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Meet Charlie Sin of Charlie Sin Photography in Pasadena

Today we’d like to introduce you to Charlie Sin.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I grew up in an Asian family that prepared you to become a doctor, lawyer, or a business owner. I did art for the sake of extracurricular and to look good for the college entrance. I even had a time when I wanted to pursue a career that was related to the biology at the beginning of my high school year.

I had a good grade, 3.8~4.0 GPA, went to afterschool, had a tutor, was taking AP classes, on a track team, and volunteered on the weekends. Why didn’t this typical Asian student decided to become a photographer? Because it was always at the back of my head, wanting to hold the camera. When I was young, around 5 or 6 years old, I remember taking a passport photo. Sitting in front of the polished black camera with the studio lights blasting on you every shutter, I was intrigued… no more like I fell in love with the camera. I wondered, what it would be like to be behind the lens and capture imagery.

However, it wasn’t until the beginning of high school I got my first camera. I saved up since middle school to buy my own camera with my money. Back then I didn’t know much about the camera but just wanted a camera to play around with. So the first camera I got was Nikon Coolpix. Nothing fancy but back then it was joy in my life.

My passion for photography grew as I kept shooting and shooting. I joined Yearbook and became a staff photographer in Talon Yearbook at Crescenta Valley High School to hone my skill and learn the basic of photography. After doing that for 3 years, I was hungry for more. I did not want just to capture a moment, but I wanted to create an image. I thought capturing event photos, and a sport was repetitious. I do not like being stagnant and having a repetitious cycle. That is when I realized I wanted to become a professional photographer who creates imagery rather than capturing a moment.

I talk more about my journey through my start of my career on my blog: What kind of Photographer am I?

After graduating from Art Center College of Design as a photography major, I realized I enjoy photographing product and fashion photography. As creatives and photographers, they are two different categories. I think to differ. It is only the process of capturing the image is different, but the idea is the same. They are both products the consumers use in everyday lives and it is our job as the photographers to sell the product through imagery.

Now, my challenge as a photographer is to bridge those two categories together and create art that can be seen vice versa. I want to bring creative visual images to the market that could inspire the viewers and challenge how we see fashion and products in the same context. Do I regret the choice I made? It is not an easy start, but I do not regret the choice I made.

Photography has changed me, the way I see the world, and connected me to wonderful people. I enjoy creating art and the challenges I face. I hope I get to keep holding the camera just like how I hold my first camera.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It has not been a smooth road for me. I started freelance life right after I graduated from the Art Center without any connections to the industry. I sent out many emails to Creative Directors, Art Directors, Photo Editors, and companies for the first 4 months but nothing good came out from it. I had a first freelance job through a friend but didn’t turn out as well it should be due to the bad client who didn’t treat me well and undervalued my work because I just got out from a school.

However, as time passed by, I went through many meeting and interviews, and people started to acknowledge my work and hiring me. It is still a bit slow but not bad for the first year out from college.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Charlie Sin Photography – what should we know?
I do fashion and product photography. Not many photographers do both kinds because their personalities do not match for both, but for me, I think it is a great combination. I’ve been interested in fashion photography since I was young through Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.

It wasn’t until college, I learned about product photography. I learned about lighting in product, which propelled my photography general. I would say I am proud of my way of lighting model and product to set a mood.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I would say my parents deserves the credit because even though they disagree with me for becoming a photographer, they still try to help me after seeing my work and my passion once I started my career/college.

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