answer for you Geir but I don’t shoot weddings.

          I can say for low light its pretty much on par with the Canon 7D and just about the same (its very hard to tell the difference) with my old 5DMKII.

          Maybe you could evaluate one from your local camera store? Get one with 12mm and 45mm and shoot it with your current gear as a B or C camera on a job.

  2. Mark Kalan June 6, 2012 at 2:22 pm #

    Happy to see you doing big assignments with small equipment.

    • Giulio Sciorio June 6, 2012 at 2:41 pm #

      Thanks Mark. Was a fun one. Can’t wait to show what I just shot but its going to have to wait until July/Aug.

  3. Steve June 6, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

    Do any of these have print versions? I’d like to see how the sensor holds up with a normal amount of cropping and adjustment at 300dpi in CMYK. I LOVE my E-PL2, and only have held on to my Nikon DSLR because I’m not confident the m4/3 sensor will hold up on a full page ad of an individual product, or full-page portrait (as examples). GREAT work BTW!!!

    • Giulio Sciorio June 6, 2012 at 10:01 pm #

      Hi Steve,

      The images were commissioned for print and the layouts shown are from the print edition. I shot for a commission on Monday that is going to be run 10×13″ 300dpi full bleed and the images hold up really well.

      I don’t have any issue running the images quality wise and the color is fantastic but here’s a secret – Process with C1Pro. Makes a world of difference with the E-M5. In fact I’d say the color and sharpness is like having a mini Phase One. Very sharp!

      I’ll be able to post Mondays commission in late July/August so subscribe to the newsletter and you’ll be first to know.

      Until then here’s two full-sized images for download - http://blog.giuliosciorio.com/full-size-video-and-photo-examples-olympus-omd-em5/


      • Joe Gunawan June 7, 2012 at 12:43 am #

        I’m starting to use C1 Pro myself, too. In fact, for my newest editorial shot with the GH2, I’m forgoing Lightroom 4 completely and only using C1 Pro and Photoshop. What are some good tips you have in your workflow for working w/ mu4/3 files?

        PS. I can email you one of my finished photos. Would love to get your opinion

        - Joe Gunawan | fotosiamo.com

  4. Ahem June 6, 2012 at 7:59 pm #

    I think you are about right that this system is going to have it all sooner or later. I even think that this could be next “fullframe” if you like to think about it as fullframe. I have notice in streets how people carry this m43 system more and more. It is real option for many of us nowadays. About touch screen, I enjoy to use it in street photography. You can go down and find crazy angles with touch screen. Hope you can release eye-fi workflow soon, I still think about this eye-fi setup, but I decide to wait your blog before I buy more equipment.

    • Giulio Sciorio June 7, 2012 at 4:21 am #

      I’d like to see your work. When you get a moment send it my way and be sure to find me on the various social media. I’m most active on Instagram – gsciorio

      Since I don’t make any money with the blog most of my time goes into shooting assignments and when I free time I work on the blog like now after midnight.

      If I get some sponsors in the future I’ll have more time to do cool stuff with the blog. I love the community of photographers here so hopefully some sponsors come soon.

      I’m hoping to get the Eye-Fi workflow done soon. It’s quite a long post so it might have to be a free ebook download or something. It’s not complicated but there are many options and I want to cover them all.

      Also finding some really neat stuff in the OMD which I hope to share after the Eye-Fi workflow.

      Thans for reading and commenting!

      • Ahem June 9, 2012 at 8:25 am #

        Sure thing I’ll look Instagram option. This is just my hobby and I do not earn from photography. I understand your time issue and sometimes I feel like I want do photograph more, but I just have 24 hours in day :). So no pressure to do eye-fi post. I don’t release all of my street photography in internet, because I like to respect privacy even I could do it based on law that we use here.

        Btw I find your blog first time from some forums and someone linked this post “How to overcome fears using Micro 4/3rds cameras in a professional environment” and I find it very well written and interesting. Since then I have been regular visitor of your blog.

        • Giulio Sciorio June 9, 2012 at 4:26 pm #

          Happy to hear that you’re going to be on IG and how you found the blog. What forum did you find the blog from? I try to keep up with all the camera forums and I’d love to know.

