With his impressive and wanderlust-inducing landscape photographs, Vincent Lim seems to be living the photographer’s dream. Currently based in Oahu, Hawaii, he never seems to run out of scenic spots to capture. Busy beaches, pristine shorelines, jagged peaks by the seaside, stunning sunsets, and simply being surrounded by nature’s beauty—those are all the stuff that many travel and landscape photographers seek to capture. As a Sony Alpha ambassador, he’s also got all the right photos to share on Instagram to show how he has mastered his craft with the help of his equipment of choice.
Given his impressive style and vision, it’s easy to conclude that Vince has been a professional travel and landscape photographer for decades. However, photography has actually only been a new freelance endeavor for him, with his day job being a Supervisor for McDonald’s. And his journey in photography? When he started shooting with a DSLR five years ago, he probably didn’t expect he’d make a following on Instagram and become a Sony Alpha ambassador.
In the interview below, we get to piece together a quick story about Vince and his colorful life as a photographer. He tells us how it all began for him just five years ago, how his style and genre became an obvious choice, his go-to gear, what influences his creative vision, and what constitutes a great photograph for him. For those who are inspired by his work and want to make their own mark through photography, Vince has also shared a piece of advice to get them started on the right track.
DigitalPhoto Pro: Please share with us something about yourself and what you do.
Vincent Lim: Aloha, I am Vince, a photographer based out of Oahu, Hawaii. I’m 27, engaged, currently working as a Supervisor for McDonald’s. My career is with McDonald’s; However, I have been freelancing in photography for several months now. I am also very fortunate to be a Sony Alpha ambassador. I can’t say enough how amazing it is to be a part of that brand.
DPP: How and when did you start as a photographer? How did you discover the genre and style that you are doing now?
VL: I started out photography about 5 years ago. I bought my first DSLR before a trip to Europe because I wanted something more than just iPhone photos. I wanted memories that I could capture and relive 50 years from now, moments with friends, family, and loved ones. That’s the reason why I took photos then and is still the reason why I shoot today. I kind of fell into the genre I am just living in Hawaii. Everyday, I’m surrounded by beautiful landscapes prestine waters, and white sand beaches. I am lucky to call this place home, and naturally I wanted to capture the beauty of the islands in my own style.
DPP: Tell us about your go-to gear/favorite camera + lens combo. What makes them the ideal tools of the trade for you
VL: My go-to camera + lens set up is the Sony a7rii and the Sony 24-70 2.8 GM. I fell in love with the Sony a7rii about a year and a half ago after switching from a Canon 5Dmiii. I just think no other brand is as relevant with today’s photographers than Sony in terms of what consumers wanted in performance, image quality, video capability, and features. I love the 24-70 GM because it really covers almost all the focal ranges that fit my needs. That lens is just so versatile and the 2.8 makes it ideal for adding depth into any shooting situation. My future set up will the sony a7riii + 24-70 2.8 GM once i upgrade my camera body. Some other gear I use are the DJI Phantom 4 Pro and the Zeiss Batis 18mm 2.8.
DPP: Do you have a routine to keep yourself sharp and inspired by the kind of photography that you do?
VL: I really don’t have a specific routine, I am just thankful to be surrounded by my family and fiancé who support what I do. I feel like its really important to have that kind of environment because you know they have your back no matter what, you know they’ll push you to be the best that you can be. My fiancé is always reminding me how great my work is and to never sell myself short. That kind of encouragement keeps me sharp and inspired.
DPP: Who is/are your influences for photography and/or other creative pursuits? In what way/s have they made a mark on you and your craft?
VL: Let’s just say that there are so many great artist and photographers, it’s almost impossible to name all of them. I really appreciate all styles of photography and if you look at who I follow on my Instagram, I think I cover all the genres out there. There are just tons of amazing content being put out there every day. My favorite page to look at is Art of Visuals because every creator on there is doing something unique and different. It’s just a great community of artists who inspire me to continue perfecting my craft. Recently, I’ve been following a lot of artists who focus on creating videos because I feel like that type of visual storytelling is the next big thing.
DPP: For you, what makes a compelling photograph?
VL: This is kind of hard to say because photography is purely subjective, like any art. What I think is great work could be the complete opposite to someone else. That being said, photos that are compelling to me are ones that tell a story, create emotion. There’s more to a photo than nailing exposure, composition, and technique. I want to feel like I could be in that photo, or understand the process of getting that shot.
DPP: What’s one photography advice that you wish you heard while you were still starting out?
VL: One thing I think this generation of photographers should hear is to not do this for the fame or free trips, or free stuff companies could give you. I think with social media its easy to get caught up in that because there are influencers and photographers living that dream and enjoying the good life traveling around the world on someone else’s expense. I’ve seen and experienced people change after a little bit of fame on their platforms. There are so many people trying to make it on Instagram or YouTube, striving to reach a certain following. But these people lose touch with the art, and are now doing it for the wrong reasons. I’m fortunate for what I’ve accomplished but I’ll never lose track of why I take photos. If you really want to be successful then know it’s going to be a process and be true to yourself.
DPP: Lastly, what’s one advice you can give to those who are just starting out and looking into discovering the genre and style they want to tap into?
VL: One thing I want to leave with those who are just starting out is to find what type of photography inspires you, immerse yourself in being the best that you can be. You really have to be a student of the art and have the passion for it. I didn’t get to where I am now with luck. I’ve always been a firm believer that things don’t happen by chance. But if you work hard enough for something to put yourself in the best possible situation to achieve it, it will happen. Hours, days of YouTube tutorials, shooting every single day and working on perfecting your craft, that is how you can be successful. Lastly, I want to say that it’s important to be unique and have your own style. You don’t want to be like some other photographer or artist; you should want to be you.
Follow Vincent Lim on Instagram to see more of his beautiful travel and landscape photography.