Guest Blogger Gillian caught up with Manuel Wong, an experienced Mexican-Chinese photographer, to share his thoughts on rubbing shoulders with world renowned brand names. Manuel specializes in Commercial photography, and is particularly well known within the trade for Events photography. He gave us some valuable photography tips, and has even offered a very special discount to us Sassy Girls, so make sure you read below on how to redeem it!
How did you get into photography?
I picked up photography when I was at university in Canada. I am particularly keen on Commercial photography, because of its exposure with the general public. I was inspired by Chase Jarvis’ work. He has made Commercial photography an art form, and I am very impressed with that.
As a Mexican-Chinese, I am an open-minded and easy-going individual who enjoys meeting new people and tackling new challenges. This is why I have chosen to pursue a career in photography. Having a different background has enabled me to think out of the box and offer a different view to my patrons.
It was an easy transition from my previous desk job to my current job as a photographer, because I did a lot of Events photography and small scale photo shoots before I started my own studio, so I had much of the resources readily available.
How is it like working with the huge brand names?
I have always loved the concept of beauty, and working for multinational brand names such as Nike Apparel, Hogan, Lululemon and Cocomojo was as exciting as it was challenging. It was obviously very valuable experiences, and it has given me much more confidence in my work.
I also photographed for many events with the Foreign Correspondents’ Club, American Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the Mexican Consulate. I enjoy doing Events photography, an area that I have made a name for myself with.
Which is your favourite shoot?
We usually communicate with the customers as to their concepts and style requirements first, and then get a budget as to what props we could purchase for the shoot. One particularly memorable shoot was with several toddlers, where they were playing with the props we got for the shoot, which were colourful rubber balls. It was incredibly nostalgic, and evoked fond memories of my own childhood.
What are the common misconceptions about photographers?
Friends usually say: “Get Manuel to bring the hot models along to our parties!” My connection with the models is entirely professional, as we are all bounded by contract terms. So when we are on set, we only interact professionally. Work for me is not exactly like America’s next top model, where models try their best to get on the better side of me.
Having said that, there are some glamorous perks to my job. The modelling agency I am connected with usually invites me to events where their models would be attending, so I do get to mingle with models off work premises.
Do you prefer working in your studio or outdoors?
I do enjoy working outdoors, especially in overseas location photography, because with the correct scenery, it will produce a greater impact when trying to execute a concept. It brings out all sorts of possibilities, from contrasting the elegant fashion pieces with breathtaking scenery to energetic sportswear being featured in motion.
Any tips on posing and photo-taking for the Sassy Girls?
For posing, you could try putting the camera at a higher angle and put your chin down a bit for a more flattering photo. Do practice in front of the mirror to see what works for you, and try not to overdo your facial expression. Remember, a confident girl is a beautiful girl!
For taking photos, especially for cityscapes or night views, it will be best if you can place your camera on a tripod or a flat surface. Also, consciously think about the composition and the framing. You can gain experience of that through browsing other photographers’ work, and then practice their concepts on your own. Learning from a professional helps too. I will be offering classes on photography shortly, and I am happy to show you how it should be done. Contact us for more details!
Sassy can offer all our members a 15% discount at all studio portrait sessions, and 10% discount on outdoor lifestyle photography sessions with Manuel Wong Ho Photography. Please mention “Sassy Hong Kong” when making your reservations!
By: Gillian Chu