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How To Salvage a Photo Shoot When Everything Goes Wrong | Von Wong

By Hanssie on June 9th 2015

ben-von-wong-3As photographers, we are problem solvers. We look for the magic numbers (by way of ISO, shutter speed, and aperture) to unlock the combination to amazing imagery. We calculate when the sun will be at the optimal place to help us produce breathtaking pictures. We search for the right locations to place our subjects and frame them just so, for that image that people will stare at in awe. A good photographer is a good problem solver and to be a good problem-solving photographer, you need to be flexible and be able to think outside of the box.

There’s a reason we feature the work of Benjamin Von Wong quite a bit. Ben’s work is nothing short of remarkable as he strives to push himself creatively and passionately each project. He is a master at thinking outside of the box. (He’s also a very nice, down to earth guy). Each one of Ben’s photo shoots seem to be in another exotic locale – in the middle of a shipwreck underwater in Bali or on top of skyscrapers – and it’s his willingness to fearlessly try something completely new and different that makes his work stand out in the industry.

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Earlier this year, Ben was in Australia for a speaking engagement and planned a shoot at the Pinnacles, on the suggestion of a fellow photographer. As the best-laid plans tend to do, Ben ran into a major issue the last moment. The project was centered around some elaborate headpieces that would not arrive on time.

This meant two choices: I could either cancel the entire project, disappoint my team ready to drive from up to 7 hours away to help assist, and twiddle my thumbs… or try to find a solution and shoot regardless. I opted for the latter.

A last minute scramble ensued and with no plan in place, and using a camera that he’d never shot with before (Sony A7R + Zeiss 16-35mm + Para 133), Ben set out to do what he does best – make pretty pictures. Battling wind and shutter lag by using teamwork and a little ingenuity, Ben was able to once again knock it out of the park with some gorgeous images. You can read Ben’s entire account of the shoot in his original blog post here.


Watch the behind the scenes video below where Ben explains the process.

You can see more of Benjamin Von Wong’s work on his website here.

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Warren Senewiratne

    A fun photographer and and a fun team.. what more can you ask for?

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  2. Jesper Ek

    Just one of those days..

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  3. Michael LaNasa

    I really enjoyed this one. I so rarely shoot in a studio and have often faced challenges like missing product/props, models dropping out, locations being unavailable… and beyond. It’s so nice to hear that someone like Benjamin Von Wong faces these issues without breaking stride, and I loved the breakdown of his problem solving (read his blog post too) that had to happen throughout the planning stages.

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    • Vonw Wong

      The good news is that you get better with dealing with mishaps with time!

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  4. Raoni Franco

    “Ben’s work is nothing short of remarkable as he strives to push himself creatively and passionately each project”…………C´mon, really?? really? He uses models in crazy costumes (crazy, not beautiful IMO) doing weird faces and poses on exotic locations. I just trully can´t see what the hype is all about.

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    • Thomas Horton

      I fear that to some people there is an artistic quality with just being unique.

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    • Hanssie

      I suppose that’s what makes photography subjective. What’s your cup of tea may not be mine…and vice versa.

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    • Ben Perrin

      Have you seen his other work? It’s amazing. Just remember it’s much easier to judge someone than to do the work yourself and I seriously respect Ben for the amount of effort he puts in and the way he can assemble a team to work together on a project. You have to respect that even if the images aren’t your style.

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    • Raoni Franco

      I respect him, he is a human being doing his work without harming anyone. That is awesome and I respect that. I just don´t get why his work is always showing up everywhere, everytime!! I would like to understand. Is it because of some incredible network skill he has?? I really don´t think the reason is the quality of his work. There are many talented photographers out there that don´t get a fraction of the attention that Ben gets (I´m soooo not one of those, don´t get me started on the “easy to say, hard to do” silliness). So, again, I just trully can´t see what the hype is all about. Anyone care to help me? For example, take one of the photos from this post and explain to me why it is awesome. I’m not defying anyone, I just want to understand. Thanks.

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    • Vonw Wong

      Actually you’re right – my work is not always the best from a photographic standpoint – but what I do better than most, objectively, is tell a good story.

      With each project is a story, and when the images aren’t the most amazing (like this one for example), there is still an interesting story for people to relate to and a journey and thought process that has something that people can learn from.

      It doesn’t come for free – I spend hours trying to figure out how to write something engaging and create a piece that people actually want to read, see and share.

      I also probably put a lot more time and effort trying to get my work out there once it’s been created as opposed to just focusing on the creation of one-offs.

      I think if you stopped thinking of me as a photographer and more of an entertainer in the photography world, perhaps it makes a little more sense :)

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    • Raoni Franco

      Damn it Ben!! This way you´re gonna have a new fan! lol……..Seriously, thanks for the reply and the time man. You´ve added a new perspective to the mix and I understand it. The photo is not necessarily king, you have other cards up your sleeve. You gotta teach me some of those moves man!

      ps: have you already explored the world of ancient magicians? Cards, old wood stages, hats, rabbits, plumes and weird mustaches?

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    • Vonw Wong

      I create content with the intent for it to be shareable, useful and inspirational to people – not to brag, sell prints, or sell workshops. It’s not right or wrong, just the way I’ve put myself out there. There are tons of succesful people out there and all for different reasons.

      As for the magician concept, not yet. I did love the Prestige though hmmm…

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    • Stephen Jennings

      Well.. Wong himself said what I was going to say. It’s about the story.. I follow him on FB and I don’t think I’ve seen a dull update. He takes photos of models in crazy costumes, doing weird faces and poses, in places I could only dream of visiting. And it’s freaking awesome. It’s fun to read, usually pretty funny at that, and inspirational as far as ideas and such. I mean for as popular as he is, he has to be doing something right? The internets didn’t pluck him out of nowhere for no reason and force people to follow him.

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    • Dustin Baugh

      Ben takes good pictures and yes others take just as good if not better but he also markets himself very well and maintains and upbeat personalty.

      Nobody wants to watch videos of a photographer that spends all their time being negative and criticizing everything.

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  5. Thomas Horton

    Not my cup o’ pixels but interesting.

    Do people actually buy these pictures? If so, good on him!

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    • Vonw Wong

      Nope, but I have an awesome time creating them and I get to visit the most awesome places.

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