When Click Pro Juliette Fradin’s husband surprised her with a new Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi for Christmas back in 2008, she says he “saved me from having to choose between brands,” as she was already a Canon film camera devotee. Juliette immediately began shooting with her Digital Rebel and its 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II EF-S kit lens pretty much all the time.
“Even though I had been shooting film for years before that, I felt brand-new to photography and had fun experimenting, playing with depth of field and learning by trial and error,” she says. “The ability to take pictures and not to worry about [film] cost was freeing.”
When Juliette’s daughter was born in 2011, though, her photography took a more professional turn. She added the Canon 50mm f/1.4 USM EF lens to her collection and says that alone made her realize how strongly a good lens could impact her work. “It literally changed the way I was approaching light, and I became obsessed with chasing and capturing it,” she says. That realization led her to upgrade to a Canon EOS 5D Mark II, which she still uses every day for her personal and professional work.
The right fit for her style.
“I have a documentary approach to photographing families at home, where I try to be as authentic and true as possible,” says Juliette. “I am looking for intimacy.” She says the interaction between people and their environments is what moves her the most, which is why the private space of a home is so important to her work. It’s also what drove her to streamline her gear as much as possible. “The body and the few lenses I use are enough for the way I shoot,” she says, adding that the only thing she keeps renting is a Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L EF tilt-shift lens.
Juliette says her favorite features on her EOS 5D Mark II are its back button focus along with the AI-Servo mode. “Usually my subjects are small and moving (also known as kids!), and shooting in AI-Servo lets me track the focus even if they are running away from me or swinging,” she says. Since the camera constantly updates focus, she can keep her subjects as sharp as possible–a “life-saver” for her and her busy families.
Since Juliette prefers not to overly direct her clients, choosing to follow their own lead and actions, the back button focus capability helps her continuously get sharp auto-focus as she follows their movements. This in turn means that she has more “keeper” images after a session.
The tools to evolve.
In addition to her client families, Juliette also documents her own “French life in the U.S.” To make sure she can exist in her images, she relies on the Canon RC-6 Wireless Controller. It’s a tool that’s helped her develop her own family’s documentary style. The camera’s video capabilities are another area that have allowed Juliette to spread her wings. “Right now, I do videos of personal moments, but I also offer small videos for my Fresh 48 sessions,” she says. “It’s really addicting.”
Juliette says she can’t wait to get her hands on her own personal Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L EF lens for the “artsy look” it gives her family sessions. “I love that you can really emphasize a particular moment within the frame and add depth to the story,” she says. “The Canon EOS 5D Mark III would also be great for in-camera double exposures too!”
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All images by Juliette Fradin.