What’s a blossoming fashion photographer to do when they’ve worked with major brands, clinched awards, and shot spreads for noted publications locally? While some continue to contribute to and mingle in a homegrown circle – which of course, is all good – 25-year-old Lenne Chai (also known as @lenneigh on Instagram) decided to pack her bags and globe trot to flourish some more and hone her skills overseas.
With an impressive body of work including assignments for top brands like SK-II, H&M and Bang & Olufsen, working with international model Lily Cole, and clinching the title of Fashion Game Changer of The Year for Zalora’s Style Awards 2017 to name a few, this quirky young photographer with a thirst for adventure (and an infectious sense of humour) isn’t stopping any time soon. Amidst her busy schedule taking on projects, Chai takes a quick moment off her schedule and talks to BAZAAR about her travel essentials, favourite photography spots, and VSCO filters she can’t live without.
1. What got you into photography?
The fashion industry as a whole fascinated me as a young girl. My mother isn’t vain, or particularly fashion-conscious for that matter, so that contributed to the enigmatic quality of it.
The only source of information available to me were fashion magazines, and I was always impressed by how concepts were presented through styling and photography. Photography also happens to be the medium in which I can communicate my ideas best with!
2. Who inspires your photography?
Besides the personality or story behind my subjects, I’m usually inspired by visual elements such as colour and form. It sounds so cheesy, but Singapore as a whole has inspired a couple of my recent shoots…
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3. Share with us some spots you go to snap great shots.
I’m really into shooting HDBs at the moment – besides obvious influences like Nguan’s photography, the further away I am from Singapore the more I learn to appreciate it.
When I holiday in LA, I loooooooove shooting in and around Malibu. Still can’t believe how close LA is to the mountains, deserts, and the ocean.
4. What can we find in your camera roll?
Besides double chin photos… Lots of iPhone snaps of California basking in the golden glow of sunset.
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5. What are 5 things that you never leave home without?
My teal Klean Kanteen water bottle (like any true Singaporean aunty), iPhone (I like to read e-books while commuting), wallet, keys, iPad (which contains my portfolio)
6. What are your top editing apps you can’t live without?
Do Photoshop, Capture One, and Lightroom count?
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7. Do you have any favourite filters?
HB2 saves poorly shot iPhone photos everytime. Thanks Hypebeast!
8. Share with us some tips on how to nail the perfect shot.
I recently took a class on colour theory, and my lecturer pointed out that colours are the visual equivalent of a musical score as they help guide viewers as to which part of the photo they should look at first. So helpful!
But also recently my Antelope Canyon tour guide (hi Ro!) told me to wipe my iPhone lens twice before shooting to prevent lens flares. Truer words have never been spoken.