The raw and candid emotions that competitive sports bring out reveal the passion of athletes in the game, and much like these sportsmen, photographers also have endurance to their craft. CY Fan Photo is a duo that are in the game together, capturing the accomplished athletes of Hong Kong in their element.
Whilst Fan is the man behind the lens, his partner, CY, has the role of manager and assistant. The couple knew instantly that two heads are better one and therefore started the business together. Their teamwork proves strong having met in high school and completing their second year together recently.
Whilst still in high school, Fan acquired his first Nikon DSLR, and as all his friends were using Nikon, they were able to swap gears around and experiment. It was only when he started university that he had the time to full gain some technical knowledge and improve his technique.
“This is when I realized pursuing a photography career is more rewarding than just earning money. It is about the an attitude in photography, the accumulation of knowledge, experience and vision of myself. I am always excited to create better images, meet new people, and learn new things.”
Chasing the Olympic standard - Editorial for Runner's World HK - D800, ISO 100, F/8, 1/800s, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED
Chasing the Olympic standard - Editorial for Runner's World HK - D800, ISO 100, f/8, 1/500s, AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II at 110mm
Brothers together - Editorial for Football Weekly HK - D800, ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/1000s, AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II at 102mm
Brothers together - Editorial for Football Weekly HK - D800, ISO 100, f/9, 1/320s, AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II at 70mm
Shooting sporting images came naturally as Fan enjoyed a lot of sports before university, and this has helped him discover new perspectives in photography from his experiences of the game. “You need to know how the game is played, this is what is important about shooting sports photography – what are the correct forms and decisive moments to be captured.”
Many of his shoots require him to direct the subject, communicating and adjusting their technique to get the right shot. The action and the setting go hand-in-hand, and Fan is careful to choose places which present the right tone of colours, ambient light and composition.
“Planning is very important in every shoot, but when it comes to sports portraits, getting the athlete to feel comfortable and safe is the vital. Light stands can often obstruct them, or there can be issues if I get too close to my subject when using wide angle lens. I always make sure they are safe from hitting anything around.”
Regardless of the focal length of the lens, Fan loves to use lights. He either creates a main light or adds artificial lighting into the scene to create the feel and emotion he is looking for. This is what adds the drama and contrast. During a shoot he will always have a number of items on him - his Nikon D800 with flash trigger attached, his AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II telephoto zoom lens to get warped close up shots, a wide angle lens that enables him to create unique images with distorted perspective, speed lights or studios lights, and a tripod if needed.
The kick - Poster for the 26th Biennial Intervarsity Games - D800, ISO 50, f/5.6, 1/320s, AF-S DX NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED at 16mm
First-step - A sports series about the hall I'm living in, Ricci Hall - D800, ISO 100, f/3.5, 1/2s, AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II at 185mm
Ping-pong - A sports series about the hall I'm living in, Ricci Hall - D800, ISO 200, f/8, 1/2s, AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II at 190mm
Rainbow flick - A sports series about the hall I'm living in, Ricci Hall - D800, ISO 200, f/8, 1/2s, AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II at 90mm
Run from where I born - Editorial for Runner's World HK - D800, ISO 250, f/8, 1/500s, AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G
Fan follows the 3P’s rule when shooting: Planning, Photographing and Post-Processing. Planning includes getting to know his subject thoroughly and bringing their story to life. One particularly memorable shoot was with International Hong Kong footballer Yapp Hung Fai, a goalkeeper renowned for his passion on the field.
“If you search his name, you can find images of him shouting and screaming. I wanted to recreate that picture with my style and lighting. The hardest part was how to get the emotion right, as there was not an exciting game going on at the time. The only way to get the image I wanted was to demonstrate, so I told him I wanted him to shout as loud as he could and I did the same to show him. He looked very shocked for a moment but he performed very well afterwards, despite his teammates laughing and imitating him on the other side of the pitch!”
Having started as hobby shooter to becoming a photographer to professional athletes, Fan has never lost sight of his beginnings, still eager to learn and grow. “Photography is special to me as it enriches my life experience. I have treated photography as a ‘business’ for four months only and I have had an exciting journey already.”
CY Fan Photo are a young couple turned photography duo, whilst Fan handles the visuals, CY is in charge of management, make up and also works as his assistant. The duo’s team dynamic works well for their action imagery shot all around Hong Kong.