How long have I been doing this?
Now that we’re in 2019, it’s been 7 years!
What’s my style?
Personally, I like the cinematic, clean, and simple look.
Nothing over-dramatic, over-processed, fake-looking.
Hopefully, you can feel something in the photos and videos I take!
Long background (that I wouldn’t blame you if you skipped)
In high school and college, I filmed and edited for fun, never thinking I’d ever become a professional photographer or videographer in Hawaii or Japan. (This was before Youtube was taking over the world, and Google Video was still a separate entity.)
After graduating with a psychology degree of all things, I opted out of going to grad school or pursuing law school. Like any good 2nd generation Asian-American child, I had seriously considered the doctor/lawyer path, but I decided to end those crazy thoughts when: 1) I realized I definitely lacked the intelligence and passion for those fields, and 2) My older sister, a lawyer - of course, right - told me I would probably hate my life if I became a lawyer.
I listened to her advice, and many years later, I’m very happy that I get to do what I love for a living.
In 2012, I got hired by a video production company in Hawaii, and six months later, they started a new business in Japan. They offered me a position to help kick off the company, and I immediately took it. Majority of the weddings I shot there were same-day edits but with extreme time constraints (90 minutes to edit). I went freelance after a year in Japan, and four years later, I moved back to Hawaii to continue my journey as a filmmaker and photographer.
How did I learn the craft?
Fortunately, I had the opportunity to be trained by the legendary wedding cinematographer Michael Y. Wong. I definitely consider him one of my mentors, and he taught me how to compose shots, story-tell, edit without excess and BS, and to simplify and not over-complicate the process.
I absorbed his mindset and combined it with my own work ethic and perspective on life. His technical knowledge was critical in my growth as a photographer and videographer, and I feel I was able to combine these techniques with my own perspective of life.
Besides photography and videography being a moment to moment battle of capturing the stories around me, internally, I’m trying to focus on the person right in front of me. What is their story, what are they feeling, what will happen next. It sounds stupidly simple, but I think it can sometimes be difficult with all the distractions around us today. And especially as some may get used to this line of work, I think there are those who shoot out of habit, getting safe, cookie-cutter shots, without really giving a crap about the moment. When I engage 100% with each photo, video, each shot, each moment, it really does feel like a moment to moment battle. There isn’t a redo button when it comes to the wedding kiss, your vows, your parents’ crying. That’s probably why you’ll see me sweating like crazy when I’m shooting your wedding. In those split seconds, I’m exerting an all out effort to best capture that moment and be ready for the next. Yes, sometimes I may have the look of constipation, but I promise you it’s not because of poor digestion or eating habits. It’s because I’m holding my breath to steady the shot. Or if you see me squinting like an 80 year old man trying to read the fine print — really I’m just checking to make sure my shot is in focus and have the best composition possible.
I hope that the heart and technical ability reflects itself in the final edit.
It could be my imagination, but I like to believe that’s my special sauce.
(I don’t know why I bolded those two words)
Anyway, that’s enough about me. Let me learn about you, send me an email, say hi, ask questions, let’s start a dialogue!
Thanks for reading this far, though in all honesty, it’s a huge block of text, and a lot of people probably skipped this page altogether. Well, thank YOU, specifically you, because YOU are a champion. (I’m pointing at you through my computer screen and doing a slow clap right now)
映像の師匠が Michael Y. Wong