Artist of the Month – Henry Tieu
Only a few days are left until 2018 is over. So let us take a look back at our Artist of the Month from November. Witness the mesmerizing work by Henry Tieu from Seattle, USA. He is truly one of the best when it comes to capturing the emotions between two loving human beings in a beautiful and creative way. Henry Tieu is the last AOTM in 2018 but you will see him and many other amazing artists in our LOOKSLIKEFILM Artists of the Year-feature back again soon.
How old are you and where are you from?
This question is so interesting to me because I’m from all over the place. I was born in Vietnam but grew up in Oklahoma and Idaho. I currently am based out of Seattle, Washington. And I am 27.
Tell us a little bit about your life at the moment?
This has been one wild year and I am grateful for all the opportunities and all the amazing people I’ve met. I photographed my very first wedding this year, photographed my first destination wedding, taught a couple of workshops, released my presets, went to places that I could only dreamed of and received awesome awards from Junebug Weddings and Rising Tide (and now Artist of the Month of course). My little twerky heart is twerking.
At this time, I am still trying to take everything in.
Wedding season has slowed down a bit but I am still editing like crazy. Besides being a full time photographer, I also work in an intensive care unit as a Registered Nurse. I just can’t give up nursing because it’s part of my identity and passion. It can be a bit overwhelming at time but it’s all so worth it.
How did you end up being a photographer?
Growing up, my family only took photos on Lunar New Years and I always volunteered to take photos for everyone. One year, my dad trusted me enough and gave me the only film camera we had. I enjoyed running around holding the camera because everyone was smiling, everyone was just so happy. I think deep down, it’s part of why I do what I do: putting smiles on people’s faces.
When I was 12, I saved up all my allowances and bought myself my very first digital point and shoot camera. I walked around the neighborhood and photographed flowers, trees, and animals. I still remember how I was so excited when I see the crisp focus and bokeh on my photos.
When I was in college, I worked at the bookstore and saved enough money to buy my first DSLR camera. I got the Canon t1i because it was the most affordable camera I could buy at that time. After a long day at school and work, I would drive around downtown Seattle at night to do nighttime photography. I uploaded all of my photos on a personal Flickr account that has zero interactions with anyone but I was just so happy seeing my photos in a “gallery”.
I graduated from college and immediately got busy with life and work. I picked up the camera again years later after a stressful week at work. Being an ICU nurse, I see unfortunate tragedies on a daily basis. I see how short life truly is. One day, I took care of a patient who was around my age, who was a healthy person until he couldn’t breath. He came to the hospital and that was when we found out he had lung cancer and it had spread everywhere. He passed within one week. And I was his nurse the whole time.
I went home, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t get my mind off of my patient. I started thinking about my life, where I was and where I wanted to go next. So my husband and I decided to stop working overtime all the time. We started hiking around Washington and that was when I picked up my camera again. I want to see the world, I want to capture memories and moments in life that are important. I want to live a life that if and when I get stuck in a hospital bed, I don’t have to look back in life and ask myself all the what-if.
From landscape photography, I started dipping my toes into couple portraits and eventually became a wedding photographer. Till this day, I still carry the same philosophy into everything I do. My philosophy in life has become my approach to wedding photography: big or small, destination or local, I provide a 100% of myself so I can photograph moments that are priceless and darling.
Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
Oh man, that is a loaded question. A year ago, I thought I was going to go back to Doctorate school. Now, I got the acceptance letter and declined the admission offer because my heart is with photography. Who knows what will happen. 20 years from now I don’t know if my passion will change but I hope I still have that fire within me that drives me to go for what my heart desires.
I see my husband and I’m raising a family. I see us hosting gatherings at our place so we can still connect with friends and family. I see us booking a photographer each year for our annual Christmas photos. I hope I can still be a photographer. I hope people still love what I do.
What gear are you currently using?
I am a Sony guy. My main camera is the Sony a7riii with 2 back up bodies and they are the Sony a7iii
Zeiss 35mm 1.4 is my most used lens since it’s so versatile
Zeiss 55mm 1.8 is my 2nd most use one.
Sony 85mm 1.8 is my least use but I should use it more. I love the crispness that it produces.
Godox V860ii: I use this guy for the dance floor. I go between bounce flash and shutter drag.
What advice would you give out to a new starting photographer?
It’s all in your head. Truly, everything. The mind is a crazy thing. It can give you the confidence you need or it can drag you down and makes you feel like you are not worth anything. With that being said, we all have been victimized by our crazy minds at one point or another. I know I was and still am.
But here’s a quote I’ve read that has changed my life: “By the time you realize your worth, you’ll be worth more”. Trust yourself so your clients can trust you. If you can’t trust yourself just yet, go out there and practice. Don’t be afraid to fall. Don’t be afraid to fail.
It’s better to fall and fail on practice shoots so you don’t fall or fail on someone’s special day. Invest in yourself, invest in education.
Did the LLF community change the way you see or shoot weddings, couples etc.?
100% yes. When I first learned about LLF, I spent hours and hours on your website. Before I go to bed, I would scroll the LLF Facebook Group to read all the questions and answers other photographers have. I look at other’s work to learn about framing, composition, light, poses, and so so so many different aspects for a stunning photograph as well as a cohesive gallery. Thanks, LLF for creating this community where we all can learn from one another.
What plans do you have for 2019?
I am officially a part-time nurse so I can focus more on wedding photography and family. In 2019, I will host my very first workshop called Hey Darling Workshop and it was sold out within 6 hours (I am still on cloud 9). I plan on releasing HD Presets pack 2 where 25% of my proceed goes towards charities.
I also plan on blogging more and creating more education materials for photographers. Stay tuned. I have more exciting projects that are under construction at the moment and I can’t wait to share soon.
Henry Tieu – Seattle Wedding & Adventure Elopement Photographer
Did you fall in love with the work of Henry Tieu? If you don’t want to miss such beautiful and creative images in the future like the ones from Henry Tieu, check out the links above and our blog and the Facebook group regularly. Besides that, you can follow us on Instagram as well. LOOKSLIKEFILM is your daily inspiration when it comes to photography created by amazing artists from all over the world!