Interview With Creative Photographer Elaine Li
We recently had the pleasure of speaking with the wonderful Elaine Li. Elaine is an art director, designer, content creator, photographer, and Instagram sensation! She has about 52k followers and it’s no wonder why if you check out her account. She was born and raised in Hong Kong, then studied in various places such as Melbourne and Chicago for 7 years, and is now back in her hometown. We were lucky to be able to ask Elaine a few questions about herself.
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m born and raised in Hong Kong, and spent some time in Melbourne, Chicago and San Francisco. Now I’m back in my hometown working as a creative at an advertising agency. I enjoy shooting and exploring the city on weekends.
2. When did you first take up photography and roof-topping around Hong Kong?
Ever since my dad gave me my first digital camera when I was 12, I’ve been bringing my camera everywhere with me, taking photos of everything – nick-nacks, classmates, street, landscape etc. With urban exploration, it started with an instameet to an abandoned candy factory in Chicago. After that trip, I did some research on urban exploration, and discovered a sub-genre called Rooftopping. Then I found Andrew Tso and Javin Lau’s portfolio website, and was so impressed by their photos that I wanted to shoot them myself.
3. How do you describe your style of photography?
To be honest, I’m not sure what style I have. I just shoot whatever interests me. I like architecture, symmetry, and harsh light. The good thing about technology these days is that the iPhone is so convenient, so if I see a nice moment or nice light, I just shoot it and edit right away. A habit I have when I edit architecture shots, is that I need to make sure it’s perfectly symmetrical. Must be the OCD in me 😀
4. Whats your favourite tools or apps that you use for editing your photos?
For iPhone photos, I always edit the contrast, temperature, colour etc first on Snapseed, to make sure the photo itself looks good without any filters. Then I go to VSCO CAM and apply a maximum of 50% filter, so to keep some authenticity to the photo.
5. Do you always keep in mind the consistency throughout your gallery?
My feed is consistently inconsistent! I mean… there’s city, architecture, nature, roof, gopro selfies, animals, #onthetables.. it’s really random. I guess I like to mix it up a bit. It would be quite boring if I post photos of the same things over and over again. At least that’s how I feel. Maybe my followers don’t agree haha…
6. Any other photo projects that you are working on right now or plan to do in the near future?
Other ares of photography that I’d like to explore more is shooting more people and portraits. Also, brands are starting to approach me for media collaboration, and I’d hate to bombard my feed with boring ads. So I’m exploring that territory too, where I’m helping to promote a product, but do it in a fun and creative way. It’s sort of like art direction, which I do in my day time job.
I’m also an avid traveller, so I would LOVE to collaborate with travel agencies or airlines, or anything that involves some sort of experience like events or concerts.
7. What are your other hobbies/interests besides photography?
Design, concerts, traveling, music festivals… Oh did I mention traveling?
8. Are there any tips or techniques you would like to share with our new and aspiring photographers? What advice you wished you had known earlier that would help in your photography career.
Practice makes perfect! Just keep on shooting. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a professional camera. I think to develop a sharp eye, you just need to shoot more and observe things that people usually ignore.
9. Recommend some Instagrammers that inspires you.
@alinatsvor – one of my favourite female Instagrammers
@asenseofhuber – his feed is full of creative and fun ideas
@jnsilva – creator of #chasingharshlight. he’s the one who made me really notice light and shadow
@samalive, @samthecobra, @scottborero – this crew man. every photo they post are just killer.
Article by Hans Ding, who is an iPhone photographer from the tiny island city-state of Singapore. With curious eyes and keen awareness to his surroundings, Hans readies his trusty iPhone, standing by interesting pockets of light and awaiting to capture that opportune moment. His photographs are of personal moments in his daily commute and meetings. They highlight human interactions filtered through his eyes and introduce serenity to the usual hustle and bustle of his home city. For more of his work, visit www.hansding.vsco.co and follow him on Instagram @hanliang.