I contact Ben after seeing a behind the scenes video of a zombie shoot. He was happy to share with us his photography knowledge. I made the mistake of checking out the vimeo link in this post. There went an hour or so looking at all the videos. Anyway Ben creates some really interesting images so you should get a kick out of this.
Tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Benjamin “Von Wong” and I’m a Montreal Based Photographer. I have been doing photography for a total of 3.5 years (since I bought my first point and shoot) and work as a full time Engineer. Unlike the average passionate photographer, I have never been interested in creating images until…well, I got started!
What made you get into photography?
Ah, well, a girl broke up with me while I was working in a mine in the deserts of Nevada… and I knew that if I didn’t find myself a new hobby I’d go absolutely insane so I decided that photographing stars would be an interesting hobby. I quickly learned that a point and shoot doesn’t do a very good job with stars. Check out the full story here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/iintrigue/4020832291/
How did you get started?
I think the transition between hobby photography and serious photography came when I got my first paid photography gig from a local photographer by the name of Huge Galdones (http://galdonesphotography.com/) to photograph an event. Getting paid to do something you enjoy makes all the difference. Took a while to figure out what I really wanted to shoot but… no questions left anymore.
What sort of photography do you mainly do?
Mainly? Portraits I suppose. Creative and conceptual works involving complex sets and scenarios are definitely my favorite. I also shoot weddings because… well, I love the raw emotion in them. It also anchors my work back to the real world.
What gear are you using?
I use a Nikon D700 and have a D300 as backup/second. I also own a D7000 that is used exclusively for Video. I collaborate with Eva Jinn Productions who is responsible for creating a whole series of behind the scene videos, check out her stuff here: www.vimeo.com/evajinnproductions.
I also own a bunch of lenses… Nikkor 14-24 f2.8, 24-70 f2.8, 70-200 f2.8, 85 f1.4G, 18-200 DX, 50 f1.8D, Tokina 11-16 f2.8 … speedlightsSB-900, SB-800, SB-700s, Lumopro LP160s as well as a set of White Lightning/Einstein flashes from Paul C Buff.
May sound like a lot but there’s still so much more to get!
Whats your favourite lens and why?
The one that works haha. Each lens has its place, though I suppose straight out of camera… I definitely have a soft spot for the 85 f1.4G … its just hard to miss a shot with it, so long as you don’t miss your focus
How are you marketing yourself?
Facebook is definitely my main. It’s where I get contracts from. I have no idea how people find me, but they do it through facebook. Besides that, I collaborate with information oriented sites like fstoppers.com and diy photography to help diffuse my work to a more international audience and give back to the community (since I am entirely self taught). That’s about it!
Whats your favourite photo you have taken?
Honestly, I don’t have one. I find that my shots are so different one from the other that there’s not really any real “favorite”. I suppose my facebook fan page’s profile picture is definitely one of my stronger images.
Advice for new photographers looking to go pro?
Practice practice practice. Photography is dumb like that.
Do what you love and do it good. When you’re good enough, people will hire you for what you love.
Spend first, think later. LOL. It may be sound dumb but you definitely need a minimum of gear to create a professional body of work. If you’re poor, master photoshop. It can do wonders. When you’ve spent all you can and need more, improvise and research.
Collaborate with local talent. If everyone around you that you’re working with is fantastic, it’s really hard to screw up.
… I could go on for hours haha… but yeah. I’m not pro though… yet so maybe I’m not the best to give advice !