I'm excited to introduce you to Peng Shi, whom I met on Fine Art America. I was blown away by his landscape photography, before discovering the rest of his portfolio. You are in for a treat!
Born in Beijing, China, Peng began his career as a web and graphic designer. After a decade in the field, he decided to quit his job and travel the world. He rediscovered his love for photography in the process and has not stopped since. He is passionate about timelapse photography, contributes images to iStockphoto, Shutterstock, and is a Google Trusted Photographer for VR tours. His work is featured on BBC Earth, Baidu Travel, Samsung China, and various Chinese travel sites.
Cendrine Marrouat: What inspired you to become a photographer? Any particular story?
Peng Shi: I picked up photography purely by accident. While I was in college, I took photography for two semesters in order to fulfill my credits. At the time, I enjoyed developing films and working in the darkroom more than taking the actual photos. The darkroom process was very calming, and unlike digital photos, you could not see the final result until the very end, so each photo was something special. Watching it materialize in the chemical bath was especially satisfying.
After school, I worked in a corporate environment; photography became a hobby. In 2013, I decided to quit my job and travel the world for a year. That was when I really started to get back into photography. I enjoy the ability to work at my own pace and to travel to different parts of the world for "work".
CM: What is your favorite subject to photograph?
PS: My favorite subject is mountains. I love landscape photography in general, but I especially love mountains. They are majestic, unique and powerful. I can visit the same mountain every day and get a completely different photo depending on the season, weather and lighting. CM: What makes a good photo? PS: It depends on the subject, but in general, a good photo stirs the emotions in the viewer. Obviously, it helps if the photo is well composed and well processed, but I have photos shot on cell phone that people like just as much as the ones I shot with a DSLR.
CM: What is the photo you prefer in your portfolio? Why?
PS: Edge of the World. This photo has a good combination of exotic location, dramatic landscape, excellent natural lighting, perfect weather, and luck (the para-glider). I am also satisfied with the technical aspect of the shot. The shot is sharp, with high enough resolution for large wall prints.
CM: Any photographers you admire?
PS: I really like the works of Max Rive. He is a photographer from the Netherlands and his landscape photos are stunning. He also does an excellent job of putting a sense of scale to his photos by utilizing models standing at precarious places.
CM: What piece of advice would you give photographers who are starting with online promotion?
PS: Make sure your work is good. No matter how hard you try to promote yourself, if your work is not good enough, promotion will not translate to sales.
There is a lot of work involved in promoting yourself. It takes time, too. Put your best work forward and be patient.
CM: Anything else you would like to share?
PS: Don't stop learning, don't stop looking at other successful photographers' work, and keep shooting RAW.
The more I learn, the more critical I am of my own work. There are plenty of photos I thought were the best in the world two years ago, but now, they look very flawed. I'm sure as I improve, the photos I love today might be rejected by myself five years from now.
Fortunately, I have been shooting RAW since 2005, which means that all of my old work can be revisited and reprocessed to my new standards without loss of quality.