Strange times indeed. Who would have predicted that year 2020 would be a time of social distancing, mandatory masks, lockdowns, 5-8pm curfews, toilet paper panic buying and months of not seeing your mates and family face to face but virtually via Zoom meeting? HOW ARE YOU COPING?
In May, Nikon Australia thoughtfully touch based with me to see how I was going during wave 1 of Covid-19 pandemic. They wanted to keep the Nikon community inspired during these times of self-isolation and launched a series on Facebook called #AtHomeWith.
My responses may be three months old, and a lot has changed since then but I still want to keep encouraging and inspiring YOU, and creative minds alike. I don’t want the pandemic to get the best of us, in particular if you are living in Melbourne! Guard your minds from negative thoughts, but find the silver-lining in all of this and up-skill now while you can. Find yourself an accountability partner and meet virtually with them to workshop creative projects. This is how I’m dealing with wave 2, and I couldn’t be more busy, fulfilled and happier – devoting my full attention to teaching and consulting with female entrepreneurs with their online businesses, and conducting online webinars for students wanting to level up their Instagram game.
So here are my responses for the #AtHomeWith series and please remember, if you need a listening ear, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Firstly, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what’s in your gear bag?
Hey everyone, I’m Karen Woo (https://www.facebook.com/heykarenwoo/)! I am a Melbourne based, professional fashion photographer and film maker specialising in high end advertising campaigns. I also cofounded a creative digital agency, Stylebk (https://www.facebook.com/stylebk.ltd/) which focusses on digital marketing and strategy, design, social media, photography and film as well as helping female entrepreneurs to grow their passion into successful businesses.
I shoot all my fashion and advertising images on my Nikon D810 camera and my go to lens are the 35mm F1.4 and 24-70mm F2.8 lens for an edgier perspective. Whenever I want to be stealth or make my foreground and background to appear tighter, I love pulling out my Nikon AF-S 70-200mm F2.8 VR II lens.
As for film making, I capture all motion content on the Nikon mirrorless Z6 camera because it is light and easy to maneuver. My go-to lens is the NIKKOR Z 35mm F1.8 S lens for versality when I operate the camera gimble. I also carry with me a range of memory cards, laptop, cables, tape, audio and lighting equipment to ensure I’m fully prepared for the job.
What’s keeping you inspired during isolation?
I’ve been spending most of my isolation time watching documentaries, reading sports biography books and brushing up my filming, animation and editing skills via online training courses and listening to business-related podcasts. I have built a conscious habit to meet on a weekly basis (via Zoom) with my business and industry partners to brainstorm and plan photoshoot ideas so when the restrictions are relaxed, we are prepared to execute our personal projects. I found this incredibly essential as it kept us accountable to one another, supported and positive throughout these times.
While you’re at home, are there any tips or resources you’re using for those wanting to learn more about [Street / Music / Landscape / Underwater / Portrait / Macro] photography from home?
With the physical distancing rules at play, I found myself working differently. I have to quickly think of alternative ways to shoot talent within the 1.5m distance rule, resolve issues on the spot and working solo without my usual support crew. For instance, I have turned to YouTube for valuable tips and advice. On a recent job, I searched on YouTube for tips on the types of liquids I should use to take great macro shots of water droplets and I found heaps of great tutorials on macro water photography. My recommendation is to use YouTube whenever you need to solve a photography challenge quickly.
Where do you see your area of photography a year from now? Will things return to normal or can you see permanent changes?
Based on what I have been noticing on social media e.g. TikTok, Instagram, I see the future of my photography shifting towards photography with moving content and animation. In my opinion, I think businesses have become more innovative and forward thinking within the online space. They have used this time wisely to reflect and rediscover better initiatives to doing business creatively. On the other hand, travelling for international fashion weeks and capturing events with large gatherings of people will no longer be the same. I anticipate I’ll be traveling overseas less but working closely with my Australian brand clients to continue creating engaging marketing content.
In terms of Photography, what are you most looking forward to if or when things return to normal?
Fortunately, I’ve been blessed to remain busy during this time and things have been busier than normal. I have been able to work with new commercial brands in delivering a series of content to inspire customers with positive thinking and self-care during these times.
When things settle down, I look forward to working with my full photography crew, meeting clients face to face in their offices or cafes and applying my new skills, inspiration and knowledge into my personal projects and client’s marketing campaigns with freedom and no limitations.
Finally, is there anything you’d like to say to other photographers in your field?
Being a Freelance Photographer, especially a female entrepreneur can potentially be lonely, so my biggest advice is to connect to a wider community of Freelance Photographers and businesses who share like-minded values. Hence my business partners and I have recently launched a brand-new private community on Facebook where we can connect with other female entrepreneurs, share advice, tips and support one other. For us, it’s about building a space for female entrepreneurs to grow their passion into a successful business. You can connect with us here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/stylebk/.