Leaving The Corporate Life To Chase His Dreams

Photographer Patrick lives by the saying, “Work for passion, not for money”

3 years ago, Patrick Teow was an IT consultant for an oil and gas company. Today he is the proud owner and principal photographer of his photography practice called Heartpatrick. 

Image via Heartpatrick

With 50K followers on Instagram and 11.5K followers on Facebook (at the time of writing), Patrick constantly pampers his followers with aesthetically-pleasing shots from his travels around the world, and especially our beautiful capital, Kuala Lumpur.

As cliche as it may sound, one can never judge a book by it’s cover, especially not with Patrick behind the lens. Patrick has a knack for transforming the most mundane things in our life into eye-catching images, and that has intrigued us into knowing more about his journey with photography.

Image via Heartpatrick

First of all, how did you decide that photography is your cup of tea?

Looking back, I did not at all foresee this career path when I picked up a camera for the first time. The interest grew over the years as I expanded my portfolio from travel and street, to portraits and weddings, and now architecture and interior. The support and interest in my work that grew over the years was the motivation that I needed to keep going and eventually make this my full time occupation. 

Image via Heartpatrick

Image via Heartpatrick

How do you pick out a particular destination for your shots? Or will you just work with anything that’s handed to you?

I always keep a list of places that I want to check out, itemized according to the best time of the year to visit. The source of inspiration can be from a viral post on social media, or from friends. As and when a possible travel window pops up between me and my friends, we then decide what works and go ahead to plan it. 

For commissioned travel portfolios, the destination is decided by the client. For airlines, that’s usually a new route that they’re launching or have launched recently. 

Image via Heartpatrick

Image via Heartpatrick

Can you walk us through your workflow? How long does it take to produce one Instagram-worthy picture?

I always tell my friends that a good Instagram shot is 70% research and 30% execution. I couldn’t stress enough on how much effort is required for a post to work, and that’s the part that people usually don’t see. The first thing would be location research, either from me exploring new towns during my free time, or thanks to tips given by friends. With the location determined, I then brainstorm on the shot that I want to achieve, and identify what else I need to make it work (time of day for the shoot, props, talent and attire requirements). 

It’s also quite fun sometimes to just go on a spontaneous street shoot with no preparations at all, where I sometimes end up with a surprising find. But I usually try not to just leave everything to luck, as more often than not, I end up with nothing that I can use for Instagram. 

Image via Heartpatrick. For full post, click here.

Image via Heartpatrick. For full post, click here.

What skills or values do you think are important for a photographer?

Patience, passion, a keen eye for aesthetics, and an imaginative mind. 

Image via Heartpatrick

Can you share with us one photo that is close to your heart throughout your whole career and why? 

I must admit this is a rather tough choice. But perhaps this shot taken in 2013 on a train from Kolkata to Bodhgaya would be one of the few that immediately pops up in my mind. The lady was on the phone alone in her own cabin, and the light coming from the windows gave her this beautiful warm hue that contrasted nicely with the interior of the train. The warmth of the smile on her face told me that she’s speaking to someone close to her heart. The photo spoke of the beautiful emotions of an impending reunion. 

Image via Heartpatrick

Whose work has been your biggest influence or inspiration?

I can’t pinpoint one single person as the source of influence and inspiration for me. It’s rather a collective influence from social media platforms with Instagram being the most notable one for me. 

Image via Heartpatrick

What’s the biggest setback in your career so far? Have you ever thought of giving up your career?

My career in photography was a natural progression that grew out of a passion for capturing the beauty of the world. As long as I’m capable, I continue to feel the urge to do so, and this has kept me going for years. I don’t remember any particular profound incident that I can regard as a setback, but I did at a few points thought of giving this up, especially after covering a series of uninspiring photography jobs that I knew I was doing just for the money. This taught me that I need to always find a balance between the jobs that I take on ‘to feed myself’ and those ‘to feed my passion’. 

Image via Heartpatrick

How do you educate yourself to take better pictures?

I continuously keep myself inspired by staying tuned to work by other photographers, and also checking out new gears and techniques that are new and trending in the industry. 

Image via Heartpatrick

What other types of photography would you like to explore in the future? 

I would like to go into fashion photography, focusing on themes that are more edgy and experimental. 

Image via Heartpatrick

What would be your advice and wishes for all the young, aspiring photographers out there? 

Keep shooting and experimenting, never stay comfortable in a particular genre or technique or portfolio, and have a small group of friends who are equally, or more passionate about photography than you are, as they will be your best source of inspiration and motivation to go further. 

For a visual feast to make your day better, visit:

Heartpatrick Photography




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