Mike Tan is one of our Top 30 under 30 featured photographers.
Here’s a little bit more about him, what he does, and some of his best advice:
Tell us how you got started in photography.
Wellllll…I kinda fell in love with a girl — she bought me my first camera almost 6 years ago and taught me how to use it. It was a cheap, plastic Lomo Diana F+ which had a lot of ‘character’ and didn’t require too much thinking. Then I bought a cheap rangefinder (Kiev 4A) and learned about all the technical junk, then my first digital camera (used off of kijiji) a few months later. Shooting weddings followed very shortly after that. It all came quite naturally as I was deeply into visual arts all my life and then moved towards the performing arts in my formative years. Photography brings all these parts of me together, in a way — playing with spatial composition within a frame, and then searching for reality in the subject.
Oh! and that girl + I now have a photography business together ;)
Now that you are one of Canada’s top 30 under 30 wedding photographers, what’s next for you?
Hrmmm, live to 31. Or 100. I’m gonna try for that. I’ve recently made a shift towards more health conscious living and it’s really given me a ton of energy — I’m hoping to put that energy into shooting a lot more diverse photography projects and keeping busy with that when I’m not shooting weddings. I’ve started shooting concerts last year and that has been a blast — sooo more of that in my spring + summers will keep me young!
How has attending photography seminars or photo conventions such as the Canada Photo Convention benefited you as a photographer?
The greatest benefit for me has come from hearing what inspires other people. Getting to know what makes these amazing photographers ‘tick’ as well as what makes them ‘rue the day’ is a very humbling experience. It’s nice to know that it’s never easy for anyone, and that looking up is always more exciting than looking down.
What does it mean to you personally to be a young wedding photographer in Canada?
There’s a real camaraderie amongst young photographers in Canada. Everybody wants to hang out and have a good time. There’s an excitement about being around each other and sharing experiences and making new ones together. We’re all still learning, and experimenting, and failing a lot and sharing it all which each other — that’s a pretty cool thing to see and be a part of.
Tell us about a pinch-me moment that you had where you just couldn’t believe that this became your life.
Every day I get to sleep in and make myself a glorious breakfast in the middle of a typical work week brings me deep joy :)
What’s one thing you would say to another photographer that’s just getting started?
Fail. Learn. Be curious.
To see more of Mike’s work, check out his website here.