          Keep shooting and have fun!

  5. St3v4nt June 11, 2012 at 2:51 am #

    Dear Giulio, Your site is one of the source about m4/3 that I follow closely. Despite the proof that you and everyone else in ‘professional’ field posted about m4/3 capability in real life assignment, there are still new comer that jump to m4/3 with the high expectation founding the replacement for DSLR but left with disappointment. One of their biggest complaint is they have to change their working habit (even if that habit was wrong) when using m4/3. So I’m really hope  someday you could do a simulated real life comparison between working with DSLR and m4/3. Thus highlighting what kind of change one must do when using m4/3. It may be too much and reveal some of your trade secret but this is I believe a crucial article that not even Olympus and Panasonic realize.     

    • Giulio Sciorio June 11, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

      Hi there,
      What a great idea! When switching from a DSLR to a M43 system camera there are adjustments but nothing major. The important thing to understand is good photography is good photography and good light is good light. If you have a strong grasp on the fundamentals of photography you can use any camera well because what is important is the vision of the photographer not the gear they use.

      Gear should always be secondary to the photograph.

      I think a lot of what you want to know will be address in the workflow series I’m working on right now. I hope to have those out soon.

  6. Alvinksu June 15, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

    Nice shot. I’m wondering, what’s the iPad and the Eye-fi for? Is that for tethering?

    • Giulio Sciorio June 15, 2012 at 3:44 pm #

      Thanks! It’s not tethering in the traditional sense. I’ll have full details soon on the blog.

  7. Stevesanacore June 28, 2012 at 6:49 pm #

    Great site! Thanks for sharing all your experiences for us to learn from. It’s a great service to the community when professional photographers can share information on new gear and techniques.

  8. Frank September 25, 2012 at 11:24 am #

    Great blog! Sold my Canon 5DII gear and now shooting with PEN E-P3 with EVF3, 12mm, 45mm and the Panny 20mm. Trying to figure out buying the OMD for shooting video and stills. Do you think it’s worth the upgrade? Because I like to do interviews with my camera and the E-P3 seems to have some jelloish thing. Especially when handhold. Love your ‘spanish’ video. Seems great quality. Love to hear from you.

    • Giulio Sciorio September 25, 2012 at 4:04 pm #

      Welcome to the world of Hybrid Imaging Frank! There is a noticeable increase in picture quality when you go from the EP-3 to the OM-D but what is really special is the in body IS. You won’t get a jello effect with the OM-D unless you pan very, very fast.

      I wouldn’t rush out to dump your EP3 though. It’s more important that you keep shooting and post your work and have fun doing it but if you can afford the OM-D you’ll love it.

      Thanks for hanging out on Small Camera Big Picture, for watching the video and for commenting.

      • Frank September 25, 2012 at 6:24 pm #

        Hi Giulio, thanks for your warm welcome. Really like your way of communication! I won’t dump my EP3, I really love this little machine. I can afford the OMD, but you know there are rumors of a EP5 ;-)

        It’s all about shooting, not about machinery… AND I love the body IS for steadycam sort of shooting (stills & video). So it will be very versitile when doing interviews on location (like in the woods). Thank you very much!

  9. Steve Solomon November 17, 2012 at 4:38 pm #

    Excellent images, Giulio! Your images are nice and sharp, and I just wondered how the Touch screen with focus and shoot function works to eliminate any vibration resultoing from physically tapping the screen to focus AND shoot. (I’ve always used either a cable release or self-timer to eliminate any vibration, as I’m into Sharpness and detail in my product/nature shots. (I also loved your intro of the Oly 60mm Macro, which looks to be an incredibly sharp lens on the EM-5.) Thanks!

  10. Peter Cripps May 11, 2013 at 4:24 am #

    Hi Giulio, Loving the advice and images in your blog. I’m a recent convert to m4/3 photography with the OM-D and also blog about it. Recently did my first studio shoot, see http://petercrippsphotographyblog.wordpress.com/2013/05/09/om-d-studio-shoot-part-i/ which I was a little nervous about (new camera and new model) but it went really well. Planning lots more like it. Thanks and keep up the good work.


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