Elinna Yao was our recent winner of our #GeorgesCelebrations19 photography competition. The theme was to take a photo of celebrations whether it be a party, an important moment, an achievement or just a moment in time where everything freezes for a joyful occasion. We sat down a bit with Elinna to see what made her tick.
1. What gear do you use?
Sony mirrorless all the way – Sony a7ii + Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG DSM Art / Sony 70-200mm f/4 G OSS
2. What type of photography are you into?
Landscape – Because I’m too impatient to work with people… ?
3. How did you start shooting? What inspires you?
I’ve always loved taking photos, because I find so much joy revisiting them. It’s like I get to relive the feelings I had when I was there. But, I started taking it seriously when one of my best friends booked a photography trip in Feb 2017 to Hang Sơn Đoòng – the biggest cave in the world. I bought my new Sony kit from Georges and set out on a 5 day expedition with a group of 10 photographers from around the world and started to document this ethereal place. Meeting all these wonderful photographers, learning from them, seeing their perspectives and being in one of the most beautiful and untouched places on earth really inspired me to explore, document through photography and meet amazing people along the way. This led me to meeting my boyfriend (@toose52), who is an avid photographer. I have found inspiration in his motivation, dedication and his work every day. I’ve always loved learning new things, so, photography was a great way to learn a new skill and finally figure out how to use Photoshop!
4. Walk us through your winning photo for #GeorgesCelebrations19? What did you do to set up your shot? How did you shoot it?
Continuing along the lines of meeting people, I went to the Georges Australia Day fireworks meetup at Bradleys Head led by Matt Hudson. I knew exactly where I wanted to set up to get a direct shot of the Harbour Bridge and / or Opera House (depending on where the fireworks were going to be). We had many opportunities to test out the shots throughout the night as fireworks were set off every 30 minutes. This shot was taken on the last cycle of fireworks marking the end of the entertainment. I had chosen to zoom in close (200mm) to the Opera House because the fireworks were being set off directly behind it. I wanted it to seem as if the fireworks were a colourful backdrop to showcase our iconic Sydney Opera House. The compression from the zoom really helped with this effect. But it was all thanks to Matt Hudson who studied where the fireworks barges were set and the wind direction that night. He found a perfect spot for us to take these photos.
5. Any tips for anyone starting out?
Find what inspires you and surround yourself with people who shoot in the style you like and know what they are doing. I often have troubles finding a composition I like, whereas my boyfriend can see compositions before he has even taken out the camera. I guess this comes with experience, but I highly recommend keen beginners to go to meetups and see what other people are shooting. This will give you an idea of how a specific shot can be composed and what settings to use to get the best results. I learned a lot from getting out there, doing and asking, not from study and watching YouTube videos. I was lucky enough to find patient people who shared their knowledge with me and accompanied me to beautiful places to shoot. If you surround yourself with the right people, the inspiration will come and your knowledge base will increase. Also, Photoshop and Lightroom are extremely powerful tools that every photographer should know how to use. Spend the time to learn what can be done, and how to do it. You will be amazed at how intricate these programs are and how they can turn a “normal” looking picture into something spectacular! Happy shooting!