The Robin Wong Look

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Lcrunyon, Dec 1, 2017.

  1. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2014
    Maryland
    Loren
    Interesting article from Robin Wong about how he doesn’t really have a conscious style (despite what his viewers say), and some general photography tips. About the ‘Robin Wong’ look…

    I think he does have a look, but it’s based on being in Malaysia and the way he puts his subjects at ease.

    The “look” debate aside, I took away two photography tips I thought were particularly interesting:

    One was his point about how focus and recompose doesn’t work as well when close to the subject. I’d never thought of that before but it totally makes sense. It probably accounts for some shots I’ve mis-focused, because I use that technique a lot.

    The second was his discussion about editing software. He recommended Olympus Viewer 3 for its results, though he admitted it is a horrible program to use. I wish Olympus would work on improving it, but that’s unlikely. Robin also mentioned he is trying out Capture 1 Pro, though he didn’t really say what he thought about it.
     
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  2. Gerard

    Gerard Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 12, 2015
    Vleuten, Utrecht
    Thx for sharing.
    His point about focus makes sense indeed.

    I am a bit puzzled though: Ming Thein refers to himself when it is about Robin Wong. Is it one and the same person?
     
  3. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2014
    France
    That's one of the reasons I went mirrorless.
    Even on the entry level bodies, you have focus points nearly everywhere on the frame.
    With my previous DLSR, I had to focus & recompose all the time because there was no focus point on the point I wanted to focus.
    I do a lot less focus & recompose with my E-m10.
     
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  4. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2014
    Maryland
    Loren
    Not the same person. I guess Ming Thein featured his post. They’re probably acquaintances, both living in Kuala Lumpur.
     
  5. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2014
    Maryland
    Loren
    I always felt moving my focus points was less convenient than focus and recompose (not that it’s all that hard). I’ll have to readjust my thinking.
     
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  6. dogs100

    dogs100 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Nov 12, 2011
    N Devon UK
    Geoff
    Moving the focus point is easy when you are on a tripod but I can't see why it would be better when you are handholding, but I haven't read the article so maybe I am not so much missing the point as just not in the same conversation.
     
  7. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2014
    France
    If doing several photos with the same framing, moving the focus point is more convenient imho.
    (when doing only one photo, I often get lazy and recompose, even if I know it's not the best thing to do...)
     
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  8. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2014
    France
    Interesting article.
    The paragraph on "artistic sense" is quite funny.
    I always thought his photos had something special, and that all of this way probably easy/natural for him.

    I'm also always surprised on what he says about OV3. I don't like (at all) the output I have with this software and think I get better results with anything else.
    However, I do like his photos and he uses OV3 (or C1 that is very close to OV3 in terms of colors, and I also hate the colors I get with C1).
    So I can't explain that... Maybe it's linked to the user, maybe to the subjects...
     
  9. exakta

    exakta Mu-43 Veteran

    251
    Jun 2, 2015
    His photos look like they do because he is the one composing them, it's really that simple. He's also willing to ask strangers if he can take their picture...I'm a shy person and have trouble doing that.

    Where he lives gives him lots of intersting opportunities, like the butterfly park or the food markets (and whatever those crazy twin towers are). When I lived in Korea, I also did a lot of street shooting in the marketplaces because they were so colorful.
     
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  10. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    Ming and Robin partnered up on Ming's blog when Robin left Olympus and Ming started to work for Hasselblad. Robin has been doing more and more posts as Ming has been backing away from the daily grind of writing.

    --Ken
     
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  11. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Northumberland
    Clones.
    No, really.
     
  12. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Walter
    And Robin continues to update his own blog occasionally.

    I agree that Robin does have a "look" or style. His way of disarming strangers and getting them to agree to and respond to close-up portraits is a skill I much admire and can't emulate. You can see how he connects with people. It's not something Ming can do, as skillful as he is. Robin also shoots some really interesting street photos, juxtaposing colors and geometry. There's always a bit of humor in his photos too. I admire his street photography. Not gutsy or friendly enough to emulate him. :)
     
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  13. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2014
    Maryland
    Loren
    Just have a bit of time for deeper musing...

    I’ve wondered myself if I’ve been developing a personal style in my photography. I have to imagine it’s usually not something easy to notice about oneself. There are things I like and/or that I’ve discovered in the course of expirementation that I use often, but they’re hardly unique. When it comes to composition, focusing, exposure and post processing, I’m mostly just applying the fundamentals and (sometimes more advanced) techniques I’ve learned - usually from others - as well as whatever my artistic vision sees.

