My name is Selina Yan Tong and I come from Shanghai, China living in Sydney, Australia
How long have you been taking pictures?
I have been taking pictures for more than 8 years but only get serious with it about 2 years after I moving to Australia.
When did you get into photography and why?
I got my first camera 8 years ago when I was obsessed with the good quality of an image from my friend and I asked what camera she used and she told me it’s a Canon DSLR camera, then I got my first camera Canon 40D and started photographing. Because I love photographing portraits more than anything else, so little by little I began learning all the photoshop skills as well to enhance the image effect.
What would you say your style is and has it changed throughout the years? If so why?
I would say my style is more fine art. I love creating images with story and yes my style definitely changed throughout the years because I was learning and searching my own style. I did life portraits, fashion, beauty when I just started. After all the trail, I feel my passion is more towards to the art area which makes me totally free to create the theme and colour and somehow it helped me to create a different style which can be suitable for all the area I like.
How do you approach a shoot? Do you pre-plan or is it a click and run? I normally will think about the theme I want to create first then approach the model and makeup artist. I pick the specific face I like to create the images that I think will work the best. However, sometimes I would also do a casual style photo shoot which I don’t really need to plan but I do require the model who has great facial expression because my images I create is more about the attitude and feeling.
Is there an end goal you’re trying to achieve with your images, be it an aesthetic or story?
I would say it’s both, but I think story is more important. Because an image with story connects the audience more than just a simple headshot. It brings your audience to feel the surreal world.
Do you have an influences you can share?
Irene Rudnyk, a great youtuber and photographer. Actually it’s her that inspired me to start photography and pick up my camera again.
What inspires you?
Lots of things, the model’s face, location, decoration. Movies and other great photographer’s work.
Is there such a thing as a bad photograph?
Of course, photography is all about the lighting and concept. If you don’t have a good concept, it’s fine you can just do normal portrait or headshot. However, if the lighting goes wrong, which will turn the image either over exposed that lose all the details or under exposed to be so dark. So lighting is quite important. Here the lighting I mean all the light source, such as nature light. Not just to those expensive light such as strobe.
Are you looking for a career in photography or are you just having fun?
Currently I am just doing photography as fun but I might seek for a career in photography because I find myself really into it :)
Which social media platforms do you use and why? Instagram, it connects all the top photographers and models, which help me to learn from them and it helps me to build my own portfolio and connect the people in my area to work together.
Which photographers do you mainly follow on social media? I really love Alessio Albi (known as @ alessioalbi), Steve Gindler (Known as @cvatik) and Rafa Sanchez (Known as@ f.estival).
What are your thoughts on mobile photography versus DSLR / mirrorless?
I would say mobile photography is more suitable for bloggers. They are simple images with nice presets and it’s easy to carry wherever they go. It really depends on the purpose of your photography.
However, for top portraits such as commercial work and magazine style, I don’t think mobile photography will get that kind of quality compared to DSLR/mirrorless.
What’s your main go to camera, lenses and how did you make that choice?
I really love images to be sharp, so I chose Sony A7rmII 2 years ago and I still use it. For lens, I love sigma art series, 35mm and 50mm are really great. They definitely give me the clarity that I like. Because it’s easy to unsharpen the images in photoshop but it would be extremely difficult to sharpen the images if the original is vague.
What is your dream location to shoot at? Beautiful nature where you can find some lovely gardens full of flowers, or the location with vintage decoration.
Describe your favourite picture and how you captured it? I would say I like the shot for Catherine Paul while she’s wearing a veil the most.
This was a shot without planning and right after the planned shots I did for her. I used the left flowers and cut them into pieces and stick the petals on her face by my eyelash glue. It took me quite a bit time because I didn’t have the experience to glue the petal on the face…so after about half an hour, I finished all the petal glue and started photographing her. Somehow I felt a bit plain just doing the flower petal shot so I added the veil on her head and down to cover her face to add the mystery feeling. And that’s how it turned out now.
In three words how would you describe your photography? Artistic, editorial and surreal.
How do you feel about better quality cameras being put into smart phones? Hmmm I would never use smart phones to capture the images I want to create, lens are very important.
What are your thoughts on expensive cameras? Do you think they create better images?. I would say you should choose your lens over your camera. It’s more about whether you capture the right angle with great concept and more importantly get the right lighting, less expensive camera can do the same. However, good lens can’t be replaced, it doesn’t mean you choose an expensive brand’s top lens, but to choose the lens that works equally good with more competitive price.