Creative Collective 043: Dreamy Light (The Cheap & Easy Way)

Sunset & Saguaro – Sun City, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 90mmSuperia Summer Recipe

Dreamy light is all the rage right now. Maybe it has been for awhile, but it is definitely something that photographers are seeking right now. But how does one achieve it? Vintage lenses. Diffusion filters. Scratching a UV filter. Those can work. How about these: shooting through an optical viewfinder, oiling a filter, or using a LoFi lens? Yep, that’ll do it, too. But there is a cheaper and easier camera hack that might just work even better!

Here’s how to do it and what it looks like.

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this content when you join the Fuji X Weekly Creative Collective today!

How to Solve Fujifilm’s Cam Remote App Not Connecting to iPhone

I posted a comical Reel on my Instagram account about the much maligned Fujifilm Cam Remote App, and it clearly struck a nerve. Between all of the social media accounts where I posted the short video, I had over 3,000 reactions (hearts, thumbs up, etc., etc.) and about 350 comments, which is a lot more than usual. Most of the comments were in agreement: the Cam Remote App is frustrating, and doesn’t seem to work well. By far, the biggest issue is getting the camera to even connect to the app. It often takes several tries before it will work, if it does at all. There have been times that, despite my best efforts, I just couldn’t get it to work, and I gave up trying to connect the camera to the app.

It’s really unfortunate that I cannot get the app to work sometimes—and when I can it is often a frustrating experience—because it is an important part of my workflow. I shoot with Film Simulation Recipes, then transfer the JPEGs off my camera and to my phone using the Cam Remote app, straighten and/or crop if necessary, and then upload to cloud storage. 99% of the time that is the full extent of my photographic workflow. When I can’t get the app to work, it’s a significant issue for me.

I haven’t always had trouble with Fujifilm’s Cam Remote app. Years ago I would receive reports from people stating that the app sucks, but I didn’t share those experiences; however, the problems began to show up after I purchased my Fujifilm X-T30. Then it got worse and worse. What changed? I think two things: Bluetooth and multiple bodies. In my experience, the Bluetooth feature is sometimes the cause of the hangup. Also, the app didn’t seem to like when I connected to one camera and then tried to connect to another camera right afterwards. So using the app for multiple cameras, and especially if one or more of those cameras have Bluetooth, is where it went wrong for me. It could be other problems, too, that I’m just not aware of.

While most of the comments to my Reel were in agreement, there were some who reported a different experience. A small number seem to have no issues with the app at all. It could be that they are using only one camera (and not multiple) and/or they don’t have Bluetooth models, but that’s just a guess. A few of the comments and messages that I received suggested that it was user error. Someone even told me the reason why I was having trouble is because I’m technologically inept and perhaps even stupid. People can be mean sometimes. Thankfully, some other people shared that they figured out a solution, and now the Cam Remote app works just fine for them.

There were a number of ideas put forth to resolve the issue. I spent a couple of hours putting these different potential solutions to the test. What I discovered through this process is a method that (so far) seems to work every time. You have to jump through some hoops that shouldn’t be necessary. Oh, and this method is for iPhones only. I assume there must be a similar method for Android, but I’m an iPhone user and not Android, so I cannot help much with that. So if you have an iPhone, I invite you to try this solution and see if it fixes the problem for you. Hopefully you’ll find that you can now consistently connect to Fujifilm’s Cam Remote app without issue.

Step 1: Open the Fujifilm Cam Remote App and select the camera you are going to connect with. Then swipe out of the app (exit out completely).

Step 2: Turn on WiFi on your Fujifilm camera.

Step 3: Open the Settings app and select Bluetooth. Tap the green slider to turn Bluetooth Off (disable). If Bluetooth works consistently for you or if your Fujifilm camera doesn’t have Bluetooth, skip this step. For me, Bluetooth is sometimes a hangup, so disabling it allows the app to work more consistently (albeit more slowly).

Step 4: Select Wi-Fi in the Settings App.

Step 5: Find the camera’s WiFi (in the Settings app—might be found under “My Networks” or “Other Networks”). Tap the “i” with a circle around it. Toggle Off (disable) “Private Wi-Fi Address” (if it is enabled).

Step 6: Turn Wi-Fi Off on your phone (tap the green slider) then immediately turn it back On. Select your camera’s WiFi before the phone auto-connects to another network. Wait a moment to make sure that the phone is connected to the camera.

