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Life & Work with Vivi Lin

Today we’d like to introduce you to Vivi Lin.

Hi Vivi, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I was born in China and have studied in both South Korea and the United States. I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree from the Japanese Department of Shenzhen University in 2012 and obtained my Master’s degree in Korean language education from Seoul National University in 2016. When I studied in South Korea, I began to record my daily life through a lens and gradually found my passion in photography. After deciding to become a professional photographer and pursue my dreams, I studied photography as my major at Academy of Art University and achieved my MFA degree in 2020. Now, I am a full-time wedding photographer based in the Bay Area.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I have encountered a lot of challenges and difficulties in the past ten years to become the person who I really want to be. Before I decided to study Japanese as my first major, I was more interested in Korean language. Unfortunately, the university I attended didn’t offer Korean language as a major. But I didn’t give up learning Korean, so I taught myself and got the chance to be an exchange student studying in South Korea. After graduation, I found that I wanted to become a Korean teacher and set up a Korean language major at the university where I obtained my undergraduate degree. I hoped I could create the opportunities for others who really wanted to learn Korean in Shenzhen. That was the reason why I attended Seoul National University and pursued my Korean Education Master’s degree from 2013 to 2016. “Plans always can not keep up with the changes”. After graduation, I realized my real passion was photography, not teaching language. My brief travel experience in the USA as a tourist had also changed my mind. As a Chinese, teaching Korean in the USA does not make too much sense. Therefore, I needed to rethink my new career. After serious consideration, I decided to develop my hobby, photography, as my new journey. I was lucky to be given a chance to study at AAU, where I grew from an amateur photographer to a professional photographer.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I am a full-time wedding/portrait photographer who specializes in engagement and wedding photography. Many people got to know me because of my work from some popular wedding blogs and wedding photography competitions. I have won nearly 70 international awards since 2018 in different competitions, such as WPPI, Asiawpa, MPA and more. What makes me the most proud is that when I was studying Photography (MFA) at the Academy of Art University, my instructors initially had negative perspectives on wedding photography because they thought wedding photography could not be treated as “Art” but instead, a tool for making money. However, this didn’t make me give up. I was always thinking of how to change their stereotypes by creating some work with storytelling and creativity. Finally, I convinced many viewers with my signature work “Decades of Love”, which was about an older couple’s wedding photo. This work has won first place in the spring show (photography exhibition) of our school.

Also, many of my wedding photos have been exhibited in many areas of our school. The difference between other photography students and me is that I complete the tasks assigned by the teachers and seek various opportunities to improve myself outside the school, such as participating in various competitions, doing different styled shoots, and submitting my works to magazines or wedding blogs. I also actively participate in the workshops from the top photographers in the industry to master more practical techniques. The difference from other photographers and me is that I don’t merely treat photography as my career or business. I also create work regularly, which has nothing to do with making money. I enjoy being a storyteller and express my inner world through visual arts. Additionally, I always analyze the current trends and adapt myself quickly to these trends. This allowed me to maintain good bookings even when the wedding market was hit hard by the epidemic.

Is there anyone you’d like to thank or give credit to?
I have many people who I really want to express my gratitude. First of all, my family has always supported me and encouraged me to be myself and do everything I really like. I also want to thank my mentors, such as Johnson Wee, Roger Tan, Jonas Yuan and many other amazing photographers. I especially want to thank Johnson Wee, who influenced me the most as I was discovering my personal style in creating art. He had not only shared many useful techniques and knowledge with me but also pushed me to break my limits. I also want to thank my team members such as my makeup artist Rainbow Li who had worked with me over the past few years. Every time I wanted to try some new styles, she always backed me up by saying, let’s do it. I also want to thank all of my clients who have supported me and trusted me so much.

Contact Info:

Image Credits

<Meeting the best you>: Model: Christina Makeup Artist: Alice Tang, Assistant: Jiahe <Decades of Love>: Models: Rongsan Wang, Xisixi, Lighting: Jonas Yuan <Love requires Courage>: Model: Sierra Willman, Hair Stylist: Hung Dao, Makeup Artist: Katerina, Assistant: Jiahe <Love flows like a river>: Model: Yuyu, Makeup Artist: Rainbow Li, Assistant: Jiahe

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