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From China To NYC, Yongqi Liu Is Making His Mark

Yongqi Liu is a fashion photographer residing in New York City.

Yongqi brings a detailed, thoughtful perspective to his work through the projects he leads.

We interviewed with Yongqi about his background, start in photography, favorite clients to work with and inspiration along his journey.

Where do you consider your artistic home? Is there a city, country or neighborhood that inspired you to get into photography?

As a photographer, I traveled a lot. It was a city that initially inspired me to get into photography. When I first came to New York City, I was attracted by the unique scenery and the artistic atmosphere of the city. I took many photos of buildings, bridges, NYC cabs, and subways on the streets. I believe New York City is perfect for fashion photography, and photographers can get various inspirations on the streets. I always shoot street photos not only with my camera but with my cellphone. I don’t want to miss anything that needs to be recorded.

What subject or person have you yet to photograph that you have always wanted to photograph?

I originally came from China, so I always love to shoot editorials in China Town, aiming to combine fashion elements with traditional Chinese styles. China Town, with its unique style, is the only place where you can find such symbols as Chinese markets, breakfast stores, fruit stalls, and traditional buildings. Anyway, it’s not easy to arrange the right model and outfit in the right place.

What are you trying to translate in your work to those who see your photographs?

I am trying to show people different stories or attitudes behind the photos.

When do know you have the right shot? Is it only exclusive to your eyes?

The right shot means you capture the “moment”.  The light is suitable, the mood of the model is good, and you have done with the right makeup and style, then I will know this is the right shot. 

What brought you into photography?

When I was a kid, my dad gave me my first film camera. That was the first time I started learning photography. Since then, I kept taking photos with film cameras, digital cameras, even my cell phones. I bought my first DSLR camera with my scholarship when I was a sophomore. I joined a local photography club and made a bunch of photographer friends.

Did you go to school to study photography?

I didn’t go to any specific art school for photography. I joined a studio when I was an undergrad student. I learned from one of the famous photographers in our region. I also took courses given by many photographers, learning how to use the light, how to do retouching and even marketing. 

Which camera do you use?

My first DSLR camera is a Nikon D7000, but I switched to Canon later. I currently use a Canon 5D as my main body. I have a Canon 1DX, and I use it for shows and specific shoots.

How would you describe your photography style?

I shoot portraits, fashion, and sometimes documentary. Whatever the projects are, I try to capture the “moment” of the scenes. For example, I always want to catch the eye contact, a smile of the model, and the light coming from the building…

The Fox Magazine is all about inspiration, what/who inspires you the most?

The photos of NYC inspire me the most. When I was looking for street photos in NYC, I happened to see a photo of the Empire State Building on the Fox Magazine’s Instagram. It was so stunning and impressive. That was the first time I knew the Fox Magazine.

If you had to choose one lens which one would it be and why?

I will choose the Canon 24-70mm F2.8 lens. Because the image quality is excellent and the lens is sharp. The focal length can cover most of my projects. I have another 50mm and a 70-200mm lens, but I seldom use them.

What’s something people would be surprised to learn about you?

When I walk on the street, I always mark the place which I think would be the right place for a photoshoot. I also go out to find particular places for shooting. Now my Google map is full of marks.

What photography or art-related motto, quote or words to live by helps keep you inspired?

The word change always keep me inspired. The world is changing, and we have to keep learning to keep up with it. We need to learn different retouching styles to keep up with the change of aesthetics.


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    From China To NYC, Y…

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