Fourteen-year-old portrait photographer Jasmine Yu shares some insights into how to make it in the world of photography. My passion for photography started during the summer of 2011. I was a young, crazy, aspiring, self-taught 11-year-old with a wild imagination and dreams to achieve. It is now 2013. I have been experimenting with photography for more than two years. I take photos not to gain attention, but to be able to inspire other people with my words and pictures. The most often question I get is, “How do you do a shoot with a new model without making it awkward?” I think that being friendly and kind is the key. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect, and if you treat them respectfully, they will treat you the same. I can honestly say that photography has allowed me to see that there is so much more in life. For example, I used to look up at the sky and see just plain white clouds floating around. But now, I view see all the different shapes and I think about what I can do with their colors and textures. There is no magical way to suddenly become successful as a photographer, but you can devote yourself to your work and make a commitment to yourself. For me, it was years of dedication, determination and continuous trials. One simply cannot achieve an honorable outcome without putting in the effort. Never let anyone talk you out of doing something you love. Every time you feel like giving up, just remind yourself why you started doing this in the first place. There will be people who will try to stop you along the way, and there will be obstacles, too. Do what you love, and you will never regret it for the rest of your life. “You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.” — Ansel Adams Jasmine Yu is a 14-year-old student from Hong Kong. See more of her work at facebook.com/JasmineYuPhotography. The Soapbox is a very special section of HK Magazine where you, the reader, get to add your voice. Whether you’ve got an axe to grind or a cause to promote, all submissions are welcome. Simply send your material—essay, blog post, illustration, doodle, whatever—to email@example.com , along with a photo and a brief description of yourself, and you may get to see your name in print! Please note that submissions may be edited for space, tone or clarity. Articles that appear in Soapbox do not necessarily reflect the views of HK Magazine and its editors.