A Guide to Taking Your Own Insta-worthy Photos in Hanoi P.2

Posted by SE Vietnam - Student Exchange Vietnam

You are still not clear how to exploit the most out of Hanoi’s beauty through photography after reading the first article? Here are three more professional photographers whom you can learn from to have more lenses when instagramming Hanoi. If you are doing an internship in Vietnam, especially in the capital city, don’t miss the good shots!

Bien Nguyen

Not having Hanoi as his homeland, Bien Nguyen has built a strong love for Hanoi since he moved to the city for university 8 years ago. “I got my first camera in 2008. I was shooting in my free time with friends … I fell in love with Hanoi and all its charms. All the historical and cultural layers inspire me”, Bien says.

Being a full-time liaison officer at the UN International School in Hanoi, Bien only considers photography his hobby, not his profession. However, looking at his photos, hardly could anyone tell that Bien is not turning photography into his career. Calling himself “Bien on the road”, he snaps photos while traveling or wandering around Hanoi, focusing on people and street scenes.

“Watching the people going on their daily life in the city is like watching a film – lively and interesting,” he says. In that film, “whatever happens on the streets, or at some secret corners, quiet alleys, beautiful architecture such as temples, churches, castles,…” are all featured as the heart and soul of it.

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However, speaking of Bien’s photos, it would be a miss not to mention his side project, Hanoi Hideaway, a site and a mobile app dedicated to finding Hanoi’s rich coffee culture, which gains him the nickname “the coffee connoisseur”. There is no denying that Hanoi has the reputation for coffee, which is not only delicious and mind-blowing, but also hides in it the stories about Hanoi and Hanoians.

One of his favorite coffee shops is Loading T, located in a French villa featuring exposed brick walls and mosaic tiled floors, well-known for catering one of Hanoi’s best “egg coffee.”

The thick coffee drink is a local staple, made with egg yolk in lieu of milk, coffee powder, condensed milk and butter.

Then there’s Nhac Xua Cafe, a historic music spot, which began as an amplifier and speaker repair shop.

“When he first opened (the repair shop), the owner would serve customers green tea and play old music – mostly Vietnamese pre-war songs – while they waited. People loved it and asked the owner to turn that shop into a coffee shop. Sitting on the tiny bamboo chairs by Westlake in the evening and listening to old music will bring you back to the old days of Vietnam.”

That’s it, every cup of coffee has its own origin and a story to be told…

Linh Pham

Linh Pham is one of Vietnamese most talented photographers, whose instagram has reached 70,000 followers. Having spent 2 years travelling around the world as a freelance photographer, Linh still could not fulfill his passion for the art of moments due to the lack of connection between him and the world out there.

This experience made him realize his ultimate love for Hanoi – his home city, where photography is not just about capturing moments, but also about the affection for the moments the artist has. As a night owl, one of Linh’s favorite source of creation is the Long Bien market at midnight to capture night-shift workers in action, walking around at 5 a.m. before sunrise to enjoy the silent streets and climbing to rooftop apartments to see the city from above.

As a local, Linh also has the advantage of knowing Hanoi like the back of his hand. What differs his work of art from others’ is his knowledge of many “backstage” shots and alternative angles to show Hanoi from a fresh perspective. “To some people it’s a noisy and congested city, but there are secret quiet corners right at the heart of Hanoi”, he says. What’s more, “On the surface it looks old, chaotic or plain dirty, but with patience and empathy, one can surely find beauty and order in every frame.”

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Thanks to his sophistication and thoroughness, he succeeds in taking photos with layers – the kind of photos that you cannot figure out what’s going on inside at first glance. Hanoi, in his photographical eyes, is more than a city of origin – it’s also a city of love, contemplation and natural feelings that cannot be described in words.

Lan Chi Tran

As a Hanoi native photographer, Lan Chi Tran, is among the most popular instagrammers when it comes to Hanoi photography, with more than 9,000 followers. Different from other counter-parts who find Hanoi a dynamic city with various vibrant activities to capture, Lan Chi feels the beauty of the city in its tranquility.

For Lan Chi, photographing Hanoi is not her career, but a way of relaxation, a means of meditation and a practice of mindfulness. Therefore, even in the busiest corner, she finds peace and calmness and is able to put all of those feelings into her photos. “I often go around by myself, and when I observe slowly and feel it with all of my senses, I see beauty everywhere,” she explains.

However, calmness does not necessarily mean dullness and boredom. On the contrary, Lan Chi always craves for colorful and lively photos that can spread positive energy. “When I am taking pictures, I want something colorful,” she says. “I like to play with the colors – and I want happy photos.”

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Speaking of her favorite spots, here come Phan Dinh Phung Street, a tree-lined avenue dotted with French villas and Chinese mansions, Ly Dao Thanh Street, in the old quarter behind Hotel Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi and, of course West Lake, the city’s largest freshwater lake.

In those places, she can find calming and colorful surrounds, which best describes who Lan Chi is, and how she feels about photography.

How are you feeling right now? Overwhelmed by the beautiful inspirational photos taken by the 6 professional photographers? Excited about gaining more angles to picture Hanoi? Either way, you should get up right away for your own collection of Hanoi photo shoots! During your internship in Vietnam, the last thing you should do is to miss the beautiful diversity of Hanoi conveyed through camera lenses.




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