Journey into Photography

អត្ថបទ​នេះមានជាភាសា៖ kmខ្មែរ

Chandy Mao is our Video Production Assistant at Development Innovations.  And he’s also a passionate photographer (which he does for us too!).  Today, Chandy shares his personal journey in photography, and some tips on how you can get started too!


Photography. How do I get started?



“Photography is the only language that can be understood anywhere around the world” – Bruno Barbey, international photographer


My name is Chandy and I work as the Video Production Assistant at Development Innovations.  I also work on photography too!  I’m the one who takes many of the photos you see on Development Innovation’s website and social media.  I also give workshops about mobile photography for BarCamp Cambodia. I’ve been involved in photography since I was in high school, where I took pictures for many public and charity events.

Photography has been a passion for me since I was a kid. To me, taking photos is about expression, communication and innovation.

WHY communication? I found hard to communicate with people years ago. (Maybe I was not confident enough). Luckily, things kept improving when I started getting into photography.

WHY innovation? Every time I think about photography, I always think about creativity. The only one thing is about making something attractive and conceptual. And that’s what teach me how to get ideas.

WHY expression?  Because both communication and innovation worked together to help me express my ideas and feelings.

I get asked about how to get started in photography, and I wanted to share my story about that today.

The only answer I have is that photography starts with YOU. Photography doesn’t start with buying an expensive camera. It starts with YOU because photography needs practice and you can practice with any camera. The more photos you take, the more understanding you’ll get about photography. So you can get started by simply grabbing your smart phone and taking pictures.

I mentioned earlier that “The more photos you take, the more you’ll understand photography.” I want to emphasis the word UNDERSTAND. What will you understand while taking a picture? Actually, you’ll understand two basic concepts about photography. The first is COMPOSITION. Composition is a way of guiding the viewer’s eye towards the most important elements of your work, sometimes – in a very specific order. Let’s have a look at these examples.

Royal Palace

This photo, at the Royal Palace, was taken on my smartphone, a Galaxy S.  What do your eyes focus on?

BarCamp Ratanakiri

BarCamp Ratanakiri2

I took these photos at BarCamp Ratanakiri.  What do you eyes follow here? Do you understand how I decided to compose this photo?


The second thing you need to know is how to operate a camera.  The core setting of every camera is light adjustment. You won’t learn much about this if you use smartphone camera. The reason is that smartphone cameras automatically adjust the light. You don’t need to care whether your picture is dark or bright. Your smartphone camera will always adjust it perfectly for you. But if you use some popular digital cameras, especially Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) cameras like the Canon 700D or Nikon D60, your photography journey will all you to advance your understanding of light by controlling how you use the light.

In conclusion, if you are a smart phone photographer, one basic understanding you need to focus on is COMPOSITION. There are many ways to compose a photo, but what I want you to begin doing is shooting and comparing to other professional photographs. This will help you figure out why your photographs are either the same or different from those professional photos. For those who are DLSR photographer, you will need to focus on not only composition but also camera operation which is the most important understanding that every photographer need to know.

I hope these two lessons help you to being your journey into photography.


By Chandy MAO

Video Production Assistant
Development Innovations


All photos by Chandy Mao, Development Innovations’ Video Production Assistant.

Download Chandy’s story in PDF