Samantha Chan – Virtuoso

It’s hard to believe that at such a young age, Samantha is the creator of captivating and cinematic masterpieces. Indubitably, this rising talent has an auspicious future as a visual artist – check out her story below.

Say hello to Samantha:

Photo by Christopher Ambersley

Where are you from?  Where have you been?

Hi! I’m from Vancouver, BC. I’ve been on a couple road trips in Canada and have travelled to major cities around the world such as London, Tokyo, New York, LA, and Hong Kong.

What’s your favorite place in the world?

I would have to say Lake Louise in Banff, Alberta. I’ve been wanting to go for a while and I finally got the opportunity last summer.  The view was truly breathtaking; I remember feeling so inspired and even more excited to create. This shot is still a favourite of mine to date.


How would you describe your visual style?

Moody, vibrant, and edgy.

How do you find your inspiration?

I find inspiration through the creatives I meet, whether they’re musicians, designers, filmmakers, or other photographers. Meeting up for a chat and a coffee, talking about future projects, things we want to accomplish as artists, and creative ideas we want to pursue – that always leaves me inspired and keeps me driven.

Do you get photographer’s block? If so, how do you overcome that?

All. The. Time. It usually happens after shooting 4 to 5 days a week at times, and I lack the ability to create something unique. Taking a few days off and putting my camera down for a bit helps me refresh my mind until I’m ready to shoot with a creative eye again.

Your work evokes a raw and cinematic quality – have you ever considered dabbling in motion pictures?

Absolutely. I taught myself how to edit videos at the age of 10 or 11, and ever since, I’ve been fascinated by the process of filmmaking. Right now, my favourite filmmakers are Ben Brown and Tim Kellner – the way they incorporate music into their short films create a vibe that fits brilliantly with their visuals. Occasionally, I’ll put out a travel vlog for fun, but I think I’d like to take filmmaking more seriously in the near future!

What types of photography do you do?

I shoot urban and landscapes, but lately I’ve been focusing a lot on fashion and lifestyle portraits. I love shooting fashion because of the whole process, from choosing a location to styling and directing.

Of the photos you’ve taken – what are your three favorites?

I think this photo is really unique because of the reflection in the glass – it connects a body of water into an urban environment.

This portrait is of my friend, Amelia. On this day, we had found an abandoned house that contained a beautiful atrium with lots of natural light. We spent at least an hour in the space taking portraits of each other and using whatever we could find as props.

Being surrounded by nature is probably the best feeling in the world. Taken this summer when I was chasing waterfalls with my dad in BC.

Photography is competitive.  How do you stand out?

I try to shoot wherever I haven’t seen local photographers shoot before. Normally, I wouldn’t have a set location in mind, but an area that is big enough to walk around in for an hour or so is good enough for me. You wouldn’t believe how many ordinary locations could be used as interesting backdrops. It all depends on the photographer’s creative eye. I think I deliver my best content when I’m improvising in an area that I’m unfamiliar with.

What’s the best advice you can think of for someone just starting in photography?

Don’t worry about what other photographers are doing. Focus on your own vision, shoot what YOU enjoy – not what seems to get the most likes on Instagram. It is easy to be influenced by what’s popular nowadays, but having originality is much more valuable than any number of likes.

What is the best thing a model can do to make the most of a photoshoot?

Being energetic and collaborative! You know it’s going to be a great shoot when the model is just as excited to work together as you are. Some of my models are very creative and they would pitch out ideas for the next shot – this is what makes a collaboration.

If you could photograph anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I would love to travel to the glaciers of Iceland and the sand dunes of Dubai!

What are 3 tips you have for aspiring photographers?

  1. Learn to shoot manual.
  2. Observe other photographers’ use of composition and apply it in your own work.
  3. Practice shooting street – it will change the way you view your city, and you will notice so many things you might have missed before!

What are 3 tips you have for aspiring models?

  1. Be on time to shoots.
  2. Look healthy, take care of your body and skin.
  3. Find your niche. What kind of character do you want to pursue? Having your own style will help you stand out among the rest.

What’s one lighting tip you’d like to share with other photographers?

Natural light is your best friend. Experiment during different times of the day and test out ways you could make your subject stand out.

What has photography done for you as a person?  How has it changed you?

It’s changed the way I see the world. I notice strangers on the street, symmetry in architecture and shadows on the pavement. It allows me to see beauty in the norm.

What will you be doing five years from now?

In five years, I will be 22. Hopefully I’ll have completed my Bachelor’s degree in Communication Design at Emily Carr, and I’ll have a good start on my career as a creative director of some sort!

For anyone that wants to get in touch with Samantha, here’s some contact information:

FStop: Profile


Instagram: @thesamanthachan

Samantha, thanks so much for sharing your story with us! 🙂

If any artists out there want to collaborate with FStop, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *