JRP: Fashion Photographer Clifford Loh has been kind enough to share a few thoughts with James Robinson Photography Blog. Thank you Clifford for participating. Where do you call home?
Clifford Loh: Home for me is any place where I’m around friends and family.
JRP: What led you to fashion photography and do you have any formal training?
Clifford Loh: I picked up a camera when I was 16 but only took on serious fashion photography at the age of 18 when I started shooting my friend’s catalog (she was design student) . From there it just started. I had no formal training in a photography school at this point. Most of what I knew was self-taught and with the guidance of friends. I was very lucky to meet people who were willing to share what they knew.
JRP: Name two photographers that have inspired your approach to fashion photography and why.
Clifford Loh: Craig Mc Dean, Helmut Newton. Helmut Newton would be anyone’s inspiration I suppose. He is such a master at what he does. I get inspired by his vision as an artist, and the way he worked in his time when technology was less advanced. There was great effort put into creating each image at that time.
With Craig’s work I enjoy the spontaneity in his work. His models always look effortlessly posed which is a quality I would like to see in my shots.
JRP: Name one thing about being a fashion photographer that you were unaware of when you began your career.
Clifford Loh: I did not know everything!
JRP: Name a shoot or project that opened your eyes to the distance you have come as an artist and professional.
Clifford Loh: One of my most memorable achievements in my career so far is having to curate an exhibition. It put my management skills to the test, and really challenged how I see myself as an artist.
JRP: What would I find in your camera bag for a typical assignment on location or in studio?
Clifford Loh: Canon 5D2, gaffer tape & water!
JRP: Is there one lens that you have come to depend on or just can’t do without and why?
Clifford Loh: Canon 24-70mm /f2.8 but if there’s a lens that I would love to own it is the 85mm f/1.2.
JRP: Do you spend a lot of time processing your images? Please describe your digital work flow and the software used.
Clifford Loh: Most definitely, the whole retouching process can take up to 3 months if the client is picky for commercials. In terms of workflow I guess it’s similar to other photographer’s work. The basic cleanup comes first followed by color control, and then effects (if necessary). I use Capture One, Lightroom, and Photoshop.
JRP: Do you make use of a lot of custom white balances when you shoot?
Clifford Loh: Yes, a grey card is very important to ensure color consistency! Especially important when dealing with skin tones. You don’t want your models to have inconsistent skin tones throughout a 6 page spread.
JRP: How is image printing handled when needed?
Clifford Loh: I go to my friend’s place every time I need to get my prints done. His printer and monitor is very well calibrated. Prints are usually done on Ilford Satin Paper for me. For personal work, they are sent out to a professional fine art printer.
JRP: In your opinion what is the most critical moment in the capture of an image?
Clifford Loh: I can’t determine THE MOST critical moment per se, because every shoot varies. I think you sort of know it when you see “IT”. When you feel the connection between you and the model as you’re looking through the viewfinder. I also pay attention to candid and off camera moments. You never know what surprises you can expect.
JRP: How important are personal projects in the development of a photographer’s style?
Clifford Loh: To me, personal projects are integral in building a photographer’s style, especially a young photographer. We need them to stay grounded because it is very easy to be distracted by the things happening around you. For more experienced photographers they are good because they serve as a reminders of why we’re shooting in the first place. You stay true to yourself.
JRP: If not photography what would Clifford Loh be doing with his time?
Clifford Loh: I would probably be doing public relations or graphic design. I’m only 21 this year, so who knows what’s next for me!
JRP: What has been the best advice given to you by another photographer?
Clifford Loh: Follow your heart and keep doing what you love.
JRP: What advice would you share with other photographers starting out?
Clifford Loh: I remember starting out for me wasn’t easy at all. It was a lot of hard work. I believe young photographers have to put in the same amount of work to get somewhere. Just know that at the end of the day, the people who love your work will always support you.
JRP: Thank you Clifford for sharing your thoughts and images with us. It has been a pleasure talking with you, and I wish you continued success.
Clifford Loh: Thank you so much for this opportunity, it was my pleasure!
JRP: To view more of Clifford Loh’s photography please follow this link: http://cliffordloh.com/