Archive for January, 2010

Yung-Jing Hsu: Products and People

January 27, 2010

Clean lines. Well-lit products. Effective use of depth of field. Rich, but not overblown saturation. These are some of the initial impressions taken from the work of Yung-Jing Hsu. In 1995, Yung-Jing Hsu graduated from Tamkang University in Tam-Sui with a degree in Mass Communications. In his second and third years there, he studied commercial photography and photojournalism. He currently lives and shoots in Taipei, Taiwan.

©Yung-Jing Hsu

When asked about his product photography, Hsu says it’s more difficult than when he takes portraits. “I have to use all my concentration when taking pictures of products because they never ‘talk’ to me,” he says. “I can communicate with models, but you can’t do that with products.” Eager to make products look as good as they possibly can, he sees the challenge of shooting inanimate objects which are straightforward photographic assignments, yet have an absence of rapport with this particular shooter.

©Yung-Jing Hsu

As a full-time professional photographer, Hsu’s main clients are newspapers and magazines. Previously, he shot exclusively for the Taiwanese newspaper Apple Daily.

Often working in a deliberate methodology, Hsu typically composes and arranges the elements of his photographs before shooting. There is not much shooting from the hip at a Hsu photoshoot. His main camera body is a Canon EOS 5D Mark II. His post work sometimes includes color correction or saturation enhancement in Photoshop.

©Yung-Jing Hsu

“I’m using a Sekonic L-758DR meter right now,” says Hsu. “It’s the most powerful and convenient tool for light measurement.” When asked how the L-758DR helps his photography, Hsu says, “the multifunctional control of measurement helps me in all situations. The sensitivity and correct readings let me control the light perfectly. The large display panel gives me all the info I need, and it’s really easy to read.”

©Yung-Jing Hsu

“I use Broncolor when taking pictures in studio,” Hsu continues, “and Comet for a backup system. I use different lighting control equipment for different subjects. In product photography, I prefer lightform panels with standard reflectors. Sometimes I add a honeycomb. In beauty photography, I prefer a beauty dish with a lightform panel or softbox. In fashion or portrait photography, lighting depends on what the editors want, or which atmosphere is suitable. Sometimes it’s just bare florescent tubes.”

©Yung-Jing Hsu

“I use a sync-cord to connect with lighting gear and L-758DR. The incident-light measurement for exposure value and every independent lighting control. Using reflective light (spot-meter) measurement for lighting condition inside the scene. Eventually, I will buy a PocketWizard for wireless flash triggering to improve my work efficiency.”

In the short term, Hsu is looking to take on some projects that will expand his ability to handle different subject matter. In the long term, he hopes to “combine photojournalism and commercial photography in order to have my own photography style,” he says.

Hsu Yung-Jing on Flickr

Hsu Yung-Jing on Facebook

Written by Ron Egatz

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Gage Thompson, There and Back Again

January 21, 2010

Located a half-hour south of Salt Lake City, Utah, Gage Thompson has known what he’s wanted to do for a living since taking photography classes in high school. While shooting black and white film for high school functions, Thompson got a part-time job working for Cory Adams, “a high-volume portrait photographer,” Thompson explains. “He shoots schools and Little League teams. He shot all-digital Nikons, so I was able to learn about that world there.”

©Gage Thompson. Key light: beauty dish directly above model. Rim: two large softboxes on either side of model. Background: one standard reflector.

The part-time job not only solidified Thompson’s goal of becoming a professional photographer, but also gave him practical digital workflow experience. Higher education was calling, and Thompson began researching schools. He decided on Hallmark Institute of Photography in Turners Falls, Massachusetts. Graduating in the top ten percent of the Class of 2009, he’s returned to his hometown to begin his career as a professional photographer.

©Gage Thompson. Key light: two white umbrellas on either side.

Shooting a wide variety of subject matter from slick product photography to gritty portraits, Thompson sees himself shooting movie posters or other commercial work in the future. Shooting all-digital now, Thompson uses a Nikon D700 body after formerly using Canon products.

©Gage Thompson. Tripod used. Key light: two parabolics on either side of model at 45 degree angles behind for rim but allowed to hit in front of his face to illuminate the smoke.

Currently, Thompson finds himself shooting for clients such as a high-end real estate photography company and the Canyons, a ski resort where he’s often “shooting family portraits on top of a mountain,” he says.

©Gage Thompson. All natural light.

At Hallmark, Thompson got hooked on using the lighting trifecta of Profoto, PocketWizard and Sekonic. He also shot with Mamiya medium format cameras. As he continues to build his own gear collection, one item which won’t get replaced soon is his Sekonic L-758DR meter. “I quickly found the light meters in-camera try their best, but often fail,” says Thompson. “The 758 does a great job. It’s the one with the spot meter and the incident meter. It has so much to it, I haven’t even finished the manual yet. I use it to set up all my lighting gear. I pop off a few exposures to make sure the ratios are all good, and I’m set for the shoot. I rely on it. It saves time of me looking goofy taking test shots, for sure, and you get perfect readings. I’ve had for a year and no problems so far. If it can live through a year at Hallmark of everyone dropping it, it’ll keep working fine for me.”

©Gage Thompson. One large softbox above and slightly forward of watch. Two smaller softboxes in front at 45 degree angles to the product.

“I do enjoy shooting everything,” says our young photographer at the beginning of his career. “Opening a studio would be nice, where I can have all my gear and do product photography or fashion work. My latest project is a 365 day shoot of self-portraits,” which can be seen on his blog.

©Gage Thompson. Tripod, Key light: beauty dish directly above model. Fill light: parabolic with white umbrella to camera left hitting torso. Foreground lighting: two 1x4 softboxes on either side of sweep hitting the foreground. BKG: two 3x4 softboxes on either side of background.

For now, Utah holds many photographic opportunities for Thompson. He honed his craft at Hallmark, and now the corporate clients and snowy slopes have called him back home. Stay tuned for more professional-caliber product photography and other assignments from a young talent simply interested in shooting everything.

All Thompson’s photos featured in this blog post were metered with the Sekonic L-758DR.

Gage Thompson Photography

Gage Thompson’s Blog

Gage Thompson on Twitter

Gage Thompson on Facebook

Gage Thompson on MySpace

Gage Thompson on Flickr

Written by Ron Egatz