Fujifilm South AfricaKreesan NaidooTake TenX-CommunityX-T5X-UserXF35mm F1.4

TAKE TEN: Kreesan Naidoo

Kreesan Naidoo has been making a name for himself in the Durban region thanks to some beautifully lit images that bring out the best of his subjects. We caught up with him to talk about what changed his photography for the better, what’s on his bucket list and getting back into the creative groove. 

Kreesan Naidoo
(Image credit @loneboy.media)

Portraiture, cars, weddings – you seem to be versatile in your approach. Which do you enjoy the most? 

I initially got into photography to shoot automotive, and I slowly found myself leaning more toward portraiture. I was asked to shoot weddings, and more and more kept coming, however, my favourite type of shoot to capture would be a Hindu “night before the wedding” known as a Nelengu. The colours and the emotions surrounding the shoot flow through from reality into the stills I capture.

When and how did you get into photography?

Some people are artists by drawing or painting, some are artists by singing or playing a musical instrument, whereas I see myself as a creator of art through my perspective of the world. I’ve always had a fondness for photography and transitioned to using a camera in July 2022, just wanting to take automotive shots, without knowing how to operate a camera properly. Through trial and error I found my way around it.

Funny enough, it started because I had put out a poll on my Instagram asking people if I should start a photography page and over 300 people responded and told me to do it, and I haven’t looked back since. I started with an entry-level mirrorless camera with a kit lens and slowly worked my way up from there.

What’s the one thing that immediately improved your photography?

The first thing that comes to mind when I think of what drastically improved my photography quickly, would have to be using artificial lighting. After learning off camera flash lighting and incorporating that into my photography I saw a swift increase in demand for portraiture photography. My preferred style with capturing and editing shots is dark and moody, and using an off-camera flash definitely assisted with adding some drama and flair. It was not an easy task and I still learn something new on every shoot I do.

When and why did you switch to Fujifilm?

I’ve been shooting with Fujifilm for nine months now, and without bias I can say it’s the best system I’ve used. I’ve been privileged enough to shoot with multiple rigs, be it at brand events or from friends having different systems, but for me, the retro yet timeless look and feel, and the colour science baked into this machine is unmatched.

Apart from that, I got to a point in my journey where I felt I had maxed out my capabilities with the camera I had at the time and I needed an upgrade. Photo Freedom in Durban were kind enough to lend me a Fujifilm X-T5 paired with the XF35mmF1.4 for a weekend. Three days after returning the unit, I bought one from them!

The X-T5 gave me control and ease of use that I previously never experienced. The jump in the quality of my work has been unparalleled since then and dynamite really does come in small packages with this beast of an APS-C.

What camera and lens do you use most? What do you like about it?

My current setup consists of a Fujifilm X-T5 paired with 27mm and 75mm X mount lenses. The quality of work produced by this camera paired with these two lenses blew me away and I built my shoot strategies around working with these fixed focal lengths.

Do you ever find yourself a bit tired-out from photography? How do you get back in the groove?

Yes, I do get tired-out from time to time, either physically or mentally, or sometimes both! I have learnt that in life, everything revolves around balance, and a healthy balance of time for your mind to rejuvenate will get your creativity flowing again, plus patience helps a lot in this aspect! I also surround myself with people who support what I do and cheer me on for my wins, be it big or small, and that keeps me going.

In terms of sparking creativity, I’m always looking for innovative concepts that I could jump on and I revisit past shoots to look for ways I could better them and apply it going forward.

If you could choose one thing/place/person to shoot, what would it be?

I would go straight to my photography bucket list and choose shooting under the cherry blossoms in Japan. To shoot under such a serene environment in the very place this brand started would be a dream, and don’t even get me started on how the simulations would blend perfectly with the colours of the environment!

What’s on your Fujifilm wish list?

My Fujifilm wish list is simple and tailored much to what I want to do and what I see myself doing in my photography journey, starting with the XF50-140mmF2.8 and XF16-55mmF2.8. I shot the Springboks on their World Cup tour with the XF50-140mmF2.8 and it is probably the best zoom lens I’ve used to date! I have yet to use the XF16-55mmF2.8 but from what I’ve heard, it’s a must-have for weddings and portraiture.

Next up on my list would have to be the GFX100 II which I see as a potential replacement for my ever-faithful X-T5, as I see upgrading my equipment and upgrading my photography as two aspects that go hand in hand. And the thought of having 100 megapixels on a large format sensor at my disposal sounds crazy!

Find more of Kreesan’s work on Instagram.

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