Chia Ching Kai, better known as CK, is the photographer behind the lifestyle Instagram profile @chingkaichingkai. His work comprises of a soothing outlook into his everyday life, thoughtfully captured and often coupled with thought-provoking captions. His photography style is candid, yet clean – every image is chromatically consistent, despite differing in subject and location. Neocha recently caught up with CK whilst he was passing through Shanghai, and he shared with us his top five tips for photography.
摄影师Chia Ching Kai（也就是大名鼎鼎的CK）就是Instagram致力于展示生活方式的账号@chingkaichingkai的幕后之手。他的作品用舒缓的镜头记录他的日常生活，精巧地捕捉下瞬间，然后常常配以哲理性的标题。他的摄影风格简明又静雅。近日，Neocha在他途径上海的时候有幸与之碰面，他大方地与我们分享了他摄影中的五大秘诀。
1. Lighting is chief.
The soft exposure and even tones that appear across CK’s feed are by no means a pure coincidence – every image is composed of natural light and calculated timing. When traveling, he often rises before first light to get to his first destination, ensuring that he can reap the most from the day’s sunlight. “Whilst I was in Japan, I noticed that shoji and the translucent paper used on them, was almost like a natural defuser. I try to replicate the same effect when I’m taking photos at home now. The result is a very pleasant, soft light.”
2. Shoot what turns you on, what yields your heart.
Whilst this is not the most technical of photography tips, CK believes this to be a fundamental philosophy that results in the most personal and satisfying type of creations. For the majority of the year, CK is based in Singapore and works with local theatre production companies as an art director. Instagram is a space where he can create his own images without constraint. His personal work is a stark contrast to what he creates for his clients. The space remains as his own stomping ground, filled with what he likes to shoot: homemade meals, snapshots of his travels and remnants of his ever-changing Singapore.
3. Use tools effectively
It surprises a lot of people when they discover that CK isn’t slinging a top-of-the-range camera. In fact, his set up is extremely lean; he shoots solely with his iPhone, allowing him to stay light and portable wherever he goes. This is particularly important when he’s hiking and moving between cities with nothing but a carry-on backpack. He favours the camera app from Moment as it allows him to shoot in TIFF. He finishes off his edits in Snapseed to achieve the natural, polished look.
4. Don’t just rely on filters to make magic for your images.
Whilst filters can sometimes add some interesting dynamics to an image, it shouldn’t be what defines your images. Focus on creating a good image, rather than hoping for a miracle by slapping a filter on something sub-par.
5. Shoot beyond what you see; shoot a story behind the subject, even if it is made up by yourself for inspiration.
“I woke up extra early to explore the lanes leading to the Bund, the very place I once gave up photographing because of prevailing circumstances. I needed to get past that attitude of ‘Oh, this isn’t working so I am not gonna try to make it work’, because even though this is Instagram, it is also reflective of my tenacity (or lack of) as an artist.” Inspiration comes and goes, you don’t always wake up ready to shoot and you don’t always feel like creating – that is more than alright.
Surround yourself with good, inspiring creatives. When asked how an apprentice can improve, a master sheep shearer once replied: ”Shear alongside the best shearer in town.”