Color Conversations with Shavonne Wong

Written by Casey Cosley

Take a quick look and it’s easy to see the skill and consistency Shavonne Wong applies to her imagery. Her work with Fashion and Beauty carry with it unique elements of storytelling alongside color grading that feels harmonious to the viewer (hey that’s us!).

We asked her give us a “behind the concept and creation” of her work as a returning photographer on Asia’s Next Top Model.

What is the backstory of these photos? (As in the concept of the photos, and what the dogs had to do with them)

I was recently given the opportunity to be a guest photographer for the 2nd year in a row on Asia’s Next Top Model. Needless to say, I absolutely loved it! It’s always an enjoyable challenge knowing my work was going to be on international television and I was honoured to be asked back for the show. As if I needed more reasons to be thrilled, it’s a nice treat to be able to work up close with the host Cindy Bishop!

What was your experience like shooting on top model?

For this season my shoot for the cycle was to be done in conjunction with Subaru who sponsored the particular episode. This meant I didn’t just have to keep ANTM happy but that there was actually an additional client to make sure my photos were good enough for! For the concept of the shoot the idea was to showcase the car Subaru XV, as a “girl’s perfect companion that’s always there as they go on their next adventure”. To spice things the producers thought it would be fun to add another perfect companion for the adventure and that would of course be man’s best friend, dogs. For the shoot itself the images were to show the sophisticated modern woman who is always on the move with her car and furry friend.

What were some of the challenges you didn’t expect being on set that no one knew about from just watching the show? For direction of the retouching and color grading, did you have to seek approval from anyone on staff, or did you just do as you wanted?

The dogs added a cute factor to the images but the dogs brought along with them their own set of challenges. It was imperative that the final images had both the model and dog looking good and straight at the camera and that wasn’t always easy. It took a lot of quick camera snapping and loads of attention from the girls towards their furry friends to get the shots to work. Well done ladies!

As my episode was only the third episode of the season, there were still 10 contestants in the running and that meant a long day of shooting 10 different girls for the photoshoot. Lighting was another thing I had to consider as I needed to make sure there was consistency between images. Turnover time for the images was also very short as AsNTM needed the images for the judging panel so that meant overnight editing. I’m just grateful that the production team, who are absolute professionals, trusted me enough to give me free reign on how I wanted to edit and color grade the images!

How fast did you come up with the color grade using the panel?

Seeing that the concept was along the lines of a road trip I wanted to give a rather warm and sunny feel to the images. Using ICP I ran the panel a couple of times and was able to pick out the look I wanted fairly quickly. I usually know what I want but the panel also provided some options that I did not consider and helped me create an even better end result.

With color grading, do you usually have a preference when it comes to direction of color grading?

Options aren’t a bad thing! I also layered a few of them and tweaked some of the layers to get the final look. Definitely a very efficient way to color grade!

For people new to color grading, what are some tips you have for them to better help train their vision?

Color grading isn’t really an exact science but rather incredibly subjective. I personally feel that the best way to improve is to keep observing professional work and get your eye used to seeing how images that are skillfully colour graded look.

More of Shavonne’s work can be found on her website www.zhiffyphotography.com. Join us in following her instagram @zhiffyphotography and by giving her a like on facebook!

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