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Crash Taylor interviews Shelby Chan


This week I welcome Shelby Chan. Shelby is an amazing fashion photographer who resides in New York. His photographic and lighting techniques are superb. I'm proud to call him a friend.

Hi Shelby,

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi Crash. My name is Shelby Chan and I photograph fashion, beauty, and products.

Where do you live?
New York City

Favourite two photos you have taken recently?

How do you keep yourself motivated and your photography fresh?
I like to experiment first and foremost with light. I will conceptualize a scenario in my head and try and utilize it for every new shoot. Most of the time, the shoots are critical and structured but there are moments in between assigned images that allows room to break away from the mould and try something more dynamic or simple. Everything starts as an idea, tested, and refined.

Who or what inspires you in your personal life and work?
The consistent drive to be creative.

What’s the best part of being a photographer?
Being able to sculpt a concept into creation.

How long have you been a photographer?
I started shooting product back in 2003 and started working with models and agencies around 2007.

What type of cameras do you shoot with?
Canon 1 series (1Ds and 1D)

What is your favourite photography accessory, other than your camera?
Profoto battery pack.

What is your favourite computer/editing accessory, other than your computer?
Wacom pad.

What is your most used Photoshop tool, plug-in, action set etc…?
The Clone Tool.

Are you a Mac or PC lover?
PC, although I may move to MAC soon.

The hardest part of your job?
The coordination. Making sure all talents are hired and in place, studio availability, props, backdrops, locations, obtaining permits, etc.

The easiest part of your job?
I would venture to say it’s never easy.:)

What advice do you have for photographers just starting out? If you use digital equipment, do not just fire away. Plan your shots as though you are shooting with film. Not only will you learn the technical aspects of photography faster, you will also develop skill sets. Study light whenever you can. It is both your best friend and your worst enemy. Do not be intimidated by the use of strobes or even simple reflectors. If you plan on making photography a business, the beginning will always be tough getting paperwork, insurances, and marketing material together. Things will eventually become more structured and smooth.  During the course of time, be ready for criticism. Do not be discouraged as you will not be able to satisfy everyone. Develop a style and fill a niche that sets you apart from the rest.

What piece of equipment would you most like to get but don’t have yet?
I would like to get my hands on the new Leica S2.

Do you make time for personal photographic work? If so, what do you enjoy photographing and do you have an image you can share with us? I haven’t shot anything for personal enjoyment for the past year. I shall also add that I enjoy shooting all of my assignments and that it becomes very personal and I enjoy every minute of it.

The first photographer that comes to your mind and why?
Douglas Bizzaro. He is under the radar, a true professional, and an expert with light. His dynamic style is truly something inspiring and something I have never seen before.

The last workshop or seminar you attended?
None

Something you’re still learning?
Photography. A forever learning experience.

What do you love to indulge in?
Food. I’m a major foodie.

Something that is overrated?
Filet mignon

Something you’re saving up for?
Can’t say.

If you could have lunch with anyone who is famous who would it be?
Robert De Niro

Where you'll find me on a Friday night at 9 p.m.?
Most likely in some NYC restaurant eating something like beef cheeks or duck confit.

Your favourite film of all time?
HEAT

First thing you would do if you won the lottery?
Not tell anyone.

Three words that describe you?
Experimental, calm, sleepless.

And the last question, if you had one wish.
No more senseless deaths world wide.

Your readers can find out more about me:

Website: www.shelbychan.com