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Meet Derek Liang

Today we’d like to introduce you to Derek Liang.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Born and raised in the Bay Area, I moved down to Orange County for university to study Computer Science in 2011.

After graduating in 2015, I stayed around the area for work and that was when I started to look into new hobbies.

In early 2016, I decided to give photography a try and picked up my first camera, a Nikon D3300. However, my journey in photography didn’t start until a few months down the road when I finally started to commit to learning and using my camera.

From then, I would go out and shoot sunset every day after work to learn my camera and how to shoot.

At first, I would often just head out to the beach since it was somewhere I always wanted to see more of out here in Southern California. It was also a way to wind down after a long day at work.

After shooting for a few months, I started to find my affinity for the ocean. Gradually, going out to see the sunset became more than shooting; it was enjoying the moments out there in pure bliss and living in the moment, with or without a camera in hand.

I started to see the world in a different light and along with it, a greater appreciation for the fleeting moments and the beautiful world we live in.

Towards the end of 2016, I started an Instagram to share my work. Along the way, I discovered an incredible creative community that allowed me to connect with like-minded individuals, many of whom have become my closest friends that continue to not only support this creative passion of mine but also inspire me on so many levels.

Fast forward to present day, my goal in photography has grown to where I hope to inspire others through my content and connect with local creative communities.

In December 2019, I joined a photography community team LA Shooters based in Los Angeles where we host meetups, art galleries, workshops and much more, and I couldn’t be more excited for all the things to come.

I’m still working full time as a software engineer while doing freelance photography and content creation on the side.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Definitely not.

Time management was one thing I quickly learned was invaluable, especially when starting to work with clients with deadlines. While photography is not my full-time job, I still want to commit to a mindset of excellence for all the things I do, and photography is no exception. There has been some long nights where I had fallen behind on a client project either because my full-time job was demanding longer hours and/or personal matters have taken more time than I planned for.

I also have learned a lot about managing expectations. As a photographer, I want to capture the best sunsets. However, the reality is not every sunset is going to be good. You may drive a few hours to get to a spot you really wanted to shoot in sunny weather and it ends up cloudy. What I have learned is that there is more to photography than capturing the photo. Whether it be meeting up and connecting with other creatives, or just getting out there and taking in some fresh air for yourself.

Another challenge I quickly learned is cost of photography. If you’re invested in photography, you will quickly realize how fast it all adds up, from the lens to camera bodies to accessories. This forces you to really evaluate what adds value to you as a photographer.

And I’m definitely grateful for these challenges because otherwise, I would not be the person I am today.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I currently specialize in travel and commercial photography work for brands, along with influencer marketing through my Instagram.

I also offer photography services for aerial content, real estate, and more. I am starting to get into videography as well.

Since photography and content creation is not my full-time job, I am able to be more selective towards the brands I work with – making sure they align with my creative vision and principles.

What were you like growing up?
As I was growing up, I was always known as the quiet one. However, for the ones that knew me well, I was a jokester that always wanted to make others laugh.

I spent a lot of my childhood playing PC games such as StarCraft, Warcraft, League of Legends, and various MMORPGs.

I have always been pretty curious about the world and as such, I was into the latest in technology and always had a propensity to learn and try new hobbies.

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