Entrepreneur

This 24-Year-Old Photographer Chose Her Art Over College, Here's Where She Is Now

Instagram is a popular platform for photographers and artists to showcase their work to the public, a little sneak peak of what they are capable of, if you will.

I first caught a glimpse of 24-year-old Jewel Ling on Instagram, where she posts many breathtaking photographs of human portraits as well her some of her other artwork. Needless to say, photography is one of Jewel’s forte.

Born in Penang and based in Kuala Lumpur, Jewel Ling started her career in the field of photography seven years ago when she was 18 years old after deciding to drop out of her Psychology course in college. Following that she went to work at a local photography studio in her hometown.

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Jewel described to Vulcan Post about her very first working experience in a studio, Ideal Photography. “The teacher there was awesome. He was the one that instilled all the values that I have with me right now and taught me that the most fundamental basics of photography is not just about your work, it’s about your personality. Be humble, responsible, apart from being really good at what you are doing—you have to be responsible for the job that you take, and respect the people you meet, no matter their status.”

The Photographer & Her Captured Story

Photography is very subjective and often times a photographer’s personality can be reflected from their pictures. “Photography is like an outlet for me to express myself because when I cannot find the words, my pictures spoke for me,” described Jewel towards her interest in photography.

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Shooting with the winner of Asia’s Next Top Model, Cycle 2 – Sheena Liam.

Over these past seven years, Jewel told us that her style of photography has gone through many changes. From artistic, to commercial, and now she is more into portraiture, because she has mastered the aspect of lighting. “When you have the right lighting and you set it up properly, you can actually see so much detail,” Jewel described while showing me her latest artwork on her phone.

Ain’t Nothing About Luck

Being a photographer can be tiring and hectic. I asked Jewel whether her achievement is due to luck or hard work, she told me confidently that it was certainly hard work.

When Jewel was still working for other studios, she mentioned that she has sacrificed a lot of time to travel to work. “Sometimes work doesn’t finish until 2am and I have to come to work the next day. If the call time is earlier, sometimes I will stay overnight at the studio. I couldn’t meet my friends, I couldn’t even have a relationship.”

Her hard work also led to her making a name for herself as a portrait photographer in Penang within 2 years. She was also acknowledged by Hello! Magazine as one of the up and coming female photographers and was invited for a live interview on Bella Weekend, a program that highlights everyday women with extraordinary stories and talents.

On top of that, Jewel achieved another milestone upon the completion of her own photgraphy studio.

From Photographer To Instructor

After six years of sweat and hard work, Jewel has established her own photography studio called Prounited. Located at Jalan Galloway, Kuala Lumpur, currently the studio is a platform for photographers to conduct workshops. For instance, recently they had photographer Kim Mun who came to her studio for an exotic conceptual workshop.

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Behind the scene of Kimmun 朱建文’s workshop.

Jewel has not completely put her photography on hold yet as occasionally she still receives projects. But these days, Jewel is actively running workshops to impart her skills to others. She said, “I’m more to tutoring and teaching for my workshop. I want to be more like a teacher for photography.”

She further explained her source of motivation to fuel her career in photography. “This is the one and only thing I want to do for the rest of my life. I wouldn’t say it’s a calling, that sounds so cheesy. It’s something that you know that what you want to do, you require money and resources to pursue deeper into it. I decided to quit the fashion industry and focus on teaching people,” said Jewel.

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Thoughts On The Photography Industry

Compared to phone cameras, DSLRs have the upper hand with their big noiseless CCDs, number of lens options and thousands of manual settings for the perfect picture. Speaking of the photography industry, Jewel said that it is not a dying profession.

“You just need to pick the right course you want to do and make sure that if you choose that course, know that it is going to be tough. If you do weddings, there’s always money there because people are always getting married. When it comes to commercials and advertisements, it’s one shot, where everything has to be brightly lit and you can see the product properly.”

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“Photography is not a dying profession, with the new coming age of phones, photography is going to live on through, what I’m worry about however is that people may not use professional cameras as much.”

If you are interested to pick up some photography skills, head to Prounitedstudio.com.

All images are credited to Jewel Ling Photography

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