Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning. -Albert Einstein

Another year has passed and it’s time to start the new year right. I haven’t exactly been active on updating my website posts focusing my time on other projects here and there and I thought I should do one before my school holiday ends. So here it is! Going to be starting the year with a Q&A that I posted on my instastory for you guys to ask me anything from my export settings, to my gear I use, how I edit my photos etc.

Please note that I won’t be able to answer every single one of you but I’ve tried my best to compile some of the most asked questions and easy ones to answer lol.

Without further ado lets jump right into it!


Q: I’m visiting Singapore in two weeks, what are your favourite spots to shoot (and when if applicable), and if I could only eat at one place, where should it be?

A: I love shooting around the Marina Bay Sands area, there’s loads of architecture to shoot within the shoppes and also the hotel itself. Within walking distance is also Gardens by The Bay which is a must do spot for any tourist or budding photographer. The Cloud Forest is a good one too within Gardens by The Bay, catch it in the afternoon, get a re-entry stamp at the exit and go back in at night to catch a totally different vibe. The Cloud Forest has mists every few hours so do check their website or at the counter when it happens to capture the best moments in there.


Q: What are your goals in photography? Why do you shoot?

A: I guess right now for me I just want to travel with my photography and capture as much of the world as I can, also to have loads of crazy adventures while I’m doing so. I love exploring and living life to the fullest and photography comes along with it so I guess I shoot to document my life and what I see through my eyes.


Q: Why is your cat named Oreo?

A: When he was a kitten his fur resembled that of and Oreo biscuit haha

@nickologyy @vipsin_09 @___tausif___ @wen.jie_ @keithc717 @vhcs007 @xaviermendoza_photography

Q: How I edit/ whats my editing style?

A: I’m planning to do a video tutorial on explaining my work process when I edit my photos so keep a lookout for that. For now I will try my best to explain it in text. I edit all my photos on Adobe Lightroom CC. When I edit a photo I always adjust the lens correction tab first in order to remove any lens distortion digitally and then from there I make sure that everything is aligned using the transform tab. I also crop my photos to a 4x5 ratio before I actually start changing the colours etc. The reason why I do that is so that when I export it onto my phone I can immediately post it without having to think how I want to crop it on Instagram itself. Also if I add any vignette on the image in Lightroom, cropping it later would then chop off some of the initial vignette applied.

After that’s done I almost always start off with the camera calibration tab and under the profile dropdown I change the setting to camera standard. Do take not that if you are using a different camera to take your shots you might have different camera calibration setting under the profile dropdown menu. I will go more in depth in the video when I eventually upload a tutorial. 

I then move on to the basic adjustments tab and do the necessary adjustments. This is where my workflow differs from photo to photo. If I know exactly what look I’m going for I make the necessary adjustments immediately, be it decreasing the saturation of a particular colour or adding some fade in the tone curves etc. If I’m not to sure on how I want to edit my photo I will go through my presets and select one that I like most and use it as a base for the overall edit.

I don’t have a particular editing style and I feel that my photos are always evolving and looking different from before. I know a lot of people like to maintain a certain colour pallete or look/style on their feed but for me I think its more flexible if I mix my feed up a bit. So I don’t have to worry about a particular not being able to fit and I can edit my photos in whichever style I want.

That being said I maintain certain characteristics in my edits so as to not make my feed look too random. For example, when I edit my photos the tone curve stays more or less the same. I use a basic S-curve to create some contrast and add fade to it then add more points to tweak whatever I feel needs tweaking. That way my photos don’t look too drastically different from each other and have a certain characteristic that is uniform in every photo.

@kiekieran @8thvibes @jiale9806 @justinkadyschuk

Q: What are your export settings?

I shoot on a 30MP camera and ensure all my photos are in focus before editing them so if you use the same settings and don’t get photos as sharp as my uploads on Instagram it could be because we are using different gear. From time to time you may see other photographers mention that there is no need for a 300ppi export because Instagram compresses it etc. I like to max my settings and I’m fine with bigger files, besides I have nothing to lose so whether or not exporting in 72ppi or 300ppi will make a difference it doesn’t really matter to me.


Q: How do you shoot portraits at low light at night without external lights?

A: I shoot a lot of my portraits with my 50mm at f1.4. Having my lens at f1.4 (as compared to a higher aperture) would allow more light to enter the lens and eventually the sensor which determines the exposure of the photo. At f1.4 the depth of field is extremely shallow leaving the area of focus to be very narrow thus keeping it in focus will be extra difficult. Therefore, having a tripod on hand would be really useful. I don’t usually shoot my portraits in low light but if I would I would combine shooting at f1.4, the stability of the tripod, and shoot at longer exposures to ensure the final photo to be well exposed.


Q: Hey Ryan, just wanted to ask…every time I edit in lightroom and after exporting my file onto my phone the colours seem to be different from on my computer screen…when I add fade the effect is not very obvious. Anyway to solve this?

