For all the automotive photography fans out there today’s interview with Alex Wong will be a treat. Alex takes the new questions head on providing some helpful advice. What do you think, both Alex and I would love to hear your thoughts, so leave a comment below.
Tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Alex, I’m 26 years old from San Francisco, California. Shooting motorsports is an addiction. When the season is in full swing, I barely sleep, I inhale more tire smoke and gasoline fumes than most do in a lifetime, and my camera is constantly in danger. Save the memory cards!
What inspired you to get started in photography?
Curiously enough, it started from the drawing/painting classes I had as a child. I got tired of the hours and even days it would take to produce one image. There was an old Mickey Mouse 110 film camera I had lying around the house, and with the press of the shutter (bugging my mother to develop the film included) I had all the images I wanted. Timesaver!
What gear do you take to each shoot and what lens can you not live without?
I rent quite a bit of gear depending on the assignment. Of the gear that is mine, the Sigma 100-300 f/4 lens is my favorite. It was the first lens I purchased and it’s been with me ever since. Some of my favorite photos were shot with this lens. If I win the lottery, or sell my soul (whichever comes first) the Nikon 500 f/4 VR is the go to lens. It’s spectaculicious.
How do you market yourself and has social media been an important part?
Marketing is still something I am learning everyday; I feel it’s the most challenging and least understood aspect of photography. The standard business card goes a long, long way, however, and it’s important to have them with you at all times. You’ll never know who you bump into. That being said, social media has really leveled the playing field, giving an almost tangible access to anyone and everyone at any given time.
What’s your favourite photo that you’ve taken and does it have any significance?
My favorite photo by far has to be one taken during a Global RallyCross event at Pikes Peak International Raceway in Fountain, CO. Nathan Conley lifts off in his Subaru during the final laps of competition of the GRC event. Three years earlier, Nathan and his wife Brandye were badly injured in a rally event at Pikes Peak putting their racing career on hold. Fast forward to 2011, the Conleys were back at it, first at Pikes Peak then competing in the XGames in Los Angeles against the finest the world had to offer. They are the greatest of friends and competitors and I am proud to have been a part of their journey.
Select a photo you have taken, explain how it was taken and how did you edit it?
This photo was taken during a Formula Drift event in Las Vegas. It was 109 degrees at the time, and I really don’t remember much. I believe I used a Nikon D300 with the Nikon 17-55 (I think). I wanted to use a quick enough shutter to capture the clouds above but slow enough to get a little motion in the photo. As far as editing, I bumped the curves to get some contrast in to the photo and have the clouds pop, while bringing up the shadows to ensure the car stood out as well as slightly desaturating the image.
What processing tool do you use and do you believe in the camera doing all the work or in post ?
I mainly use Adobe Lightroom to process my photos and will occasional toss the photos into Photoshop if necessary. It needs to be a balance between getting the photo right in camera and having the post processing bring the final touches to your image.
Whats your favourite photography accessory other than your camera?
My iPhone is by far the best accessory ever. At 3am in the morning after shooting the entire day, there are atleast 4 apps guiding me to the nearest fast food location.
Where do you prefer to post your photos online and why there?
Most of the photos go directly onto my website, although Facebook definitely gets a solid number along Flickr, 500px, and a number of automotive blogs. Anywhere and everywhere would explain it best, as my photos were meant for everyone to enjoy.
Do you ever get photographers block and if so what do you do to get inspired again?
Everyday. Both on off days and days I am shooting I will hit a wall and it gets frustrating. Fortunately with the internet so close at hand, its not long before I’ll come across an epic photo and get my creative juices flowing again. If I am on location shooting and get photographers block, I will force myself to do something absolutely ridiculous or dangerous. If you come away from it being able to tell your friends : “Dude! This one time…!” it’ll be worth it.
Is there anything you wish you had done when you first started in photography that would of made a difference?
Branding myself. It took a while for me to stick with the Emotive brand but once I kept with the name, it definitely helped with marketing. I wish I had come up with that name earlier to get a head start but as the saying goes, better late than never.
Any advice for new photographers wanting to go pro?
Never lose sight of why you got in to photography in the first place and always keep pushing the boundaries of you and your talent. Remember the first time you nailed the image you really wanted to capture? That. All day, everyday.