Step 7: Relaunch the Cam Remote app. It should open to the camera you are trying to connect to (because of Step 1), but if it didn’t, select your camera from your list. The app might automatically connect to the camera (it sometimes does for me, although I don’t know why), but if it doesn’t (which is what should happen most of the time), tap “Import images selected on app” and it should connect. Boom, done!

Since following these seven steps, I have been able to connect with all of my Fujifilm cameras consistently each time on the first try. I tried it over and over and over just to be sure. Yes, it’s a hassle, and more steps than should be necessary, but it works, and eventually it becomes easier and more natural (second nature). If you have had problems with Fujifilm’s Cam Remote app on your iPhone, this should solve the issue for you.

I want to thank everyone who shared their experiences with the Cam Remote app with me, and especially for those who shared their solutions. It was a big help. Thank you! Supposedly Fujifilm has been working on a new app for awhile. With any luck that app will be ready soon and will work much better. I have no inside information on that, it’s just been rumored for awhile, so hopefully it is true.

7 Film Simulation Recipes for Ultra-High-ISO Photography

Garden Spiderweb – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 – GAF 500 Recipe – ISO 12800

I remember when ISO 400 used to be consider high ISO. In fact, the “H” in Fujicolor Pro 400H means high ISO. When I shot film, I usually didn’t go higher than ISO 400, although on a rare occasion I did go wild and use an ISO 800, 1600, or (gasp!) 3200 emulsion (those were ultra-high-ISOs back then), when the expected light was dim and a tripod wasn’t practical. When I started shooting digital almost 15 years ago, I remember that ISO 1600 on my first DSLR was barely usable in a pinch, and it was best to stay at or below ISO 800. Nowadays those limitations are long gone.

Thanks to the X-Trans color array, Fujifilm is better able to differentiate color noise from color information (than with a Bayer array), allowing more control over how noise is rendered. Because of this, the APS-C sensor on Fujifilm X cameras does pretty darn well at high-ISO photography. Yes, it can get noisy, but the noise is more organic-looking and less color-splotchy (perhaps even a little film-grain-like) than non-X-Trans cameras typically produce.

Still, a lot of photographers are hesitant to try high-ISO photography. I’ve had someone tell me that they never go beyond ISO 800 on their Fujifilm cameras. Someone else said that they don’t use Film Simulation Recipes with DR400 because it requires an ISO that they’re not comfortable using. Everyone has their own preferred upper ISO limit—mine might be higher than yours, and that’s ok. What I’d like to do, though, is encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone, and try some ISOs that you would not normally—or perhaps ever—use.

You might want to use ultra-high-ISOs—which I consider to be ISO 12800 and higher, but your definition might be different—in dim light situations, such as at night or in a poorly lit room. That’s probably the most common reason. I will sometimes use really high ISOs in daylight when it’s not even necessary just for the aesthetic of it. Crazy, right?! I think sometimes digital can appear too clean, and an ultra-high-ISO can give the picture a grittier look, more similar to some film emulsions.

Of course, using ultra-high-ISOs in daylight can be problematic because the light is strong. My Fujifilm X100V has a built-in ND filter, which makes it more practical. Otherwise, screwing an ND filter onto the end of the lens will help. If you don’t have one, be sure to use your camera’s electronic shutter (instead of the mechanical one) because it is capable of faster shutter speeds. You might also have to use small apertures like f/11 or f/16 to reduce the light entering the camera.

If you want to give it a try, below are seven Film Simulation Recipes that use ultra-high-ISOs. Many of them go “up to” an ultra-high-ISO, so in that case you’d want to purposefully choose a high ISO instead of a low one. Give one or more of these Recipes a try today! Leave a comment to let me know which one (or ones) you like. My personal top favorites are GAF 500 for color and Kodak Tri-X 400 for B&W.

ISO 12800

Up to ISO 12800

Up to ISO 25600

ISO 1600-12800

ISO 12800

ISO 3200-12800

ISO 25600-51200

Find these Film Simulation Recipes and nearly 300 more on the Fuji X Weekly — Film Recipes App!

Help Fuji X Weekly

Nobody pays me to write the content found on There’s a real cost to operating and maintaining this site, not to mention all the time that I pour into it. If you appreciated this article, please consider making a one-time gift contribution. Thank you!


