Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Rising photographer Ivan Wong shares his views on the worst photography advice he's heard

Ivan has taken trips with other fellow Sony ambassadors worldwide to capture photography

Published: Oct 7, 2020 04:49:47 PM IST

Rising photographer Ivan Wong shares his views on the worst photography advice he's heard
Ivan Wong has been making an impression on social media with his unique photography style. Many of his photos have gone viral and started trends. His passion for experimenting in the field has brought unique perspectives to photography and art. His social media profiles are a clear example of that. As a self-taught rising photographer, he has established his name in the industry with his inception style photos, light trail photography, and colorful portraits.

Wong never knew he could pick up photography. Having grown up in a low-income household, he never thought he would ever be able to purchase one. However, after moving to New York after graduating from the University of Southern California to pursue management consulting, Ivan started experimenting. Within a period of just three years, he has gained over 130K followers on Instagram. Wong's photography skills caught Sony's attention, and he became a founding member of the Sony Alpha Imaging Collective, a group of talented photographers hand-picked by Sony to represent their brand. Likewise, in mobile, he was picked up by Google as a founding member of Team Pixel to represent the Pixel phone's camera.

The Sony Alpha brand has been able to emerge as the top photography brand in the world. Ivan has taken trips with other fellow Sony ambassadors worldwide to capture photography and promote the Sony Alpha brand name. His popularity grew with time due to his fantastic content, and he started getting recognition from other brands like Audi, Razer, Gillette, DJI, and more.

Given his significant accomplishments and participation in the scope of modern photography, Wong is well known for many of his impressive records. He produced artwork for Dua Lipa in "Alita: The Battle Angel", filmed the music video from the 'Continuum' album, 'Tidal,' for Shook, created the cover art for "Lace-up" and "Empire" by Wengie, and co-produced the music video for JVNA's "I'm With You," among others.

When asked about advice for aspiring photographers, Wong says that success relies on experimenting, realizing, and growing one's skills. "Photography has many categories, and each requires a different set of eyes and skills. While fundamentals are common, it's also important to grow tailored skills in these areas," he adds. Wong also tells us some of the common advice he has heard in the field growing up, and why some are detrimental for growth.

Bad Advice #1: "Practice, practice, practice - Shoot every day"

"Though this advice may seem genuine," says Wong, "telling someone to just keep shooting every day won't help them grow as a photographer. Conversely, it can make them burnout. It's important to push yourself to shoot, but also understand what to practice at each time. Is it the composition, is it lighting, is it slow shutter? Having a mission is key."

Bad Advice #2: Get inspiration from social media

"This doesn't mean all photographers on social media is bad. This means aspiring photographers should seek out photography accounts to help them grow, not based on follower counts or social media trends. Following accounts that post similar photos from the same angle and places will train your mind to do the same and get stuck in this circle. Chasing fading trends won't level up one's ability. It's important to branch out to other mediums like traditional art - these are masterpieces for a reason. Photographers should study their composition and color. They could also study digital painters who convey emotions that they want to capture in photos. Or study winning photographs and books to see what makes them loved by the professional photography community."

Bad Advice #3: "It's not about the gear"

"Photographers telling you that gear is not important is only a half-truth. The truth is that anyone with an understanding of the basic concepts of photography can capture a great photograph using the tools given to them. However, this doesn't mean that aspiring photographers should go out and buy any gear on clearance at a photography store. It's key to understand the reasoning to become a photographer. Do you want to capture portraits, landscapes, street photography? You have to ask yourself what you're looking for and purchase gear to help elevate your skills. In portraits, lenses that provide bokeh and have low f-stops are valuable. In night photography, a camera body that has high ISO thresholds will allow you to capture photos at night without compromising quality too much."

Disclaimer: The views, suggestions and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Forbes India journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.