Self-taught Surreal Digital Photography

Photographer Simon McCheung fell into photography on a whim after purchasing a DSLR camera. Once he taught himself the craft, he amassed an impressive portfolio of  surreal images. With each photo, Simon strikes a balance between intense human emotion and the tranquil world around him. The results are the embodiment of childhood daydreams with a little dose of magic.

We were grateful to catch a glimpse of Simon’s creative process with a Behind The Lens look into his portrait photography!

As a teen, painting was my creative outlet, but I never carried that through because of living space limitations within the city of London. When I took on a job located in the English countryside of the Midlands, a work colleague introduced me to his new DSLR. I instantly got hooked on this new creative outlet.

You are self taught photographer, how did you go about learning how to take and process photos?

I purchased my DSLR on a whim, and my knowledge of camera settings were almost non-existent. I knew I wanted certain qualities for my images, so it was just a case of looking up the basics online and a lot of trial and error by shooting every day. The challenge is understanding your lighting in the environment, and then quickly switching your aperture and speed accordingly.

I also feel that shooting with real props within the shot rather than super-imposing these later in post-production gives a far more believable quality to the overall image. So whenever I can, I will try to find ways to ‘smoke and mirror’ in the actual shot and I’ve resorted to research into old cinema tricks that give that sort of charm to the image, such as Le Voyage Dans La Lune by George Méliès. Learn About Simon McCheung’s Surreal Digital Photography


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