Category Archives: Photographers

10 Questions for Photographer Ben Heys


We recently had a comment from a new poster on our old Xanny Dsijad thread, pointing to his own nude photos of her on his Art of Imagery web site. I was very impressed with the quality of the photography on this site – the first glamour photography site from my part of the world (Brisbane in Queensland, Australia) I could say this about. So I felt compelled to revive our old “10 questions for” series and interview Ben Heys for Asian Sirens.

Asian-Sirens: What kind of photography do you like?

Ben Heys: I’ve actually got quite a varied taste in photography. I shoot lots of fashion, nude, landscapes, travel, sport and bits of pieces of other genres and because of that I often get asked what my favourite genre is to shoot. My answer is anything new, something I haven’t shot before. I enjoy learning and pushing myself the most, when I’m setting up a look and not quite sure what the results will be that is my favourite kind of work to do. And the truth is that often these looks will fail, but you always learn something, in fact you tend to learn more from the failures than the successes & also just the problem solving aspect of looking at the LCD screen and seeing a pile of shit and having to figure out what you need to change up in order to turn it into the results you crave, well I find that about the most enjoyable and rewarding aspect of photography.

Asian-Sirens: When did you decide to become a photographer?

Ben Heys: I’ve been interested in photography since high school but back then we could never afford a half decent camera or the film/developing costs so that interest kind of hung around in the background for a decade or so. Then when digital cameras started to come into vogue and the quality got to a point where pros were starting to make the switch, I also found myself in a position where I was totally sick of bouncing from one job I hated to the next. This was around 2003 and it was then that I decided I’d get myself a 10D and a prime lens (50m) and set out to learn how to use it properly & make a living from it.

Asian-Sirens: Which photographers do you admire and why?

Ben Heys: To be honest I’m not someone that follows the work of other shooters at all really. I LOVE good photography and I absorb massive amounts of it but I tend to do it by the photo more than the photographer. I browse around lots on sites like and dA and I see so much work that I love that even though I do go back and checking out the portfolios of photographers I end up browsing through such a massive amount of them that the names just blur and become meaningless. The one name that really does jump out though if I think on this questions is Chase Jarvis. Probably more to do with his marketing and his attitude really than his photography (although that too is great), I just love the way he’s always out there, doing the stuff that he wants to do and blogging/writting/making videos about it. I WISH I could work that hard…

Asian-Sirens: What makes a good photo?

Ben Heys: As subjective a question as you can get. Everyone will have their own answer to this and they are all correct. For me it’s anything that makes me say an internal “wow” or “that’s pretty”. I’m not one of these highbrow sorts that thinks every piece of art has to have layers of meanings and symbolism and all that. For me the capture of beauty is enough of an end in and of itself. So for me the answer to that question most of the time is anything I find beautiful.

Asian-Sirens: What makes a good model?

Ben Heys: See above 🙂 Really models are as varied in looks and personality as women (or even people) are generally. So are photographers. What one photographer looks for in a model another will shun. For me the most important aspect is beauty, or more specifically what I find beautiful. Anything else I can work with. I’d rather work with a spectacularly beautiful total amateur than the most seasoned professional that doesn’t really fit my image of “beautiful”. The second most important aspect is a willingness to put in the effort and “give it a go”, like I said before my style of work is often quite experimental so I appreciate a model that is willing to mess around and try lots of different stuff even when results aren’t guaranteed. I put a lot of effort into my photography and so I work best with models of a similar mindset. Having said that I’ve made some great images with some of the more “prima donna” types too, so I really can work with whoever I need to so long as they are (what I find to be) beautiful.

Asian-Sirens: Is there an Asian model you really would like to work with?

Ben Heys: Barely a day goes by I don’t see a fantastic Asian beauty in a photo somewhere and think “man, what I wouldn’t give to shoot HER”. But once again just like with photographers I don’t tend to follow specific models too much. If there’s one name that jumps out at me though it’s Zhang Zi Yi, that girl is just everything I epitomise in Asian beauty. She is gracefull, fit, spectacularly beautiful, fashion model thin, has attitude and would kick your ass all over the shop if you pissed her off. I do love a girl that does kung fu.

Asian-Sirens: Did you ever screw up an assignment? (please do elaborate if so! ;-))

Ben Heys: I used to snowboard and we had a saying, “if you don’t fall over you aren’t trying hard enough” I generally try to take that mindset through most of what I do in life. And so yes, I’ve screwed up lots of SHOOTS, but I don’t tend to accept assignments as I like to shoot what I want to shoot, not what others want.

