BOLD IN HIS PURSUIT
COVER STORY & PHOTOGRAPHER FEATURED IN ICONIC | VOL.2 | ISSUE.22
Q. What made you interested in fashion and commercial photography?
When I first decided to pick up photography, I already had my eye on doing beauty and fashion photography. The freedom to do whatever I wanted to create the fantasy in my head was addictive and I loved it from the start. Commercial photography came in a little later when I wanted to grow my skills and also earn more since they pay way better!
Q. What was your learning process like with photography, how did you grow?
Trial and error mostly, I've never had any formal education with photography and just kinda did whatever I wanted to. Of course, it helps that there is such a vast amount of information out on the Internet and that definitely helped speed up my learning curve. I'm also really blessed to have met other photographers along the way who were generous with their wealth of knowledge!
Q. How long did it take you to find your own personal photography style?
I always found this question to be a little difficult because people change and styles change. Personally, I just have a folder of images I love that is constantly updated so I will refer to them to get inspired.
Q. What is your favorite style of photography? (fashion/beauty/lifestyle..etc)
A combination of fashion and beauty. If I'm in a gorgeous location with a fantastic team, fashion is always a joy to shoot. As for beauty, when I get to shoot some absolutely stunning & unique faces, it's so easy and gratifying!
Q. What do you love most about what you do?
Being able to work with incredible artists, may it be the stylist or makeup artist, etc. Everybody in the team is creative and when everybody brings their A-game, the shoot is just so enjoyable I can't believe this is actually my job.
Q. Tell us about your living stills that you are recently creating!
I've been wanting to move towards video work for a fairly long time but hated the idea of leaving behind my still work and comfort with using strobe lighting etc. These living stills are basically my halfway point between a still and video work. I honestly love the reactions that they are able to get out of people. Some people actually get uncomfortable looking at them due to the uncanny valley effect but others love how surreal it is. I'm with the latter, obviously! There's just so much fluff out there on the internet, millions of images being uploaded all the time, and this was my way of standing out and stopping people mid-scroll.
Q. How did you start working with Celebrities?
I just emailed their publicists and asked. It really was that simple. Obviously I got ignored most of the time, but it's just part of the process!
Q. What advice do you have for photographers looking to start shooting with celebrities?
Firstly, just make sure you have good work that shows that shooting with you would actually be beneficial to the celebrity. Secondly, just ask. If you don't ask, you would never know. Asking is free, emailing is free and most importantly, follow up!!
Q. What has been one of your favorite commercial projects to work on?
Not sure if this counts as a commercial project but getting to go on Asia's Next Top Model for a couple of seasons as a guest photographer was definitely amazing. Knowing my work would end up on international TV was hugely stressful but it really was an incredible experience.
Q. What advice do you have for photographers looking to shoot in a studio? (lighting/gear/posing?)
Just book a studio and have a go at it. You probably won't be amazing at first, but who cares? Just have fun with it and allow yourself to be a beginner. Lighting is in an incredible huge topic and even 9 years down, I'm still constantly learning new things. There are also a whole bunch of detailed tutorials out there that can help guide your first steps so do make use of them!
Q. Tell us about a moment where you felt most creative and inspired while shooting!
I can't think of a particular moment right now but it's probably a combination of being on set in a beautiful location with a fabulous team and being inspired by all of that. The sun might be lower in the sky but it's just so nicely casting that gorgeous natural light that brings a glow to my model's hair as she stands in that incredibly flattering outfit that just complements that exact backdrop that we are shooting against. Perfect.
Photographer: Shavonne Wong @shavonne.wong
Model: Rob Raco @robraco @platformprteam
MUA: Emily Zempel @exclusiveartists using Hanz De Fuko
Fashion Stylist:Adam Ballheim for the Only Agency
Photo Assistant: Zachary Lee Witt
📍Los Angeles, California