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Interview: Choi Liu, Creative Consultant

D&AD Next Photographer Award Judge, Choi Liu, is a freelance Creative & Portfolio Consultant, boasting more than twenty years of industry experience.

Choi has sat on various awards juries, including D&AD, D&AD New Blood, the Creative Review Photography Annual and the AOP Photographers Awards, as well as acting as a mentor at D&AD New Blood.

Here, Choi disccuses the importance of personal projects, describes the three mistakes photographers are making today, and explains why photography courses aren't necessarily essential to a successful career behind the lens.

What advice would you give to aspiring photographers looking to break into the industry today?
Your portfolio is your calling card so it is vital to have memorable images. It is so important to do personal work too, as this tells us so much about your personality, so it's important to photograph the things that interest you.

Do your research as to the agency/art director/art buyer you are seeing, and make sure you get their name right.

Work as an assistant to a good photographer, this way you'll learn about the industry and build contacts.

Work hard, show determination and persistence. Be open to criticism, but stick to your values. Don’t follow the trend or what is popular, be original, be yourself. Learn the craft, show attention to detail, follow your heart and don’t give up.

What current trends in photography excite you?
I am aware of current trends but I don’t follow or believe in them. I look for originality and integrity in images that are refreshing and exciting.

What are the three mistakes photographers are making?

  1. Following trends.
  2. Spending too much time looking on the internet at other photographers’ work.
  3. Photographing things they think they ought to, rather then the subjects they are passionate about.

Is a photography course essential to a successful career?
No, I do not feel it is essential as there are plenty of successful photographers that are self-taught. Photography courses don’t always prepare students for the real world.

The D&AD Next Photographer Award aims to discover and showcase the next generation of talented photographers from around the world. If you have less than three years professional experience, why not enter the D&AD Next Photographer Award now.

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