Laowagrapher/ Hao Meng

Name: Hao Meng
Location: Japan
Which kind of photography do you specialize in?
Portraits, daily snapshots, and sometimes street photos

What camera(s) are you using?
Fujifilm X-T3, Sony A7III

I’m from China and have been living in Japan for more than 10 years.

What does photography mean to you?

A photo is some kind of storage of personal memories, like a compressed capsule. Every time I come back to see the photos I took, it is not only what you captured in the frame comes out, but also the weather of the day, the smell of the air, the cloud and the birds flew by, and all things you were surrounded by when the shutter was pressed.

Whose work has influenced you most? (Instagram @)

There are so many great photographers on Instagram and it is really difficult to pick up all those I like at one time, here are some of the different styles, they may be not the best but I’m usually inspired by their works:

@henrifilm @martabevacqua @ioegreer @lauramakabresku

What is the most rewarding part of being a photographer for you?

I think it may be the chance to know more creative people. I love listening to their stories, the artists they like, the poems they remember best, and places they have traveled to…

What is the key for portrait photography?

Good communication and common sense between the photographers and the models are the doors to make good portrait photography, I think. And all others, light, composition, or post-production come after.

Where is your favorite spot for portrait photography? (tagging the Instagram location)

I like the seaside, riverside, and park very much and I often go to the places myself. Here are some of my favorite spots in Tokyo:

– Odaiba: known as a famous dating spot but if you walk along the seaside, you can find some really nice and clean view to composite your portrait photos.

– Riverside near Shin-Koiwa and Hirai: Almost one of the best locations I’d like to have a walk or take some landscape photos. Sunset is the most beautiful time there and you can sea Skytree over there through the river.

What makes your portraits stand out?

First, photographers that are obsessed with night views. If you want to take a well exposed photo in low light, you need a lens with a wide enough aperture to let in more light. Using this lens that goes down to f/0.95, for example, is a great way to let enough light in and make the frame bright.

Second, for portrait photography. The 33mm short focal length with a fast f/0.95 aperture allows you to capture stunning images with a shallow depth-of-field, letting your subjects stand out from their backgrounds. Moreover, it allow you to collect more light towards the sensor and therefore reduce the exposure time to better freeze movements or reduce the ISO sensitivity to obtain a better image quality.

How do you educate yourself to take better portraits?

To see others’ photos, to read books (not limited to photography books), to listen to music, to see movies, and try to love someone. This idea from a saying by Ansel Adams: You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.