A: Your screen calibration might be different from your phone. I edit on my 27inch iMac 2012 most of the time and I find that the colours are quite accurate when I view them on my iPhone 7. However that being said there has been instances when my images look a little less faded or more faded than I would like it to be. This is where I always export and check the image on my phone and go back to lightroom if I am unhappy with its look. Going back and forth until I get the look I want on my iPhone. Now you might think that your laptop screen is more accurate in its display thus your edit is most “true” to what you want it to be which is most likely the case however, when you edit for Instagram purposes most of your viewers will be using their mobile phones to look at your picture thus using your mobile phone as a base to check your images would make sense. Another solution is to get your screen calibrated to match that of your phone.


Q: How far should editing go and when is too much post processing?

A: For me it really depends on what I am trying to portray in my photos. Sometimes I look at things from a creative perspective and go crazy with my post processing on photoshop like distorting realities and adding stars etc. The photo is unrealistic yes, but that was my intent in the first place. Other times I want to edit and post process my images according to what my eyes saw when I took the shot, however a lot of times it has become too boring for me to edit true to eye, thus I go crazy with the colours and the final result is my impression as an artist of the place that I captured. I don’t think there’s ever “too much post processing” as long as you reach your desired outcome of what you want your image to look like.


Q: Are you single?

A: Yes


Q: Hello Ryan! Do you apply the same preset on every photo so as to be consistent in the colours, mood and style etc? How did you find your editing style?

A: Hey buddy! No, I don’t use the same preset on every photo. My feed is pretty random and I don’t have a specific colour scheme which enables me to use different presets or edit differently from scratch every time. I found my editing style through lots of practice and experimenting with the photos that I capture. I edit all the time when I was starting out always trying to achieve the same quality of edits that were always getting featured from top instagrammers. From there I subconsciously have my own preferred post processing settings (tone curve, split toning etc.) and every edit regardless of whether I use a preset or not will more or less end up having the same look, thus my own editing style.


Q: Favourite food

A: SUHSIIII, or steak, yea steak sounds good lol.


Q: Tryna deviate from the usual camera/gear/PP/workflow questions so…What’s in store for Ryan this 2018? Hahaha

A: Good question haha, I’m currently pursuing a major in filmmaking starting next semester so you can expect a lot more than just photos from me this year but also short videos like my recent Hong Kong December 2017 video which you can watch right here: https://youtu.be/F_aIC6qAVRg

Other than that, more travelling of course, hopefully to places I’ve yet to explore and who can forget, more crazy adventures!


Q1: Tips on collaborating with models/other photographers – how do we approach them, especially if they have a larger following than you?

A: This question brought up a funny memory of mine. So last year I received a job to shoot some sights in Singapore and I needed a model, I tried hitting up one of the local models even though I had a 10k following back then, she didn’t reply me HAHA. I figured though, my feed contained too little portraits for any model to place her/his trust in me to deliver. Which brings me to my second point, unless you have something that the other party can gain from you, he/she is most likely not willing to shoot with you. Personally for me, I only shoot with people that I know I can gain something from them, I know it sounds selfish but it’s true. Nobody wants to waste their time on someone that cannot give anything in return, that is the real world. To be honest, your following will probably only play a very small part of what determines if someone wants to collaborate with you. What matters is your content, produce quality content and you will be able to shoot with whoever you want. Also being nice when you message someone that you want to collaborate with will really help.

Q2: Also, finding the balance between shooting what you love vs shooting what you think is good for growth on the gram?

A: It really depends on why you are shooting, do you shoot for what you love doing, or you shoot because you want to gain more followers/likes? Someone I met once told me to always remember why I first picked up the camera and stick to that no matter how far I eventually progress. I understand that it is tough to shoot something you really like but not getting the support of the masses, so my suggestion is to combine both sides and try to find a balance which you are happy with.

@kea.iu @keithc717

Q: What gear do you use to shoot?


Q: Favourite lens for most of your cityscape photos?

A: Canon 16-35 f2.8L III besides its focal length this lens has an extremely accurate AF system when paired with my 5D mark IV even in low light. Also the capability to shoot at f2.8 helps a lot at night.


Q: What app do you use to edit and how long does it take to edit? How to capture car motions?

A: I edit on Adobe Lightroom CC, it really depends on what kind of photo I am editing but typically it can range from 5mins-1hour if I want to be extremely detailed. To capture the movements of car blurs, shoot at a slower shutter speed of anything between 1/30 – 1/10s. Experiment with different shutter speeds as the speed of the cars you are shooting may differ from what I’ve shot.


Q: Why do you shoot mostly urban/city vibes pictures? Have you ever thought of shooting nature?

A: Living in Singapore I have very minimal nature shots to take. A lot of my inspiration also comes from the urban vibe that Singapore gives off thus even when I travel overseas I tend to stick to urban landscapes and architecture. However, I am making it a point this year to expand my horizon and travel and shoot nature shots.

With that we have come to the end of part I of the 2018 Jan Q&A. Fret not if I have not addressed your question, I am still going through the second half and will get it uploaded asap! Hopefully this first part of the Q&A has been useful and will aid you guys in your creative journey! Until then, have a great day and see you in the next one.