Good Bye 2015 - Hello 2016

What a year it has been, I can't believe I will be completing my 6th year as a full time professional photographer and my 3rd year of going back on my own. I feel so blessed to be able to do what I do each and every day. This "job" has taken me to places I never thought possible, it has introduced me to a ton of awesome people and it has challenged me in so many ways with the highest of highs and lowest of lows. Running this business all on my own has taught me to be very resilient, to take challenges head on and at times to step out of my comfort zone.

This year was no different, I focused on learning, evolving and honing my skills not only with my camera, but with running my business. Overall, I feel that I was successful, was I perfect? NO WAY! Do I feel I have room to grow and get/be better? HELL YEAH! So ending this year on a positive note, I say, "Good Bye 2015 and Hello 2016!" BUT before I say my goodbyes, I want to gratefully say, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart to all my clients, family and friends that have supported me not only this year, but throughout all my years in business, without you none of this would be possible. I want to specifically thank my own family for allowing me to chase this dream, to be away from you guys days on end is not easy I understand, so thank you for hanging in there and supporting me.

Like most of you, I too have goals for the new year, but no worries I'm not going to list them all out here. What I am going to mention is that I will be doing some serious changes over here, all of which was part of the learning and evolving processes I went through this past year. Some of the changes are going to be in the style I photograph weddings/portraits, how I use social media, how I run my business, the style of how I market my business and the big one hopefully bring on some hired help. My goal is to slowly introduce these changes right here on the blog and on my website. So please hang in there and stay tuned, I will have some down time in January so my hope is to blog a ton. 

Things on my blog list for January and February:
- Past weddings
- Past portraits
- Best of 2015 weddings, couple, families
- Commercial work
- Working with my new FujiFilm camera system
- My evolving business and the changes ahead

Here's to an amazing 2016, hope to see you out there and have a great year!

Business aside, the image below is what I am MOST thankful for, 2015 was a great year for my growing family. Come Feb.12th we will be welcoming a new addition to our little family, her name will be Rowan Grace.

Photo by Michelle Ford

Photo by Michelle Ford

Making some changes over here // FUJIFILM XT1

This time of the year there are several things that begin to start happening over here. Holiday family photos are in full swing and rockin', engagement sessions start back up for the next year, shooting the last of my weddings to close out the year AND the mental game of evaluating my business along with planning for the new year.

Well, this time is no different, EXCEPT, I have finally made the decision for 2016 to completely change my whole camera system. What does that mean? It means that I've begun the process of switching from shooting primarily Canon camera's to now using the smaller, lighter, mirrorless FujiFilm camera system.  So why the switch? Well, I'm going on my 7th year as a full time photographer and while I ABSOLUTELY love my Canon gear, my back, neck, shoulders and arms are finally over it! Plain and simple, my gear is much too heavy and after 8-10hrs of straight shooting and lugging around my gear it has really taken a toll on my body. Without getting into to much more detail on weight/size I hope you get what I'm throwing down. Plus, I will be changing up my style and how I shoot weddings so this camera will help me blend in much easier, but more on this method later.

Here's a little insight on how I made the decision to make the switch.

I've had my eye on the smaller mirrorless camera systems ever since I purchased my Fujix100s over a year ago, but I just felt the mirrorless systems weren't up to par with the big boys (for weddings anyway). So, I made the decision to continue shooting the 2015 wedding season using my current setup with my Canon gear. However, as you know, a lot can change in a year. Sony has been putting out a few mirrorless cameras for awhile now, but this year they really stepped it up with their full frame a7RII. Fuji, the other big player in mirrorless, has their flagship APS-C X-Trans sensor X-T1 mirrorless camera body and also Olympus, with their Micro 4/3rds OMD line up. SO, who do I go with? So many options at all different price ranges.

Sony was a logical choice, it's a full frame sensor plus with an adapter I could use my current Canon lenses, although, I would have to worry about adapters and the weight of the L-Series lenses, almost defeating the purpose of switching. If I couldn't use the Canon lenses I would then have to purchase the highly priced Sony/Zeiss glass. Granted they would be clean, fast and sharp, but since I didn't have the budget for that, it was on to my next option.

Olympus looked cool, they offer many in camera functions, stabilization's etc., but being a Micro 4/3rds camera, with a smaller sensor and smaller image format I'm sure it's awesome for some people, but just not for me and what I was looking for in a camera.

Then there was the Fuji X-T1, with in my opinion, so many more positives than negatives. Although, I understand no camera is perfect, my biggest concern was Auto Focusing. I heard it was just slow as molasses, but recently they did a big firmware update and from what I read they really stepped it up and corrected some big issues. Another concern was battery life and how quickly these cameras suck up the juice, but ya know what? 3rd party batteries are so inexpensive that having a bunch of them on hand would be no big deal to me. My final concern was that the camera is not a full frame camera like my Canon 5D Mark 3 or like the Sony, meaning the sensor it uses is what they call a APS-C crop sensor. The sensor is a little smaller and has some limitations compared to a full frame sensor. To be honest, Fuji's X Trans sensor is so amazing that the majority of people out there wouldn't be able to tell the difference between a full frame and cropped sensor photo either digital or in print, so I'm just going to suck it up and deal with the fact that I'm not a full frame shooter anymore. 

Now a few of the positives. Let's start with the Fujinon lens lineup, amazingly sharp, small, fast, light and affordable period. At one time they even produced lenses for Hasselblads, so I'm convinced the good people at Fuji know what they are doing when it comes to lenses. Plus, I love how they offer such a wide variety of fast and affordable prime lens, several of their lenses are even weather resistant, how cool is that? Which leads me to the fact that the X-T1 body is completely weather sealed, pair it up with a weather sealed lens and you can basically shoot in the rain, on the beach or in a dusty environment with no worries of ruining the camera. Another thing I love is the size and look of the camera, small and light with all the dials you need to make adjustments easily accessible on the top of the camera, kind of like back in the day, total retro look, I love it! I also love the ability to customize it and taylor it to my needs, from settings to certain function buttons, for me it just works. Trust me, there is so much more about this camera I'm so excited about, I just wanted to give you a few positives for now without boring you and getting all technical.  

SO I DID IT! I made the decision a couple of weeks ago, I sold some of my Canon gear and picked up a Fuji X-T1, a 35mm f1.4 prime lens (50mm equivalent) and the extra battery grip. It finally arrived this past Monday and I've been able to play around with it for a little. Below are some sample images I took of my son, I'm so stoked on the outcome that I'm dying to use this on a real photoshoot. Hopefully, if I have time, I will do a more extensive review on my new workhorse in a couple of months. I will get some professional shoots under my belt and share a more extensive opinion.

TOMMORROW - I will be posting on the blog a bunch of gear FOR SALE. Including Canon, ThinkTank, Spider Holster and Yongnuo.

Below are some images so you can compare the size difference between my Canon and my new Fuji  - These are the equivalent in terms of camera body, battery grip and 50mm lens (fuji's 35mm). I don't know the exact weight difference in actual pounds, but I will tell you this, its like comparing a 12lb shot putt and golf ball, the Fuji is crazy light and I absolutely LOVE it, so will my back and shoulders :)

Here are a few samples of the first shots I took of my son, I shot these in JPEG mode using the Classic Chrome in camera preset then I used the built in Wifi feature along with the Fuji App to transfer to my iPhone, then I made a slight edit to each by using the Darkroom photo editing app. 

Taken with my iPhone