The size of the talent pool that seems to be joining 500px amazes me. No doubt most of these people were on flickr but I think 500px has managed to make it so much easier to find these amazing photographers. The photos in this interview are best viewed if you click on the link and load them up on 500px. Enjoy this interesting look at Christopher Tan.
Tell us a little about yourself?
I started serious photography very late in life although I have shoot film when I was younger.
I love to talk about photography and enjoy beautiful photos. I want to take the path to really ‘shoot to impress’.
What inspired you to get started in photography?
It all started in New York City when I was there for a holiday. I came back with many blurry photos using a compact camera. I told myself that I can do better, so I got a DSLR and was stunned what today’s camera can offer. I had a chance to shoot The Youth Olympics but my ‘basic’ camera was just limited so I decided to invest in a better camera and now I shoot with the Canon 7D. I pay for lessons, bought books and magazines. Then one day, I saw an organised shoot for models which I thought would let me practice my new toy. I never turned back ever since. I also like to thank all the good people who has shared their skills and knowledge with me. So I would like to return the favour in kind.
What gear do you take to each shoot and what lens can you not live without?
I usually carry my zoom 24-105mm , 50mm f1.4 or 100mm macro. I have a 400mm f5.6 lens for sports and a 10-22mm super wide for landscape.
The ‘kit’ lens 24-105mm is the lens I have come to trust and favour. It’s realible and consistent. It’s my best friend now.
How do you market yourself and has social media been an important part?
I’ve not done much to market myself yet and will take whatever opportunity that comes along. I’m not really a big fan of Facebook and only recently used it because my friend/model prefer to communicate via this media. Flickr is where I made many friends and photographers. I’ve just started with 500px and I must say, i love this website.
Flickr gives me the freedom to express my photos while 500px takes me to another higher level.
What’s your favourite photo that you’ve taken and does it have any significance?
My favourite photo is my friend and model, Angelica Chebotar. She is from Russia and a very sweet person. I’ll go crazy when I get a chance to take her photos. I have over 2,000 photos of her. My favourite photo is http://500px.com/photo/5906940 and I intend to print it large and frame it up in my living room and bedroom.
When I wake up… by C h r i s t o p h e r ~ T a n
Select a photo you have taken, explain how it was taken and how did you edit it?
What Women Want by C h r i s t o p h e r ~ T a n
http://500px.com/photo/5514274 Settings : ISO 200, F/4 1/100 24mm
The beautiful morning sun came through the window and we decide to make full use of the available light. I wanted the bright window curtains and shadows to create that contrasting photo. I ask her to pick a light colour lingerie so as to blend into the beddings. With her dark brown hair and flowers I created an area of interest. I stand on the stool to avoid too much bright light from the window. I use a reflector to bounce some light onto her face. When her eyes looked into my lens, I take a snap.
I shoot in RAW and edit in Aperture 3. Angelica has very beautiful skin and did little work removing spots. I added skin softener, warmth, contrast and saturation. I’ll check for ‘hot’ spots and reduce brightness by increasing the ‘hightlight’ or ‘recovery’. I lighten the face area just a little and finished it off with an overall sharpener. Then further sharpen her eyes, eye brown, hair and lips using the brush function. The photo is not crop nor did I rotate it.
What processing tool do you use and do you believe in the camera doing all the work or in post ?
I use Aperture 3 and NIK software. I do not have PhotoShop yet. I believe in getting the basic settings right in the camera even when I shoot RAW. Like white balance, exposure, noise reduction. Even contrast and tone. I do most of the work on outstanding photos in post.
Whats your favourite photography accessory other than your camera?
The flash – a must-have accessory
Where do you prefer to post your photos online and why there?
I prefer Flickr because I have builded up a group of friends and they give their honest opinions and reactions. I get statistics and realise that my models gets the most views, followed by all the rest like Sports, Landscape, Food, Street etc…. So I post only my ladies photos in my 500px and this is where the really serious photographers are. The work of some really good discretionary photos exists here. In 500px, it is not so easy to download other people’s work but we have a choice to choose as favourite.
Do you ever get photographers block and if so what do you do to get inspired again?
yes I do and I’ll make an effort to attend talks, seminars and workshops. I believe in investing in lessons and another reason when I get my inspiration. I receive emails from the Digital Photography School, attend webinars with NIK software. And my friend, Angelica is the greatest inspiration of all.
Is there anything you wish you had done when you first started in photography that would of made a difference?
I believe that have spend my money wisely from the beginning, I don’t blow all my money on a super camera & lens but instead put one third of my money in lessons and courses. The knowledge I’ve gain and experience shared were invaluable. It has given me purpose and direction.
Any advice for new photographers wanting to go pro?
Making a living with photography is not the same as doing it as a hobby. It’s enjoyable hard work with a crazy deep love to take good photos.
People has to trust you and a lot of luck to get opportunities. Always put on a good show like it’s your first time.