Hi Jakub! Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi! My name is Jakub Kaźmierczyk and I’m a commercial photographer based in Wrocław, Poland. I’m also an Olympus Visionary. I deal with many fields of photography such as food, interior, business, and product. I also carry out different advertising campaigns. I cooperate with companies like Renault, Grycan, Starbucks, KFC or Henkel. To be honest, photography accompanies me every single day. I also do portrait and city landscape photography for non-commercial reasons, what I truly enjoy.
When did you decide to pursue a career in Photography / Video and why?
It was about 8 years ago when I graduated from university where I studied business. Back then, I decided to run my own business and become a wedding photographer. After two years, I realised that wedding photography wasn’t for me. Although, in the meantime, I enlisted corporate clients so I could stop doing wedding photography. Now, I work with different companies.
From Canon to Nikon full frame professional lineup of cameras, to Sony or the most recent Lumix GH5s, you have used a bit of everything. Still, for your assignments you keep using your trusty Olympus equipment. What’s so special about these cameras?
Yes, I have worked with all of those cameras. I can’t say a bad word about any of them. However, I feel like Olympus is just best for me. After many years of using Canon, I came to the conclusion that photography instead of being pleasurable it became annoying. The camera was heavy and many pictures were not sharp enough. While working with Canon I have also been working with Olympus cameras.
There was a moment in my life when I realised that the Olympus system had everything I needed. By saying that I mean that Olympus cameras have amazing stabilisation, eye detection and many other useful functions. Plus, it is much lighter than the other cameras I have worked with. That is why I have started to work with Olympus more often. Obviously, the photography market is very competitive.
The cameras are being improved and modified. However, I am not planning to swap/change Olympus to any other system. I have also been using Hasselblad X1D for a couple of months. This camera is completely different than any other I have worked with so far. Firstly, it is definitely slower but it offers 50 megapixels what unfortunately I can’t say about Olympus (without HiRes mode).
You have been using the M.Zuiko Pro f/1.2 line of lenses (17mm, 25mm and 45mm). And the question many of our readers wish to ask is: Are they really worth what they cost?
I have been using all of them since their premiers. All of them are really good in terms of their optics and very well corrected aberration, distortion etc. Moreover, they are fully sealed and resistant to tough weather conditions. I must agree that the prices are quite high.
On the other hand, competitors also offer lenses with similar focal length for a similar price so I can say that they are worth their price. Although, I believe that if Olympus lowered its price to around 1000 Euro, their sales would quickly grow. Today, there is a large price gap between the f/1.8 lenses and the f/1.2 Pro series. I think that something in between is missing. Today, Sigma fills this gap. As an Olympus ambassador, I would be happier if this gap was filled by Olympus.
For Fashion/Portrait photo shoots, what’s your usual lighting setup?
I admire natural light, especially when it comes to a golden hour. It is because it generates long shadows as well as has a beautiful warm tone. On the other hand, I often use flashlight, mostly Profoto B1. I always start by setting one light and then add more if needed.
If I had to choose my favourite light set it would be light with large umbrella and diffuser set at 45 angle to the subject – in the studio and on the location. When it comes to beauty photography, I really like the clamshell set. However, when it comes to wider frames, I usually reflect light from walls or other neutral surfaces.
When you are not at work do you use the same equipment, or do you have a different camera setup for your personal projects and trips?
I mainly work with Olympus E-M1 Mark II for commercial purposes but I also take this camera with me while travelling. As I mentioned before, I also work with Hasselblad X1D that I use for projects for which I need higher resolution. Moreover, I use the Olympus PEN F which is my favourite camera.
Within the Olympus line of cameras and lenses, which would you consider the minimum setup for those starting out in the world of Portrait Photography?
Before 45mm f/1.2 Pro lens came out I had been using a 45mm f/1.8 lens, which I still consider as a great lens. I would recommend using a camera with 20 megapixels resolution E-M1II or PEN-F, that offer slightly more detailed than the 16 megapixel sensor.
On the other hand, if you don’t have a budget for these cameras, the E-M10 II will also work great and it costs only about 500 Euro. I had a chance to work with this camera and the lower model when doing portrait photography and they were totally fine.
Can we ask you a couple of tips or quick advices that can help our readers significantly improve their portrait photography?
Sure thing! Firstly, you have to be able to look at the light correctly. The best way is to set the model up, that there was no daylight on her face. During a sunny day, the only thing you should do is to find some shadows (from the trees or buildings). It is also good to have a foldable reflector with you, even the small triangular 60cm one will be enough. It’s useful to turn on eye detection to get perfectly sharp pictures.
Another vital part of the photoshoot is the atmosphere. Don’t be afraid to talk to your model unless you want her to look exhausted or bored on the pictures. What I would also recommend is to look at some inspirations on Pinterest or fashion magazines before the actual shoot. It will help you and other team members to understand the aim / vibe of your photoshoot.
Many photographers that we know of are complementing their equipment with a drone. Do you consider it to be a must-have tool for all professional photographers and a great addition to the main camera?
I see drone as a great addition to my photography equipment when I travel, but I definitely don’t think that it is essential for every photographer. I believe that traditional photography and drone photography are completely different industries.
I have the DJI Mavic Pro which I use to diversify the vacation footage that I bring from different countries. I don’t use the drone for professional purposes.
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