Easton Chang is an award-winning automotive photographer with a knack for creating breathtaking imagery. Based in Sydney, Australia, Chang has completed work for names such as Audi, Cadillac, Chrysler, Ford, Jaguar, Mazda, Volkswagen, and Yokohama.
Chang shares with Nee Hao in this exclusive interview his approach to his work, why he loves cars and shooting them, as well as his tips for budding photographers.
Tell us about your journey into photography.
I began with shooting cars locally in my area with a Canon Powershot S45. A year later, I upgraded to a Canon EOS 300D. Then, I started making contacts with local magazines in the Australian market. My first big break was with SPEED magazine (I used a Canon 1Ds Mark II). Following that, I started working for larger titles, and eventually international titles. A few years later, I did my first international commercial shoot for Jaguar Global. I currently shoot with a 5D Mark III and rent Phase One systems for commercial jobs.
Tell us about the reasons behind your love of cars. Have you always been passionate about them?
I have always been in the car circle since growing up, and have always been passionate about them. I like to shoot cars because I like to convey the “Character” of the vehicle I’m shooting. This is why my shoots with old American muscle cars tend to be my best work, as they possess so much character.
Your underwater images are stunning. Tell us about the experiences themselves, as well as the challenges associated with shooting underwater.
It’s very weather-dependent, I’ve shot in the freezing cold so many times in the winter. The images always look great as the physical properties of shooting water adds a smokey atmosphere that you simply don’t get above ground. However, it’s very challenging to get the right pose so a carefully planned process has to be choreographed with the model and lighting.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Pinterest, deviant art, and usually in the form of digital drawings as presented in a mood board for inspiration. Then, I try to pull these off in real life with photography and digital composition techniques.
Who is your favourite photographer; or photographer that has inspired you the most? What is your favourite piece, and why?
Erik Johansson, any and all of his works demonstrate absolutely phenomenal command and abilities with photography and retouching, however most of all, the ability to see an idea and construct a story using photographic elements.
Tell us about your greatest achievement in photography.
Winning Australian Advertising of the Year two times in a row (2012, and 2013).
What is your favourite image in your portfolio, and why?
Probably this shot.
It spearheaded my career further and shaped the direction of where my work and style was heading. Many photographers now emulate this style.
What is the most important aspect of succeeding in automotive photography?
Having a very strong command of both the technical and creative aspects of image creation. Many photographers either lack the creativity but have the technical know-how with retouching and photoshop, or vice versa. Being located in an area where there is ample access to good cars also plays a large role in someone’s success in being noticed as a car photographer.
When fulfilling clients’ demands for automotive photography, what is the most important consideration?
There are so many different types of clientele and work for automotive photography, budgets range from the hundreds to hundreds of thousands of US dollars. You have to be able to look at their needs, their budget and try to work within their needs. You also have to be flexible to work around the enormous varying degrees of budgets and production in the car photography industry.