A fascination with people has seen Dr Erik Fung of Aperture Dental Practice in Sunnybank Hills, Queensland, embrace portrait photography.
“I first became involved with photography while studying dentistry in the UK. I purchased my first digital camera and began taking pictures of landscapes, friends and family. As I became more interested, the quality—and the cost—of the equipment increased. SLR cameras, tripods, prime lenses and lighting equipment saw a cheap hobby became an expensive passion.
“I use a full-frame Nikon D3s sports camera and prime lenses for my portraits and a Nikon D7200 for my intraoral work.
“I mainly take portraits and family photos now. Most people are a little uncomfortable when having their portraits taken, so getting the subject to pose and look natural can be challenging. It’s almost like getting that nervous patient to feel comfortable in the dental chair! It’s a skill that takes a little while to master.
“My photography skills have vastly improved from the ‘point and shoot’ I used to do in the early days. I’ve learnt to incorporate flashes and light modifiers. The lighting plays an important part in all photography and I spend a lot of time getting it just right.
“Due to my interest in photography, I even named my practice Aperture Dental Practice after the aperture in the camera. Having a good understanding of photography certainly helps when taking intraoral photos and before and after images. All of my staff are trained to know how to use each dial on the camera and must at least know how the function of the aperture setting on the camera works.
“Family portraits are really fun. Last Mother’s Day, we set up a big photo booth with a large background and flash for the mums and their families. They really weren’t expecting a photo shoot at the dentist. Recently, a patient told me that they’ve had their family photo hanging on the fridge since I took it. You can’t get higher praise than that!
“Like dentistry, photography is a combination of science and creativity, which is what I enjoy about it. My photography is really just a hobby. But I love it when the portraits of individuals and families brings people together.
“Allowing it to be a passion rather than an income stream means I can photograph who I like, when I like. It’s a great way to interact with a variety of people and I’m learning new things every day.”