FujiFilm X-T2 with Godox Strobes in Tokyo

I’ve been a professional photographer for over 10 years now and my passion is portraiture! The coolest thing about shooting portraits with off camera lighting is having the ability to shape the light and shadows on your subject and their surroundings. It doesn’t matter if you are on location or in the studio. A few tips for creating the look you want is to learn how to control the ambient light in the scene or to simply overpower it or blend the strobes with the ambient. There are 2 ways you can do this. First, you can use a variable ND filter, basically adjustable sunglasses for your camera. You can darken the ambient light down to a point where you are able to set your camera to ISO 100-200 and get a shutter speed of 1/250 sec, which for the X-T2 and X-Pro2, is the flash sync speed. This allows you to shoot with wide apertures to get the bokeh you may want to make your subject pop from the background.

The second thing you can do is to use High Speed Sync (HSS). A lot of FujiFilm users have been annoyed by, and rightly so, the inability to shoot reliably in HSS, if at all. Well, I’m here to tell you that there are now a few ways you can shoot in HSS with FujiFilm cameras. The way I currently achieve this is by using Godox flashes and strobes like the TT600 and AD-600BM with a Cactus V6II and an X1TN on top set to center pin mode on the X1T. The Cactus should be setup to FujiFilm camera system, Nikon flash system and Force HSS settings. Once you do this you need to have the Cactus trigger learn the Fuji HSS algorithm. Set your camera to 1/1000 sec and take a photo when prompted to do so by the Cactus V6II. Now you turn on force HSS by pressing the command dial in on the V6II. You should now be shooting in HSS. The last thing I do is set the flash or strobe to HSS setting by pressing and holding the HSS button until the HSS icon appears. Now you can shoot at 1/8000 sec on your FujiFilm with no issues. The Cactus interprets the HSS signal, sends it through the hotshoe to the X1 trigger, which sends it to the AD-600 or other Godox strobes. Some of you may not want to stack triggers on your camera, so in that case simply buy 2 V6II triggers and use a mini phone cable to trigger the strobes. One on camera, one on the flash.

Third option – Godox, aka Flashpoint in the USA, is releasing a new FujiFilm dedicated hotshoe flash called the TT350, which is currently available for preorder in Adorama.com. Soon after that release they will make an X1TF for FujiFilm. So, why buy the TT350? I personally don’t like having a flash on top of my camera, but it will be the first official offering for Fuji users that can do HSS with Godox strobes natively and it can be used as a commander to control flash power remotely from the camera. I will not be using the flash on camera as a flash, but rather as a Commander to shoot in HSS. I highly recommend that you update your firmware on all of your flashes and triggers to ensure maximum compatibility.

What light modifiers do I use and recommend with the Godox AD-600? My absolute favorite light modifier is the 35″ Westcott Zeppelin with Bowens mount. My second favorite light modifier, and it’s slowly turning into my favorite surpassing the Westcott Zeppelin, is the Fotodiox 60″ Octabox with eggcrate fabric grid. At $99, you can’t beat the quality and soft light that this double baffle large light source provides.

There’s another light modifier that is significantly cheaper than he Zeppelin and it’s called a Rice Bowl. It has an adjustable arm like the Westcott to focus or spread the light around and is a great alternative to the Zeppelin if you are trying to save some of your hard earned cash.

The last 4 modifiers I use on a regular basis are the Westcott 50″ and 28″ Apollo series softboxes, 60″ Softlighter II and grid spots of varying degrees.

Thats all for now, I hope this helps someone to finally achieve their dream of HSS with FujiFilm and below are some recent photos on location and in the studio using his gear.

-Chris Bergstrom

Bushido Photo, LLC

Tokyo, Japan

Amazing images using flash and photoshop!

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As a professional photographer, I enjoy experimenting with lighting, backgrounds, lenses and off camera lighting. Here are a few examples of how I turned my vision into a reality using very limited equipment in a small studio space. I used one light in each of these images and a studio background.

Before (Straight out of camera)
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After (Photoshop)
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I used a slightly different approach on this image. Originally, I was not planning on doing any photoshop to it since I liked it the way it looked SOOC, but I always love to tinker and thought the background looked like snow, so I decided to add snow just to see how it would turn out. The good news is, I loved it!

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After
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Here’s a test shot of just the background before the girl even entered my frame. I normally use a light meter, but i didn’t really need to for this one light portrait.
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Equipment used to make these images:

FujiFilm X-Pro2 camera
Westcott 35″ Zeppelin Parabolic
Westcott speckled light gray background (10×20′)
Solid white backdrop for the first image from Denny mfg. (10×20′)
Godox AD-600BM strobe
Triggered with Godox X-1N trigger (strobes have built in radio receivers)

Software:
Photoshop CC
Alien Skin Exposure X
Rad Labs Totally Rad software
DXO FilmLab
Mystical Suite Gen1

Thank you for your time reading this article and if you have any questions I’m always willing to help… I teach these techniques at my workshops and hundreds of students have walked away from them knowing nearly nothing about photography to having all of the knowledge they could ever need to be a professional. When I started I wished someone would have shown me what I know now after 20 years of experience.

