I am Suxing Zhang, a fine-art photographer living in Australia. Most of my works focus on fine-art and conceptual portraits, in which I combine classic portraits with visual metaphoric elements.
Such combination usually is done through digital collage approaches (see guide). The equipment I use for post-processing includes a MacBook Pro 15″, a BenQ SW2700PT Monitor, a Wacom Intuos Pro tablet and Adobe Photoshop.
For photo storage, I use two WD 4TB Elements Portable Hard Drives. For each photo, I store a duplicate in both hard drives in case one file is damaged.
As for camera equipment, I use different equipment for different shooting situations. In most of my fine-art portraits, there are two main subjects: a model and a main visual element.
I use Canon EOS 5D Mark III to shoot both the model and the main subject. The reason is that I need images to be capable for large prints. Therefore, shooting with a full frame DLSR camera would allow me to enlarge images when it is needed.
The tripod I use for my Canon is Manfrotto 190XPROB. It is strong and steady even in the environment with strong wind.
I also use Fujifilm X100F and Sigma DP-1 Merrill for shooting other visual elements when I do not have my Canon EOS 5D Mark III in my bag. They are easy to carry and the image quality is satisfying with very different yet distinctive characteristics in colour.
For daily life documentary or travel, I normally carry my Fujifilm X100F and/or Nikon F3HP.
It is noted that Nikon F3HP is actually a 35mm film camera made two to three decades ago. I love film photography and really enjoy the process of taking photos, developing films and enlarging prints. Speaking of films, my favourites are Ilford Delta 400 for black and white photos and Fuji Pro 400H for colour photos.
In terms of lenses, my favourites for Canon EOS 5D Mark III are Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II and Sigma AF 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art. I use Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II for headshots as well as half-body portraits in the studio and for cases when wide apertures are necessary outside.
I use Sigma AF 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art for full-body portraits in the studio and for environmental portraits outside.
For the visual elements, which lens I use really depends on the situation. For example, if I would like to shoot a flower that is a bit far away and I cannot get any closer, I’ll have to use the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II.
Sigma AF 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art and Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II are my favourite focal lengths which I use extensively in almost all shooting environments. The only exception is that I use a Nikon 50mm f/1.4 on my Nikon F3HP. This is the lens I use for shooting daily life and I find it is excellent for time-keeping and story-telling purposes.
One fact, my personal preference is that I only use prime lenses. It is nothing about the better quality of images taken by prime lenses. In fact, I try to activate my thoughts and ideas by limiting my sight. One way of doing it is to limit the choice of focal length.
In terms of lighting, in the studio I use one Godox AD600BM as the key light and two Godox E250 Mini Studio Flash Light as a fill light when it is needed, all triggered by a Godox TTL Wireless Flash Trigger.
When shooting outside I try to minimise my gear. Therefore, I only carry Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT and/or the Godox AD600BM with a softbox for lighting.
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