I Think You’ll Appreciate This …Or, How to Get Through Another Hump Day

Julio – Arlington, AZ – Fujifilm X-T5 – 1970’s Summer

Recently I shared videos by Leigh and Raymond Photography, Andrew Goodcamera, and Mango Street that mention Fuji X Weekly and/or Film Simulation Recipes. That’s awesome! Those are pretty big names in the camera world. But if you look on YouTube, there are so many other photographers who are shooting with Recipes and making some wonderful content. They don’t (yet) have the large following of those well-established channels, but they deserve some love and recognition for what they are doing. That’s what this post is about. I want to share with you some of those videos that I found, which perhaps didn’t come up in your feed, but are worthwhile to watch.

Today is Wednesday, which is also sometimes called Hump Day because it is in the middle of the week. If today is a struggle and you are in need of inspiration and/or entertainment, this will surely help! Find a video or two (or more!) below that look interesting, and give it a watch. At the end, if you liked it, don’t forget to give it a thumbs up and consider subscribing to that person’s channel. Let them know that you appreciate their content!

I’m sure I missed several wonderful videos. If you published one recently that I didn’t include, or if you’ve seen one by someone else that should have been in this list, feel free to leave a link to it in the comments. The videos below are simply the ones that YouTube presented to me, and I appreciated them so I thought you might, too.


If Fujifilm was a Person….

Rusty Hoop – Santa Rosa, NM – Fujifilm X-E4Kodak Portra 400 v2 Recipe

If a movie was ever made about your life, who would play you? That’s a fun question that is sometimes used as an icebreaker. I’ve never really thought much about it myself. I’ve been told several times that I have a slight resemblance to Elvis Presley (although I don’t really see it personally), so maybe someone like Austin Butler? If it were up to me, I’d choose Gerardo Celasco, who is not only a good actor, but a super cool guy who shoots with Fujifilm cameras.

In a recent YouTube video by Mango Street entitled If Camera Brands Were People, the portrayal of Fujifilm reminds me a lot of me. It’s a little too accurate. It hits close to home. The video is a lot of fun to watch—I literally laughed out loud several times. I’ve included it below, so if you haven’t seen it, you can do so now. The picture at the top of this post will make more sense afterwards.

So who played me? Unexpectedly, it was Rachel Gulotta (and, unfortunately, not Gerardo… maybe next time). Of course, the video was all in good fun, and meant as comedy. Is it accurate? Are you Fujifilm if Fujifilm was a person? Is Rachel playing the part of you? Tell me what you think!

It’s quite amazing that “Film Simulation Recipe” has become a part of camera culture. For several years the phrase was neologism and used only within a fairly small circle, but it has now become a normal part of photography phraseology. In the Fujifilm world it is (amazingly!) common jargon; “Fujifilm” and “Film Simulation Recipe” are almost inseparable. Now it is beginning to spill outside of that and into the general photography lexicon. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around that, because I never thought this would grow so big, and that so many people would use Fuji X Weekly Recipes on their Fujifilm cameras. Incredible!

Coming Soon: The Fuji X Weekly Creative Collective

Soon you’re going to see more content published on the Fuji X Weekly blog. I usually post between 15 and 25 articles each month, but soon there’ll be even more than that. Shortly I’ll be typing with increased fervor!

As you might know, I’m not sponsored by anyone. Fujifilm doesn’t sponsor this website, nor does B&H, KEH, or anybody else. I don’t get paid for the content that I publish, other than a little ad revenue, which isn’t much and barely covers the expenses of web hosting and such. Going forward I’m taking a different approach, which I hope makes sense to you.

Very soon I will be launching the Fuji X Weekly Creative Collective. The Creative Collective is a bonus-content subscription, where you’ll have access to extra articles. What kind of content will be a part of the Creative Collective? These articles will largely be exercises in creativity. They’ll be experiments, focused on trying new things, and they’ll be invitations for you to do it, too. We will dive deeper into settings and techniques. We’ll go down some rabbit holes just to see where they go. This will be a journey, and it will be interesting to see what we discover together. Whether you are an experienced Fujifilm shooter or brand-new to photography, there will be something for everyone. If you want to adventure with me on this, the Fuji X Weekly Creative Collective will be only $2 (USD) per month.

I’m going to continue to publish 15 to 25 posts each month, which will be available free to everyone—this includes film simulation recipes, and much of the other content that you expect to find here. The additional articles will be for Creative Collective subscribers only as bonus content. If you don’t subscribe, not much changes for you. If you do subscribe, there’s going to be even more Fuji X Weekly articles for you to enjoy. Additional details coming soon, so stay tuned!