    The artistic vision is what I would normally associate with a personal style, but I don’t think my creative eye has settled down in any one place. One of the things I love about photography is that there really are a lot of ways to do things, whether we’re talking technical or artistic variations. Maybe because I like that breadth and depth, I don’t feel like I’ve put a personal signature on any of them. Furthermore, I’m interested in an eclectic scope of genres (almost all of them, really). I don’t have any sort of subjects close to home that I can focus on, so whatever I shoot generally involves traveling to go out and find it, which also diversifies my photography.

    Maybe personal style is not all that important, because I mainly just shoot for myself. But just from a developmental standpoint, it’s something I think about.
     
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  14. spdavies

    spdavies Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Apr 9, 2013
    Hawaii
    Stephen
    I also wonder about this issue. I too like many different genres
    and I have read more than once that it is good to focus on one area
    so as to establish a "brand".
    It's not going to happen because I want to shoot whatever I want.
    Maybe one could work on a style for each genre that you want to work in.
    It's academic for me because I don't do this for income.
    But I could see it being important for someone trying to develop a career.
     
  15. Gerard

    Gerard Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 12, 2015
    Vleuten, Utrecht
    Developing a personal style is very difficult. How do you measure that?
    There are clear criteria in other areas. Time in the case of sports, like running, playing cadence in the case of playing the piano, understanding and applying color theory for drawing and painting.
    Practice produces measurable results.
    What about photography then? Measurable improvement of the IQ? The IQ is controlled in technical terms (sensor, lens, lightroom, computer, monitor, etc). Incidentally, IQ as seen on a monitor is also a product of the quality of that monitor. So I take the so-called IQ not very seriously. The painting of the girl with the pearl earring by Vermeer cannot be compared with a print of it or how it shows on a screen.
    The quest for one's own style must be sought in the relationship with and approach to the subject.
    David Hurn (On being a photographer) says that you can only photograph something or someone if you have an emotional connection with it. In his case his homeland: South Wales, UK.

    In the 4 years that I - more or less - seriously photograph, I see little to no improvement and certainly nothing resembling an own style.
    I have not followed his advice. I photograph everything. Without direction. Without vision.
    Now that I write this, I realize that I have to limit myself.
    I am as a person far from organized and I like to photograph clutter, debris or places where people leave their junk. That which can be found behind the facade.

    Back streets, like this one in Sarasota, Florida.
    I found the row of waste bins fascinating. I do not like the execution of the photo. I should at least have chosen other positions.

    F51A2BA2-3F96-43FC-858B-F3B32DD6FDF1.
     
  16. GBarrington

    GBarrington Mu-43 Top Veteran

    No, they are the same person! It's like the Actors Eric and Julia Roberts; why do you NEVER see them together even though they 'claim' to be siblings? The answer is obvious! There is ONE actor named "Roberts" with an incredible skill at make-up.
     
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  17. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2014
    Maryland
    Loren
    :hmmm: Hmmmm... sounds logical...
     
  18. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2014
    Maryland
    Loren
    I’ve heard that advice too. I’m not looking to ever go professional, either. The day I do is the day photography stops being fun. I mostly do it for the joy/journey of becoming better at creating something. In that light, achieving a personal style might be a sort of desirable milestone for some.

    My wife shoots with me, but she only cares about bird photography and food photography (the latter is most likely more about eating fine food than photographing it). Especially for food (shooting wildlife is oftentimes more about taking whatever you can get), I would think that finding a style she likes and honing her skills to it might make her a sort of specialist, if she wanted to be. She doesn’t think about that stuff, though.
     
  19. Egregius V

    Egregius V Mu-43 Veteran

    251
    Jun 14, 2015
    Massachusetts, USA
    Rev. Gregory Vozzo
    One thing Robin doesn't mention (unless I overlooked something) is his typical keeper rate. However, he does mention that he thinks he shoots more than many other photographers and is still learning. That's my biggest takeaway, along with the need to have fun. I find I need to make more room in my photography for experimentation, paying attention to certain details, and thinking about what I could be doing better. I need to take many more photos than I already do. If my heart's set on having fun, this is all so much easier and more fruitful.
     
  20. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2014
    Maryland
    Loren
    I wouldn’t know how to measure it, or that it should be. Art and style are too subjective and personal. I think it’s a good point about having a subject you care about and/or connect with. Maybe you can see the inner emotion and draw it out, or you can interpret it with your own emotion. The latter in particular is not an easy thing with photography, I think.

    I don’t think we “have” to do anything. It’s just a hobby for us, after all. My photography is usually in conjunction with something else... travel, birding, eating, etc. In part, it enriches those experiences, and I wouldn’t want to give any of that up by limiting myself.
     
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