Everyday Essentials with Hans Ding
Hans Ding is the content manager at Dusk.sg, a local creative agency that focuses on creating visual content for brands. His Instagram feed is almost like a visual diary, documenting moments in life through photography, and he parlays his creativity into digital art for his clients.
Hans shares with us his daily essentials to tackle the different challenges he faces every day—in a line of work where he doesn’t have a fixed routine. For Hans, it’s all about being on the move, and to be well equipped to adapt to any situation.
What are your 5 everyday items that you can’t live without?
- Water bottle
- Panasonic Lumix G7
- Billabong backpack
- Walking shoes from Decathlon
How do these items help to improve your lifestyle?
Your subject matter does not matter as much as the story behind the image and how you choose to capture the essence of the moment. Our lives unfold quickly and most of us carry a device in our pocket which enables us to document beautiful moments. Our phones are capable of turning precious memories into something tangible, something to hold on to and share. It’s a gift.
- Water bottle
It is important to keep myself hydrated.
- Lumix G7
I use my iPhone for Instagram, and G7 for more “serious” work! [laughs] I’m not a professional photographer, so the G7 is a perfect companion for my work. The G7 is relatively small and light compared to other DSLRs. It also has Wi-Fi, so I can instantly transfer photos to my phone and edit them on the go.
- Billabong backpack
I’m always travelling with a backpack and I get asked frequently: “What do you have inside your backpack? Do you really need to carry one all the time?” Personally, it’s like Doraemon’s pocket to me. I have everything I need inside and I also have extra space just in case I need to bring additional items with me. I like to keep both of my hands-free so I can grab my phone out of my pocket at any time or hold my camera. I feel at ease whenever I have my backpack with me.
- Walking shoes from Decathlon
Whenever I’m in the mood to explore, I will be walking around a lot. With a comfortable pair of shoes, I can do things with a peace of mind.
Do these items reflect your personality too?
This is a good question. I am contented as long as I have the freedom to explore. I realise that capturing my fondest memories and interesting moments satisfies me. In the process of taking those pictures, I involve myself with the moment I’m capturing, and I am forced to participate in the event as I attempt to preserve it. It brings me great pleasure to be able to explore and not worry about external factors, but rather just focus on what is in front of me. Therefore, I only carry items that will complement my lifestyle rather than distract me from what is important.
Is there a story behind any of these items?
Definitely my pair of Decathlon shoes. I actually got this pair of shoes when I was working in China. It has been there for me, through thick and thin. I know it’s cheesy… They are really cheap and actually perform better and last longer than my other pairs of shoes, which was why I used it on a backpacking trip after I left my job in China.
Do you carry a notebook or any sort of reference before you shoot?
I don’t carry a notebook, my references are usually from Instagram.
My Decathlon walking shoes and the Uniqlo Airism product line, which prevents me from perspiring too much while exploring.
Is there a particular item that you carry which helps boost your productivity and efficiency?
It’s either my earphones or portable charger. Whenever I face a creative block, I will plug them in and listen to some music to set the mood.
What is your typical day like?
I don’t really have a fixed routine. Currently, I am working from home. I started Dusk.sg with two friends of mine and the company does creative work, including motion and graphic design. I’m mainly involved in the production and social media side. I tend to do things on a whim. Whenever I think of doing something, I will do it immediately. I enjoy getting out of my comfort zone. I always believe in staying positive, keeping an open mind and staying curious. As long as you do things from the bottom of your heart and stay true to yourself, you will get there eventually. That’s the most important thing to me.
Where does your inspiration come from?
Hmm, Instagram? From the environment and people around me… and some good old conversations with people!
Do you prefer shooting people or landscapes? And why?
To be frank, I don’t know. I shoot whatever interests me, whether it’s landscape, architecture or people. I try to shoot photographs that capture personal moments in my daily life, highlighting human interactions. There is a lot more joy and accomplishment from shooting people and being able to capture the moment.
Why do you only shoot with an iPhone when there are many other options which are arguably better?
This is the question I have been asking myself lately. I guess at the end of the day, it boils down to this stubborn restriction that I have for myself. I like to keep photos that I shot on my phone on Instagram. I started mobile photography with the advent of Instagram, and back then everybody only posted photos shot using their phones. However, as time passed, people progressively switched to DSLRs or other cameras to showcase their work. I find it quite sad as I rather stay true to the beauty of mobile photography and I wish that people can share the same sentiment.
Other than your phone, do you carry a piece of equipment that is also essential in creating the image that you desire?
Patience; I know it is not an equipment but that’s an essential virtue to have while creating any form of imagery.
Does it frustrate you when you don’t get the shot that you envisioned? How do you deal with that?
Try taking a scene or object you like repeatedly, and approach it from different angles. You probably wouldn’t know which is the best angle at that time. For me, when I started out, I took at least 6-7 photos per scene. Don’t rush to delete your photos right away. Trust me, more often than not you will be deleting most of the photos that actually do have the potential. Stop chimping, go back and look at the images again with a fresher perspective. You will be a better judge and find that some of the images are actually pretty good.
How do you educate yourself to take better photos?
Social media is saturated with beautiful photos and I think it’s getting harder to keep your photos fresh or new. Personally, I tend to stop thinking about how to take better photos and instead, think about how I can keep my mind fresh by always trying something new. Get closer to your inner voice and create content close to your heart. Find out what is it that you love about photography. Of course, you can’t forget to constantly be inspired and to keep shooting.
Where are some of your favourite places to shoot, locally and overseas?
I would say, China? There is always a great mix of old and new. It can be an old alley, a quaint neighbourhood, a beautiful cityscape or architecture. Whenever I’m overseas, my mind is exposed to new experiences around me. I guess that’s the beauty of travelling. Locally, I love to challenge myself to shoot at places that have been around me all the time, which I may have overlooked or taken for granted. You get the sense of accomplishment when you discover something new.