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Meet Daniel Yoo of That1Thought in Orange County

Today we’d like to introduce you to Daniel Yoo.

Daniel, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My beginnings to photography are a little strange. I actually hated being in photos and one day figured out a bit of a life hack: if you’re the one taking the photo, you won’t be in the shot. So I started offering to take all the group photos and such. At my high-school graduation, my parents gifted me a camera because they saw how much I liked taking pictures (they still don’t know the previous part of the story), so in college, I was mostly playing around with it and started out with landscape, travel, and architecture photography. It wasn’t until about halfway through college that I got on Instagram and started posting my shots on there. It was around then that I had my first portrait style shoot…and then I was rapidly niched into that by the Instagram community. From there, photography has really shaped my life, from providing photography related jobs, helping with my interpersonal skills (I was and still am one of the most awkward people), and meeting some of my closest friends. Today photography has taken more of a side role in my life as it is not my full-time occupation, but I still hold it close as an integral part of my life and a much-needed hobby away from the day to day grind.

Has it been a smooth road?
My career as a photographer has definitely not been the smoothest or most traditional of roads. I learned as I went and that led to many failed photoshoots and unhappy people, but from those experiences I grew and learned. When I first started, there wasn’t much of a community vibe, especially in the area I was in. In fact, some of the photographers were territorial and hostile around locations and models that they purposely made it difficult for others to start out. Honestly, my best teachers were probably the small youtube photography community at the time as well as just pure experimentation. If you really want to learn something, you’ll find a way. Now, there is such a large community of photographers, models, and in general creatives on social media that I almost envy the photographers that join today due to the strong support that is available to them.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the That1Thought story. Tell us more about the business.
I’m not sure what I have scrounged together can be considered as a business or a company, but That1Thought is a self-owned photography brand that I am the sole owner/person in charge of. I am most known for my portrait/lifestyle work on Instagram as well as my event and professional work outside of the social media platform. I am honestly surprised that I have gotten as much “success” as I have both professionally and on Instagram and am grateful to all my friends and supporters who have allowed me to get this far. As a photographer, I try my best to accommodate and bring out the ideas someone has in their imagination as well as integrating their personality into the shots. I’m not sure if this separates me from others, but it is something I try my best to strive for. I think someone should be proud of the product they put out into the world and that the person receiving my photos should be happy and satisfied with them.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I believe we are currently seeing the end of the golden age of social media influencers/bloggers/creatives. Within the next even 3-5 years, we may see a trend straying away from this. The market is incredibly saturated with a myriad of people, which presents a double-edged sword: an amazing feat for the growing community of creatives, but with it some people who will try their best to take advantage of the system and in doing so seeds distrust with advertisers and sponsors. One could see this and think it as the end of a growing industry, but I see it in a positive light. Those who push through this and follow their passion will come out ahead of the game. As with most things, however, only time will tell.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Bree Lee, Jennifer Yoo, Julie Kha, Phung Tong, Michelle Luu, Cherry Huang

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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