Asian-Sirens: Did you ever get intimate with a model you worked with? (feel free to elaborate! ;-))

Ben Heys: Two of my models went on to become girlfriends so yes. By and large though that’s a minefield that it is best to skirt around and avoid rather than attempt to navigate through.

Asian-Sirens: What kind of camera and lighting equipment do you use?

Ben Heys: Whatever I need to for the shot. Cameras and lighting are just tools, when you need a tool you reach into your tool box and grab the one that is best for the job. Too many people get too hung up on gear. It really doesn’t matter, use what you have available, it’s the eye and the vision that matters.

Asian-Sirens: What are your future ambitions as a photographer?

Ben Heys: I don’t really have any. Continue what I’m doing now I guess. I already shoot what I love and get to learn and experiment as much as I want. It’s hard to get much of a better deal than that. I guess I’m starting to find myself more and more limited by money as to what I can branch out into and try. So with some more of that I could get to new locations and models, or get the models to the locations, or get the gear necessary to do some specific types of shoots I’d like to do. But that will come in time and I’m in no particular rush. As far as I’m concerned goals are for those that can’t be happy in the present and what is life if not a long series of NOWs? If you aren’t doing what you want to do RIGHT NOW, you probably never will be.




Teban – Asian Impressions


A while ago while preparing an article for Kitty Cee, I took notice to Teban’s work. Teban is the photographer who took one of my favorite photographs of her. As I started to look more into his work, not only was I amazed at the quality of his photography, but also the beauty of the Asian models that he has worked with. Naturally, I wanted to learn more as well as bring some attention to his work, so I am appreciative that he took the time to answer some questions that I had for him.One thing that I wanted to do since I started writing articles was to conduct more interviews so that I can provide more insight into a particular model or photographer. This particular article took a long time to create, but I am glad to see it through to its completion and finally have it published on the web.

I also found out that I used to avidly check out Teban’s street photography when I used to visit Flickr every morning until my original account became deleted. But I was unaware of Teban’s professional work until now. So I hope you also check out his work as well.

Me: How did you get into street photography and later into photographing Asian models? I used to look at a lot of street photography on Flickr until I had to create a new account, and now I am wondering if that photography was your work as well.

Teban: Growing up, I always seemed to be the “family photographer” and was really into photography in my teens. After graduating, however, I stopped taking pictures for quite a while.

My street photography account is here. I started getting into street photography because I actually stumbled upon Flickr – saw other street photos – and said – hey, I can do this too! I started with a point and shoot. The quality wasn’t too good – and the style looked a bit unprofessional and did not truly represent the beauty/fashion I was seeing.


Then, I went to Japan in 2008. This is where I really got into the street photography, because the fashion and the style of the girls in Japan is frankly amazing. Unlike any other place. I upgraded my equipment, got more confident, and developed my own style. (The style is quite simply that I do not hide, I stand openly, and actively engage, where possible, my subjects.)

I got into model photography when a friend of mine suggested I take pictures highlighting some nail work she recently had done. She liked the results and that I had raw talent and should explore it, which I did.


Me: What is it about Asian women that make you want to photograph them exclusively?

Teban: First, I think photographers take pictures of subjects that interest them. I have always found Asian beauty to be particularly attractive. Secondly, I did not think that Asian beauty was being accurately represented. There are a lot of stereotypes and I wanted to show a different side of Asian women. Lastly, I wanted to create a niche- to keep my photography focused and develop an expertise.

Me: Probably many people are looking to make their start in photography. I would like to one of these days if I wasn’t constantly busy. Do you have any tips for those who are looking to make their start?

Teban: Tough question. Although it may not seem this way, his is actually a serious hobby for me. I still have a day job. I guess, simply put, if you find your passion, you’ll find time for it.

Me: What made you decide to share your original work in Flickr? I know many photographers do not like to share their original work for many reasons such as people using their work without their permission, so I am always appreciative of those that do.

Teban: I find this is a challenge and in fact, recently started putting watermarks on my photos for the first time. I started with Flickr, because, well, this is where I saw other’s work. My mentors are on here. Flickr is also probably one of the widest viewed photo sharing websites- and so I get a lot more feedback than I would anywhere else. And finally, Flickr has a pretty strong presence in Asia, which is one of my target markets.

Me: Is there a particular model that you love photographing?

Teban: Yes, my muse. Cici. She’s just amazing. 100% natural beauty. Sweet as can be. Fun. She’s become a friend. But I also like her because she puts me in my place. I should say, however, that each of my models has become special to me and each of them is great to work with for one reason or another.


Me: Is there a particular model that you haven’t worked with but would love to do so?

Teban: Ironically, yes – in fact, we’ve had something scheduled twice but failed both times due to schedules or unforseen emergencies. One thing you may not realize is that I generally photograph models “on the road” and so, even when meet a model I love to work with, I may not get back to where they are for 6 months to a year! But this model is Stephanie.

Me: How do you go about highlighting a model’s natural beauty?

Teban: I get to know them. Before the shoot ad during the shoot. I watch them… the first few minutes of a shoot are critical. There must be a bond. Chemistry if you will. IN fact, I always say, the last outfit in a shoot is always my best. And models I’ve worked with more than once usually result in better images.

Me: I haven’t had the chance to look at every photo on your photostream, but my favorite is still the woman wearing the cherry blossom kimono. Is there a story behind this photograph?


Teban: Ah, you are taking about Sae! It was a full kimono too. Not just a costume, but a real one… with all the proper layers of under kimonos, etc. Many Asian models want to work with me because of my ability to capture Asian beauty.

Me: Sae is the model in the kimono that I am referring to. Now that I finally had the chance to look at that entire set, questions that come to my mind are how did the idea to shoot her in a kimono come about, where was the shoot located, and will you ever work with her again because she is a beauty.

Teban: The kimono shoot with Sae was the second time I had worked with her. The first time we shot, it was more contemporary – perhaps more “cute” in style/theme. Sae is originally from Japan – and does traditional dance. She had the kimono here in the U.S. and suggested we do a more traditional concept. It is a FULL kimono by the way – not one that just looks like one – but a true kimono in that sense of the word. For example, she wore all of the proper/traditional layers. Being as I try to represent an Asian theme I was more than happy to agree and this remains one of my most favorite sets.

It was shot along Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills (Los Angeles, CA.). I’d love to work with her again. However, as I am from Seattle, it is more of a matching of our mutual schedules which can often be difficult.

Me: Can you tell me about Mon? I got one look at her and thought that she really is magnificent.


Teban: What do you want to know about her? Haha. Try this, it’s her Facebook fan page. Beyond that, she’s probably one of the most friendly models I have worked with an we definitely have plans to shoot again.

Me: I know it’s going to be difficult to pick one photo, but if you could pick one photo from your photostream to show people as the definition of Asian beauty, what would that photo be?

Teban: Yes it’s very difficult. It HAS to be Cici, for sure… my muse.

OK – let’s go with this one because it’s the most understated. Cici has modeled with me with a bikini, and just bubbles. But honestly, it’s the simplistic beauty here, that I think highlights true Asian “girl next door” beauty.


Street Photography

Roley Chiu shoots Dannie Riel

I have posted about Vancouver based photographer Roley Chiu a couple of times before. His work always got a lot of positive reactions from our readers.

While searching for some recent work of Roley I was surprised to see he is having some issues with his career. Not sure what to make of it, but all I want to say is: Roley, you are a damn fine photographer, so please get your ass back to the studio and start shooting those Asian hotties again! 😉 To illustrate my words I found the above clip on YouTube from a Roley shoot. Model: Dannie Riel (French/Chinese).


More Dannie Riel:

More Roley Chiu:

Andrew Slater has been shooting models for just under four years, and has a website where you can see his work. Over 160 models with over 200,000 photos can be found at It features 100% exclusive (nude) content – all shot by Andrew – and about 90% Asian. He says the members of the site love it, so hopefully you will too.

I took a quick peek and the models look okay – some better then others – and I like the shooting videos that seem to accompany every shoot. There is A LOT of material and that makes the navigation a little uneasy at times. The site also looks like it was designed four years ago, but that should not keep us from enjoying the nude Asian models! 😉

Tominari Tetsu

(Photo by Tominari Tetsu)

Check out the photos by Tominari Tetsu. His site is a pain to navigate, but worth it.

“In addition to a photoblog-like assortment of still lifes and snapshots from his everyday life, Tetsu’s real talent lies in capturing models in some curiously intimate and incredibly sexy situations that manage to stimulate the imagination as much as … er, other parts: we don’t know, for example, what caused the hottie in the thumbnail image to your left to start stripping in the middle of what looks like an ordinary lunch in someone’s apartment. But we do know we’re long overdue for a trip to Japan if that’s what we can expect to find on the menu once we get there.”Fleshbot