Doing Photo Shoots in China?

There’s a good article in one of our favorite photography magazines, PDN (Photo District News), about the current landscape of commercial photography in China. The article gives a general and honest introduction of the pro’s and con’s of doing photography in China, and does not miss to also touch the challenges, which we also face on a daily basis.

Below some of the key points as summary:
Zach_Moto © Zach Gold – for Motorola.

  • Shooting assignments in China can be a lot of fun, if you can take the maddening aspects of it in stride. “It’s like the Wild West,” he says. “All of the sudden there’s all this money, and not that many people know what they’re doing.”


  • He’s shot in studios that have lights rigged with ropes, cyc walls that are chipped and cracked, and floors that are “almost like dirt.” The bathrooms are “still just a hole in the ground,” unspeakably disgusting, “and there’s a $200,000 production going on in the next room. The contrast is remarkable.”


  • It was a four-day shoot that called for 300 extras. “No way we could have afforded to shoot that here,” he says. But he also recalls landing in China with all his gear—and having to ship it back because he couldn’t get it through customs.


  • Growing numbers of photographers in the U.S. and Europe are going after work in China because it looks, from a distance at least, like a pot of gold. The economy in the west is sluggish, competition is fierce, and rates are stagnant. China holds out the promise of new opportunities.


  • Choo says that China looks modern and cosmopolitan, but scratch beneath the surface, and you quickly run up against the old China.


Thanks to the PDN Online Team for describing the current Chinese photography landscape so honestly!