Yuxian He, a man who has a special place in his heart for photography and fashion, is right here ready to talk about what he feels about the world and photography. He is a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a creative head by nature. Yuxian He is also popularly known for his contributions to New York Fashion Week, Shanghai Fashion Week, and PhotoVogue. Check out his astonishing outlook towards every element you want to know about.
We have heard behind every photographer there’s a story. What’s the story behind your passion for photography?
My first introduction to fashion photography was the New York Fashion Week in 2019. At the time, I was only 19, a photography major freshman at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Like any newcomer in Manhattan, I was immediately drawn to the fashion side of this city. I applied and got accepted as an NYFW press member to document all the shows I want. It was an eye-opening experience and ignited my passion for fashion photography.
Every task needs some time to master. What were some of the difficulties you faced as a photographer at the initial stages of your career?
The first big challenge I faced was making a portfolio. At the start of my career, it wasn’t easy to find designers and models willing to work with me since I didn’t have a portfolio to show for. Thanks to my friends who gave me a chance, I made my first shot. After that, the struggle is mostly making new connections to expand my career. Luckily, being in New York has made that more accessible than most.
You have worked with some of the biggest names in the fashion industry, what are the three things that you liked about this industry the most?
My favourite part of this industry is the sheer talent and creativity. I am fortunate to witness many seasons of New York and Shanghai Fashion Week, and I’m always amazed by the exquisite works everyone presents. The designers I work with make stunning garments, and I get to document many of them. Experiencing others’ talent is the most inspiring part of this industry. Most of the people I met in the fashion world are also impressive. I can really trust and rely on them while working but have fun together after. The fashion industry is very professional and evolving, making working easier to enjoy. I have learned so many things from my fellow professionals and colleagues. And it’s not just me; I could see that everyone is constantly absorbing new things, improving the professional quality.
What do you think is the main difference, when it comes to hobby photographers and professional photographers?
When taking a photograph, the attitude and mindset are the main difference that separates professional and hobby photographers. For the professionals, we have a responsibility when working, often from the designers and editors that hired us. There are always more things to consider: time, budget, viability, backup plans, and so much more.
Let’s say you are currently doing a photoshoot for a fashion show, what’s the most exciting part of that process, the photography or the post-processing?
Unlike most people, I don’t enjoy the photography part as much. I find it a little demanding, sometimes sweaty even. When post-processing, I get to have my favourite cold brew, sit comfortably in front of my big iMac, and watch the stunning results unfold before my eyes. Nothing is more satisfying.
We all have heard and seen that photographers often carry big bags of equipment. What are the go-to photography types of equipment that you carry while travelling?
I travel light. Aside from my MacBook Pro and solid-state drives, I would just have a Canon 5D Mark iv, the batteries, and a 24-70mm lens. If it’s fashion week season, I would add another 70-200mm, and that’s it.
Talking about the creativity aspect of your career, are there any times when you just cannot get the perfect shot? How do you deal with that situation?
Unfortunately, it happens more times than I’d like to admit. There are times during a shoot that I suddenly realize the last few I took were clearly not up to my standards. When it happens, I would call a time out and let everyone have some water and snacks while I go over the mood board again to clear my mind.
What are some tips that you think somebody should’ve told you before you started your career? And what are some that you would like to tell somebody just starting their career?
I wish my teacher could tell my younger self to focus on lighting techniques and other fundamentals. These skills are often overlooked initially, but it is more vital than they seem. I would also tell any beginners to stop worrying about the mistakes, just be brave and practice more, taking every chance you have. Being eager and active combined with hard work always makes you stand out.
When you click your pictures, what are some of the details that you precisely check before finalizing the image?
I would check for spots and blemishes often on the ground and backdrops. After retouching the details in close-up mode, I usually pull back a little, examine the image as a whole, and dive in again if I find more problems to be fixed. I also check for image size and ratio before exporting.
As a Fashion enthusiast, and as a photographer, how was your experience while working with us? What are some of your thoughts that you’d like to share with our L’Officiel readers?
Working with L’Officiel is like a dream come true. As a prestigious publication with more than 100 years of history, I think the reason L’Officiel always stays on top is the recognition of talent. By emphasizing creativity, L’Officiel directs and produces some of the best content in the industry and sets trends for the future. I’m thankful that L’Officiel also encourages new talents like me and gives us a platform to show the world new ideas.