Please welcome Photographer Jonathan Menga to James Robinson Photography Blog. Thank you Jonathan for sharing this time with us.
Jonathan Menga: I appreciate the invite to contribute to your blog.
JRP: Where is home for you Jonathan?
Jonathan Menga: I was born in Kinshasa RDC [ Home ] but currently based in the Canada’s capital Ottawa.
JRP: How did you get started in photography? Do you have any formal training in your background?
Jonathan Menga: I got into photography about 3 years ago with no formal training. I am mostly self thought. I was originally introduced to digital photography through an older sibling, who mainly taught me the basics and provided me with some guidance on where to learn more like CreativeLive, YouTube , Vimeo, and various professional photographer’s online training. From there through trial and error, things started to get more clear.
JRP: Name photographers that have inspired you and influenced your work.
Jonathan Menga: Zack Arias, Joey Lawrence, and Ryan Schude,
JRP: How do personal projects influence the development of your vision and technique?
Jonathan Menga: I consider personal projects to be very important. They help me develop a clear creative approach and skills that I can use on a paid assignment. They also help to drive my portfolio towards the type of work I’d like to do.
JRP: Do you have people who assist you with your projects and if so what roles do they play?
Jonathan Menga: I first started alone with no makeup artist or assistant, but recently I started training an assistant and I collaborate more with a hairstylist and makeup artist to get the look I want. By doing so, it really helps me focus on what I do best to bring my vision alive.
JRP: What would I find in your camera bag for a typical shoot?
Jonathan Menga: A 5D Mark III, Canon 24-105 f4L, Canon 50mm 1.4, ND filter, 2 flash triggers.
JRP: Do you prefer artificial or available light? What are your most often used light modifiers?
Jonathan Menga: Depends on the shoot. When shooting in studio I prefer strobe light “artificial”, but outdoors I may want to mix strobe and ambient. My most used modifiers are Profoto zoom reflector, Elinchrom Rotalux 39, and a Profoto silver beauty dish.
JRP: Please describe your digital work flow and the software you use?
Jonathan Menga: The first thing I can get into is Bridge, so I can sort out my selections. When in studio, I try as much as possible to tether through Lightroom so I can verify fine details. The raw processing is mainly done on Photoshop CS6 and edited on the same software. I recently got into using grey cards and the Xrite Colour Checker via Lightroom 4.
JRP: As you look through the viewfinder what is the most critical moment in the capture of your image?
Jonathan Menga: The most critical moment for me is once the lights are ready to go and I am able to focus on my subject to obtain and maintain a specific mood. That is when I pull the trigger! 🙂
JRP: Name a shoot or project that opened your eyes to the distance you’ve come as an artist.
Jonathan Menga: I previously did a shoot for some MMA fighters in a boxing club. This project made me realize how far I’ve come since I started photography. I was able to think creatively very fast with on location planning in a place where I’ve never been or seen. The shoot was very successful and I was able to obtain six looks!
JRP: If not photography what would Jonathan Menga be doing with his time?
Jonathan Menga: I would probably be doing some business venture or traveling a lot more.
JRP: So far what has been the best advice given to you by another photographer?
Jonathan Menga: Never to be satisfied! I believe that has been the most effective and rewarding advice I’ve ever gotten. This allowed me to balance my vision while allowing the dissatisfaction to push me to achieve bigger projects thus developing my skills as a photographer.
JRP: What advice would you like to share with other photographers?
Jonathan Menga: #1 … Don’t always focus on what local photographers are doing. It may limit your vision. Look much further than that and see how things are being done in the “big ocean”. 🙂 That will help elevate your aspirations and standards. #2. Never to be satisfied. When you reach a point of satisfaction, you may become too lazy to try something new.
JRP: Thank you Jonathan for sharing this moment with us. We wish you continued success.
Jonathan Menga: Thank you for the interview.
JRP: To view more of Jonathan Menga’s photography please follow these links: