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  • Writer's pictureSigma Lambda Beta

Interview with Brother Quay Hu

Sigma Lambda Beta has some of the most creative Brothers around! We sit down with Brother Quay Hu (Rho Alpha) to talk about his career in photography.

Interview with Quay Hu

Hello Quay, thank you for taking the time to speak to us. What type of camera equipment do you typically use? 

I am a sponsored Sony photographer so, I am a Sony ambassador. I am part of what is called Sony Alpha Imaging  Collectives. There are roughly around eighty of us, I am one of two or three in the Southeast region. Essentially, I do shoot Sony. However, I shot Nikon and Canon just about my whole life, mostly Canon, then I switched over to Nikon because I liked the color and the glass better. I had a Nikon D60 and a Canon T3i then upgraded to full frame Canon 5D Mark 2 then a Canon 6D. I was traveling at the time and it was a lot of equipment to carry and eventually, a friend asked me to look into Sony. My friend said that Sony cameras are more compact and simply that the technology is much better. I researched and eventually switched to Sony roughly three and a half, almost four, years ago. My current setup Sony A7R2 and Sony A7R3. My go-to lenses are 16-35mm f/2.8, 35mm f/1.4, 70-200 f/2.8. Most known on Instagram for landscapes but, I actually do a decent amount of portraits, corporate brand work and manage social media accounts as my business model.

You travel around the world a lot. What is your go-to equipment, considering that you can only take a limited amount of equipment?

During my travels, my go-to is my A7R3 with the 16-35mm f/2.8.

Considering how successful you are, I can imagine the amount of equipment you own. Do you own any equipment that you regret buying? Or do not use as much as you thought you would?

Right now… not really because I eventually sold everything. However, before I used to have this 55mm f/1.8, which was a very sharp lens but, the 55 focal points was not for me. Also a couple camera bags. I have issues buying the right bag and I end up buying a bunch of them. I have some sitting around and I ultimately use one or two bags.

Do you primarily do landscape photography?

No, landscape photography is what I am most known for and ultimately, my passion. That is why you see a lot of landscapes and travel pictures on my personal social media. My camera is essentially the tool I use to capture the moments. I primarily do product photography and social media managing.

In terms of post-processing, do you have a particular workflow? Do you use any lens filters?

I do not use filters however, I used to. To me, filters are just another piece of equipment, sometimes a bit of a hassle. I do use [Adobe] Lightroom, Photoshop and Camera Raw For a single shot, if I know I will spend a ton of time editing it, I will use Camera Raw to initiate the coloring. Then use Photoshop to clean it up, edit layers, stack images or add and remove objects, if necessary. I use Lightroom solely to edit in batch, hence when I have more than one photos.

How did you educate yourself about taking better pictures?

I took a couple of photography classes in college as electives but, it did not really start there. I think it started more on Youtube, to be honest. Youtube has tons of free stuff and tutorials. I also utilize Facebook groups because people consistently ask a lot of questions and give advice. Simply, going out there and shooting is the best way. About four or five years ago, I would take my camera everywhere and during my lunch breaks I would walk around my work area and shoot or I would drive out to places and shoot. However much time, I found a moment to shoot something.

On your Instagram, we came across a long exposure image of a rocket going off. The caption mentioned that it is one of your favorites, is it still your favorite? Do you have other favorite pictures?

That rocket shot is probably my most popular image. It is hard to say which is my favorite because the experiences are a bit better. I would say my favorite image is this shot of the Northern Lights in Alaska that I took a couple of weeks ago. The colors looked incredible and that is probably my favorite picture and moment because I never seen The Northern Lights, definitely my favorite all time thus far.  

A post shared by Q | Florida (@aroundq) on Apr 10, 2018 at 1:48pm PDT

Who would you say influenced you as a photographer?

Somebody that has influenced me... I would say two photographers. One is Michael Shainbim from San Francisco and Jude Allen from San Francisco.

We want to talk about your company, Creative Concepts. You are President of the company and can you tell us what is like managing a business like that?

It is a little hard. My business is based and specialize in both creating content and managing social media platforms. What we do is create content and then post those images for the same company. Essentially, we manage both the content and social media aspects. We do not do any marketing and we strictly stick to management. I do have two contract employees who I send to do a shoot for a particular client.

So essentially, you gain clientele from other business to simply produce content for them?

Yes, for instance, I have this male grooming company. I shoot all of their products or anything they need to be shot and then take that material and post it online for them.

Considering that, has any of your work been featured in mass media? Magazines? Television?

I won a couple of awards. There is a PBS newscast about me and another individual as well. That would be just about my biggest publication. I did work with a bunch of brands as well.

It looks like you are successful and doing well for yourself. Is there one thing you wish you would have like to know about the photography business when you were an amateur photographer?

I wish I would have had more guidance on how to price my services. That is one of the hardest things to do, to know how much you are worth and pricing yourself properly so you can get more business. Also, I wish I would have known to focus on local businesses just as much, if not more, than national brands.

Lastly, we want to point out that you have over sixty thousand followers on Instagram. We want to pick your brain in terms of what works for you to gain that big of a following. Also if you have any advice for those who wish to have that amount of exposure for their artwork?

First, you have to understand that likes on social media does not translate to how good your photos are. Secondly, photography is very subjective so there is a specific market that likes your work and you just have to capitalize it. As far as growth, the biggest thing is engagement. Engaging users by commenting on pictures or responding to comments on your own posts. Answer any questions presented, respond to the direct messages. People want to speak and know you as a person and your pictures are a part of who you are. I met a lot of people and travel friends through Instagram that have inspired me. That's how you truly grow your social media.

Sound advice. Thank you for your time and sharing your thoughts. We wish you the best!

A post shared by Q | Florida (@aroundq) on Apr 10, 2018 at 1:48pm PDT

A post shared by Q | Florida (@aroundq) on Apr 10, 2018 at 1:48pm PDT

A post shared by Q | Florida (@aroundq) on Apr 10, 2018 at 1:48pm PDT


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