Justin Jung: The Story In The Surf

Along with his knack for storytelling, another thing Jung’s clients keep coming back for is his artistry. He has a refined eye and a light touch that’s lacking in much of the sports world. He takes an intensely creative approach to every project, which has led him to master techniques such as time-lapse, drone piloting and shooting super-slo-mo 4K video.

Justin Jung

“I’m honing in on what my style is and my look is,” Jung says. “I have a huge emphasis on capturing time-lapses and stuff. And so a lot of clients really like that, that I’m bringing that to the table, all these kinds of artistic touches to the piece. A lot of times it depends on the client. Sometimes they’ll let me run with the whole thing and I’ll send it back, and they’re, like, ‘Oh, we love it; let’s just make a couple of changes here and there.’ And then there are other clients who want to see different sections of the story, and so I’ll develop different areas and send them through. I definitely like to know what they want, because sometimes if they don’t tell you and they have an expectation, and you’re not able to look after it, then that can be a bummer. But when they do give you some direction, but also say, ‘Okay, go out and shoot it now, make it happen,’ that’s where I shine. Being able to let loose with the creativity.

“Most of the time I’m a one-man band,” he adds, “just a one-man guy. It’s way more intimate. And I consider myself easy to get along with and personable. I’m mellow. I’m not star-struck when I’m working with these guys. It’s cool; hang out, make a cool story, and usually they’re pretty excited to make it, as well. And it’s not like there’s a thousand cameras around; it’s very low key. Some shoots, depending on if I have the budget, I might get an extra filmer or so, but most all my projects, it’s solo. Even doing the drone work.

“You can really collaborate with the brand on a bigger piece,” Jung says. “When making a surf piece, it’s dependent on a lot of the conditions. That’s a very raw documentary. You spend a lot of time just waiting to hopefully get some good waves and good weather, and then everything connects, which is neat. And sometimes you don’t get that and you go on a trip and you might not come back with an edit because you don’t have the correct footage.”

One bit of footage Jung seems to always come back with is a time-lapse. It’s standard operating procedure. No matter who, what or where he’s shooting, he finds time to set up a time-lapse.

Justin Jung

“I have this very long-term time-lapse project going on,” he says. “Throughout all my travels, I capture time-lapses from around the world, and I’m going to put together a big project on that. There’s no end date on it, it’s just kind of once I feel it’s ready, and it’s got the strongest content. There’s still some big ones I want to knock off the list that are going to take some time. Capturing a volcano erupting, as it’s spewing smoke, that would be kind of neat. Or lightning storms are amazing, going out to the Midwest to capture tornadoes. The list kind of never ends, but it’s going to take a long time. I’ve got to be realistic, too.

“I love to capture them,” Jung says. “It always adds to the piece, and it’s something that my clients always love. It takes forever to capture [a time-lapse], but at the end of it, you’re, like, ‘Oh, it was totally worth it.’ You’ve just got to be really proactive and ready. You wake up one morning and the sunrise is there and the boys are taking their time to get ready, and it’s going slow, and so you’re, like, ‘Okay, I better quickly set up a time-lapse and capture it until it’s time to go,’ so then at least you’ve captured something. Having a second camera on my shoots all the time also helps. I shoot primarily with the FS7, and then the [Sony] a7R II is my B-camera, so I’ll just bring it with an extra-small tripod. During the shoots, like for surfing, I’ll just set that up maybe capturing clouds or the sunset. Usually, for an afternoon session, if we’re in some remote location, then we’ll surf ’til dark, and you’re able to capture that sunset time-lapse and stay focused on the surfing.”

See more of Justin Jung’s work at jungphoto.com or on Instagram at @justinjjung.

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