Alex Chechelnitsky is a photographer specializing in food and interior/virtual tours. His food images will make your mouth water and your stomach rumble. His interior design photography showcases chic designs of luxury homes and stylish lounges. While his virtual tours will make you feel like you have physically visited the place at its most glamorous moments. Alex operates under his company name ACMB Photography throughout New York City.
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
Originally from Belarus, I am currently a full time photographer in the NYC area specializing in virtual tours and food photography.
How did you get started in photography – any “formal” training?
My only formal training was in college when I took a photography class.
How long have you been a photographer?
Professionally, I’ve been doing photography for 5 years now, but started much earlier around the age of 12 when I was gifted a Nikon F100 film camera.
What is your target client base?
Currently my target client base is commercial business such as restaurants, hotel and lounges.
What type of cameras do you shoot with?
I’ve always been a Nikon guy; I shoot with D7000, actually in the process of upgrading to a D800e.
What equipment do you use for virtual tours?
For virtual tours I use my D7000 camera with a 10.5mm fisheye lens, a tripod and a panoramic head (Nodal Ninja).
When you do food photography, do you use any artificial enhancement (glazing, fake ice, etc.)
I’m a firm believer in natural look in all my photography, I avoid using any artificial enhancements or lights, mostly I try to shoot food during the day next to a large window with plenty of natural light.
What are your favorite lenses?
My all-time favorite lens, although the simplest and the least expensive that I own, is the 50mm f/1.4.
It’s a great all around lens; it’s sharp and fast and can handle everything you throw at it.
What lighting equipment do you work with?
I try to use natural light sources when I can, when I can’t I mostly use Calumet monolights.
Can you describe the process and workflow of virtual tours creation?
Every virtual tour starts with scouting the work area and finding the ideal spot to place the tripod with the camera, the goal is to have the most coverage in one spin, once that is set, I adjust my Nodal Ninja panoramic head to avoid parallax (the effect whereby the position or direction of an object appears to differ when viewed from different positions), this is very important because if this is not set correctly the images that you take of a spin wont stitch correctly and the tour will have visible aberrations.
When all of this is set, I take 8 pictures around 1 picture of the ceiling and 1 pictures of the floor.
At home, in Lightroom, I make all the necessary adjustment to all the raw files that I capture (making sure that all the setting are exactly the same on all the photos) and drop them into a stitching software that stiches all the individual photos into a spherical panorama. The spherical panorama then gets exported into a virtual tour software where I can make all the necessary adjustments and generate a virtual tour.
Do you use Mac or PC?
How do you market your business, and what works best?
Majority of my current business is referrals.
In my opinion the best marketing for a photography business is professional end product and understanding and working with every client.
Do you have an assistant/2nd shooter that accompanies you?
No, I’m a one man band, I shoot everything by myself.
How many images do you average per shoot and how many do you usually end up using?
When shooting food and interiors I usually average around 400 shots, end up using around 25-40.
Who are some of the people in the industry that inspire you?
Sergey Semenov, Sam Rohn and Marcus Nilsson.
How important is your website for your business?
Very Important, It serves me as a full collection of my portfolio and also a reference for my clients.
What advice do you have for somebody who wants to pursue food and interior photography?
There’s a saying “practice makes perfect” and I stand by it, today a lot of photographers stay home and watch “how to” videos – Dont! Go out and shoot!
Is there anything you would have done differently during your photographic career?
Yes, started it earlier 🙂
What are you still learning?
Everything! 🙂 and this is what I really love about photography, it’s a never ending learning process.
Do you attend any workshops, if so what was your last one?
I do, last year there was International VR Photography Association Conference here in New York that I attended.
What do you love most about being a photographer?
Creative freedom and the ability to work and meet with the most interesting of people.
Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
Still doing what I love to do – photography, and always keep evolving as a photographer.