Matthew, what inspires you to take photographs?
Working to earn ‘money’ through chores to repay my parents for the dropped camera at Disneyland initially exposed me to the world of photography, but what attracted me was all of the amazing and high-tech camera gear that I saw while shopping for another camera for my sister!
Over the years, as I grew up, my photography inspiration changed from gear to the surrounding world. I frequently become inspired to take photos by thinking about the processes in the world around me, for example, one idea that recently inspired me was the idea of being present and watching people knowingly. I notice the little things with light and shade and love observing and capturing the shadows cast by houses and the morning sun that shines through windows. I’ve also been inspired by the eerie qualities of the evening light, photographing many houses for my school portfolio project.
Do you have a favourite genre?
I enjoy all genres of photography, but my favourites are portraits and photojournalism. I love working with people and photojournalism because of the candid and raw nature of the work. Commercial event photography, in some way, combines my two favourite genres, capturing the raw moments of the scene but also having to think about the composition of people.
What are you shooting with?
I currently shoot with a Canon EOS R5 and Canon EF lenses. I find the R5’s eye-tracking feature immensely useful for all kinds of photography as the feature takes my brain off the menial tasks of focusing and lets me focus on the creative aspects of the craft.
How did you get started with commercial photography?
A family friend owns a furniture company and offered me a part-time position to take photographs of the new inventory, which also includes editing and posting the photos on their social media. The company tagged my account in the posts, and over the years, people have contacted me, allowing me to build my clientele. Today, I primarily shoot commercial events and product photography for small businesses.
What has been the biggest challenge on your photography journey so far?
Presently, I have found communicating with models my biggest challenge. Being so focused on the photographic work during a photo shoot, I sometimes forget that I am working with real people that I have to keep engaged and lively. I always need to remind myself to be cheerful no matter the photographic outcome and be lively with everyone working with me in the studio to lighten the mood.
What advice can you share with teenage photographers who are just starting out?
If you love photography, take visual arts! This subject is a great way to explore your interest and develop your artistic and photographic eye. Your teacher can help you see the world from the perspective of other artists, which really helps with photography because seeing different perspectives broadens your photographic lens, making your photos more interesting and unique!
Also, take lots of photos but don’t let photography hinder your life! Practice is super important to photography, as with all other skills, and only by taking thousands of photos can you get better at photography. But don’t let this get in the way of your daily life: don’t go out to specifically take photos for the sake of taking photos. Instead, look for the things that are interesting around you and capture interesting moments of your daily life – photography, different to other forms of art, is mostly about capturing the sporadic and candid conditions around us.