Picture this: You’re on an evening photo walk in New York City and you end up in the bright and bustling Times Square. Your mission: highlight the personality of the model against the exuberant city backdrop.
Finding herself in the middle of this major city attraction was an exciting challenge for Olympus Visionary and Cincinnati, Ohio-based photographer Laura Hicks, who happened to meet up with friends for a photo walk while attending the 2017 PhotoPlus Expo. With more than 500 weddings under her belt, Hicks is adept at capturing dynamic portraits in unique locations—but her backdrops tend to be idyllic Midwestern landscapes, not energetic cityscapes.
Hicks adapted to her new setting with the help of her Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II camera mounted with the Olympus M.Zuiko 75mm F1.8 glass. Having made the switch from a DSLR to the Olympus mirrorless system, Hicks felt she wasn’t weighed down by her equipment while hoofing it around the big city during this shoot. She finds that long shoot days like this are much easier now, and don’t come with the finger callouses, neck aches or cramped hands that she used to experience.
In addition to being lightweight, the Olympus OM-D system has a multitude of benefits over other manufacturers, she says, including state-of-the-art 5-axis In-Body Image Stabilization (IS) that counteracts any type of hand movement so that her handheld shots are always blur free. The internal IS system also allows her to hand hold her camera at shutter speeds she says she never thought possible, “without sacrificing sharpness or clarity,” she adds.
The camera also sports dust-reduction features and technological innovation. Among the camera’s new technologies, she notes that one the most beneficial is Pro Capture, which “makes photographing that perfect image nearly impossible to miss” by continuously buffering a running series of full-resolution shots and taking 15 frames with a single press for truly lag-free capture. Hicks notes, “Olympus is always at the forefront of creating new ways to make their cameras better, faster and more exciting to use.”
For this particular setup, the photographer opted for the portrait-length lens because, “it beautifully renders the background with a soft, defocused feel while keeping the subject tack-sharp,” she says. “I love the way it renders the bokeh of the lights and cars in Times Square.”
The resulting image is a portrait in which the subject exudes strength and confidence, appearing natural in the bustling environment. Hicks explains, “This session inspired me to spend more time challenging myself to create new and interesting imagery.”
In part, the success of the portrait relied on the inspiration Hicks felt while photographing in a city rather than a controlled studio setting. “I feel more creative and less confined when I am met with an unfamiliar setting,” she says.
What it comes down to, Hicks explains, is that her gear allows her the freedom to do what she loves—and that freedom is priceless.
Hear more from other photographers who have made the switch to the Olympus OM-D system at getolympus.com/neverlookback
—Sponsored by Olympus