What is Snap Photography Festival?

Earlier this year I was asked to be a speaker at the world famous Snap Photography Festival in the beautiful West Wales hills.

I had a blast, met some great new friends and experienced lots of great new things…..like a silent disco.

Snap Photography Festival is a unique blend of world class speakers, amazingly creative like minded folks who want to learn, great food, good company and lots of laughs.

Laura Babb and her husband Pete work wonders all year round to create an event that epitomises (to me) what a great learning event should be.

Everybody mixes in, there is no room for ego, and Laura and her band of merry helpers have fostered something that I think is brilliant, brave and possibly even unique in the photographic industry.

By being cocooned with people who’s only ambitions are to be positive, the negatives that often exist in social media and “silent whippers” in my world as a professional wedding photographer were zapped at their core. Laura is a believer, an educator, a bloody good photographer and a person that will grab an embryonic idea and nurture it into something very special.

I’ve spoken at many conventions across the world; the amazing FDF in Argentina, for Fujifilm in Japan and all across the UK and Europe.  My latest jaunt took me back to my home land of Wales.  And it was a wonderful experience.   I’d call it F**ng EPIC.

There was even a real life wedding.  You can read more about what happens when you have 110 wedding photographers as your wedding guests on the Snap Blog.  The story of Ro Chan and Xeco is one that dreams are made of.

snap-photography-festival-1Fujifilm X-Pro2:  f8, 1/400, ISO 200 – XF35mm F2R

There were tattoos.  Lots of tattoos.  But mostly, lots of photographers, learning and fun.

snap-photography-festival-2Fujifilm X-Pro2:  f8, 1/900, ISO 400 – XF18mm F2R

The most important thing for me was being able to share the week with some of the most incredible speakers and educators out there, as well as everybody who was there as a delegate.  All our mandates were the same.

I’ve made life long friends (like Michael & Dorota from Whitesmoke Studios and Gabe McClintock below).

Other great speakers included: Alex James, Assasynation, Ian Sanders, Jaye Cole, Oli Sansum, Petar Jurica (by the way, Petar’s UK Workshop is on soon), Rosella Vanon, and Tara Gentile.

snap-photography-festival-3Fujifilm X-Pro2:  f8, 1/125, ISO 200 – XF18mm F2R

Extreme Low Light Shooting / X-Pro2

However, there is something that I’ve never experienced before and something that I simply had to take some snaps at.

Ever been to a silent disco?  No?  Though so.  Neither had I.

Basically, its a disco (do cool kids still call it a ‘disco’?) and you wear headphones.  The DJ plays different songs.  When you take your headphones off all you can here is people humming, the odd “yeaaa” and lots of feel slapping on the floor.

Its surreal.

It was also ridiculously dark and I had my X-Pro2 and 18mm F2 lens with me.

These are a handful of the snaps taken at Snap on that evening.  A bit of fun, but I rarely need to shoot at these elevated ISOs with the Fuji system.

I think it stood up amazingly well considering.

snap-photography-festival-4Fujifilm X-Pro2:  f2, 1/40, ISO 6,400 – XF18mm F2R snap-photography-festival-5Fujifilm X-Pro2:  f2, 1/40, ISO 6,400 – XF18mm F2R snap-photography-festival-6Fujifilm X-Pro2:  f100, 1/40, ISO 5,000 – XF35mm F2R snap-photography-festival-7Fujifilm X-Pro2:  f2, 1/125, ISO 12,800 – XF18mm F2R snap-photography-festival-8Fujifilm X-Pro2:  f2, 1/125, ISO 12,800 – XF18mm F2R
snap-photography-festival-9Fujifilm X-Pro2:  f2, 1/125, ISO 12,800 – XF18mm F2R snap-photography-festival-10Fujifilm X-Pro2:  f2, 1/125, ISO 10,000 – XF18mm F2R snap-photography-festival-11Fujifilm X-Pro2:  f2, 1/125, ISO 12,800 – XF18mm F2R snap-photography-festival-12Fujifilm X-Pro2:  f2, 1/125, ISO 8,00 – XF18mm F2R snap-photography-festival-13Fujifilm X-Pro2:  f2, 1/125, ISO 8,00 – XF18mm F2R snap-photography-festival-14Fujifilm X-Pro2:  f2, 1/125, ISO 12,800 – XF18mm F2R snap-photography-festival-15Fujifilm X-Pro2:  f2, 1/125, ISO 6,400 – XF18mm F2R snap-photography-festival-16Fujifilm X-Pro2:  f2, 1/125, ISO 12,800 – XF18mm F2R snap-photography-festival-17Fujifilm X-Pro2:  f2, 1/125, ISO 12,800 – XF18mm F2R snap-photography-festival-18Fujifilm X-Pro2:  f2, 1/125, ISO 12,800 – XF18mm F2R snap-photography-festival-19Fujifilm X-Pro2:  f2, 1/125, ISO 12,800 – XF18mm F2R snap-photography-festival-20Fujifilm X-Pro2:  f2, 1/200, ISO6,400 – XF18mm F2R snap-photography-festival-21Fujifilm X-Pro2:  f2, 1/60, ISO 6,400 – XF18mm F2R snap-photography-festival-22Fujifilm X-Pro2:  f2, 1/60, ISO 6,400 – XF18mm F2R
snap-photography-festival-23Fujifilm X-Pro2:  f2, 1/60, ISO 12,800 – XF18mm F2R

Crazy huh?

