Guileless

Guileless is a beauty editorial published in the April issue of Obscurae Magazine.

Credits

Photography: Chen You
Model: Bianca @Esprit Management
Styling: Susanna Fabbrini
Makeup: Lara Quercioli
Assistant: Antonia Visone

Gainst

Gainst [07] Chen You.jpg

Gainst is a fashion editorial published in the February issue of Féroce Magazine.

Credits

Photography: You Chen
Model: Angel @Boom Models Management
Styling: Susanna Fabbrini
Makeup: Camilla Cantini

Adv for Elodie Lorraine

Elodie Lorraine [03] Chen You.jpg

Elodie Lorraine is a designer of amazing jewels: incredibly material and concrete, almost primordial; but at the same time geometric, clean and clearly modern.

This is the advertising campaign I shot for her.

Credits

Photography: YouChen
Model: Saida Bruni
Styling: Susanna Fabbrini
Makeup: Rachele Leoni
Assistant: Antonia Visone

Year One

This day one year ago I made my first step in fashion photography. Since then, I deep dived into this incredibly complex and difficult and fascinating world.

Now, I’d like to reflect a bit on this past year and share with you my own resolutions for the new one.

Golden Cage Cover

In Retrospect

There are two ways to look back at this year: from a certain point of view, I shot a lot. And I mean A LOT. More than 30000 photos and a bunch of videos, all grouped onto tens of projects.

On the other hand when I look at what has actually contributed to the “Portfolio”, there wasn’t much. But that’s ok too: high quality work only gets out from a constant practice and a very strict editing. Show only your best work, right?

So, about the highlights: in 2016 I shot my first advertising for a cashmere brand, Il Borgo. During the year I also published a number of editorials, landing two (!) covers. I’ve been published on Elegant Magazine three times, on Superior Magazine and on Dark Beauty Magazine. Another bunch of editorials are still waiting for publishing. In September I opened my own studio, which has been a small dream of mine for quite a lot of time. Since then I shot a large number of portraits and tests I made.

With all that, my portfolio has finally begun to look like a real portfolio.

Parallely, I began my teaching experience at my Alma Mater, where I designed their new Videomaking Course. Later I moved on and — together with a colleague — founded a photographic school, Bottega Fotografica.

Those who know me are sick and tired of the fact that I’m always afraid of being left out, of being too old and progressing too slowly; but all things considered, I am just now approaching the 3rd year of professional photography (this January marks the anniversary) and I’m already here. Yet, I know that I could have shot more, marketed other niches and in general done things a bit better.

Gaijin Cover

Resolutions

Keeping that in mind, what are my new year resolutions?

#1 Shoot More Advertising

You could say a lot of things: that it’s where the money really is, that to be considered successful you should shoot a lot of advertising work… but to me advertising has always been “just” the true essence of Fashion Photography. In order to transmit the identity of a brand, you have to evoke specific emotions, and that can be done only when you unleash all your knowledge and creativity. To me there is nothing more rewarding than being chosen to understand, rework and portray a brand. I’ll work hard in trying to land more advertising jobs.

#2 More Editorials

I love shooting editorials. Creativity, team work and the joy of being published… how can you beat it? This year I would like to up the game a bit and try to get on higher-end magazines.

#3 Shoot Less

Yes, I know that my first two resolutions were “to shoot more” and “more again”, but I’d like to try to shoot more with less: slow down a bit and think more about the single shots. As I am now, I often overshoot because of my fear of not getting the right one. And every single time I do get the results I want, but I’d like to get better at understanding when I have already gotten it and stop waisting time.

#4 Streamline Workflow

You can never be too efficient: the more throughput I can manage, the more work I can take on. The problem here is that I have to manage too many fronts: shooting is just a 10% of the job. Production, logistics, job hunting, marketing and all things administration take an immense toll on the available time. I already am a production freak, but it looks that I need to get better again.

#5 Retouch Quicker

Another time sink is retouching. Don’t get me wrong, I love retouching my own images: without it the shots are just that… shots. Retouching completes the process, but yet it takes too much time. Part of the problem here is that I need to book a good slice of undisturbed time to really get into it. This is also part of the previous resolution: if I can manage to regulate my workflow better, probably it will save time with retouching too.

#6 Share Knowledge

Obviously I am planning to continue to put a lot of energy into my own school, Bottega Fotografica. But I’d like to post more specifically about fashion photography. Up until now you’ve only seen a few posts on this blog, but I’d like to create more  behind the scenes: photos, posts and videos. Usually I’m just too focused on the job at hand and I forget to shoot B-roll, but recently I got an assistant, so I’ve already begun to tackle the problem.

