Up Close with Photographer Ken Lim
By Alexius Chua
January 22, 2015
Have you ever come across an image and say to yourself: ‘gosh, if only I could capture it like (insert name here)’! Yes, we experience such moments, but how many of us possess the talent of a professional photographer? For Ken Lim, it is a combination of consistent learning and non-stop practicing. Driven by an interest in photography back in his modelling days, Ken first took up a course with the SAFRA Photographic Club, and that gradually led him to the journey in professional photography. No stranger to competitions, Ken has since garnered a number of wins including the consolation prize in 10th edition of SAFRA Photographer of the Year (PTY), and claimed the top prize in iLight in 2012.
Today, as the organising chairman for the 12th edition of SAFRA PTY, Ken shares with us how he discovered his passion in the art of photography, and gives a few pro-tips to those who desire to participate in this year’s SAFRA Photographer of the Year competition.
1. When did you first know that you wanted to be a photographer?
My interest in photography was piqued while working with photographers when I modelled. I eventually bought a DSLR and took up a basic digital photography class with SAFRA photography club. It was then that I realised that I was really enjoying taking photographs and I tried to improve at it.
2. Who were the first photographers that inspired you?
When I was learning photography, I drew inspiration from the local photography community. With social media and photography clubs like SAFRA photo club, knowledge is very accessible and it is relatively easy to get acquainted with like-minded photo enthusiasts whom I can share ideas and learn from. I consider all my photography friends to be my inspiration because there is so much to learn and everyone is awesome at different things.
3. How did you discover your creative side through photography?
I never thought myself as a creative person since I did quite badly for Art in school. But in retrospect, it could be due to the lack of proper training back then. I made the right decision by enrolling myself in a photography class. With the knowledge of how to handle my camera and basic composition principles, it was easier to grow in the right direction. It also helps that I enjoyed the process. I guess it is important for one to find a suitable medium for creative expression.
4. What are some of your favourite places to take photographs?
I usually take photographs of events but whenever I feel the need to practise, I always end up at Raffles Place in the early morning because it is centralised and I can easily access Chinatown and Marina Bay to look for photo opportunities. If the weather is bad and my brain can’t think creatively that day, I can always head to my gym nearby.
5. Can you offer us some simple tips on how to take great pictures?
I think most people would concentrate on the subject when taking a photograph but I personally think that the background/environment and lighting takes precedence over the subject. Before you photograph, think about what to include and exclude in the picture and move yourself or your subject to achieve that.
6. If you were to join this year’s Photographer of the Year competition, what would you photograph for each of the categories?
As the photos for this year’s SAFRA PTY must have strong relevance to Singapore, I would photograph things that are easily recognizable as Singaporean. Singapore has a unique identity in the sense that we are diverse, we have our idiosyncrasies and we are passionate about our food. I think that images that can present the heart of our identity will do well in this competition.
7. Any last words for the aspiring up and comers?
Practise the fundamentals until it is second nature. If possible, take a moment from clicking the shutter to be aware, enjoy and contemplate the beauty of what you are trying to capture or have captured. Your experiences and attitudes to life will make you a better person and photographer.
*Photos courtesy of Ken Lim
Keen to test your photographic skills? Join the Photographer of the Year contest and win cool prizes! Check out more info here.
Are you a photography enthusiast? Be a member of SAFRA’s Photographic Club today!