Explore until you find your voice

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Jake Jakab

"My name is Jake Jakab and I am a photographer using my camera as my main tool to tell stories of people and places. I am from a little town from the heart of Romania, Ludas Maros, but currently I am based in Madrid. I am a wedding & lifestyle photographer but also love to shoot portraits & landscapes. Thanks to photography I had the opportunity to travel to different places and I met a lot of awesome humans."

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Hi Jake! Thanks for the opportunity for this interview. A lot of readers certainly know you since the article published in the 20th edition of our magazine, but for those who do not know you yet, could you start by giving a presentation?
Hey folks! First of all I wanted to congratulate you for gathering all these Fuji lovers around the world.

My name is Jozsef but a lot of you guys know me as Jake since that is my artistic name (and also the version in english) I am Hungarian but I’ve been living in the beautiful Spain for more than 15 years now and not planning to move soon.

Fuji X-T2 . Fuji XF23mmF1.4 @23mm . f/2.2 . 1/250″ . ISO 100
Fuji X-T2 . Fuji XF23mmF1.4 @23mm . f/2.5 . 1/1000″ . ISO 100

In addition to your main work as a wedding photographer, you also like to shoot other genres such as landscape, portrait or lifestyle, right? Is this like a separation between work and personal projects, or they all give you the same pleasure?
Yes, Indeed I shoot weddings but what I really am passionate about is to tell peoples stories whether is a wedding, a couple session or a lifestyle/portraiture shoot I focus on peoples stories.

I like to do non-paid shoots from time to time where I shoot for myself with no pressure, no expectations from anyone and where I can try new things/experiment. I believe that’s a must for artists to experience growth on their craft.

Fuji X-H1 . Fuji XF18mmF2 @18mm . f/2.2 . 1/100″ . ISO 400
Fuji X-H1 . Fuji XF35mmF1.4 @35mm . f/2.0 . 1/250″ . ISO 250

What key elements do you seek to put together to make a successful portrait, that appeals to you as well as to the client?
For me the connection is key. It’s impossible to tell a story you don’t know so first thing is to get to know the subject, make them feel comfortable with me and after that I look for light. I like to believe I am playing with the light around my subject and that’s something amazing for me.

When you know your subjects story and have a good light you can think about the location/background you want to use to empower your subject.

Fuji X-T2 . Fuji XF18mmF2 @18mm . f/2.0 . 1/200″ . ISO 500

You use mostly natural light, but not all light is the same. Could you share some advice to make the best use of sunlight?
I am a natural light lover and to be honest it took me years to get comfortable with natural light. If you want to master something, you have to fail again and again but be able to learn from your fails. Find the light you like more and master it: if you like the soft sunrise light (which I love btw) wake up, find a nice spot and shoot.

I use the app SunSurveyor to plan my shoots and know exactly where the sun will be at some certain hours.

If you like to shoot on harsh light, find a place you like and go when the light is harsh.

If you like to shoot on lowlight, go to a place that inspires you and shoot. Explore again and again until you find your ‘voice’.

Fuji X-T2 . Fuji XF35mmF1.4 @35mm . f/2.8 . 1/200″ . ISO 640
Fuji X-T2 . Fuji XF35mmF1.4 @35mm . f/3.6 . 1/800″ . ISO 200

The light from sunrises and sunsets help a lot in the warm tones characteristic of your photographs. But there’s also some editing work. What are the basic steps you take while processing your files?
Definitely my job is not done until I hit ‘export’ in Lightroom or other post processing program. I usually give every shoot a personality so depending on what I am going for it will look warmer or cooler. I start with my preset that it’s made from scratch and when I have the right light using exposure, shadows, highlights and after that I go to HSL panel where I make the last tweaks.

Fuji X-T2 . Fuji XF18mmF2 @18mm . f/2.8 . 1/160″ . ISO 200
Fuji X-T2 . Fuji XF23mmF1.4 @23mm . f/3.6 . 1/400″ . ISO 1250

What’s your current cameras/lenses setup? Have you switched to the X-T3 or the improvements made were not enough to upgrade from your X-T2?
To be honest I love the X-T2 and it is one of my favourite cameras until today but lately I’ve been shooting more with the X-H1 and loving it for the silent shutter, the bigger grip and for the superior evf. I’ve also been shooting more video in the last year so it made sense to get the X-H1 instead of the X-T3. I’m looking forward to see what will they be releasing but the medium format is tempting me!

My current lenses are: XF18mm F2, XF23mm F1.4, XF35mm F1.4, XF18-55 F2.8-4 and a Samyang 135mm F2 which I use not very often.

Fuji X-T2 . Fuji XF23mmF1.4 @23mm . f/2.0 . 1/2000″ . ISO 200
Fuji X-T2 . Fuji XF23mmF1.4 @23mm . f/16 . 1/160″ . ISO 320

Many argue, and to some degree rightly, that more important than the camera body is the selection of lenses you use. From the current lens lineup, or from the Fuji roadmap, which one is in your plans for a next acquisition and why?
I would love to check out the XF 90mm F2 because I heard it’s very sharp and I love the detail shots but I try to keep my setup as minimalistic as possible so it has to add something that the other lenses on my current setup doesn’t add.

Fuji X-T2 . Fuji XF23mmF1.4 @23mm . f/1.4 . 1/320″ . ISO 2000
Fuji X-T2 . Fuji XF23mmF1.4 @23mm . f/1.4 . 1/5000″ . ISO 400

To conclude, a difficult question 🙂
Over the last months, several new cameras have been launched by leading manufacturers. And 2019 isn’t finished yet. It promises to be really interesting. In your opinion, should Fuji keep the current course and so please its most loyal users, or should they introduce a few changes to avoid losing ground to its competitors? We’re thinking of IBIS in all their series, like Olympus. Allow third party lens manufacturers to produce X-mount lenses like Sony has been doing. Including articulated screens in all series, even the X-Pro and X-E. These were just a few examples.
I might not please everyone with this answer (haha) but I really think that Fuji is doing a really good job by being themselves. You can’t (shouldn’t try) please everyone and the market right now is so competitive that you can’t have everyone happy. Those who are happy with the product it’s because they really love their camera and the experience of shooting with it. Fuji created some cameras for specific needs and you, as a photographer, just need to find the one for you. If you put articulated screens to the X-Pro then it looses it’s personality, if you give permission for Sigma (e.g) to make lenses with Fuji mount then you loose that feel of changing the aperture on the Fuji lenses.

So I think they are doing a really good job. But again, this is just my opinion.

Thanks again for having me and whoever wants to know more about me and my work can head to my website: www.jakejakab.com and my instagram: www.instagram.com/jakejakab

Fuji X-T2 . Fuji XF23mmF1.4 @23mm . f/1.4 . 1/125″ . ISO 3200
Fuji X-T2 . Fuji XF23mmF1.4 @23mm . f/2.2 . 1/500″ . ISO 200

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