Many wedding photographers work with an established scenario carried out in a predictable way. Kevin Then, however, is a photographer whose work redefines the genre of high-end wedding photography. Named Hasselblad Master under the Wedding Social category in 2008, Then has continued to demonstrate aesthetic brilliance and command of the latest photographic technological developments in fashion and design. The result is an international client base and invitations to speak about what he does to raise the bar for excellence in wedding photography.
Some photographers, especially those whose work is recognized internationally, may find that a particular style is associated with their name. Then has picked up the title, at least in a number of online blogs, as the “Master of Romanticism.” It’s title he can live with, he said in a recent interview with photo technique. What follows is what Then explained about creating the amazing images that have built his international reputation.
PT: What is the inspiration for your “romantic” style of photography?
KT: I think that the term “romanticism” does describe the intense feelings I have always had while shooting. It later became my style. Working to achieve an image that is both dramatic and majestic turned out to be considered romantic.
PT: Is most of your work involved in shooting actual wedding parties, or do you also do work in advertising?
KT: My work involves both wedding and fashion photography. My clients include actual brides and grooms, but I also create images for designers of wedding dresses and shots for magazine layouts where I use professional models. My published work is found in a wide variety of media sources, including newspapers and mag- azines, on the Internet and my social network has helped to market my products worldwide.
PT: You are also known for using Hasselblad equipment. Do you have a formal relationship with Hasselblad?
KT: I’m involved in their promotion for the launch of one of their newest models, the Hasselblad H4D-40. I’m proud to say that I am one of three photographers chosen worldwide for this promotion and the only Asian.
PT: As a Malaysian photographer, do you find that your work reflects the culture of your country?
KT: I think I portray the culture of Malaysia through the models’ customs, actions, traditions and most importantly, the ambience that can be felt through the settings of my photographs.
PT: You work in both a studio and on location. Which of these do you prefer?
KT: I mostly prefer working on location even though I also do enjoy shooting in the studio. I like working on location where I can exert my creativity by wholly shooting outdoors. Furthermore, it is much more challenging to be shooting outdoors.
Often, there are some undesired circumstances and situations occurring, such as controlling the different brightness from the light rays, and I do need to adjust the lens in order to capture the image brilliantly and majestically. The advantage of shooting in the studio is that I am able to control and adjust the lighting the way I want it to be.
PT: When you create an image, is the concept decided before the shoot, or does it develop during the shoot, or both?
KT: Well, I would say both. In handling each individual task involved in the shoot, I always take the time to review the location beforehand. This might be my principle responsibility for success in my job. While I am at the location, there are some aspects that I have to attend to, such as the lighting source, the view and surrounding environment to produce the most brilliant and desired photograph.
PT: Who selects the locations—you or your clients?
KT:Mostly, I am the one selecting the location. Even though a site may be suggested by my clients, I always look at the bigger picture to see how it might work for them. In this situation, I do give my opinion to them, in a way to let them have another option to consider, given my professional experience in photography. My highest priority in taking the photograph is to make my clients look their best in a manner that most suits them.
PT: Please describe the way you work with lighting on location.
KT: For example, in the image of the model in the forest Fantasy, my concept in setting up the lighting is using a main light source at a 45 degree angle in front and an additional backlight directly behind the subject. For The Inner Side, there are equal amounts of lighting set both behind and in front of the subject to create the desired image. I also use available light as a light source. In fact, that’s one of my favorite sources of light. I always attempt to make use of every source of light and element available for the image during a location shoot.
PT: Do you work with a staff to help with the shoots?
KT: To me, a perfect well-captured shoot can only be done with the help and effort of everyone on my team. In the same breath, it is just like a family working hand in hand to produce a majestic image that every one of our team has imagined.
PT: Do you do post-production work yourself? KT: Yes, for some certain projects, I do handle it myself.
However I also do have my own art design team.
PT: What inspired you to become a photographer?
KT:My interest in photography and the enthusiasm and satisfaction I get from my passion for photography has motivated me to keep on improving myself, especially in my photographic skills.
Product Resources: Camera: Hasselblad H4D 40; Lenses: 150mm, 28mm, 80mm; Lighting: Bowen Travel Kit GM 500 with reflector.