  • Happy Snapping – Kevin (in my Studio in Malmesbury, listening to Poison, Swallow this Live!)
  • Very nice article and images, showing the low (available) light capability of the FujiFilm X-Pro 2.

  • Eduard

    Hi Kevin,
    Really nice images again and I bet you had really good fun too! Hi ISO doesn’t seem to get in the way one bit, images still look clean.
    Take care!

  • Mel Zemourit

    Really great shots Kevin! I’m adding “silent disco” to my bucket list 😀

  • George Koury

    Great images!

  • iko

    great work

  • Good morning Kevin ,
    It seems you have used mainly 1/125 for the speed .
    Is it your advice in such light conditions ?
    Thanks for all your posts.
    François

    • Hi Francois – in some cases I dropped to 1/40th to try and lower the SS but the fact was, it was a fast moving environment. I had to shoot manually and fix the shutter speed. Relying on the auto settings would have resulted in too slow a shutter speed.

  • Spent some time doing some night street photography a few weeks ago and left the ISO of my X100T set to 12,800. I was pleasantly surprised they how usable the images were.

    Oh, and I echo your sentiments regarding the silent disco. Heaps of fun. 🙂

  • Willem

    Great shots Kevin! I love the grainy feeling of these images. It is indeed amazing how well the camera copes with these high ISO’s. I suppose you did crank up the in-camera noise reduction to +2?

  • Hi Kevin!! I really enjoyed this blog and your preview of the XT-2, thank you for sharing so much with us fuji lovers!! I’m sure you are busy but can I ask do you ever use any flash with the fuji system? Figuring that all out is the one thing holding me back from going full force with fuji at weddings.

    • Hi Rachel – I use flash infrequently. Currently I use a Nissin i40 on the occasions that I do use it. I know LOTS of wedding photographers however that use Cactus triggers and off camera flash with other units very successfully. Check out Belgian photographer Bert Stephani too…..

  • Ted

    Hi Kevin, I love your site and learn a great deal from it, so thanks for that. I have a question. I notice you shot this with the 18 f2 and the results are great. I’m doing a kitchen project right now and the light is low. I love the 18 because it is so low profile and unobtrusive, but a little voice in my head says I should get the 16 1.4 to really get the most out of the food/kitchen environment. I know you’re a fan of the 16 and I wonder what your thoughts are. They are, as you know, expensive. Thanks and cheers.

    Ted

    • Hi Ted – really they are both very good lenses. The only consideration I would give is one of low light and focal length. If you are likely to be using the lenses at around f2 then the 16mm may be better.

  • Simon

    Hi Keven, great shots!!!
    I love your analog style. How do you get this “analog effect”? (especially the first 2 pictures)
    Do you use VSCO presets?

    Greetings from Germany
    Simon

    • Hi Simon – these are Arcros+R film simulations in the camera. Slightly toned after. No VSCO etc.

  • Ed

    Kevin,

    Do you always set the NR to high or +2 on the xpro2 or +4 on the xt2 when you shoot at high iso without a flat?

    • I typically set the NR to lower depending on the scenario. Up until the latest generation of Fuji processors, I wasn’t happy with the in camera NR and would always set it as low as possible and deal with in in PP. Now, I tend to use +1 or 2 depending on the situation (XP2 & XT2 only)

  • Ed

    Thanks for the quick reply. To summarize, NR -3 for daytime photos and then NR +2 for ISO 6400 nighttime photos. Right?

    Can’t tell you enough how much your how to’s have helped my photography! Thanks a million!

  • Man, the X-Pro2 and the 18mm f/2 is my dream combo. I find myself using it a lot more than the 16mm f/1.4, it’s just perfect for that reportage style and though the 18mm isn’t as sharp, I think it’s got a really nice pop to it. I’ve never understood the bad-mouthing of that lens online. Also, for some reason some special magic seems to happen around ISO 8000 when it comes to the Acros simulation as well. Sometimes I work the combination at indie nightclubs here in Cardiff.

    Great photographs anyway, I also had the pleasure of listening to you being interviewed by the Ffoton Wales guys. If you’re in the Cardiff neighbourhood again drop by their base of operations, Little Man Coffee, and have the sardines on granary toast. They’re pretty lush! Keep up the great work man, your thoughts on process are really valuable and your wedding photos a delight.

    • Thanks Peter and I’ll definitely check out the Coffee place next time I’m back.