chasing Von Wong ;)

Have you seen Von Wong’s shoot for No? NO? Go check it out. Warning though – you might start dreaming of it. Like I did.

I got obsessed with it. I wanted to try similar light set-up. No, we don’t have $20K equipment, and did not built rain rig… yet. (on a side note – I’m sure Von Wong would have delivered same level results with any lights, because it all comes down to imagination, skills and taste, hardware is secondary) We used our old Alien Bees starting with set-up similar to provided by Von Wong in the aforementioned blog post.

While the main interested was in achieving dramatic look of a subject, effects of water and fog were of interest too.

One lovely Sunday night Alexander, my better half, and I decided to play in the studio.



Sidenote – Von Wong captured regular people, not professional athletes. It was interesting to see what this light set-up can do for us.



…Seeing some definition in my abs was a pleasant surprise. 😉 This light can do magic!

As you see in the above image we did try to add water. Tiny amount, suitable for our cozy plush studio:


With some added texture and wet skin it looks way more interesting than without water…



We tried fog as well using fog machine. It looks interesting as a background, yet very difficult to manage. As soon as the fog reaches the subject area, it diffuses the light.

and it gives different, softer, feel to the image.


just for fun… “before” (Iphone selfie) and “after” 😉


Now what?.. Now I want more! The fog that I usually love to play with is out for this set-up. Too difficult to manage, gives softer feel. Water however is in, and looks like rain rig can bring the shoot to the next level…

We found that exact positioning of a subject is very important, few steps from the intended spot gave very different results…

And lastly – Monochrome mode. I find it gives clearer picture of what is captured, and often use it even if the intended result is in color, but rarely see photographers using it. Just in case, when shooting in RAW color information is preserved. Not so with JPEGs.

Questions? Shoot.

If you’re on a similar path, share your journey!

Big thanks to Von Wong for inspiration and an example.

12 Response Comments

  • António LopesFebruary 6, 2015 at 7:26 am

    Absolutely amazing photos!!

    I had seen von wongs pics, and instantly fell in love with them, and imediatelly started to think how could i achieve simillar results without having 20K Gear.

    Now that i’ve seen someone else doing it, i know it is possible to achieve it.

    Contragulations for your amazing photos. They are certainly a source of inspiration (along with von wongs photos)

    All the best

    • TatianaFebruary 6, 2015 at 12:41 pm

      Thank you so much Antonio!

  • SimonFebruary 6, 2015 at 7:47 am

    Well done! Really cool to see people inspired to try stuff! Great results.

    • TatianaFebruary 6, 2015 at 12:37 pm

      Simon, thank you! I went to your site, and let me say wow – amazing work!

  • MohamedFebruary 6, 2015 at 8:30 am

    Benjamin Von wong is an inspiration.
    After watching his shoot I decided to try it too, didn’t turn out as good as Von wongs or yours but something similar minus the fog effect, got a lot of positive feedback. It was very self uplifting keeping in mind I just started off as a photographer (still training) and having very basic equipments.

    Lastly, love your pictures, turned out amazing.

    • TatianaFebruary 6, 2015 at 12:36 pm

      Mohamed, this is awesome! Show! (I don’t see link to your work). Thank you for kind words!

  • Dean IngFebruary 7, 2015 at 8:52 am

    Tried this today! Tip for the smoke machine (if it is a water/glycerine type NOT dry ice) is to use a bit of the flexible ducting stuff with a few bottles of frozen water in it in front of the smoke machine, makes it way thicker and stay lower! Our shoot today was about empowering people with a low self esteem, here is the result!

    • TatianaMarch 8, 2015 at 10:37 pm

      Thank you for sharing! Great work! How did you manage water in the studio?

  • AminFebruary 8, 2015 at 3:50 am

    Wow Tatiana, such an inspiration , loved the pictures and it shows a great deal what one can achieve with minimal gear. Time to get my speedlights out and think outside the box.

    • TatianaMarch 8, 2015 at 10:35 pm

      Thank you Amin! Yes, totally, gear is so secondary!

  • Dean IngFebruary 9, 2015 at 11:02 pm

    How ironic! I was doing another Von Wong inspired shoot next weekend and now I will be assisting in a REAL Von Wong shoot on the 16th and 17th at the Pinnacles just out of Perth Western Australia!

    • TatianaMarch 8, 2015 at 10:34 pm

      This is fantastic!!! Have fun!