-Chris Bergstrom
Bushido Photo, LLC
Tokyo, Japan

$50 OFF Photo Shoots all of September 2016

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Bushido Photo, LLC serves all of Tokyo, Japan including Yokota. We are offering $50 for the entire month of September 2016. Outdoor photo shoots with professional lighting services on location are $300 and studio photos are normally $200, but you will receive $50 off by claiming the coupon at $50 OFF COUPON CODE . Chris Bergstrom has been a photographer since 1988 and takes pride in making you look amazing! Contact us today to schedule your photo shoot today. How do you get this coupon? Send a message via Facebook with the coupon code 50OFFNOW in the message body. Please let us know what dates you are available so we can check availability. https://www.facebook.com/BushidoPhotoLLC/ Thank you.

Bushido Photo, LLC

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Kimono Kid

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One photo shoot, three different looks!

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These shots were taken during a lighting workshop I taught here in Tokyo, Japan! All shots utilized off camera lighting. I shoot with a Fujifilm X-Pro2 and Godox AD-600BM strobes. I would love to teach a workshop on Creative Live or do something fun like shoot for Digital Rev TV with a crappy camera. I am blessed to have the opportunity to travel all around the world and make portraits regardless of whether or not the masses know who I am or what I do. I don’t need fame and glory in photography, I just want to get the shots! If you have any questions on how these shots were created, please let me know by leaving a comment. I answer all of them. Have a great day and may good light be with you!

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Lighting Workshops in Tokyo

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I had a successful off camera lighting workshop today in Tokyo! Special thanks to the models/students for making it a fun time with me. I enjoy teaching others about photography and lighting more than any other. If you or someone you know lives in the Tokyo area and needs a boost to get them to the next level, please send them a link to this website. I shot these images during instruction using a Godox AD-600BM and Fujifilm X-Pro 2. I am a Fujifilm fanatic now that I have finally put the camera through its’ paces! Please comment if you have any questions about how to achieve these results and I will try to help you understand how to create images similar to them. Thank you for your time and have a wonderful day!

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Fujifilm X-Pro2 – Godox – Ikigai – Talk

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Hello fellow photographers! I wanted to share this video about my Godox world of gear and why I choose to use their lighting gear. I am a photographer who loves a great bang for the buck and Godox gear has given me that 10 fold. I’ve been shooting professionally for a long time and simply want to share my personal opinions. You may have other gear you love, which is great! I just wish all of these pieces of equipment were available back when I first started. I am here to answer any questions you may have on how to use or which gear I recommend. I have spent years buying and testing gear for myself, I am not a social media guru by any means. Heck, just look at my followers. The reason I do this is if I can influence one photographer and make their life easier and to get them to the level they want to be at sooner, I have done my job. For me, it’s personal enjoyment to help others… Enjoy this video for what it is (self produced video with no sponsors or following). It’s not about me, it’s about helping others, which is my goal. I hope you like this video, please share, like and subscribe. Dislikes are cool too, but if you can, please let me know what you disliked so I can fix it. I can’t fix “sucks” either, tell me what sucked specifically. 🙂 Thank you!

Gear Talk

Tokyo, Japan – Off Camera Lighting Workshop 11 June 2016

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Come join us as Chris Bergstrom teaches you 8 hours of jam packed studio lighting on location and indoors. This is a workshop that should not be missed! Japanese and English speakers are welcome! Click here to reserve your spot today.

Topics covered

Fundamentals of photography

Subject posing

Lighting scenarios

Studio Photography

Shooting at night (dragging the shutter)

Location shooting

Neutral Density Filters (ND)

Light Meters

Radio Triggers

Post processing

Color correction

Shooting any time of the day while using variable neutral density filters and high powered strobes outdoors

and much, much more…

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On Location in the Netherlands

My FujiFilm X-T1 and why I ditched my Nikon D800E

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Hello, I’m American photographer Chris Bergstrom from “Bushido Photo, LLC” based in Tokyo, Japan. I’ve been a photographer since 1988 when I picked up my first Nikon 35mm film camera. I have to say, I wouldn’t be where I am today without people like my friend Zack Arias, and others llike Bobbie Lane, Sue Bryce, Scott Kelby and Anton Corbijn to name a few. I’ve been inspired by many photographers over the years even one’s who were successful before I was born like George Hurrell. If you’re like me (unknown photographer) you may see other popular photographer’s images and say to yourself, “I am as good or better than that”. I have realized, this is a journey and not a competition and we all have our own unique vision. My thoughts below are my own and not meant to start a controversy about mirrorless vs. DSLR. Both have their uses, but I am dedicated to the Fujifilm system since it just makes sense…Now, for the meat and potatoes.

