We’ve been admiring Liz Wang from afar for quite some time. If you, like us, follow her on Instagram (@ea_wang), you’ve no doubt fallen in love with her clean, calming, and oh-so-visually-pleasing aesthetic. Her feed constantly provides a welcome escape from our busy lives, especially on chaotic, uninspiring, or deadline-filled days.
As curious creatures, we wanted to know more about the San Francisco native, and we’re thrilled to be featuring her on Chronicles. Liz told us she fell in love with photography the moment she laid eyes (and hands!) on her first camera: a Canon point-and-shoot. In the early days, she shot anything and everything, but quickly discovered she enjoyed capturing moments of calm, reflection, and quietude. As a photographer and content creator, Liz has worked with some of the industry’s most admired brands – from Christian Dior to La Prairie, Le Labo fragrances, Third Love, Cuyana and Parachute to name a few.
Just back from her trip to Taiwan, we spoke with Liz about her love of photography, favorite destinations, and her must-do’s in SF…
TELL US ABOUT YOUR UPBRINGING - WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?
I grew up in sunny Silicon Valley with parents who (surprise!) worked in tech – and told me to do something other than that. I was heavily influenced by both of my parents. My mother's hobbies were art and design, and my father's included photography and woodworking. Together they inspired me to seek a creative outlet in the visual arts, which became photography as soon as I could learn how to use a camera! I have my dad to thank for buying my first camera for me.
WHAT MADE YOU GET INTO PHOTOGRAPHY?
Part of it was nature, and part of it was nurture. My father and grandfathers on both sides were photographers, so it almost feels like an inevitable fate. I was lucky to have inherited some camera tools from all of them, and enjoyed learning the basics of photography at an early age. At first I shot anything and everything. Later, I discovered enjoyment in capturing moments of calm, reflection, and quietude. The mantra behind my photography since then has been to seek the light, whimsy, simplicity, and happiness found in everyday life. Our lives are so busy these days, and so my work has become a reminder of what I really value and hope to keep in my life – those moments. Ultimately that’s what keeps me grounded and motivated to do the work that I do.
YOU'VE WORKED WITH INCREDIBLE BRANDS IN THE FASHION, TRAVEL AND LIFESTYLE SPACE - IF YOU COULD CHOOSE YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT SO FAR, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
I feel very fortunate to have connected with a few beauty and lifestyle brands that I once only dreamed of working with. I’m always being challenged by the changing/new demands of this ever-evolving landscape. I enjoy learning more about the brands I’ve partnered with, and thinking of new ways to represent our mutual story through photography. Still though, I think my proudest moment was when I finally culled through my ever-growing, unorganized collection of photos to build my online portfolio.
YOUR THREE TIPS FOR TAKING THE PERFECT SHOT
Firstly, lighting always comes first – preferably natural daytime lighting. When you prioritize lighting, anything can be made photogenic! Secondly, shoot on a professional camera if you can. I use a Canon T5i with a 28mm pancake lens for most of my shots. From a mobile photography standpoint, a Pixel 3 is fantastic investment. Finally, keep the props and accessories simple and let the scene, tones, and lighting speak for themselves!
WHAT'S YOUR ALL-TIME FAVORITE DESTINATION?
I’ve always been a big city type of girl, but I love visiting places that have that big city feel on a slow, rich background of culture and history. For me, Rome is just that, and has recently climbed to the top of my list of favorite places to visit. In another life I’d be living my best life there as a local. It's a vibrant place that offers the opportunity to do as much or as little as you want to, while leaving you feeling at peace no matter what you choose. And that includes eating all of the delicious, fresh Italian food.
YOU'RE BASED IN SAN FRANCISCO - WHAT DOES A PERFECT SUMMER DAY IN THE CITY LOOK LIKE?
The climate in San Francisco can be unpredictable, even in the summer. But, assuming a perfect summer day - overcast but warm - I'd start my morning in Pacific Heights with an almond chai at Samovar Tea & Chai. After enjoying a walk down Pac Heights' vibrant Fillmore Street (of course not without a few stops into its lovely boutiques along the way), I’d wander over to Alamo Square for a picnic with its iconic views, after a stop at the old favorite Bi-Rite Market on Divisadero Drive. From there, I'd walk to explore Hayes Valley and its quintessential shops, with a wine break at The Riddler, a chic and cozy wine bar. If we're lucky enough to have a break in the cloud coverage, I’d end the day with a quick hike up to the top of Mt. Davidson to catch a view of the beautiful SF sunset!