With his boyish good looks and impeccable style, it’s relatively easy for one to mistake Daryl Yow for a member of the latest K-Pop boy band. Just take a look at that beach-tousled hair and perfect everything. Sigh.
For the social media savvy, the 25-year-old photographer hardly needs an introduction. Better known as @darylaiden, Daryl is the man behind some of @dreachong’s most stunning shots. With 24k followers on Instagram, we’re really not sure if we should be more jealous of his incredible works or the fact that he’s Drea’s photographer (and one of her best friends). Oh, did we mention that Daryl is also the co-founder of Everyday People and styles/directs the photo shoots for the online boutique?
We managed to grab the talented man for a quick chat, to find out how it all started, his tips for taking the perfect photo and most importantly, how he became the goddess’ personal photographer and one of her best friends.
So Daryl, tell us how you got into professional photography!
Oh, it started with praises from others when I first started out. Okay, this is a funny story really. I’d wanted to save on the photography costs when I started Everyday People so I decided to shoot the photos instead. I got a little more creative and people started praising my works on social media! I currently do portraits, interiors and food photography for my clients.
What do you think are the main challenges in pursuing this profession?
People tend to underestimate the amount of work in editing and shooting the photos. Clients can sometimes try to undercut the budget and get you to do a lot more for a lot less. Plus, you need to spend on lenses, camera bodies so it can get pretty hard to survive.
In that case, how does one build his portfolio?
You need to have quite a bit of savings. Some of my friends didn’t know about this at first, but you need a good camera and lens in order to capture details and colours for that perfect photo. If you’re intending to go into fashion photography, you’ll have to pay for your models and makeup artist. Plus, you’ll want your photos to stand out so you may want to conduct an overseas shoot or you’ll end up shooting at botanic gardens like everybody else. Essentially, you cannot really progress as a photographer if you don’t have the budget.
Woah, so what’s the most expensive gear you currently own?
That has to be my Canon 5DS – the body alone is around $6000. Cue gasps. Its lenses are pegged at around $3k-$4k.
What’s your favourite subject matter so far?
I like shooting human portraits! I used to underestimate the power of the models, but the difference between having an average and high-end model can be quite drastic. Their expressions and movements are what make the photo. Every model needs a direction, but some less-experienced models will try overly hard and become stiff. That’s when I’ll get a little frustrated.
In that case, which is your favourite portrait shot?
The shot of Andrea in Maldives where she was flipping her hair! Okay here’s the backstory, she was very doubtful of this photo and saying that it’ll end up looking messy and crazy. The water level was up to our waist and the waves were so strong they almost got to my then-new Canon 5DS. She’d flipped her hair about thirty times and was getting a headache. But I told her to trust me and we got a good shot in the end!
Okay, we have to ask, how did you and Andrea meet?
Oh, Andrea followed me on Instagram first (though she will most likely deny this). I approached her at an event and we talked about photography. After which she said she was wearing clothes from my online boutique and asked if I can photograph her. After a series of omg why you take so long to edit and I really love your photos, we began to speak more on a daily basis. I then shot most of her photos and our Hong Kong trip last year late November was our first trip.
How long does it take you to get the perfect shot?
The timing ranges from 3mins-30mins (especially when the location gets too crazy). Many people ask what camera I’m using, thinking that they’ll achieve photos if they get the same one. But honestly, when it comes to photography, it’s 25% photo-taking and 75% editing. I take roughly two hours to edit a photo and will do up three editions before deciding on the best!
What is your ultimate tip to getting that perfect photo?
Framing, framing, framing. People usually focus on taking a photo from just one angle. What I usually do is to take a photo from a certain angle before moving closer to the subject or shooting it from the floor before deciding on the best.
Which camera would you recommend a budding photographer start out with?
The Cannon 6D is the basic and takes pretty decent softer images. It’s priced at around $1k-$2k so it’s not too bad. For richer colours, one can try Nikon!
Despite his gorgeous works, we’re glad to say that Daryl is one humble photographer. Pursuing the art of photography may not be easy, but after browsing through the stunning, we reckon the effort be worth it. Nobody starts out a professional, where it takes months if not years for one to build a reputation. So if you’re a budding photographer anxious about rising to fame, fret not. If it took Daryl two years and a hell lot of work to be where he is now, it’ll be your turn to come.
Also, photos are courtesy of Daryl unless otherwise stated.