IN THE SPOT LIGHT- KEIKO FROM MILKMONSTER LAUGHS PHOTOGRAPHY

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October 14th 2015, by Cara G Mcilroy in Family

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  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you grew up. Was it work or pleasure that brought you to Hong Kong?

I am ½ Japanese, ½ Shanghainese born and raised in Toronto, Canada and moved to Hong Kong after 4 years of long distance with my now husband, Jason. I guess I kind of followed him here. I was 24 at the time and it seemed like the right thing to do.

 

  1. Has photography always been a passion of yours?

I absolutely love taking photos, but it’s not what I’ve always done for work. I used to be in shoe design and manufacturing, but it feels like a lifetime ago. I’ve been a photographer now for 7 years and it’s really a huge part of my life and something I am extremely passionate about. Capturing that special moment, whether it’s my own kids or for clients really brings me a lot of joy and satisfaction.

 

  1. How did you transition from photography being a hobby to a career?

I started out just photographing my own child and of my son’s friends at playgroup. From there, people started asking me to do family sessions. I remember starting out and being super excited that people were liking my work! It’s a great feeling to be able to do what you love and make others happy at the same time!

 

  1. Do you believe you have a distinct style as a photographer?

I think style, be it fashion, design, or photography, is ever evolving. You’re constantly changing as a person, learning new things, having new experiences, growing and finding new inspiration so it’s only natural to have this reflected in your style. I hope I continue to grow and improve. I think once you stop learning something it’s time to move onto something new.

 

  1. What is the most memorable moment or moments in your career so far?

I remember when I first started photographing newborns, I had a session where the baby was having a hard time feeding and settling and cried on and off for quite a while. The parents were flustered and for me, being able to help calm the baby and offer emotional support to the parents while capturing the special moments made me walk out of there feeling really confident that this is exactly where I am supposed to be right now. Working with babies requires a lot of patience and confidence so that was THE moment for me.

 

  1. How do you find time in your busy schedule to balance work and family?

I haven’t quite worked this one out yet…I feel rather than having a balance, there are just some crazy busy and overwhelming periods that I just need to get through and I take slow work periods to relax and recharge. Balance implies there is a happy medium but as a working mom of 3 kids I just don’t feel it’s possible all the time. I wish I had a better answer!

 

  1. Can you tell us about your career before and after you had a child/ children? Was it difficult getting back into your regular working routine after having a child/ children?

So, before kids, I ran my own company and was very rarely in HK. I travelled 80% of the time and worked insanely long hours. I had some health issues at the time so had to really consider and make some big decisions about what I wanted for my life. When we became pregnant with our first son, I decided to take a break from my career. At the time I was so worried and sad and unsure of the decision but looking back it was the best decision I could have made for our family. Our first 2 boys were both born quite premature with my 2nd son requiring a lot of hospitalization and therapy. Being able to focus all my time and attention on my family was paramount to his recovery so I have no regrets about my decision. Photography came after I became a parent and it was and has been a welcomed career change. It’s taken some time to build up a client base and portfolio while being a WFHM but I’m working on that happily, one step at a time.

 

  1. Has having a child changed your outlook on your career?

It most definitely has. I think becoming a parent completely alters your perspective on life. It’s no longer all about what you want for your life and with 3 kids I now have so many lives to take into consideration. Having had 2 premature babies, each faced moments where we could have lost them, especially with my 2nd son, he was just such a poor breather along with some other health issues. It’s in those awful and dark moments that you really get to see what is the true light in life. The gratitude my husband and I have experienced in being able to bring our children home has really changed our outlook on life, including our careers.

 

  1. What are some of your favourite places to hang out with your family during the days you don’t have to work?

We love all of Hong Kong’s beautiful beaches, Stanley and the Pulse are our go to on sunny days. We regularly playground hop too!

 

  1. When you are not working where are some of your favourite family restaurants to eat with your family in Hong Kong?

My kids love the pasta at Te, Pizza from Pizza Express, Pancakes at Aberdeen Street, and Caesar Salad from Oola. Crystal Jade at IFC and Wang Jia Sha at Taikoo Shing are the Chinese cuisine favourites!

 

  1. There are many people who aspire to be a photographer, as a professional what would you recommend people do to transition from photography as a hobby to a career?

Just get out there and take photos of what you love! Practice and perfect your skill. Ask questions and don’t be afraid to learn from others! You can always offer discounted or free sessions while you’re starting out until you get to a level you are satisfied with. The most important thing is to photograph regularly and figure out what makes you unique, what your style is and go from there!

To see more of Keiko’s beautiful work visit:

http://www.portraitsbykeiko.com/

Love,

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