Shooting Like It’s Going Out Of Fashion
Hi Fujifilm lovers. I am Alessia Francischiello and I come from Italy. I’ve been living in Australia for the last five years and I have been using Fujifilm gear for the last three. My passion for photography started about seven years ago while living in Rome where my subjects were mainly architecture and monuments. I started to attend a lot of photography courses in Italy and Australia, and here my interest turned to be portraiture instead, reflecting more my personality as I really am a people person. Now I shoot mostly beauty and fashion, with a few publications done for magazines around the world, but I enjoy any style when the content is original.
My passion in the fashion industry has always been there. I worked in fashion ateliers when I was in Italy and I had the pleasure to touch and understand the quality of Italian haute couture. When I entered the photography world though I didn’t expect those two fields could get together. They actually do stick together, and now I found out how.
Now that I am a Fujifilm user I hear some concerns from the people in the industry about the quality and the performance of the gear to do what I like. But I could prove them wrong once so I kept going.
I believe Fujifilm products are easy to use (I am talking about people who shoot Manual mode) having the aperture ring on the lenses and the shutter speed and iso on the top dials, like the old lovely film cameras. Another great thing about Fujifilm is their best value for the money. You can put your hands on amazing glasses with such great prices especially for the medium range like the new f2 lenses for example. And… Firmware upgrades! You cannot not love Fujifilm!
I started shooting with an X-T1, 35mm f1.4 and 18mm f2 to have small lightweight gear to carry around everyday and on holidays. And I was so happy I could finally shoot more, and this is when I decided I would have done more with my photography skills and passion. Two years later I got my X-T2 and a bunch of lenses to fill the gaps and improve my equipment, like the 56mm f1.2, 16-55mm f2.8, 50-140mm f2.8 and 23mm f1.4. The 56mm and 23mm are undoubtedly my favourite lenses, and I use them most of the time when doing fashion and outdoor shoots with natural light. I also use my 16-55mm f2.8 a lot when shooting indoor with studio lighting and it performs great with a very fast autofocus.
The good thing of having a Fujifilm camera is that you always take it with you in a handbag, going to work or for a walk, when you’re on holiday or when you meet with some friends you want some memories with. And guess what, you don’t look like paparazzi trying to get everyone to smile for you. And this is why I am not planning on leaving my Fujifilm behind anytime soon. Honestly I am not the one who goes around with a camera bag everywhere but when I go out to shoot for fun I usually have a Tenba Cooper 13 DSLR shoulder bag with me, my loyal friend X-T2 and two/three lenses (sometimes a flash too), just to be basic.
I always prefer working with prime lenses when I can for their sharpness and because they force me to observe more to compose and create a story within the frame.
As I said I shoot indoor and outdoor depending on the style I want or the clients requests. I enjoy both locations but I used to do more studio works before because I was studying lighting and how it works; now I am focusing on outdoor and natural light to gain more experience in this style. Lighting is all we got to create the concept we want and if we cannot understand it and use it at our advantage we won’t be able to create readable content. I love when natural light falls perfectly on the subject, and you need to study and have experience to be able to see it. Natural light is of course harder to manage compared to studio lighting, which you can modify and adjust to your needs.
The amazing X-T2 helped me to understand how light works thanks to its performance in low light, and the fast aperture on the lenses helped a lot too.
I will share a little secret with you, which is not really a secret: the good thing of working with people, and models in particular, is that you can always move the subject to make the light fall the right way and you should be able to guide the person in that direction. Sometimes it’s hard to communicate what you have in mind so what I do is to take a shot and show them on camera how I want that to look like on their faces, dress or details. When working in fashion you have to do it in a team. You cannot have a successful image without collaboration and effective communication.
Remember that models are not objects and have feelings and the way we approach them will determine the result.
If you are interested in fashion photography and you want to start shooting, make sure you shoot as much as you can, contact people at your same level and want to do something fun and experimental together, create content and try new things everytime, this is the moment to make mistakes and understand what works and what doesn’t. Collaborations are not a substitute for commercial work though. A photographer should be paid to create images for commercial use (designers websites, instagram promotions, flyers etc…), so don’t work with designers and stylists unless you are at a stage where you can negotiate your rates. Unfortunately we had a crush in the industry because of this new “visibility” currency. It’s not with it that you get jobs, it’s by growing your knowledge through experience and working with enthusiast people that have the same goal. Show your best works and print them, only then you’ll be different!
“I’m a little grown up girl from a small town in Italy, where my life was completely different from what it is now (and it’s a good thing). I started to do photography pretty much 6 years ago, while I was living in Rome and everything around me started to tell me: I’m beautiful, I’m big, I’m magnificent… Then take a shot. So I bought my first camera and started with architectural photography. One course after the other I finished to like portraiture and fashion, which was a combination of my everyday job (in an haut couture boutique) and my passion for photography. What I appreciate of people is that you can always find something different: each person, each model has something to say and my goal consists in finding that difference and show it to the world. I love my life and I like to respect the reality also in my works, the beauty doesn’t need to photoshopped, and the feelings can’t be standardised.”