Here at 500px, we’re proud to host a blend of content creators of Asian descent: Pacific-Asian, East-Asian, and beyond. Asian Heritage Month is a great opportunity to reflect on and celebrate the works and contributions of our community members. We spoke to five photographers about their creative journeys, why they chose photography, how they’ve honed their craft, and more. Read on for their stories.

1. Pam Lau

Why did you become a photographer?

I always liked taking photos but never dreamed I could make it into a career, simply because I didn’t think it was possible. I didn’t see myself being reflected in the industry at the time, I had zero connections, and I was a super shy kid. Once I started freelancing in university, I gained a bit of confidence and stuck with it. I had uncovered an undeniable desire to grow and get better.

What is the story behind this photo?

overthinkers by Pam Lau on

This was part of the campaign “Overthinkers” for a mini capsule launch by Jeremy Leung, an illustrator and art director based in New York. From casting to styling to location, we planned out a look and feel ahead of time that would capture the energy of the clothing designs. Our muse was R&B musician Joyia.

A fashion film was also shot by Jimmy Vi. We ended up shooting that underneath the Gardiner Expressway in Toronto in the middle of the day. Joyia balanced on a cement parking pole and I laid on the ground to get that exaggerated, dynamic perspective.

What is the best part about being a photographer?

The ability to think of an idea, actualize it, and make it come to life is really satisfying. I’m grateful that I’m able to experience new environments and collaborate with talented people in the process.

Follow Pam:

2. Nishant Sharma

Why did you become a photographer?

I became a photographer to find inner peace. What started as a hobby soon became my passion. I used to hate my corporate job, and photography was the only thing that helped me disconnect from the chaos / stress and connect with my inner self.

In 2015, I left my job and started working as a full-time photographer—that was the best decision of my life. Photography gives me the power to transform my imagination into reality. A lot of credit goes to my wife as well. Without her encouragement, none of this would have been possible.

What is the story behind this photo?

Earring by Nishant Sharma on

I was looking to create a dramatic image with a human element in it. Before this shot, we tried a few involving just hands, but they did not come out well. I have seen many images showing a product placed over a photo, e.g. a lipstick lying on a magazine with a close-up photo of lips on the page. This photo is my attempt at a similar approach, but with a different style. Here, I focused on the earring and left the model blurred. I also added a cloth to increase the softness in the image.

What is the best part about being a photographer?

For me, the best part of being a photographer is that I am my own boss. Photography puts me on the front line, whether it be for criticism or appreciation—both help me grow as a person and professional.

Apart from that, the fact that you can freeze a moment that actually happened, or create one and preserve it for a lifetime is just amazing! The learning never stops, you get to experiment, you fail and try again. The entire process is beautiful.

Follow Nishant:

3. Ting Long

Why did you become a photographer?

I like people and portrait photography. It’s a unique way to understand the world through different faces, eyes, and stories. Photography makes me want to get up and get out of the box. I feel happy when I’m taking photos.

What is the story behind this photo?

escape from life by ting long on

I wanted to do a creative makeup portrait using shiny things. As these little sequins were not adhered to her skin, we needed to shoot quickly before they dropped off.

What is the best part about being a photographer?

The best part of being a photographer is sharing your ideas and the way you observe the world with others. People can form a connection with you through just one picture.

Follow Ting:

4. Pauly Pholwises

Why did you become a photographer?

I became a photographer because I love meeting new people with the same interests as me. When creative people come together to share and help each other create, it’s an incredible thing.

What is the story behind this photo?

red by Pauly Pholwises on

I’ve been obsessing over the color red. I always wondered how it would look to have my subject wear red in front of a red backdrop. So I decided to paint my backdrop a very bright red and have the model wear red as well. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

What is the best part about being a photographer?

The best part about being a photographer is when you’re able to execute an idea for an image that was born in your head—when it turns out exactly how you envisioned it. It’s such a rewarding moment for me, and I think every photographer feels the same. Seeing your work come to life is one of the best moments any photographer can ask for.

Follow Pauly:

5. Yik Keat Lee

Why did you become a photographer?

I’ve always wanted to freeze frames and turn them into memorable slices of time. It’s so interesting how one image can make you think of moving moments.

What is the story behind this photo?

Architectural vortex by Yik Keat Lee on

I’ve always wanted to see how this massive grass patch looks from above. It was absolutely stunning paired with the curves—it looks out of this world.

What is the best part about being a photographer?

The best part is choosing when, where, and with whom you want to share your visuals. Photography is very important in helping to make a difference in the world.

Follow Yik:

Not on 500px yet? Sign up to discover more captivating photography from our diverse, global community.