ShiNi Photography [Q&A]

In a pure stroke of luck, we came across this beautiful set of photos for a recent track event at Sepang. We became a fan immediately. Like a little kid opening his present, we were furiously looking through all the photos posted in their Facebook page and admiring them. They’re really on a different level of photography skillset.

Meet ShiNi Photography, the tag team duo.

ShiNi Photography

Q: Favourite shot and the story behind it

Usually when we get requests for photoshoot, we’ll discuss the car and what theme suits it best. If we don’t know the owner, we usually follow up with a short question list to know what kind of angle he/she is looking for. If he/she doesn’t have a particular theme or story to it, then we’ll go with our gut feelings and pair it accordingly to what we feel is apt for the car.

ShiNi Photography
We shot this at the Sepang 12-Hour race back in 2014. This is one of our favourite trackside shots because it tells so much, the N1 Racing Honda Civic FD2 Type R is desperately fighting the nature of physics with whatever traction it has from its tyres.

You can actually see the dynamism in this; the tyres shredding simultaneously, along with the heat haze in the scorching sun, a story of how determined the race driver is to win this race, fighting the odds of time and conditions to achieve this.

ShiNi Photography
We shot this, also at the Sepang 12-Hour Race 2014, right after the end of 12 hours of shooting and race. Although it was exhausting, we were lucky in the sense that we brought all of our full outdoor studio gear and equipment and we asked R Engineering if we could have the pleasure and honour of shooting their Honda Civic FD2 Type R that won the touring class category.

Naturally they agreed and we got this amazing shot, as raw and brutal as it can get. You can still see the tyre scuffing bits on the front bumper, the spent tyres and the multiple spares they would use in different conditions. Basically, this is a full weaponry load for the race car. Also, this picture was submitted on EOS World Singapore and it netted us the Top 10 Best Canon Photos for 2014.

ShiNi Photography
If you are truly ‘CarSiao’, it doesn’t take anything more than a silhouette to figure this car out. We love taking teasers and sneak peaks to pique the interest of our car enthusiastic followers; like this Mercedes-Benz AMG GT S. That unmistakable silhouette of style, exoticness and power is just about enough to tell you what car it is without having to reveal the details. Like how sensual a lady is wearing an evening gown, it just tickles and tantalises your appeal and palette.

ShiNi Photography
This man needs no introduction. We were determined and 'CarSiao’ enough to book plane tickets to Japan to visit RWB (Rauh Welt Begriff) in Chiba. We were lucky to run into Akira Nakai, the creator of these highly-sought after widebody Porsche bodykits.

He was preparing for the yearly RWB meet-up and I caught him in action, washing one of his prized creations. You can tell from this picture that the man isn’t out to make a quick buck, but just a very passionate individual when it comes to his cars, how he painstakingly washes the car without taking the lazy way out of washing at the petrol station.

ShiNi Photography
One of our latest works, this was shot impromptu on a Sunday morning with two friends after a car wash. It tells a vivid story of an imaginary touge pass chase, two Type R enthusiasts taking their cars to the mountain pass to enjoy a game of tag and chase.

Driving is not just a mean of transport, but a way of life for some, who enjoy this thing called a car and rising feeling of power and torque that comes from the car, rising through one’s body through the hands and feet of the individual.

Q: What does ShiNi mean and how did the tag team duo started it?

(Aaron) ShiNi was actually coined after my online alias/nickname. I didn’t give much thought back then and casually called it ShiNi Photography. It began with borrowing a camera to shoot for some friends on a Sepang track day and from then, it gradually progressed to me owning my own entry-level DSLR and I experimented with various settings and post-processing software after much encouragement from friends to take it even more seriously. There, it stringed into a monthly feature for cars, tuned or stock.

Soon I realised that I needed help with rolling shots and even some shots that I could not achieve on my own and I roped in my friend, Damien, who is just as CarSiao as I am. There we boosted our knowledge, learning through trial and fire to get unique shots that is unmistakably 'ShiNi Photography’ style. Much of what we shoot is pretty much from our imagination and a combination of what we think looks best for a particular car on the photo.

Q: How would you describe your style?

We don’t really consider ourselves professional because we do not engage in commercial photography. However we would like to believe that we are possibly as close as it comes to professional photography. We combine dynamism, style, character and flair into our pictures and with each set, we usually have a teaser, professional-like finishes and a dynamic one for a complete photo journey. It pulls out the uniqueness and characteristic flavour of each car, making the owner extremely proud of how amazing his/her car looks, even through the eyes of two budding photographer individuals.

ShiNi Photography

Q: What would be your most memorable shoot/assignment?

ShiNi Photography

I’d say it probably would be this particular Honda Civic FD2 Type R. We were engaged by Shawn to deliver a photo montage memoir for him, as he was about to part with his beloved Type R that he has been faithfully taking care of for so long.

We pulled out what we learnt during this short period since induction and put light-painting, portable studio equipment and a small degree of post-processing to deliver something that he can be proud of. Needless to say, a full framed picture of his car now sits in his living room wall and we’re so proud to be part of that.

Q: What’s your favourite lens? If you can only bring a single lens out to shoot a car, what would it be?

Without a doubt, it would be the 24-105mm kit lens. While it isn’t the best L lens in the market, it provides great versatility for a decent price. It allows you to capture the entire field, and for us, we love to use the slight distortion up close at 24mm to create some amazing rolling shots, while at length like 70mm or 105mm, it still has a decent field of depth and bokeh to work around shooting cars and even individuals, like this photo taken with the 24-105mm when Akira Nakai of RWB, popped by Singapore to build the country’s very first RWB 911.

ShiNi Photography

Q: In your opinion, what would be the perfect shot?

It would definitely be something that reeks of dynamism and flair, fast passing scenery, a clear shot of the subject along with the play of field.

Sometimes, a perfect shot does not need to be filled completely with the subject, it can also incorporate the environment that the subject lives in, like how a lion looks like living in the savannah, in his very domain that he is the emperor of. If one is able to combine environment, subject and a unique theme, that would be the best picture because it can tell a very compelling story.

ShiNi Photography

Q: How CarSiao Are You!?

ShiNi Photography

Definitely very CarSiao! We don’t discriminate between super cars and normal cars. A true CarSiao enthusiast will take into account that every car is someone’s prized possession and joy.

We should not judge what shoot through our viewfinder. We love cars from all walks of life and we respect how car owners in Singapore are able to produce their unique outlook of their car, despite the high cost of car ownership here in Singapore.

Check out their Facebook page for more awesome!

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