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Inspirations >> Photos & People

A Catch-up with Tracy Thao Luong, CPMC 2019 Official Media Crew Member

Almost two years after attending the Canon PhotoMarathon Asia Championship  (CPMC) 2018, Tracy Thao Luong continues to be a familiar face at CPMC alumni events. In 2019, she was the first ever CPMC alumni member to be part of the Canon PhotoMarathon Asia Championship official media crew. We find out more about what she has been up to.

Tracy Thao Luong

 

Hi Tracy! It’s been over a year since we last interviewed you. At that time, you mentioned that you just started a photography and videography business (An Nam Media). How has your first year been?

It was quite tough. Although both my co-founder and I graduated with diplomas in Broadcast Media from LASALLE College of the Arts, the business side of things was very new to us. We had to learn many things such as how to do marketing, write content, manage finances, and how to find, approach and communicate with clients. The last one was really a big challenge for us, and I was lucky to get advice from professional photographers like the ones I met during the Canon PhotoMarathon Asia Championship (CPMC 2018), such as GOTO AKI.

I am glad that we have been able to do videography and photography projects for a number of clients including major corporations, across a variety of genres including events, highlights, food, fashion, products, and weddings.

Of course, there was also the CPMC 2019, for which we were the official media crew. 

An Nam Media owners

Tracy and her An Nam Media co-founder, Lucien during CPMC 2019.

 

What were some of the most important things that you learned in your first year in the business?

1. How to manage finances. The cost of living in Singapore is high, especially the cost of renting space. An Nam Media is a start-up business with limited capital, so my co-founder and I have to manage our finances very carefully.

2. Time management. I once made a huge scheduling mistake, which caused a lot of trouble. I now always remind myself to check the schedule and calendar many times before a shoot.

3. Last but not least, be patient and stay passionate! 


Has your business influenced your own personal photography? 

My style is still the same: I still personally prefer to take photographs of people rather than landscapes, as I feel that every portrait has a story to tell. However, working as a photographer means that I have many more opportunities to do different types of photography, such as weddings, events, fashion, and so on. Because of my work, I have learned how to work with Speedlites, how to pose and communicate with models, how to arrange the layout for product photos, and much more.

Each new project is a learning experience, and every time, I come out feeling that I need to learn more. That has become a kind of motivation to keep learning and improving on different skills and techniques.


What have you been practising recently?

Still life, product photography, and silhouette photography. These require skills to get the lighting and shadows to look the way you want.

Shot in July 2018
Golden hour silhouette with shadow
EOS 60D/ EF50mm f/1.8 STM/ Manual exposure (f/3.2, 1/4000 sec)/ ISO 100

Shot in October 2019
Golden hour silhouette with shadow
EOS 5D Mark IV/ EF24-70mm f/2.8L USM/ FL: 51mm/ Manual exposure (f/14, 1/400 sec)/ ISO 160

Above: An ongoing fascination with silhouettes, with an evolving eye for light and shadow.
Below: Practising product photography with different lighting.

Golden hour silhouette with shadow

Golden hour silhouette with shadow

All images above shot with the EOS 5D Mark IV and EF24-70mm f/2.8L USM 

I personally believe that there are no rules about “right” or “wrong” in photography. It all depends on your vision of what you want the photo to be—depth of field, light, shadows, etc. The quality of the photo depends on how well it meets your expectations.


How do you stay passionate about photography?

I try to take photos every day. It can be of food, pets, people, products, still life—anything! I will then edit the photos on my phone and share them with my friends on social media. Catching up with new works by some professional photographers on their social media pages also keeps me inspired.

A shot of plants in a garden that Tracy took to replace the photos hanging in her house. “I really like hanging photos in the house, especially those of people, still life, or street life. Looking at them gives me a sense of peace."


Could you share about how you became a member of the CPMC 2019 official media crew?

After participating in CPMC 2018 in Japan, I kept in touch with the Canon representative, Evan. Evan gave us a lot of encouragement and support when we set up An Nam Media, but we were really surprised when he invited us to go down to the Canon office to make a pitch for CPMC 2019.  

We prepared a very detailed presentation for the pitch. We were quite nervous on the actual day. Canon is such a big name, and it is a huge opportunity to be able to work with them, especially if you are a small start-up like An Nam Media. We didn’t think we would win because our company is new and relatively unknown in the industry. In fact, a few weeks later when we received Evan’s message that we had won the pitch, we actually screamed out loud.


Tell us about the experience.

It was totally different from being a participant! As media crew, we were always in working mode, following the judges and participants around to shoot and interview them. Back in the hotel room, we would check and back up all our stills, footage and audio files, and then prepare our equipment for the next day. It would be 3 or 4 am by the time we slept. It was a demanding schedule, but the experience was worth it.

For me, the best thing out of the whole experience was the opportunity to work under different kinds of weather conditions, including in the rain, strong wind, and freezing cold. (Laughs) We worked without gloves, and on some days, our hands were so frozen that we could barely operate the cameras. We ended up buying hot canned drinks from the vending machines to warm our hands!

Tracy in action as a participant during CPMC 2018.  

As media crew, we were also loaned the EOS R to shoot photos and videos with. I had a great time with it as it is smaller and lighter than my EOS 5D Mark IV. But I still like the feeling of holding the EOS 5D Mark IV, so I think I will stick with it for now.


Any advice to future CPMC official media crew?

1. Prepare properly the questions for the judges.
2. Make sure all your equipment is ready before you head to a new destination.
3. Back up your footage and photos every day into at least two devices.

 

Check out the official CPMC 2019 video by An Nam Media below: 

 

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CPMC alumni: The official media crew for CPMC 2020 might just be you!

Canon Asia is always seeking to create new opportunities to help CPMC alumni grow, and is pleased to present the CPMC 2020 Official Media Crew opportunity as its latest platform.

Requirements: 
- 2 person team (at least 1 member must be CPMC alumni)
- Produce videos and photos for event publicity and promotion

Selection criteria:
- Portfolio
- Video conference
- Pitch

(All expenses in Japan to be paid. Includes one-time allowance.)

More details will be released to CPMC alumni directly.

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Want to learn more about the CPMC experience? Check out the following:
Through Different Lenses: An Interview with the CPMC 2018 Winners
CPMC 2019: Shooting Full Steam Ahead in the Land of Mount Fuji
CPMC 2019: Up Close with 1st Prize Winner Mohd Safuan 

Every photo has a story to tell—and so does every photographer! Some of them share their stories with us here:
GOTO AKI: Changing Careers to Follow My Photography Passion
Mark Anthony Lim: EOS R: Marking a New Photography Milestone with Canon
Bang Dzoel: No Hands, No Legs. Just an Indomitable Spirit to Excel
Jack Morris: How I Quit My Job And Became An Instagram Influencer
Interview with Celebrity Photographer Hajime Kamiiisaka (1): From Record Label Executive to Pro Photographer
Wedding Affairs With Canon (Interviews with various wedding photographers)

 


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