Aaron Gao

(Electronic & Computer Engineering, PhD, Year 4)
Grand Prize Winner of HKUST Photo Competition 2016

I started photography about two years ago. I feel excited whenever I captured a beautiful moment of nature or people. I mainly focused on landscape photography in the past but has been putting most of my energy in portraits recently. Photography benefits me a lot. Although my research workload is not light, spending time on photography helps me live a balanced life. It is also a great pleasure to help my friends who need some portrait photos for graduation or capturing their memorable university life moments.

From my experience, a general rule to improve photography skills is by planning ahead. Although I started photography two years ago, it was not until last August that I started improve rapidly. The major reason behind this sudden jump was that I started to make plan before I went for shooting. I considered carefully about the ideas, locations and time for photographing. Another important factor I think that determines the level of a photographer is his/her aesthetic judgment. It determines whether the photographer can find that specific angle and moment to frame the model or the scenery. Although I am not talented in aesthetics, I found that I have improved quite a lot by watching others’ photos and reviewing my own. The improvement on aesthetic judgment is not only beneficial in photography but also helps me develop a good taste for my lifestyle. As to the detailed techniques of photography, books, online tutorials and YouTube videos are all good sources for learning materials. However, practice is of most importance.

Right now, I am still a very ordinary photographer. I can only try to make my photo looks good whereas I think a great photo should contain story or spirit that can touch the audience’s heart. This is also the direction I am trying to achieve.