Alvin Samir Yono is an experienced portrait and architectural photographer based out of Maricopa County, Arizona. After obtaining a post-secondary degree in photography and composition, Alvin ventured on a three-month trip to Europe, where he was ultimately inspired to establish his own photography business. As someone trained in both digital photography and photo editing, he also enjoys experimenting with older cameras and film. He looks forward to the continued expansion of his photography business. 

Why did you decide to create your own business?

Following my undergrad, I decided to take a three-month trip and travel around Europe. While I ventured through many countries, it was my time in Spain that really stood out to me. The historical architecture, beautiful landscapes and unique culture had me completely inspired. It was not long after returning home that I established my photography business. Since then, I believe that I have grown a lot as an artist, and it is something I wish I had done sooner.

What do you love most about the industry you are in?

Being a photographer requires a critical eye and endless amounts of creativity. I am continuously inspired by my surroundings but also by the work of other industry-leading professionals. I take pride in developing a concept and then discovering ways to bring my vision to life. I am also excited by some of the newest trends and innovation happening, specifically drone photography. We have begun to utilize different forms of technology and we continue to push the boundaries of what is possible.

What does a typical day consist of for you?

What I love most about my job is that my days rarely look the same. While I try to maintain some degree of structure every client is different, and I rarely photograph two places twice. Something I try to do every day though is meditate. I find that taking the time to get into a positive mental space really energizes me for the day and enhances my productivity. I also try my best to exercise regularly. I think the pandemic really got me in the habit of staying inside, so I like to go for early morning runs whenever possible.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Inspiration can come from anywhere, but for me I find I am most inspired by historical architecture and landscapes. Sometimes if I am ever feeling unmotivated, I will take a walk down my street or drive a couple hours out of the city for a change of scenery. I am also an avid traveler so any opportunity to venture to another country and photograph a new culture really excites me.

Who has been a role model to you and why?

I have always admired Julius Shulman, He was an American photographer known for his documentation of midcentury modern architecture. I often study the works of well-known photographers, there is always something to learn about how they perceived the world and the strategies they used to capture the perfect shot.

What suggestions do you have for someone starting in your industry?

My best suggestion would be to seek the advice of a mentor. Starting any type of business on your own can present a series of challenges so it is best to learn from someone who has experience in the industry. My second piece of advice would be to trust your creative instincts and to not fall victim to certain photography myths. Early on in my career I feel as though I restricted myself in terms of creative growth and I wish I had just listened to my gut.

What is the biggest life lesson you have learned?

That life is good, but it is not fair. You will always be faced with obstacles, but it is how you ultimately chose to navigate them that counts. Take every experience as a learning opportunity and work hard to always better yourself.

Outside of work, what defines you as a person?

I am someone who really values friends and family. When I am not working, I love to kayak or hike with my friends. I also think spending time with loved ones is essential to maintaining a proper work-life balance. It is easy for me to get caught up in my work as it is something that I love, but there is also such a thing as burnout which affects thousands of individuals every year.

Where do you see you and your company in 5 years?

I hope that in five years time I will be one of the most well-known photography businesses in Arizona. I hope to eventually open up my own studio and hire a support staff. I think back to where I was five years ago, and I have come such a long way. I am so excited to see where the rest of this journey takes me.