photographer feature: baohien ngo

baohien ngo

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houston, texas

Who or what sparked your interest in photography?
My interest in photography originated from a desire I had to document every face I met and everything that happened to me.

Who are some of your favorite photographers?
Tim Barber and Wai Lin Tse.

Do you have any formal education in photography or are you self taught?
I'm mostly self taught. When I was in the 7th grade, I took a publications course and we had a photography unit but I didn't pay attention and nearly failed so I never got anything out of that. I took a class for digital photography in Maine for two weeks when I was fourteen, but at that point I already understood how to use a camera for the most part.

Is photography your career?
I wouldn't really call it a career. I'm still in high school, so being a student takes up the majority of my time. But since I don't have a job, I take commissioned assignments sometimes for money, although that doesn't happen often either.

Are you currently working on any photography projects?
I'm in the process of planning two or three different shoots but they aren't a part of a collective project.

If you won a $400 million lottery how would you use it?
I have a hard time bringing myself to spend even $30, so if I won a $400 million lottery I probably wouldn't know what to do with it and end up giving most of it away.

What is your favorite thing to photograph and why?
Faces. They tell so much. Or nature landscapes. I love nature landscapes, but Houston doesn't provide a lot of interesting nature landscapes for me to capture so I mostly take landscapes when I travel.

Where do you find and how do you instruct your models?
The majority of my models are friends or mutual friends. I don't have to direct most of them too much because they are experienced and/or with agencies so they'll usually know how to pose themselves. Most of the time, I'll just position them, like I'll ask them to stand in a certain spot and they'll just do their own thing.

Do you listen to music while you shoot? If so, what is on your photo shoot play list?
Yes, always. Lately I've been listening to a lot of Lana Del Rey, Beach House, Girls, and Los Campesinos! while shooting. My friends and I also play music so on my last shoot, we had a ukulele and just sung songs most of the time instead of listening to a playlist.

What kind of cameras do you use?
I use my Canon A-1 most of the time but I sometimes bring my Instax too, depending on whether or not I have film for it because it's expensive.

What do you do when you are feeling uninspired?
Stop taking photos and let my creativity regenerate. I try not to force myself to take photos or push myself too hard because that takes the fun out of it for me.

Future photography goals?
I don't care about shooting huge campaigns or anything like that. I'm happy with doing this for fun, but I like traveling so it'd be nice if I was asked to fly somewhere for an assignment in the future just so that I'd be able to see more of the world.

Describe a day in your life that includes photography:
If I'm shooting with a full team, I'll usually go to a studio for hair and makeup and then look over the clothes with whoever is handling wardrobe and put outfits together. When everyone's ready, we'll head off to the location and shoot for a bit but I'm really laid back during my shoots. I don't like working everyone to death so we'll usually take a lunch break or something.

What does your work flow consist of?
I use film so I have to get my photos processed at a store or lab. I can't afford prints all the time so I just have my negatives scanned straight onto a CD and I'll upload the photos onto my computer and go through them, and edit out dirt spots from the scanner but that's pretty much all I do.

Three interesting facts about yourself?
  1. My cat is my best friend. 
  2. I spend a lot of time reading about serial killers and rare medical conditions. 
  3. I can rap Gucci Gucci by Kreayshawn from beginning to end by heart. It's embarrassing.
What, if anything, do you do to promote your photography? Approximately how much time do you spend per day/week on promoting your photography online?
I maintain a flickr, photo blog, and facebook page for my work but they're just kind of there, I don't spend too much time with promotion.


  1. Oh yay, I was looking forward to this post! So many gorgeous photos, can't believe they were taken by someone so young! The bright, punchy colors make me REAL happy.

  2. OhmyGOSH, your photos are amazing! Love the ones with the red head!