All photographs tell stories—a picture is worth a thousand words, after all—but storytelling photography is perhaps a step further than just ordinary picture-taking. How exactly do you effectively tell stories through photos? What gear do you need? Which techniques should you consider? Which Film Simulation Recipes are best?
All of those questions and more are discussed at length by myself and Fujifilm X-Photographer Nathalie Boucry in the video below, which was last week’s SOOC Live broadcast. If you haven’t yet watched it, I invite you to do so now. If you want to try this type of photography or simply challenge yourself to become better at telling stories through your pictures, this episode is a must-watch. Also, so you don’t miss any future broadcasts, be sure to follow the SOOC Live YouTube channel—Episode 1 and Episode 2 of Season 3, plus all of the first two seasons, can be found there, too.
Most simply, storytelling photography is a type of documentary photography. It is chronicling the important or everyday events that you’ll want to remember for many years to come, such as holidays or precious family moments. It is capturing the human experience—how people adapt to or effect the environment around them. It is eliciting a response from the viewer, weather prompting questions or evoking emotions. Perhaps most importantly, you should “f8 and be there” because storytelling pictures become more meaningful over time, so it is critical to be in the moment and capture the picture.
The four Film Simulation Recipes that Nathalie and I challenge you to use for storytelling photography are:
This is a versatile Film Simulation Recipe that produces classic Kodak negative film colors. This could easily be your go-to Recipe for almost any situation, as Reggie Ballesteros, the creator of this Recipe, will gladly attest. It is intended for “newer” X-Trans IV cameras—X-Pro3, X100V, X-T4, X-S10, X-E4, and X-T30 II; for X-Trans V, I recommend setting Color Chrome FX Blue to Off, and for the X-T3 and X-T30, simply ignore Color Chrome FX Blue and Grain strength, since your camera doesn’t have those options.
I love the retro rendering of this Recipe! It’s not quite as versatile as Reggie’s Portra, but, because it has a cooler cast, it does still do well in a variety of light situations. If you want to emphasize blues and reds, this is the one to use. It is intended for “newer” X-Trans IV cameras—X-Pro3, X100V, X-T4, X-S10, X-E4, and X-T30 II; for X-Trans V, I recommend setting Color Chrome FX Blue to Weak.
This Film Simulation Recipe reminds me of a reversal film aesthetic similar to Elite Chrome or Provia 100F, although it’s not modeled after those emulsions specifically. It has a lot of contrast, and (like slide film) you have to be careful to get the exposure right. Because of the cool cast, it can be used in some artificial light situations and produce good results. This Recipe is compatible with all X-Trans III cameras, plus the X-T3 and X-T30; to use it on newer models, set Color Chrome FX Blue to Off, Clarity to 0, and Grain size to Small.
This is a great black-and-white Recipe; I think B&W lends itself well to this genre in general, so definitely give it a try! It does require an ultra-high ISO, which is challenging for bright daylight photography—enable the electronic shutter for faster shutter speeds and stop down, or use an ND filter. It is compatible with all X-Trans III cameras, plus the X-T3 and X-T30; to use it on newer models, set Color Chrome FX Blue to Off, Clarity to 0, and Grain size to Large.
Find these Film Simulation Recipes and nearly 300 more on the Fuji X Weekly — Film Recipes App!