As the daughter of two banker parents who instilled creativity and curiosity in their daughter, you could say a seed was planted early on that, one day, Lucia Pang would work on her own terms.
When Lucia was 15 she received a new camera for Christmas and then followed a career in content creation, a perfect choice for a young woman obsessed with the world around her. I am obsessed with this interview. Lucia has one of the most incredible careers that I had the pleasure of exploring. From working for Sportsgirl, Mabelline and even being flown to NYC for to photograph and cover Fashion Week S/S 2012, Lucia has mastered how to turn her passion into profit.
With so many lessons and advice, lets dive into the #careerstory of Lucia Pang.
Hey Lucia, where you grew up and how your experience shaped the person you are, and the career that you are in today?
I grew up in Sydney in the suburbs with two parents who were in the finance industry but who also luckily believed in fueling creativity and the arts, so growing up hardly anything was out of bounds. My earliest childhood memory was that my grandfather would take photos of EVERYTHING. I remember explicitly one time as a child I was crying and then a huge flash came out of nowhere. I was stunned – why on earth did my grandfather just take a photo of me crying?! But as I grew up I realised, he took photos to document life: all aspects. I was a very curious child growing up and very visual, so I think photography came naturally for me.
I want to remember everything I see, everything that happens and needed something to make up for the times my memory forgets. I had such a stable upbringing and loving family and my parents balanced the home/work life so seamlessly, and that definitely influenced my work ethic and is always something I’m striving for.
Where did you go to High School and how was that experience for you?
I went to an academically selective high school in Sydney and it was great. I wasn’t really involved in school activities at all, but I have fond memories looking back as some of my closest friends are from high school and there were a few teachers that really inspired and influenced my life. I was quite academic as a pre-teen because I had no idea what I wanted to do (looking back, I was always a stress head haha. Not knowing what you wanted to do at 25 is perfectly okay, let alone 12!) but my parents always said to set yourself up so you can maximise opportunities when they come.
So I figured studying and getting good marks would give me more options for my career down the line. No regrets there as I think striving for academic excellence was where I learnt my determination and discipline from.
Did your high school play an important role in helping you choose your further education and future career?
To be honest, not really. I don’t recall any significant career advice given to us that really helped after I graduated. I remember coming out of high school being a freelancer, I had no idea how to do my own taxes (still a struggle today!) and I was thinking to myself, “why wasn’t this taught in high school?” So I definitely think self-learning is super important.
But I will say the social aspects of high school – friends and teachers especially – definitely shaped my growth mindset, which went on to majorly influence and contribute to my professional career in terms of what I wanted to achieve and who I wanted to be.
Did you complete any internships or work experience placements in high school? Tell us about that experience.
I started professionally working as a photographer around the middle of Year 10, so in a way that was my work experience. During those days, I was always the youngest person on set and I think I definitely matured very quickly because it taught me many skills: communication, patience, responsibility, being a team player… I definitely recommend getting as much interning and work experience in as possible during high school and it doesn’t even need to be in the field you like or want to be in! It will help take you out of that school bubble, give you a sense of what to expect in the workplace and teach you many important skills that you will be thankful to have, so it’s never too early to start!
Did you go to College, University, Tafe or another equivalent? Take us through the courses that you studied and why you chose them?
I have my Bachelor of Media in PR and Advertising, which I wanted to do because I felt like it was one of the only courses that I thought could be applicable to any industry, and especially as a freelancer where you’ll need to brand and market yourself. On top of that, I also went to film school at AFTRS, which actually involved a lot of practical work as opposed to theoretical, and I had lots of fun because for the first time in an academic environment, I was surrounded by creative, like-minded people who had the exact same interests as me and that definitely makes a difference – you’re eager to learn and collaborate because everyone has the same energy.
Tell us about your career journey so far. Who you have worked for, and explain any highlights.
I was gifted a camera in the summer of 2010 and that pretty much changed everything. I probably wouldn’t even call it photography back then because I was literally spamming – I took pictures of everything and everyone! I developed a passion for fashion photography especially because people were my favourite things to photograph and I spent all my weekends during high school shooting my friends, then friends of friends and eventually strangers. I was so young and I think that recklessness and innocence of youth defined the style of my photos.
