I am Robin Yong. I work mainly in Travel Photography, and sometimes also Fine Art, Documentary and Celebrities.
I enjoy doing photo workshops and getting into exhibitions.
I was born in Singapore but currently I am located mostly in Australia. Every year, I spend about 2 months in Europe, usually Italy and Belgium.
I make up to 18 overseas trips a year for my many travel photo assignments.
I am a little different from most photographers when it comes to equipment.
I still do not own a camera, relying solely on borrowed equipment, and I do all my photo processing on an iPad.
Despite this, I have won multiple awards and I get to do quite a few exhibitions and photograph celebrities, so I guess I am still on the right track.
It’s not that I lack money for equipment, but I just have other priorities and most of the time, I cannot decide which equipment to buy. I hate to buy something and then find that I have little use for it later on. Furthermore, we get new models from each brand so frequently and I am just not the kind to chase after the latest equipment.
I prefer to spend much more of my time researching on my travel destinations, photo themes and subjects. My travel photos are mainly portraits. In my travels, I like to photograph the locals in their traditional outfits. Celebrities, Masks and Painted Faces are my favourite themes.
Well, so what type of equipment do I carry around when I travel?
Firstly, I never check-in any equipment when I travel, so I often fly business or first class only. I have seen photographers with lost and delayed check-in luggage containing photographic equipment and I cannot see this happening to myself.
So, for me it is usually one backpack containing my camera body and one lens, and of course my trusted iPad. The other one or two lenses, battery chargers, etc., go in the other small carry-on trolley bag.
I try to keep the weight of these luggage pieces low because often I buy many souvenirs and receive many gifts on my many overseas trips.
I shoot in natural lighting for 99% of my work. Because my favourite shooting locations are within temples, hotels and palaces, I do not carry any tripods or reflectors.
Sometimes I have a small handheld LED light in my backpack, but on the rare occasions when I need more stuff, I activate my local photographer friends to come assist me with their equipment and manpower.
For my photography trips, the main thing is to travel light, travel in class, look good, enjoy myself and have beautiful photos.
In my 4 years as a photographer, I have tried many cameras – Olympus, Sony, Fuji, Leica, Canon depending on what I can borrow off my friends.
My favourite and most frequently used equipment are as follow:
Main Camera Bag:
Prada expandable technical and saffiano backpack. I really love this design because it’s the latest in-thing and its deep body allows me to store my camera body and lenses nicely. I keep my batteries, cap and sunglasses in the smaller pockets. It’s a really comfortable piece to be carrying around when I work.
When I work, I carry the camera body, 2 or 3 lenses, SD cards, batteries, cap, sunglasses and sometimes my iPad in this bag. I leave the rest of my other stuff in the hotel. This will be my camera bag when I am working in my usual places such as Japan, Belgium, France, Italy, Singapore, or Taiwan, where shoots are done in quiet locations. (For rougher destinations like Africa, I switch to a much less expensive backpack by Superdry.)
Canon 5D Mark III. This is the model I can borrow most frequently and my personal favourite to date. The camera is hardy, not too heavy, and works great even in low light. In the event of a breakdown, Canon service centers and spare parts are easily available in the areas I frequent most – Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, and of course Australia.
Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 USM
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM
Canon EF 11-24mm f/4.0 USM
Overall, I favour prime lenses because the image quality is better. The 11-24mm wide angle lens is a real monster – big and very heavy, but it gives some of my portraits a very different perspective.
Amaran LED AL-H198C
iPad Pro: This is really handy. I had to choose between this and a Macbook…but I think this one’s easier to use and carry around and best of all, I can surf the net whenever there’s wifi around.
Other accessories and miscellaneous stuff in the bag:
Apple Lightning to SD card reader: So I can process photos wherever I go. Some clients have high expectations and want to see the photos as soon as possible.
Sandisk SD cards: I always have one in the camera, and at least 1 other 128GB on standby. You don’t want to be in a situation when it says “card full” on your camera.
Spare batteries: I carry at least 2 extra batteries. Sometimes my shooting hours can be 7am in the morning right up to 11pm at night.
iPhone: Yes, I cannot live without one, just in case I need to call the airlines, credit card companies etc.
Sunglasses and cap: when I am working outdoors. I change them every season, and they have to be catalogue runway pieces.
Small umbrella: For the occasions when I have to shoot in the rain…this one is very memorable because it is made by one of my models, Lorenzo Marconi.
Lucky amulet from my ancestral temple: I usually have one on my wrist and one in the bag, hence, I am always blessed with great natural lighting and beautiful photos.