#7 Print More

There isn’t much to be said here. Being born as a digital photographer, I see most of my photos only on screen, but as I approached printing (and its difficulties) I’ve come to appreciate it more and more. Printing is on a whole different level: it elevates your work.
This is also a double fold resolution: I’d like to print only my best work, so printing more means that I have to make “more best work” (yes, I know it’s just a mind trick, but bear with me).

#8 Travel More

There is nothing like traveling and experiencing more cultures. “If money was not a problem” I’d spend all my time traveling. To me it’s not that much a matter of decompressing from work as much as a mean to get inspiration: I want to see as much as possible of this big big world.

#9 China Book

Last year I traveled to Switzerland, France and China. I stayed nearly one month in China, and this year I’m going to go there one more time in March. While I was there I began working on a side project of mine that I intend of putting out in the world this year (yes, it’s a photo book, what a surprise right?). I’m not sure if it will be appreciated or not, but reality is I’m just doing it out of selfishness, to express my view of today’s China as an in/outsider. But if you might be interested, let me know, I’d be happy to hear that!

#10 Continue this Career

The last resolution is a bit anticlimactic, but it’s the most important one. Being a freelance photographer is so damn difficult that I have often wondered if it was the right career (asians’ peer pressure can be truly destructive), but I can’t really see any other way for me now other than living and breathing photography.

At the end of next year we’ll see what I will have been able to accomplish and what not. In the meantime, thank you all for the support and the encouragement!

Assisting Lara Jade

As you might know, a few weeks ago I had the incredible opportunity to assist one of my favourite photographers: Lara Jade.

How incredible it was that it also happened to be the first time I assisted anyone? Sure, I know my way in a set, but I was very, VERY lucky to have such an opportunity.

Lara Jade Workshops

So! Lara was in Milan for a two-days workshop. What can you do in two days? Actually, a LOT.

The first day began with short introduction about her work and a lot of insights about how she progressed in the years and adapted to the industry. Then in the afternoon she proceeded to the shooting session: two different models, three assistants, six sets, sixteen photographers… a lot of photos.

We assistants set the lights following Lara's instructions: she quickly decided everything based on the opportunities offered by the studio. One, two, three… six different light setups. On the spot.

Every workshop attendant had the opportunity to shoot six looks: effectively a full editorial.

The second day was spent talking about retouching (working directly on the first days’ photos), but the most important part was marketing. It's a subject never talked about enough: it's true that a photographer's job is to shoot beautiful photos, but if you can't get in front of your clients all your abilities are effectively useless. Lara instead went and taught all she knew about the subject and explained all her best practices. Invaluable.

Should I Assist?

Since then I assisted a few other times (and had assistants on set myself too), and I can say for sure that that level of organization is incredibly difficult to pull off. The thing that most photographers (but it's valid for any job) don't realize is how big the world really is, how little we know.

The way an international level photographer works is totally different. Preparation, knowledge, experience are things that you can learn with time, but in my opinion, assisting someone is an incredible boost. Articles, blog posts, guides and tutorials do help you to a certain extent, but in order to get to the next level you have to work with/for someone that is better than you. Just helping on set and watching Lara’s workshop helped me a lot!

I definitely recommend her workshops (if it wasn’t obvious already), and if you have the opportunity, you should definitely try and be and assistant for someone!

I Am “You”

Hello everybody! How are you?

Lately I spent a lot of time reflecting about my “brand” and my “target market”. Up until now I’ve been all over the place but I’d like to focus more. I know that I love fashion photography and I know that I like shooting campaigns and editorials. And that’s what I’m going to concentrate on.

The fashion world is an extremely competitive and image driven one (obviously). It's alive, evolving and everything is interconnected. I felt I wasn't representing myself in the right way. 

That’s also why I’m going to “rebrand” and begin using my chinese name from now on: Chen You (陈佑)! It’s catchy and easier to use both for me and for my clients (Chen is the surname and You is the name, if you’re wondering). How is it: easier, more difficult, indifferent? Let me know what you think about it!

And… that’s all! These next months I'm going to work on a few big projects, so I won’t publish much but expect BIG THINGS!

Golden Cage

The best gift I could ever wish for Christmas: not only my first editorial has been published on the December issue of ELEGANT Magazine, it even landed the cover! I’m so excited and happy! Thanks to my amazing team, couldn’t have done it without you!

“Golden Cage” for ELEGANT Magazine

Photography: Chen You
Model: Sara Marziali
Styling: Marta Biagini & Cristina Bozzi at Hylozoic*A
Make-up: Lucy Tran Van
Hair: Cristina Bertini
Location: Relais La Suvera

Featuring pieces by Idriss Guelai AtelierV.M. Preziosi FirenzeNanà FirenzeLady Jane B. Vintage BoutiqueFLY & FAST at FUAGarbage'En and Bastah