Back when I used to shoot film exclusively (before digital cameras were available to normal people with normal budgets) I used to, and still do, shoot Fujifilm FILM. I was not a fan of Kodak film because of the reddish warmer colors it produced. I loved the greens and blues that Fujifilm created in my images. I bought a Fujifilm S Pro 2 and S Pro 5 back in the day as my first digital cameras. I loved having the ability to shoot digital and have the same look that I was used to with film. Astia, Reala, Velvia, Provia and Superia were all great films. Some of them are no longer available, but you can still get that same look and feel with Fujifilm digital cameras shooting JPEG. I usually shoot RAW + JPEG, but 99% of the time I can get the image I want shooting the JPEG’s. The Fuji system is that good. I like the form factor, size and weight compared to my previous Nikon addiction.
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Why did I sell a 36 megapixel Nikon camera to move to a 16 megapixel Fujifilm camera? I made the move to Fujifilm after shooting a wedding and started having really bad back pain from lugging what felt like 10 pounds of glass and camera around my neck. After that, I decided that I needed to move to a smaller system that created the same or better image quality in the photos that I was used to. I used the X-Pro 1 and D700 with a double black rapid strap for a long time and loved the combo, but the D700 was still bulkier and I loved the old school feel of the Fuji. As a strobist by trade, I decided that I wanted to go with a smaller, but capable at image quality, so I then sold my D800E and purchased my X-T1 and a few lenses. I’m a portrait photographer (I do shoot everything though) and decided to give the Fuji’s a go with strobes. I had a great experience shooting with off camera lighting using radio triggers and off camera lighting. I only have two complaints, but I can live without the solutions. I wish the X-T1 would allow you to shoot with rear curtain flash sync with off camera flash and I wish it could do high speed sync (HSS). Unfortunately both of these options are unavailable. Fujifilm listens to their users and may make a firmware update available in the future that will fix these issues, but that is yet to be seen.

So, do I have any regrets leaving the Nikon system? The straight up answer is NO! I have not looked back. I can see what my exposure will look like with the full time live view, unlike the DSLR’s from Nikon and Canon. I am not just a fan of the Fujifilm camera’s, I am a long time dedicated user of their products. The funny thing about my love for Fujifilm now is that I live in Tokyo, Japan. Photo shoots are a lot of fun in this amazing city. My wife is Japanese and we love creating beautiful images and videos, both commercially and privately in and around Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Okinawa.

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How do I setup my camera and what gear do I use? I have the extra battery grip, Really Right Stuff arca swiss L bracket made for the X-T1 with the battery grip attached. I completely moved away from Nikon speedlights (except for my old SB-80DX and SB-600’s), Alien Bees and other studio lights in favor of the Godox brand. I was an early adopter of the AD-360 flashes and am now a huge advocate of the AD-600BM (Bowens Mount) flashes. These flashes/strobes can easily overpower the sun and can handle high speed sync if you have a camera capable of doing that, like the X-100T or other DSLR’s. I shoot with the 50-140mm f/2.8, 56mm f/1.2, 23mm f/1.4 and I still use my old Nikon lenses, Lensbaby Edge 80 and other Nikon mount lenses, such as the Helios 40-2 85mm with a Metabones adapter in manual focus. The focus assist in manual focus makes manual focusing really useful and easy. I also have just recently purchased the Westcott 35″ Zeppelin and it even outperforms my Mola Setti, which I love. Now, my new favorite modifier is the Zeppelin. All of these pinup shots were shot using it without the front diffusion material (in case you were wondering).

Why do I keep this blog going with so few subscribers or viewers? It’s my own documentary of my progression and to help those in need of information and truth. I’m also always available to help those in need of good advice. I’ve been there and done that since 1988 and want to help you with your learning curve. I only wish someone would have been there for me to guide me and be selfless in learning how photography and off camera flash worked. I want to pass on the knowledge I’ve learned from my mentors, some silent, some vocal, over the years. Zack, this beer is for you! Thank you my friend.

Below are some images and videos that I have created using the Fujifilm X-T1 over the last few months in Tokyo, Japan. I hope you enjoy my work and, for those skeptical people, take Fujifilm seriously as a professional camera system! I hope to become a Fuji X photographer and want to spread the Fujifilm love. These cameras are that good and even if Fujifilm doesn’t pay attention to me, my clients sure do appreciate the deliverable images they receive. I have seen a 300% increase in sales since I moved from Nikon to Fujifilm. The switch a couple of years ago may have nothing to do with the increased sales, but I think it has something to do with it.

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Model Photo Shoot – Radar Eiffel Tower in Tokyo, Japan

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I had a lot of fun creating some amazing images of a young model in Japan. More photos are coming soon, but here is a little behind the scenes teaser as well. The images were shot using Godox AD-360 flashes, Fujifilm X-T1, 23mm and 56mm lenses. I actually misspoke in the video, the second location was shot using the 56mm (85mm equiv FF f/1.2). I hope you enjoy and feel free to ask if you have any questions on how I did the shoot.