We had the good fortune of connecting with Wini Lao and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Wini, what is the most important factor behind your success?
The most important factors behind my success is to network and be kind. I remember the first few clients who paid for my photography services. I didn’t have much on my portfolio, but I was kind and they hired me because of my passion. I built my portfolio from those first photo shoots and kept sharing my work with people I meet. This grew my network and have connected with brands like Adidas, Levain, Elemis or Peloton.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I forget that photography is an art sometimes. It’s part of my every day flow and I’m always thinking about how to take photography to the next level. As a former engineer, I am always operating with both sides of my brain. Photography comes naturally to me and the best blend between technical and creativity. When I see a photo, my mind immediately clicks and starts thinking “HOW”. But the hardest part is the business side of photography. Keeping up with negotiation and emails, with the mental energy to create is HARD. It’s always a learning process, but something I wish I invest in more.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
New York is not dead. In fact, we are resilient through the pandemic. There is so much to do and eat here. New York is iconic for the views. Think; sunset photo at Top of the Rock, walking along Brooklyn Bridge Park, rowing at Central Park. But really, I would bring my friends to eat at all my favorite spots. Ethiopian food at Awash, Udon at Raku, Dumplings at Joe’s Shanghai. I’m drooling thinking about this already!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I love this! I have to give thanks to my mentors Melanie Phillips and Carmen Sognonvi. They both started working with me at the start of my career and support my growth. I knew I could always count on them whenever I had a question about running a business. These questions could be as simple as ‘how do I send an invoice” to “how do I deal with this frustrating client’. I owe my success to them for laying the foundation for me.
The photo of me is by Phoebe Cheong. Featuring Mel of @headstandsandheels and Kira @bykwest.