Over the years, I shot for a lot of brands and magazines, including: Sportsgirl, Senso, Fashion Journal, RUSSH, Yen Magazine. I covered a lot of Fashion Week events: the highlight was flying to New York to cover NFYW exclusively for Tumblr, and established long term working relationships with PR agencies to freelance for the brands they represented: Ardell Beauty and Maybelline New York I worked with for years and I loved it. As of recently, I want to get more into directing, producing, videography and the film industry. Whether it is for commercial or screen, I want to do it all!
How did you get into the job that you are in now, working for yourself and creating content?
I think content creating was just a channel, in the beginning, for my creativity and passion never saw it as working, just something I wanted to keep up because I thoroughly enjoyed it so much. Sustaining it as a job came down to discipline: being focused and working hard.
What is the hardest part of your current job as a content creator?
I would say instability. I am actually very analytical and an intensive planner, so I thrive on knowing what comes next and completely stress when I don’t, which unfortunately for me, is my job 99% of the time ha! Ideally I would love to know what I’m doing for the next 12 months, but with freelancing you can’t plan too far ahead because you never know what opportunity will pop up and when. Though ironically, the excitement of instability is ALSO the reason why I love freelancing – every day is different – so I guess I can’t complain too much.
What does a day a typical business day look like for you in your current job?
It varies day to day, and depends on a few logistical things, especially the weather haha.
I like to use a lot of natural light for my work so that definitely determines which day of the week I get to be out in the field shooting and what day I work in front of a computer. I am always brainstorming though, so my mind literally never shuts down. A sudden inspiration for a concept could pop up during brunch with friends or a 3am dream, so I always have my phone on hand with the Notes app ready.
The development stage is so exciting to me because I am always fascinated by the way loose ideas can build and build on top of each other to culminate in a mature concept brief. It’s also interesting to note that the ratio of a day dedicated to photographing is equal to about two days of behind the scenes work: concept developing then sitting down for post-production or doing admin.
I always say about 10% of photography is actually shooting and the rest is me and the laptop! If it’s that kind of day, I like to work in a decluttered space, work quickly and without distractions and from a checklist so I know exactly what needs to be done and by what deadline.
Who has been your hero, or greatest inspiration growing up and why?
Growing up during the school holidays, I would literally get a basket worth of movies from Blockbuster and watch them at home. That’s all I ever did – probably explains my bad eyesight now. Most of them I was probably too young to understand but so many left such an impression on me that I can still visualise it in front of me now all these years later. So I would say, professionally, my biggest inspiration are the creators of those films, more specifically the directors such as Sofia Coppola and Wes Anderson. Personally – I am constantly inspired by everyone around me: my family, friends and people I’ve met once and never again. And my dog ;).
What advice would you give girls who are interested in your career?
In this industry, on-set experience and practice is so much more valuable than the theoretical, so assist, collaborate and create whenever you can. Do your time, I think sometimes we all get a little impatient but truly, Rome wasn’t built in a day! Always keep experimenting: if it doesn’t work out, try again until you get something you’re happy with. You should never stop perfecting your craft!
Learn other hobbies: especially as a freelancer when you work from home and sometimes can’t separate yourself from your job, because you will want some channels to escape to. Be in touch with the world around you – read, watch movies, take a class, interact with everyone and anyone – because you will find inspiration in the craziest corners of the world.
Build genuine relationships: most jobs come from referrals in the industry because people want to work with people they know they work well with. Professionalism and attitude will go a long way – be punctual, be a team player, and be kind!
List your most valuable resources that help you in your career
- Favourite Websites:I have waaay too many! So I’m going to say Pinterest and Youtube because you can find anything on there.
- Name an Instagram Account that you can’t go a day without checking: Probably @colorpalette.cinema, @natgeo and @kodak_shootfilm – as a content creator, I try not to look at too many inspiration photos that may subconsciously influence my style, so I try to get the creative juices flowing from looking at architecture, scenery, poetry, paintings and film stills.
- Favourite Netflix Series: Does FRIENDS count? Oh, Bodyguard was amazing – I started the series at around 9pm and stayed up all night to finish it even though I had work early the next day, it was such a thrill. Other than that, I’m a Netflix movie kinda gal!
- Favourite all time book/s: Ah, not much of a reader! I read a lot of screen scripts for study, that’s about the closest I’ve gotten to a book!