Scroll through your social media feeds and you’ll see photos taken by photographers of all ages. Whether you are a new dad recording daily life or a 21-year-old Instagrammer with over 150k followers like @yk, everyone has a story to tell. They may have very different backgrounds, but the one thing they have in common is their love for capturing moments. They have said “yes” to re-discovering the beauty that is around them.
If you’re ever stared at a photo in awe of how out-of-the-world it was, you’ll know the magic of photography. You’ll know what it means to pause for a moment to appreciate the golden rays that shines through your window, or the innocent joy that radiates from a baby’s smile; the night lights that dance in the warm summer air, or the blissful moments you realise you’re surrounded by the ones you love.
We #SayYesTo the world of photography with young photographer Lee Yik Keat as he tells us about how it all began.
EOS 800D, f/5, 15mm, 1/200, ISO 400
How and when did you get into photography?
YK: Three years ago, Instagram was slowly rising up. Back then, I was just snapping photos with my phone and explored the app without any intention in mind. I soon realised that there were many users that were posting really awesome photos! That piqued my interest and is how I got started.
What was the moment you decided you were going to pursue photography?
YK: As I shot more, the timeless beauty of capturing each unique moments, frozen in time captivated me. Each photo has a story that helps me create a mini movie at the back of my mind, like a memory as fresh as the day it was taken. It was this magic that led me down this path.
What made you take the step into getting your first DSLR?
YK: As I learnt more about photography, I wanted to try new things like long exposure, but I couldn’t do night photography without a DSLR. It's funny how I used to stop shooting at night and overlooked the beautiful city before me. While munching on my favorite dishes, I was staring at all the missed opportunities that slipped away.
EOS 800D, f/10, 35mm, 13s, ISO 100
How has a DSLR advanced your photography journey?
YK: When I finally took the leap, I quickly realized it was the best decision I’ve made so far. It enabled me to express myself in a more dynamic way. Having versatile gear also meant that I had more control over the final output. I became more adventurous with my shots because the sturdy camera can withstand more challenging situations
How did you find your style?
YK: I don’t know if I’ve actually found a style I can call my own yet, but in general I love creating visuals that emulate a certain kind of emotion. I find myself roaming the streets, getting a feel of the environment – how people behaved, the ambiance of the place – and with this intuition, I try to capture scenes that presented a glimpse of this
How did you grow your following to amass more than 150k followers?
YK: In the beginning my growth was actually quite slow until I got a DSLR and things started blooming because I was now able to show everyday places in an more interesting way be it by shooting from a different perspective or adding subjects to the scene. I guess the style I went for and the way I captured things got people interested.
What is the one basic that every photographer needs to know?
YK: I personally believe light is everything. Study how it works in theory and in practice. You don't need to know everything right now, but bit by bit the more you learn and apply, the better you’ll get.
EOS 800D, f/1.8, 35mm, 1/3200, ISO 100
What tips do you have for people just starting out?
YK: Don’t pre-judge and discount moments that you perceive will be mundane or boring. For someone else, that might be new and interesting. A location doesn’t have to be visually stunning for you to notice the in-between moments that may tell a story beyond your expectations.
(Read more on part 2 of our interview with Lee Yik Keat)
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