Inspirational Photographer: Easton Chang
Genre: Automotive / Commercial
Easton Chang is in my opinion the definitive commercial automotive photographer. Chang is in such demand now that he no longer shoots ‘private cars’ and works strictly on a commercial level shooting for automotive magazines internationally and has access to shooting the dream cars such as Lamborghini’s and other super-car vehicles. This is a dream I hope to achieve myself one day.
Chang doesn’t just create a pretty picture that the specific driver would appreciate; he actually creates a photo that has universal appeal and appreciation. Each image captures a mood and creates a real sense of spirit of what each specific car was built for.
Chang uses digital format cameras and performs the majority of his photos inside a studio or using an on-location studio set-up. This gives Chang many creative possibilities; he also uses a ‘rig’ (an extension arm that attaches to a car and captures vehicles with motion blur but keeps vehicle perfectly sharp). This creates the feeling of speed, and gives these images extra excitement.
Easton Chang is a self taught photographer, who in an interview with speedhunters.com said, “I started out on online photography communities and forums where I could anonymously post my work and receive real world feedback.” This idea is a very smart one, being able to take criticism is tough and by posting work up anonymously will lead to more raw and harsh comments; which are vital tools for learning.
Criticism of automotive photography is hard as each client has a vision of their ‘dream photo’ of their car. Each client may have a radically different style-request than what you are used to doing or were planning to do prior to arriving at the shoot. Some may want light streaks on their car, some don’t and some want a totally different location.
What is tough is gaining your confidence and professionalism, Chang states in the same interview that, “I literally had to be pushed by a photographer I had met on a forum and coached me into being confident enough to send my work to magazines.”
At university a photography student must endure a lot of ‘wanky nonsense’ related to their work in their photographic series. Therefore it is such a relief to shoot something simple such as cars, or anything commercial that does not need to have a story or message. However, Chang states, “I learnt that you can’t conceive images on an individual basis, but as an entire set or story layout,” which I found fascinating to hear. A professional photographer of his calibre, Easton is still imagining the story behind the series he is shooting. He does this amazingly with the mood he captures in his images, which follow through in each particular series.
Magazine briefs is something Chang discusses in his interview informing readers of the editorial briefs that detail the clients requirements for the photo shoot. He suggests that the conflict between following the brief and on-location decisions is an issue. And how even small things such as a magazines colour scheme may change decisions of photo shoot.
In a Youtube video on Easton Chang’s account he shows some behind the scenes videos. Showing the size of his assistant crew, some of the methods of how the feature cars are transported and covered between shots, and the incredible size of his rig shot stretching meters into the air. This is all very impressive and serves as a great source to find inspiration and motivation.
Easton Chang is in my opinion the greatest automotive photographer of our time. It would be an amazing feat to personally achieve work to his standard, and is something I personally dream of reaching as I continue the endless path of learning new photography skills with each click of the shutter.
Easton has a great online identity as he started promoting himself through online forums that spread his name across the different auto-culture groups. His website launched in 2006 and now has a booming Facebook page. Chang even likes to entertain his followers by creating his own photography related memes that he regularly posts. With use of online forums and social media Easton’s name is regularly popping up all over peoples networks.
Go check it out his amazing work on his website:
Links to mentioned articles and websites:
Easton Chang’s Images:
Easton Chang’s Facebook page:
Easton Chang’s behind the scenes video: