Yaamon Mark Wong
Commericial, Editorial, Fashion Photographer • Toronto, Canada
With no shortage of beautiful models to capture on film, Yaamon Mark Wong makes his self-taught style stand out by letting his camera do most of his work before he even begins editing. He captures the models’ emotions and expression that no previous photographer has captured. Wong loves to incorporate the background because it brings life and story to the photo in an editorial way. Unlike a lot of photographers, Yaamon’s style is forever changing. He is continuously looking for ways to advance upon his skills because he believes there are always new techniques to be learned. You can expect to see limitless development over the coming years from this talented artist.
What is your main inspiration for photography? Who were your early influences?
Wow, it’s hard to answer when I started in photography. I shot glamour and everything was self-taught. Eventually I got bored with glamour and wanted more of a challenge and editorial and fashion photography has always kept my interest high. In my later years I found fashion photographers like John Ryan, Angel Raygun and Benjamin Kanarek to name a few to be inspiring.
What defines you as an artist/ photographer.
I think what defines me is with the style of photography I do. I love to capture a model’s emotions and expression that no previous photographer has captured. I challenge myself on every shoot to be able to capture my clients true emotions.
When you go out on a shoot what is that you are searching for? What do you want as a final result?
To create images with that model that will wow them. Photos the model can be proud of to share with friends and family.
Walk us through one of your most interesting shoots in your career.
This is difficult to answer but I would say it was for a fashion editorial in Dark beauty Magazine three or four years ago. With this I was lucky to have an amazing team and I had to make sure that my lighting and photography was on point. The shoot was submitted and it was accepted and got published and printed.
What specifically drew you towards your current style?
When I started out in photography I used to have the model pose for every shot. Eventually I realized that my photo just looks as static as all the other photographers. I got bored of this style and wanted a challenge and found that trying to capture a person emotions and expression at the right moment, where they are not posing for the camera but being themselves is what I seek.
Walk us through your post production work flow.
The most important technique in my style is how I want to expose each look in camera. Basically I expose in camera as best as I can. With this 80% of your post edit is already done. All I do in post edit from there is editing away the blemishes. With the style of my photography and editing it literally takes me an average of 2 to 3 mins from when I open a raw file till I save it as a jpeg. Depending on the model’s skin it may take me a few more mins. I have learned a photo does not have to be 100% perfect. I shoot real people and I still leave a small about of blemishes in the photos.
What advice do you find yourself offering most frequently to aspiring or emerging photographers who are looking to advance their careers?
Be patient one cannot expect to come into their own style within a year or two. For you to have your own style there is two factors that are important. The style of photography you shoot and how you post edit. The problem I see in this industry is that there are many average photographers and in their mind they think they are the best and even tell models this. For them there is no need to try and learn new techniques. I myself have set in my mind that every year I want to improve my photography and post edit skills. I see many local photographers that have not improved over the years. They shoot the same style and lighting as they did 3 or 4 years ago.
Famous quote from someone who has inspired your style and creative passion.
Hmm, you got me on that one. I know I must have read it somewhere. “Just be yourself and let me capture the moments with you.”
Finally, do you have any specific criteria in mind on location when shooting? What can emerging talents do to stand out from the crowd in the context of submissions and building their portfolio?
Yes it does, depending on what I’m shooting I love to incorporate the background into the photo. This brings life and a story to the photo in an editorial way. I have seen where other photographers shoot outdoor and the back ground is as in focus as the model. This is very distracting because of the way they shoot with a higher APERTURE of — f8+ . The main reason for this is because they have no technical skills about photography. For emerging talents to be able to stand out is to look up to inspiring photographers learn from them and with time you will be able to have a style people can recognize.