We love sharing these personal profiles of our favourite Australian professional photographers! Find out all about the person behind the lens in our Q&A series.
JINA ZHENG – STUDIO Z PHOTOGRAPHY, MELBOURNE
How did you get started as a photographer?
When I was 13, a family friend gave me his old Praktica SLR. I fell head over heels in love with photography. Unfortunately, I came from a very strict academic Asian family, who did not accept photography as a valid career choice. When my son was born in 2011, I made the decision to be brave and pursue photography full time.
What did life look like before photography?
I was an Architect and a university lecturer for 12 years before I stopped to pursue photography full time.
Tell us about a day in the life of a professional photographer.
Every day is different, because I do studio sessions, mini session days, as well as kindergarten photography.
Morning is usually reserved for shooting. Afternoon is filled with client ordering appointments, emails, culling/editing, admin, and a million other business-related tasks. 4-8pm is sacred family time. From 8:30-10pm I’m usually back on the computer finishing admin/editing tasks, doing on-going photography education, social media posts, etc.
Any memorable moments?
A client was late for her session. I called her to find out where she was. She said she was knocking on my front door and no one answered. I ran to my front door but there was no one there. After much confusion, it turned out that Google took her to Stevens Road in St Albans, over an hour drive away. She had chosen me as her baby’s photographer because she thought I was located near her. I was ready to cancel the session, but she decided to make the drive. We had a lovely session, and despite the big drive, she has come back every year since then.
If you could photograph 1 thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Sitting babies. They just make my heart melt, I can’t ever get sick of photographing that age group.
What is the best thing about your job?
I fell in love with photography when I was a young girl, because I was attracted to beauty, whether it’s a flower, or a dewdrop, or a moment. I could capture and preserve it in a photograph, and revisit it again and again. Being a professional photographer means I can do what I love every day, and capture and preserve beautiful moments for my clients. There is simply nothing better.
Tell us something we don’t know about professional photography …
A ‘raw’ photo (i.e. raw file straight out of camera) is like raw fish. It only becomes a culinary delight after it’s been prepared by a great chef. On the other hand, a great chef needs the raw fish to be of the highest quality, if (s)he was to create something extraordinary.
If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be doing?
Probably still an Architect, or an Art Historian, or a digital artist, or a painter.
Here’s a blank cheque! What are you going to spend it on for your business?
A big warehouse-size studio in a good location, with a wall of south-facing windows. Decked out with Pro-foto strobes and Oliphant backdrops.
If you could photograph someone famous, who would it be and why?
Haha I can’t think of any famous babies other than the royal babies. I’m just not very interested in photographing adults, famous or not.
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