Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Local Feature: Karen Nou Yang

To all you youngsters who want to do photography (including me) or anyone looking for a photographer, JMP proudly presents Karen Nou Yang. In my earlier days of photography research, I would secretly read and follow about 10-20 blogs and photography websites. One day, I decided to take my research (or as Karen puts it, “stalking”- LOL) on my MySpace account. I decided to look up all of my MS friends who had “photography” at end of their names. Aside from the countless “HDR”and automatic setting photographers, it was, to say the least, refreshing to see Ms. Yang’s photos. Her work was exactly like what a lot of well known photographers were doing at the time, which was shooting beyond what the camera allows you to. Her colors were vibrant, sophisticated, and help set the mood for each frame. Keep up the great work!

1. Karen Nou Yang Photography (KNY) is...?
I’d say, Karen Nou Yang Photography is… fresh?! Lol, I really don’t know how I’d describe my work. I have no real motive, or goal for what I do. I mean, as a free-lance photographer- I pride myself in putting out work that is new, young, and contemporary. And I always try to put out quality work that I know others would enjoy. I guess KNY is a just a regular, 21 year old female photographer, that is always looking for something different, something edgy, and something that stands out. But KNY as a person… you can say she’s actually quite shy. Ha ha. She’s always up for a good time w/ good company; but she is also a homebody, she definitely puts others before herself, she works (way too much), she enjoys music, she loves photography, she loves shopping, she loves being herself! Ha. She’s your typical girl. She’s got her issues, and she’s got her ups, but underneath all the “glitz and glam” of her KNY LABEL, she’s just Karen. This nobody photographer with a fb full of okay photos taken with her crappy dslr camera. Haha.

2. How did you get into photography?
I’ve always been a very artsy person. I was probably in the eighth grade when I really started getting into web design/photography. I always played around with Photoshop and from there; I slowly began understanding the tools that I now use when I shoot and edit photos. My co-worker was into photography before me (http://www.photosbyrobin.com/), and I guess you can say, she kind of pushed me into it. She noticed that I had “an eye for photography,” and was really the one who fueled my drive to start shooting.

3. Who is your inspiration for photography?
I’d definitely say the media. Magazines, the online web, television… I get inspiration from almost everything and anything I see and look at. I feed off of a variety of things.

4. Did you go to school for photography?
I get this question a lot from clients/friends/photographers, but no. I didn’t go to school for it, I didn’t take classes… I’ve learned everything on my own, or from friends. I also get a lot of tips/help from other young and upcoming Hmong photographers that a lot of us see online as well.

5. What's the hardest part about your profession?
There really isn’t a hard part in what I do, because I don’t shoot full-time. I guess you can say meeting a new client for the first time is always really nerve-racking. And dealing with an un-happy client is always hard. But I’m lucky I haven’t had many.

6. Ever dropped a camera?
Omg, no! I haven’t yet. And I’m so glad. My photography equipment is some of the most expensive items I own.

7. What your camera are you using now?
Would like to use in the future? I started out with the Canon rebel xti, I now have the Canon rebel xs. Not the best of the best DSLR cameras out there, but they are good to me I also shoot with the 50mm f/1.4 & I just got the 35mm f/2.0. I am aiming to shoot with the Canon 5D mark II in the near future! I just think stepping into full-frame photography would definitely up my game in photography.

8. When I'm editing I like to... ?
It goes a little like this… - I fix exposure.- I play around in curves.- Then I play up hue/saturation.- Then I use color match to fix any color distortions.- Then I match color to add vibrancy and more color to the photo.- Then I fix skin imperfections.- Then I run a few actions if needed, and then I sharpen the final photo.

9. Ever used a car as your subject?
No. I haven’t had a session yet involving a car. But I have had ideas of using one as a prop.

10. "Never say never" moments in KNY (days like you feel like trashing it all but didn't)?
There are a few days when I have trouble dealing with photography and the clients and the “drama” it all brings. One of my biggest pet peeves, is when my clients try to change my prices. I mean, photographers have set prices for a reason. And when clients come to me and ask for certain favors/discounts it makes me kind of angry. I mean, I put out good work. And I don’t charge as much as I could. And people still message me about how they’re broke or how my prices are so high, blah blah blahhh. And what I really want to say is, hello?! I’m a photographer, I really shouldn’t even care if you do or don’t have the money, because if you don’t have the money, don’t come to me! You know?! But it’s just like, I’m not that type of person. So I always end up coming to a reasonable deal with my clients. Idk, some days are better than others, definitely. So I just take them as they come.

11. Any word(s) of advice for anyone who is wanting to add "photography" next to their name?
Hmmm. No real advice. No real strategy or method into becoming a photographer… I’d just say, if you want to be taken seriously as a real, authentic photographer; don’t get ahead of yourself. Don’t act or come-off as if you’re the best. Put out good, quality work. And feed off of the feedback you get from your peers. But don’t let anyone’s’ comments or words change your mind about anything you do either. And don’t let any negative feedback get you down. Change and follow up with things that best suits you. Don’t mold yourself into something that people want you to be. Do what you do, and do it with pride. Get to know your camera, crowd, and community. Keep yourself motivated. And promote yourself any way you can (Facebook, MySpace, blogs, and websites). And last, always always ALWAYS, believe in your work. If you believe in your work and love it, then other people will too.

12. Any shout outs or rants?
Definitely wanna shout out to my family; for being the first of the first to see my work and actually tell me they love it and for believing in it. Then to Robin, for helping me out with all my questions and for keeping me posted on new photography talk. Ha. Then to my boyfriend, for being my #1! I love you Chu. To all my good friends, for secretly stalking my blogs/photos; then never commenting or liking only to hear from them that they actually do. Haha. Then to some of the most talented Hmong people I know in my community… Jmaug! For choosing ME to post on your blog as a spotlight photographer! Thank you so so much. Yuli, of Teaser by Yuli- for helping promote and for always hooking up with me on some hot hot collabs! Focha ,of Focha Studiio, for always keeping me posted on much needed info/talk! Natural Blush Fotography, Toua Lee, Photo-g, CC, Keith Selle, Aleen, Fotos by Nou Xiong, Hmoodle, Thee Krew, PrettyGeeky, Vam Moua… gosh, this is just a few of the many people I would like to personally give a high 5 too. Ha. I love how our Hmong community has come together with amazing young artists and talents. This is just the beginning for everyone!

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