Interview – Kim Wong

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Kim Wong, I worked as a digital journalist with Channel NewsAsia. I’m Malaysian.

How did you get into the field you are in now?

A friend of mine told me there was an opening and they were looking for someone who was interested in telling stories. I came from a business degree background so I had absolutely no knowledge of production or journalism. But I was interested in photography and videography having done some on the side in university. So i basically showed them my instagram photos and a travel video I did up, they thought i had an eye visually and thats how I got the job.

What motivates you to keep doing what you do? 

That I was able to tell stories of ordinary Singaporeans and issues to a wider audience, and helping people be more aware of what is around us. It was accomplishing knowing how some stories were life changing and to be able to share that was motivating enough.

Could you imagine yourself doing any other job than the one you’re doing now?

Yes, the job scope was not just being a digital journalist but also at the same time we had to manage our social platforms and run a facebook page. Which means a business/marketing mindset in knowing what works and what does not too. So with that knowledge and background, I could go into social media marketing work and telling stories but from a business point of view.

If you could go back in time and do something differently what would it be?

I would have pushed myself more, in terms of getting out of my comfort zone, and honing better interview skills in getting out the best stories that I could. I could have challenged myself more as well in terms of the visual elements (shooting, camera angles etc) to tell a better story visually.

One piece of advice you would give someone starting out in the creative field?

Take in constructive criticism and learn from it. Don’t think that just because you have a great idea, it is a great idea and will work. No. You’re gonna have great ideas, and you’re gonna have stupid ideas that you feel the need to execute, but take a moment to look at things from a different perspective, talk to other people, and find out how those comments from others can help make your work better.

Kim can be found on Instagram @iamkimwong

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Portfolio – Instagram

As mentioned in a previous post, I plan to host my portfolio on a specially designed website. However, while a website is undoubtedly a great way to showcase your works, it simply doesn’t generate the same exposure as a social media account.

There are a wide variety of social networks available today, some are well known, while others are limited to a smaller niche. As far as photography goes, Instagram is undeniably the largest social network. With over 500 million active users, it’s behind only Facebook and Youtube (DeMers, 2017). Almost every photographer can be found on Instagram. It’s an almost necessary step to getting your content out there for people to discover.

But this post isn’t going to discuss the merits of the platform or weigh out its pros and cons – that is a topic for another time. Rather the focus here will be about my attempt at creating an appealing Instagram portfolio.

1. Choosing a subject

The first step was to choose a subject or area that will be main focus of my feed. A helpful way to do this is by looking through old photos and finding a common theme. In my case I ended up choosing people and travel. Now, this doesn’t mean that you’re limited to just these two areas, but they will take up the majority of the photos I post.

2. Choosing a style

This part is with a doubt the hardest problem I faced. Some photographers have a particular style (which I take a look at here), this gives their photos a consistent look and feel. I however, like to experiment with different styles and haven’t yet chosen one particular form that is consistent throughout all my photos. So to work around this problem I’ve designed my feed to incorporate different styles, but still maintain an aesthetically pleasing visual. This leads to the third point.

3. Designing the feed

On your feed, Instagram displays photos in 3s. So the approach I’ve taken is to upload 3 photos with the same style or feel in a row. This helps give the feed a pleasing look, but still lets me change the style every 3 or 6 or 9 posts.

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As the screenshot shows, the first 12 images (with the exception of one) retain a black and white aesthetic. The last 3 images are where I’ve switched styles and gone for a very vibrant pink and blue vibe. The idea now is to add 3 or 6 more images that keep the pink and blue, and afterwards switch to another style.

As the photos pile on, keeping track of your Instagram feed can get quite complicated. And so, listed here are a few apps that I’ve used to help keep my feed in check.

Unum

Unum is a visual planner. This means you can upload your photos to the app and see what your Instagram feed will look like. This is helpful in keeping your aesthetic and style consistent and clean.

Command

Command is a statistics and analysis app for Instagram. It gives you insights such as the best time to post, which filter is more popular and how you could generally improve your feed.

References

DeMers, J. (2017, March). Why Instagram is the top social platform for engagement (and how to use it). Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2017/03/28/why-instagram-is-the-top-social-platform-for-engagement-and-how-to-use-it/#750784b236bd

Goodbye Lightroom?

Adobe’s Lightroom is without a doubt one of , if not the most popular RAW photo processing software out there. The vast majority of professionals use it for their photo editing needs, and even if you don’t use it, you’ll have at least heard of it.

However in the past few versions, Lightroom has been acting up. Performance is painfully slow, rendering previews take forever and it guzzles up RAM like a monster. And it’s not just me, a quick internet search will turn up hundreds of unhappy users over the past several years, in various forums and websites bemoaning Lightroom’s performance. And while Adobe has very recently acknowledged the issues in Lightroom (Fitzgerald, 2017), it will still take some time for them to roll out fixes to the problems, if at all. And to top it all off, a subscription to Lightroom isn’t cheap, and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that shelling out cash for a program that is simply too slow to use at times is simply not worth it.

So what is a photographer to do now?

Well, one option is to give up photo editing, but that probably not an option for most people. The second choice is to switch to another program. While none of these software have the popularity of Lightroom, they still provide a fairly solid alternative for editing photos. Two notable ones include DxO Mark’s DxO Optics Pro and Phase One’s Capture One Pro. Of the two the one I prefer is Capture One, and as such that’s what’s going to be the focus of this post.

By far the biggest problem with switching from Lightroom is the interface change. Capture One’s interface isn’t bad per se, but it will take a while to get used to, especially if you’re used to a Lightroom workflow. The black and orange layout may not be to everyone’s taste and unfortunately there’s no way to change it, although you can customize other aspects such as windows and toolbars.

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The performance though is a long way from Lightroom, it renders previews and applies changes much faster. It’s still not perfect though. It does occasionally lag and there are some stutters here and there. But it’s still a far cry from the almost unusable mess that is Lightroom. Adding to the benefits of Capture One you also get a minor image quality boost (Richardson, 2016). RAW images processed in Capture One simply have better color and sharpness. Another plus point to Capture One is tethering. For me, Lightroom has simply never worked when trying to tether my camera, so this feature is a nice added boon to have.

However the switching workflow hasn’t been easy, and I still have Lightroom installed – just in case. But for those of you wanting to give Capture One a try, I highly recommend watching this guide from Fstoppers to get aquatinted with the software (Woloszynowicz, 2014).

References

Fitzgerald, T. (2017, July). After years of complaints, Adobe acknowledges Lightroom performance issues. Retrieved from http://blog.thomasfitzgeraldphotography.com/blog/2017/7/after-years-of-complaints-adobe-acknowledges-lightroom-performance-issues

Richardson, M. (2016, June). Is it time to switch from Lightroom to Capture One Pro? Here’s why it might be. Retrieved from https://www.slrlounge.com/time-switch-lightroom-capture-one-pro-heres-might/

Woloszynowicz, M. (2014, July). The ultimate guide to getting started with Capture One Pro. Retrieved from https://fstoppers.com/originals/ultimate-guide-getting-started-capture-one-pro-27179

About Me

Ever since I can remember, I’ve had an interest in art and design. It started out with drawings and sketches – I would draw almost anything that I saw, although it was mostly limited to cars and animals. Later when I got my first camera my focus turned into photography. I carried the large – for 12 year old me at the time – black camera everywhere I went, clicking pictures as if my life depended on it.

Gradually, as time passed, I got into videos, music, graphics, web design, UI design and more. Eventually this led to pursuing Multimedia Design as a degree.  During this time I worked on several projects, including doing an graphics design for CanOfJuice, a company that showcases designs from various artists by selling products and home accessories with their artwork. I also recreated the Facebook app in my own way as part of UI/UX design, and later created mockups of my own app.

While I did designs and projects for all of these different areas, my main focus has always been on photography and videography. It could be because with a camera you can go out and capture real people out in the real world, as opposed to the other mediums, which are more “digital” so to speak. There’s just something about a good photograph that I simply love.

The way you’re able to capture people’s emotions in one picture is, for me, amazing. And videos are able to do even more! A video is a continuous set of photos, and combine it with great music and sound, and it has the ability to make a person cry, or laugh. In the end that’s what I aspire to do with any of my art. It’s to evoke emotion. To me that’s what makes art what it is – the way it can lift people up, encourage them. The way it makes people feel.

Welcome

Hi, I’m David. I’m currently working on a degree in Digital Media Design. I love music, design, books, photography, film making and my family. People tell me I have a talent for clicking amazing pictures. Along with photos I’m also extremely passionate about creating short films and movies that stir people’s emotions. I’m looking for ways to further my skills in this field to impact people by producing movies that make a difference.