Meet Legends of Light Danny and Julia Dong
Tell us a little about yourself… Who you are, where you’re from, what you shoot/specialize in.
We are Danny & Julia Dong. We're a husband and wife wedding photographer team based in the San Francisco bay area. I grew up in China and went to US for graduate school. During graduate school, I picked up photography and took photography classes in those two years. As a wedding photographer, I specialize in creating the WOW images with strong visual impact. I do my best to incorporate great environment into the wedding portrait to create my signature style shot. Julia started photography as my assistant but soon found her own passion and talent. Julia specializes in sexy and classy portrait for the modern bride. Many brides will request Julia to do Boudoir style portrait during their wedding day.
How did you get started in photography?
I started photography in college when I volunteered to be translator for a photography event in Shanghai, China. I helped photographers from different countries communicate with people in China. I loved hearing the photographer's perspective on city, on views, on people. I bought my first camera when I got my first paycheck from that work.
Julia started photography when I asked her to help me photograph a wedding as a lighting assistant. Julia requested a camera instead. Having only one camera body and one 85mm lens, she discovered her new interest and passion to photograph people.
What/who are some of your main influences?
I'm influenced by many photographers from different countries, such as Helmut Newton, Anne Leibovitz, and some great painters such as Vincent Van Gogh and Rembrandt. Julia is influenced by fashion photographers David Bailey and movie director Steven Spielberg.
When did you start shooting with Profoto?
We start shooting with Profoto in year 2014 when Profoto launched the B1 and B2.
What Profoto gear are you currently using?
We are currently using the Profoto A1, and Profoto B1.
Do you have a favorite lighting setup?
I like a simple two light setup in creating my signature style wedding portrait. One main light from 45 degree left or right side, one light from backlight to create hair rim light.
What is one thing you’re able to do with Profoto lights that you weren’t able to do before?
The Profoto A1 is our favorite mobile studio light and it's amazing. Here are just a few things we think only Profoto A1 can achieve (that a normal flash cannot do) :
- Fast recycle time for full power output: we shoot weddings in California, where people like outdoor ceremony such as beach weddings and vineyards weddings. During the ceremony time, most shots requires full power flash output. For traditional flash with AA battery, the recycle time is long and it will miss lots of moments. But with Profoto A1 Li-Ion battery, I can keep shooting with full power with no lag in recycle time and capture all the moments.
- Modeling light during the sunset portrait: Before we had the A1, photographers always had a hard time focusing when doing sunset portraits where we place the couple between camera and the sun. But with the modeling light, the camera can easy focus and won't miss a shot.
- Flash jump shots: with the Profoto A1, I can put the camera setting on fast continuous shutter mode with flash and the A1 won't miss a shot.
What is the most important piece of advice you’ve received pertaining to photography?
Photography is about light. As a wedding photographer, we have to become a master of lighting. The ability to master and use lighting to create impact image is essential to the success of today's wedding photographer.
What is your biggest challenge being an engagement and wedding photographer? How do you overcome it?
The biggest challenge being an engagement and wedding photographer is you cannot choose the weather, the location, or even time of the wedding. Once wedding date and venue is set, it's locked. No matter how tough the lighting situation, we have to find ways to achieve the best result. So, we have to learn to master all types of lighting situation and learn how to use lighting to help us achieve the best result. And there is no much time to think on the wedding day, So, we have to react quick and be skillful with lighting.
What is your dream assignment?
Our dream assignment is the destination weddings in places we have never been to. We love travel and love destination weddings. It's challenging, it's tough, but we feel so fulfilling when we deliver the best images to our client for their destination wedding memories. We have covered some destination assignment in Dubai, Maldives, Santorini, London, Paris, etc. But we still have a long list of destinations we haven't been to, such as Iceland, New Zealand, Africa, Spain, etc.
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