Summer is in full swing and wedding season is moving in. And in keeping up with the season, Wedding Photographer Johnny Cheng invited his girlfriend to a spur-of-the-moment shoot using the his new Petzval Lens. With the Petzval, he managed a confluence of grassy meadows and the lens' swirly bokeh effect, resulting in soft-focused images to fall in love with. Read on to hear what this Georgia-based wedding photographer has to say about his Petzval experience.
Name: Johnny Cheng
Location: Atlanta, GA
Camera: Canon 5d2, Mamiya rb67
Hey Johnny, tell us a little bit about yourself.
I love me some sunlight. Dogs are awesome. I enjoy gardening, I’m a vegetarian (except when I travel), I love audiobooks, also, a good laugh. Pizza. I’m nice.
How did you start photography, and what subjects do you prefer to shoot?
In 8th grade I saved the lunch money my parents gave me and I used it to buy my first camera. Later, in college, I bought by first DSLR and my life changed forever. My favorite subject to shoot would definitely be people but I’ll shoot anything in good light.
Why did you eventually choose to shoot weddings?
Everyone’s always so happy and there’s just so much love, you can feel it. I like that.
How do you think does your work differ from other, more classical, wedding photographers?
I make it my priority to get creative shots. I’m always trying to see what I can do differently to make things more interesting. My ultimate goal is to capture the emotions of the day. I love bright and clean. Keep it timeless is what I always say.
Your use of color and saturation in your images is really impressive. Where do you draw inspiration from for your wedding photographs?
Thank you! I really like to look through catalogs for inspiration; Jcrew and Anthropology are a couple of my favorites. I like going to Barnes and Nobles and flipping though magazines too.
Please share an interesting story from a shoot.
There was a styled shoot a year and a half ago where one of the models couldn’t make it. So this random girl filled in for her last minute. That random girl is now my girlfriend; lucky me huh?
When you opened your Petzval Lens, what were your first thoughts?
Whoa, pretty cool. This is different. I like the brass. What should I shoot?
What do you like best about the Petzval Lens?
The creamy swirly background. It’s just so different from what I’m used to; different is good.
Tell us a little bit about what you shot with the lens.
Chaviano Couture was kind enough to let me borrow one of their beautiful wedding gowns so I made my girlfriend put the dress on, told her not to get any ideas, then went to a park and played around with the Petzval.
What advice would you give to someone who is going to use the Petzval Lens for the first time?*
It’s pretty simple, I did find it was easier for me to manually focus in live view instead of through the view finder. But really just go out and shoot with it.
So, what’s next? Any plans or future projects?
Just keep making pictures that I like. I plan on doing more traveling and seeing how the light is on the other side of the world. The plan is to fly to Europe this summer. I eventually want to print a book with pictures from my travels.
Big thanks to Johnny Cheng for this insightful yet fun interview.