Spotlight Interview … Fashion Photographer Michele Yong

JRP: Michele Yong is kind enough to share a few moments with James Robinson Photography Blog. Thank you Michele for participating. Where do you call home?

Michele Yong: I have been living in Paris for the past two years but for me home will always be where I grew up in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.

JRP: What led you to fashion photography and do you have any formal training?

Michele Yong: I like photography, fashion and meeting interesting people so I figured why not combine all these? I haven’t received any formal training in this line as I did business studies instead.

JRP: Name two photographers that have inspired your approach to fashion photography and why.

Michele Yong: Georges Antoni for his lighting techniques and creative angles and Steven Meisel for his classic yet highly stylized images.

JRP: Name one thing about being a fashion photographer that you were unaware of when you began your career.

Michele Yong: Fashion people can be really, really difficult to deal with and a lot of people who work in this industry actually have really bad taste!

JRP: Name a shoot or project that opened your eyes to the distance you have come as an artist and professional.

Michele Yong: I think realizing that my style was strongly developing was when I shot”‘Dipped in Gold“.

JRP: What would I find in your camera bag for a typical assignment on location or in studio?

Michele Yong: When I shoot on location, I try to keep my equipment as minimal as possible for ease of  moving around quickly. It’s just my camera, one or two lenses, a portable flash and a reflector. In the studio, I have a wide variety of lighting equipment available at my disposal.

JRP: Is there one lens that you have come to depend on or just can’t do without and why?

Michele Yong: I have been using the 24-70mm L for a long time. It seems to be the choice of many photographers because of the great image quality and ideal focal length for reasonable wide shots and close-ups. I try to shoot wider when on location though, between 16-35 mm.

JRP: Do you spend a lot of time processing your images? Please describe your digital work flow and the software used.

Michele Yong: On average I spend between 10-30 minutes per photo, depending on what type of retouching it requires. I make my selection with Photo Mechanic, after which I process them through Camera Raw and then fine tune the images in Photoshop.

JRP: Do you make use of custom white balances when you shoot?

Michele Yong: Yes I always use manual settings for white balance.  I find that it is a lot more accurate to get the look that I want.

JRP: How is image printing handled when needed?

Michele Yong: For the moment all my printing needs are handled by Picto, a professional printing lab in Paris.

JRP: In your opinion what is the most critical moment in the capture of an image?

Michele Yong: There is often that split second when you look through the viewfinder and realize that this is the shot you want and are looking for. If a tiny thing changes or the model moves, you lose that capture.

JRP: How important are personal projects in the development of a photographer’s style?

Michele Yong: Incredibly, incredibly important. Personal projects mean that it’s the photographer who develops the idea, executes and presents the images they have in their mind to other people. By working repeatedly on personal projects, we eventually see a common style in the photographs and develop on that.

JRP: If not photography what would Michele Yong be doing with her time?

Michele Yong: My life is largely dominated by food and fashion so either one of those! 🙂

JRP: What has been the best advice given to you by another photographer?

Michele Yong: Always have the image of what you want to capture in your head even before you take the photograph and if the image doesn’t work, move on to the next idea.

JRP: What advice would you share with other photographers starting out?

Michele Yong: It’s really important to understand light and always start simple before overwhelming yourself with equipment and technical rules. Rules can be broken when it comes to being creative as the final result is more important than the way it was actually achieved.

JRP: Thank you Michele for sharing your thoughts and images with us. It has been a pleasure talking with you, and I wish you continued success.

Michele Yong: Thank you for having me for this interview.

JRP: To view more of Michele Yong’s photography please follow this link:


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