His varied style with numerous models has really hooked me, and I think I've been further pulled in by the fact that his photography is so different to my own. In wanting to know more about Ming and his approach, I took a moment to ask him some questions. Here's what he had to say.
Ming Loo - Image by Jolaine Rayner of Epic Photography
1. First off, I'd love to know more about your background and what interested you in photography (and video for that matter)?
At first, it wasn't photography that interested me. It was film and video. Im sure you can remember high school lol! After high school I moved to Vancouver and attended the Art Institute of Vancouver, for the Digital Film and Video program. During my time there I found that lighting and being behind the camera were my main interests. After graduating I stayed out west for another year, grabbing camera jobs wherever I could find them.
I was a camera man for CityTV Vancouver, camera for music videos (two of which airing on MuchMusic), short films, worked on XMen 2, Fantastic 4 and SmallVille. I then joined ATV, a production company based in Vancouver that had several aired TV shows: Wings Over Canada, The New Drivers Seat and The Canadian Rally Championship. This was a great opportunity because I got to travel across Canada.
So by this time, I was tired. I had finished school and I was working, but I was tired. So I returned to Medicine Hat with intentions of saving up for a professional video camera. However, after moving back I started using my Dad's old film slr. 1987 Minolta Maxxumm 7000. 8 years later, I'm still taking photos.
2. How would you describe your style or aesthetic, and what do you look for when trying to create it?
My style...hmmmm. I like to think my style is really clean. Im not much of an editor. I like my images to be accurate right out of the camera without any major post work after.
If I was to label myself, I would say I'm a headshots photographer.
3. Do you have a favorite shoot or one that you found particularly defining?
My favorite shoot was one I did in Vancouver. I was there on a personal vacation and it so happened that my friend Erin from the film industry was doing this event at her school. Her and two of her classmates needed to come up with three different looks and find a photographer, model and shoot all three looks in one day. I had worked with Erin before on photo shoots in the past, awesome MUA. We also got a hold of our friend and actress Tanaya to model. Since all three of us have worked together in the past before the day went smoothly without any problems. So much fun!
4. What are some of the most common questions or requests you get from clients, and how do you balance your own creativity with others direction?
Haha! I think the most common question is, "Can you take out this pimple." "Yes, yes I can."
Really, I don't get direction towards me on how I should shoot. When I'm shooting Im give lots of physical direction. I use my hands a lot to guide movements and poses. If a model strikes a pose, I'll work off of that and tweak their position to compliment the angle I'm shooting.
5. There's a long standing debate about the role of the photographer vs. the equipment they use. From a creative perspective, how much credit do you give the camera?
I love camera gear! Everything to my lenses, my camera body and the lights I use. I use the Nikon D3 and all my lenses are pro Nikkor glass. But because I use top of the line gear, that doesn't mean that it makes me a great photographer. It's how you use them. When I enter a shoot, I see the situation and I'll know what lenses I should use. Robert Rodriguez said; "Technology helps push the art form." The equipment I use helps me achieve the images I want to create. Like a carpenter with all the tools in his belt.
You have to know what lenses and lighting setups to use to benefit the shoot. If you don't, then you just have a bag full of tools to show off.
6. With so many other photographers competing (especially in the portrait business) how do you make yourself standout?
I've always been more concerned about improving my own skill set, rather than standing out. We have a huge photo community in the small city of Medicine Hat, and I have no interest in holding monopoly when it comes to this market.
I am more interested in being involved in our photo community. Seeing the new photogs arise from the many. I don't care if you're just starting or you've been in the game for years. I like posting other's photographers work on my own FB page simply to share. As competing as this industry is, I think we should be helping each other out and making it the best industry it can be.
7. I have a lot of students read my blog. What advice would you give to aspiring photographers or those looking to pursue photography professionally?
1) Don't worry about other photographers, be you and do your own thing. 2)Keep shooting and never stop. The more you shoot the more you learn. That's what will make a better photographer 3) Respect. Respect your models, respect your MUA's and hair stylists. Remember, photo shoots are a group effort. 4)If you are looking to do photography as a business, don't wait for it to fall in your lap. Act now. Make things happen. Pursue it.
8. What are your future ambitions regarding your work?
I want to shoot more. I want to learn more. I want to meet new people in the industry and learn from them. It's about growing as an artist and sharing.
And a huge industrial loft studio would be nice too, heheheh.