Miranda Pang – Photographe Portrait

Hi all!
Today I’m proud and happy to announce the opening of a new section on the site, ‘Who Else’.
Here you will see some interviews, advices, tips and experience from my friends who are also really into photography.
So please let me introduce my friend Miranda Pang, a talented portrait and fine-art photographer from UK.
I hope that you will as much pleasure as I did when reading her words.
She is the first of, I hope, a new growing project :)

Can you please introduce yourself a bit and tell us what you do regarding Photography?

My name’s Miranda Pang, and portrait photography is what I’m most passionate about.
I love photography in general, including reportage, fine art, and street photography. However portraiture is the one I find most fascinating.

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When did you start to go deeper into photography?

When I was young, I had a little basic point and shoot camera, and I was a bit of a snap-happy kind of person.  For me taking photos was like keeping a visual diary, so I took photos of events and everything that I wanted to remember in my life and look back on.
But what really got me deeper was when I got my first DSLR, which gave me the potential to be creative – only thing was I didn’t know how to make the most of it. So I took photography evening classes to learn. I had a very enthusiastic tutor, who really inspired the whole class, and during that time I discovered how much I enjoyed photography…and that was how it all started. Ever since then I have been inspired to continue to learn and develop as a photographer, and I’m still learning now.

What motivates you into Portrait Photography?

I guess I genuinely find people interesting. It is the humanity behind the portrait that motivates me – human emotions, human interaction, and every expression. Everyone has a story to tell and I want to use photography to express and show that.
For me, portraiture is not just a snapshot of a face; it’s more personal than that, as it tells us something about a person that makes them ‘real’; they are someone with emotions and feelings.

I want to capture people when they are at their most natural; when there is no pretence, but a personal genuineness and openness. I want to bring out something deep within a person that reveals more of their humanity and personality, and capture the essence of them.

If you had tips and advice to give to get good portraiture shots, what will they be?

I think the most important thing in portraiture is the subject you’re photographing. As the photographer, I try to help them feel relaxed and comfortable in front of the camera.  When people are comfortable with you, that’s when they can give you their best – it’s about the photographer working with their subject to get the best out of them.
Eve Arnold once said,

‘If a photographer cares about the people before the lens and is compassionate, much is given.  It is the photographer, not the camera, that is the instrument.’

Everyone has their own subtle mannerisms that are characteristic of them, and it’s good to capture some of that in their portrait, as well as trying to show some of their personality.

As everyone is different, considering the subject as an individual is important. I look at their facial shape and features and think what type of lighting is best suited to them, and what angle to best shoot them from. Every face has interesting features, and I find what that is in each person. If it’s something flattering or distinctive, then I try to bring that out in their portrait.

Eyes are important in portraiture, and I try to bring them alive with catchlights. This might be easier to create when there are studio lights or when there is a nearby light source, but if I’m working on location in natural light, I like to use a reflector to bounce some light back into the subject’s eyes.

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What kind of other photography domains you would like to discover or improve your skills onto?

With being relatively new to photography, I’ve been trying to decide what direction to take it in.  Over this past year, I’m finding I enjoy the artist side of photography more.  I’m still discovering as I go along, but fine art photography is something I’d like to develop in.

I’m also very interested in cinematography, and I like being creative and experimental with my work.  What I would like is to create photos with cinematography in mind, and develop a more artistic and cinematic look to my work.  I’d like to think more about how I use light, shadows, contrast, depth of field, composition, and shapes to create more visually interesting photos.

I’m really inspired by the work of photographer, David Eustace, in his project, ‘In Search of Eustace’.  Likewise, I’m keen to create a project that would be personally meaningful to me, and take myself on a photographic journey along with it.  For me, this would bring real meaning to my work.

Here are some samples of your work, but where can we see more of your talent? :)

More of my work can be seen on my portfolio, which is still evolving as I develop as a photographer.

mirandapangphotography.wordpress.com (my little blog)
facebook.com/pages/Miranda-Pang-Photography/215276238484236 (Facebook page)
flickr.com/photos/mirandapang/ (Flickr)

What equipment do you use and why?

I use a Nikon D700 and Nikon D90, with a variety of lenses – Nikon 50mm, Nikon 105mm, Sigma 70-200mm, Nikon 18-105mm.

I particularly like using prime lenses as they have a nice clear and sharp quality. They also allow me to shoot with a shallow depth of field, which I quite often do with portraiture, and they produce a nice bokeh.

My reflector is one of the most useful pieces of equipment I have to allow me to utilize and make the most of light – it’s portable and relatively cheap, but can make a big difference to a portrait.

What will you recommend for people who would like to get into portrait photography?

Assisting a good photographer in their photo shoot is a practical way of learning from them.  It gives you an insight into how they work, and see how they interact with, and direct their model.  It’s a great opportunity to get behind their thinking and creative vision, and also gives you hands-on experience on how to set up and use lights and equipment.

As photography is ‘painting with light’, I think it’s very helpful to learn about lighting, whether it’s studio or natural light.  Knowing some of the lighting techniques and how to use lighting well enables you to be more creative with your portraits.

Is there a photographer or person’s work that you admire or inspires you?

David Eustace is one of my favorite photographers, and his work really inspires me. His portraits are very natural and beautifully simple, in that it’s not overworked or artificial. There is something very genuine and personal about his portraits. He is able to bring out and capture something deep within his subjects and reveal more than what is on the surface of the individual.

He has also completed some very meaningful photographic projects as part of his work, which I find highly inspiring. These photos tell a story behind each face and each shot, my favorite being the beautifully captured, ‘In Search of Eustace’, one of his most personally meaningful photographic journeys.

With also being a director, some of his photos have quite a cinematic look, which I like and it’s something I’d like to develop in.

His work can be seen on his website: www.davideustace.com

Do you have any amusing moment to tell us regarding one of your sessions?

I was taking a stroll during my lunch break one day. It was a really cold, sunny but foggy winter’s day so when the sun shone through the fog it casted really interesting rays of light which reflected off this tall glass building, and it looked amazing.  Everyone who walked by stopped to admire it.  Not having my camera on me, I pulled out my camera phone to take a photo as it looked so beautiful.  Nearby was this old gentleman who was taking photos of the same thing with his professional, very expensive looking camera.  He saw me taking photos so he stopped to comment on how interesting the rays of light looked. It turns out he was a professional photographer, who knew the head of the photography in the college where I was doing my photography classes!  As I told him it was a shame I didn’t have my SLR with me to take the photo, he looked at me and his words of wisdom were – ‘It’s not necessarily the proper expensive camera you don’t have that matters, what matters is the one you got in your hand.’
That was a good learning point for me that day.

Thank you so much Miranda for your time and for sharing your passion with us :)
It’s refreshing and really interesting to read your words, your thoughts and see your amazing work!
I’m sure that it will inspire and help people, and they will be amazed when they will see your portfolio!
Take care, and take pictures!

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