Fashion Photographer Advan Matthew is “Spotlighted” on James Robinson Photography Blog. Thank you Advan for your participation. Where do you call home Advan?
Advan Matthew: Everywhere can be home, what makes it essential is the people within anywhere I go. Where you’re accepted and welcomed anytime, anywhere, and anyhow.
JRP: What led you to a career in fashion photography? Do you have any formal training in your background?
Advan Matthew: It was rather blurry and I couldn’t really remember anything significant that led me to this path. I used to admire portraits from the old masters and appreciation of garments have always been one of my biggest motivators.
I took a 2 month short course though it didn’t really lead me anywhere. Technique is important but instinct is something that can’t be bought. I have mostly taught myself, following and executing with instinct. I learn new things everyday. Humans never stop learning. It’s a relentless process.
JRP: Who are some of the photographers that have inspired you and helped to shape your approach to fashion photography?
Advan Matthew: Ryan McGinley, Floria Sigismondi, Ellen Von Unwerth, Steven Meisel, Karl Lagerfeld, Peter Lindbergh, Lukimages, Nicole Bentley, Solve Sunsbo, Lachlan Bailey, and Koray Birand.
JRP: In your opinion how important are personal projects in the development of a photographer?
Advan Matthew: They are mainly a tool to expand your creative instincts. Now I am involved with work and have no time to create personal projects. I feel bad not to be able to project all of my creative ideas into something. Time is a big constraint.
JRP: Do you maintain a studio or do you rent one when needed?
Advan Matthew: Renting for now as my agent is partnering with one of the local studios.
JRP: What would we find in your camera bag for a typical assignment shoot in studio or on location?
Advan Matthew: Indoors a suitcase loaded with Canon 5d mark ii, Canon 40d, 24-70 f/2.8L, 50 f/1.2L, heaps of blank CDs, Macbook Pro, and hand sanitizer.
Outdoors it is pretty much the same thing.
JRP: What is your approach to lighting? Do you prefer artificial or available light?
Advan Matthew: I love artificial lights. I like to emulate the sun in lighting. I often use Profoto Acute and Arri continuous lights. I may prefer more indoor but I always try to produce a natural outcome from my lights.
JRP: Please describe your digital work flow and the software you use?
Advan Matthew: It’s pretty simple. Shoot-transfer and post process on digital darkroom. I use Photoshop CS4. Very simple.
JRP: Do you make use of custom white balances and color checks when you shoot?
Advan Matthew: I rarely use custom. I normally use what’s in there until it really requires a grey card.
JRP: Image printing, how do you handle that?
Advan Matthew: I used to do prints for each new work that I produced but I’m now using iPad to show it around to clients. It’s very convenient and lighter for sure.
JRP: As you look through the viewfinder what is the most critical moment in the capture of your image?
Advan Matthew: Let’s say I’m very particular about details. Lighting, make-up, hair, and wardrobe. Everything has to be neat as all of them are main elements in producing a great result. I don’t really fix things in Photoshop (unless it’s critical). I keep things as original as possible.
JRP: With today’s economy what changes are driving the fashion market place and how have you adjusted?
Advan Matthew: I gotta be honest, fashion is a no money business, at least here. You gotta do other photography too or sometimes other jobs. But if you’re good then you can keep things in balance.
JRP: What seems to be the biggest obstacle to over-come in building your client base?
Advan Matthew: Sometimes they just become incredibly unreasonable. Price comes with quality. Somehow it doesn’t get into their heads that I can’t ever compete with photographers who give things for free. Good brands always pay though.
JRP: If not fashion photography what would Advan Matthew be doing with his time?
Advan Matthew: A music career. I’m also a pianist and vocalist. I might write a book, painting or even cooking.
JRP: What has been the best advice given to you by another photographer?
Advan Matthew: The fashion industry is competitive and tough. The only way to cope is to be relaxed and as original as possible. It’s too artificial already.
JRP: What advice would you like to share with photographers starting out?
Advan Matthew: No need for expensive or top-notch tools. Understand the basic technique, master your instinct, and try to think efficiently and effectively. Sometimes we think great works require great cameras, lenses, a studio and such and we never realize how great works are do-able near us. For example the wall beside your window in your room.
JRP: Thank you Advan for sharing your thoughts, images, and time with us. We wish you continued success.
Advan Matthew: Thank you very much and likewise!
JRP: To view more of Advan Matthew’s photography please follow this link: