interview interview advent

Interview Advent Day 6 : Elaine Li

12/06/2017Jake Ryan

I first found Elaine Li on Instagram while looking for Hong Kong photos. Elaine is an art director and photographer who takes the most amazing shots of the city. 

With a passion for photography and the power of social media, Elaine has managed to grow a large following and use this to create unique and exciting opportunities for herself.  

I recently asked Elaine a few questions, see what Elaine had to say below. 

Hey Elaine, first of all could you tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hey there! I’m Elaine, an advertising agency art director and freelance photographer based in Hong Kong. I was born and raised here; and have spent time in Melbourne, Chicago and San Francisco before returning to my hometown.

Your photos are absolutely stunning, when did you grow a passion for taking photos?
Thank you! It all started in middle school when my dad gave me a digital camera. It was quite compact for its time, and I brought it to school everyday, taking random snapshots of friends, knick-knacks and whatever I find interesting. My dad was also really into photography as well, and I had the chance to play around with his old film cameras too.

Did you study photography or teach yourself?
I’ve always been shooting since middle school, so photography has always been part of my life for a very long time. I did go to art school for college and took a photography course at school. But I’d say it’s mostly self-taught.

Do you have a photo you’re most proud of?
Not really. As Imogen Cunningham once said, “Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I'm going to take tomorrow.”

Every photo you take looks so perfect, how much planning goes into getting the perfect shot?
Haha you’re too kind.. sometimes I look back at photos I’ve taken a few years ago and think wow.. that’s terrible… Anyway, for the “perfect” shot, it really depends on the photo itself. For example, if it’s a building I’ve been eyeing or an interesting angle of capturing cityscape, I would go and do a quick location scout first. If the weather isn’t ideal, I’d wait for the perfect time of day, perfect weather and go back to capture it. If it’s a case of street photography, you really don’t get to plan. It’s more of a challenge of quick observation and quick response to capture that moment.

Has growing a large social media following brought any new opportunities your way?
Definitely! I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of my favourite brands, travel to destinations I’ve never imagined going to, do speaking engagements and most importantly meet like-minded friends who share the same passion.

What is your favourite thing to photograph? 
My favourite thing to shoot ranges from cityscapes, architecture, urban exploration, portrait and street. My favourite thing about photography is never the subject though, it’s more about the process of capturing the shot.  

Do you make a full time income from your photography?
I make part of my income from photography. The other part is from my full time job as an art director in a global advertising agency.

Who are your favourite photographers?
It changes from time to time depending on my mood. These days I’m more inspired by films and cinematography than photography.

What else makes you happy?
Music festivals. Travelling. Good and cheap food.

Who inspires you?
Anyone who’s a go-getter.

And finally, what are your plans for the future? 
There will be some big changes in my life, which would also affect my photography work. Stay tuned on @lielaine and find out! ;)

Thanks Elaine for taking the time 
to talk to TravelFoodFilm

Make sure you follow Elaine on Instagram HERE

Find out more about Elaine 
on her website HERE

All photos in this post belong to Elaine. 

Did you miss day 5? Check it out here - Sam McAllister.

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