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We sat down with the founder of recently launched business HK Photo Collective, a new community for photographers, brands and models to work together in the 852, Hana Forrest. She lets us in on how she got started, her advice to other budding female entrepreneurs and her best tips for taking that killer shot.

1/ Tell us a bit about yourself, where are you from and how did you end up in HK?

Hong Kong has always been a second home to me. I moved here when I was ten years old as my father got a job here. I moved back to the UK in 2002 but always knew I’d be back, and then in 2017 I decided to return to the city and start a new adventure.

2/ Tell us about your photography journey, how did you end up in this industry?

Photography and film has always been my biggest passion since I can remember. I was lucky to have an uncle who was a photographer while growing up - he sparked my passion from a young age and always encouraged me.

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3/ What is the story behind the HK Photo Collective? What made you create/launch it?

For a while now I wanted to start my own creative venture, however the time never felt right. After building a strong creative network here and wanting a huge challenge, I decided to start HKphotocollective. A place where people can network and build their portfolios but also with the aim to create a strong talent pool and work as a creative agency working along local brands and business owners in Hong Kong and Asia.

4/ What are your goals/aims with this new venture?

With HKphotocollective I have lots of ideas and I’m excited to see where we can go in the next year. I’m lucky to have some amazing people behind me and my main aim for the coming months is to keep collaborating with local brands, hold more networking events and start to build a strong creative community, which gains a reputation for high quality content with a strong community-driven ethos.

5/ What are the toughest hurdles you have had to overcome when launching this business?

I think my biggest hurdle so far was actually getting started in the first place. Covid has not always made it easy to be positive and take risks, but I’ve been lucky to have a lot of people around me who were just as excited about the project as I was, and that positivity has kept me going.

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6/ What is one piece of advice you can share with other females looking to start their own business?

Surround yourself with positive people, don’t be afraid to ask for help and lastly, don’t waste time. Even if you’re scared, make that call and be brave. A lot can happen in a short time, you’ve just got to start!

7/ Where are your favourite locations to shoot in Hong Kong?

Hong Kong is a photographers dream and I love exploring it. My favourite thing is to take a ferry to an island and see what I can find. Hong Kong is full of weird and wonderful contrasts and you never know what you might find. Never stop exploring!

8/ What is your favourite camera + lens to use and why?

I’ve always been a massive fan of the Canon 5D, however I recently bought a Song A7S and I’m loving it. It’s light and has an amazing picture quality, plus it’s fantastic for shooting at night. In terms of a lens a 17mm - 55mm is very versatile, however a prime lens like a 22mm is always my preference when shooting something a little special.

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9/ What is a must-have in your photography tool bag?

A must-have in my photographer tool bag is a mini LED light. Even if it’s a day shoot it can add an extra special lighting element to any shoot and it’s so small and easy to carry.

10/ Which photographer inspires you the most and why?

I have lots of photographers that I love and that have inspired me, but Wing Shya has been a huge inspiration for me, for both my videos and photography in the past few years. I love the sultry undertones of his work and use of shadows and vibrant colour.

11/ What do you hope to achieve in 2021?

I hope that 2021 will be a year of growth, collaboration and creativity, and a success for Hkphotocollective and it’s community.

12/ What is your favourite Black Coral piece?

My favourite piece would have to be the Baltic Floral Midi Dress. I love how you can dress it up and down with flats or boots and it looks great with a leather jacket.

Lots of Love, xoxo

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