As a Hong Kong-based professional photographer, my work is as varied as it is interesting. Headshots, weddings, proposals, family portraits, you name it! A little rarer but just as rewarding are the editorial shoots I work on with some of the world’s leading magazines. Here are five of my favorites from the last couple of years.
Lisa Ray’s new twins
As a photographer in Hong Kong, a pretty family-orientated city, I do a good bunch of maternity and family photo shoots. One of the most challenging and rewarding parts of this is newborn photography — not to mention when there are two newborns!
It was therefore an absolute joy when celebrity makeup artist Natasha Moor introduced me to Lisa Ray. The Indo-Canadian model and actress had her adorable twin baby girls Sufi and Soleil in 2018. My photos of the beautiful twins, who were born via a surrogate because of a lifelong health condition suffered by their gorgeous mom, were published all over Indian media, including Times of India, Bombay Times and Vogue India.
Talking to Vogue, Lisa said, “Motherhood is like drilling into your heart. It’s also like trying to change your clothes in the middle of a roller coaster ride—new skills all the way. There’s a new level of anarchy and love in my life now, but also a fullness that’s hard to describe.”
While she may struggle to put that feeling into words, a picture tells a thousand of them, and I think it’s very clear from these photos exactly how whole and happy this stunning new mom is.
Karina Buxani and that piano shot
No matter how lovely your subject, you have to get creative when shooting for magazine features. That was how this shot of super mom Karina Buxani, Creative Director of the famous Temptation Jewellery brand, came about. We knew we needed something special for the “hero” image, so when Karina's mom, the always stylish Sunita Vachani, suggested using the piano, I was up for the challenge!
The assignment for Hello Magazine India gave me the chance to meet Karina's two gorgeous kids as well. No matter how many years I’ve worked as an editorial photographer in Hong Kong, I always feel humbled and honored to be invited into people’s homes and lives. Both Karina’s home and life are beautiful!
This photoshoot in the Philippines for Cebu’s number-one lifestyle magazine Zee Lifestyle was a treat in so many ways. It took place in the tropical paradise of Cebu. Model Daina Nelson was effortlessly gorgeous and professional. And the whole team was a dream to work with, including the amazing boutique location, The Henry Hotel.
The classy advertorial for French lingerie brand Etam was styled by La Blaq Mafia, and makeup by Eunice Enrera. Everyone was really happy with the end result and it was absolutely zero stress or drama. Big thanks to Sherie the super editor as well!
And here's a little behind the scenes video:
Not all editorial shoots involve supermodels and stylists. This feature on Bruce Aitken — once one of the world’s most successful money launderers, moving millions for everyone from drug lords to the CIA — was a whole other ball game.
Big thanks to internationally published author Johan Nylander who brought me in on this cool project in the first place! Shot for Dagens Industri, Sweden’s leading financial magazine, the challenge with this feature was to bring Bruce’s incredible story into focus with nothing but the man himself and the mean streets of Hong Kong, where the American has lived for the past four decades.
I never tire of using Hong Kong’s gritty backstreets for editorial photoshoots, and this money themed wall in Sheung Wan made for the perfect backdrop. It was also a treat to get a signed copy of Bruce’s book, The Cleaner.
HK’s movers and shakers
I also naturally take a lot of corporate headshots as a Hong Kong-based photographer. This is actually a lot more fun than it sounds, especially when your professional-style portraits are to be printed in magazines.
Here are a few from three six-page spreads I shot for luxury lifestyle magazine Gafencu featuring some of Hong Kong’s most interesting professionals and Tatler 100 members. On the list & cover was Anthony Huang, founder and Chief Executive of Synoco Asia Pacific, Tanxin Capital, and Tanxin Entertainment and Sports; Tricia Buser, internationally acclaimed singer and founder of My Musical Studio; and Mahnaz Lee, founder of Women Helping Women HK, a wonderful charity that I’ve had the honor of supporting as well. It was fascinating chatting with them about their work during the photoshoot.
Thanks to all the amazing teams I've worked with over the years on editorial photo shoots in and around Hong Kong. I also couldn’t have done it without my lighting sponsor, Phottix, for whom I am an affiliate. What this means for you is that you can get their awesome lighting products at a discount through me. Use this link and this discount code [HCQHZRJWVD9B] for a nice chunk of money off.
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All photos are © Ali Ghorbani and Ali G Studios