Q and A: Spotlight interview with Stam Chananakhon, Co-Owner and Professional Photographer at Collard Studios

Stam Chananakon works in partnership with Liam Collard in their commercial photography business Collard Studios. Here Stam chats about working with luxury brands, taking pictures in the Amazon rainforest and offers advice to budding snappers. She also shares some of photos of her travelling the world in 2017.

Introduce yourself

I’m originally from the south of Thailand and have been living in Phuket for the past five years. I was just at the beginning of my photography career when another photographer I knew introduced me to Liam. We became a couple and have since been on an amazing journey; living together, travelling the world and working for some incredible clients along the way. 

 What inspired you to become a professional photographer?

I loved art and drawing when I was growing up but never really thought I could make a career from that. I began to get excited by photography when I was about 18 after buying my first camera. I quickly realised photography was something I wanted to explore and develop as a skill. 

 How have you built your photography business?

Since the introduction of social media platforms such as Instagram, we noticed that many brands were struggling to represent themselves in a visually consistent and interesting way. Simply put, there was a demand for high-quality travel and lifestyle content. Since then we have been building our client base and have worked with Four Seasons, BMW and other high-end companies that need stunning images and video.

 You work in partnership with Liam - what's the best thing about being part of a team?

It is great to have another creative person to talk through ideas with. It pushes me to try new things and takes me out of my comfort zone.

 What's the best travel photograph you've ever taken?

We spent some time in a flooded part of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, documenting the life of indigenous people there. I love the intensity of a portrait I took of a local girl named Carolina. It conveys a lot of emotion and other photographers constantly ask me about it. It actually features on our Home Page which I'm excited about.

What advice would you offer budding professional photographers?

Practice as much as possible to develop your own style, and don’t give up just because the first client says no. There are many people out there making a living with their camera, so there is no reason it can’t be you, too.

What is the most prized possession in your kitbag?

We can’t use it for too many professional jobs, but I love my Sony RX1R – it’s so small there is never any excuse to leave it behind, and has stunning image quality. Some of my favourite pictures have come from being able to use this camera in unexpected situations.

What home comfort do you miss the most when you are away on assignment?

Our dog Bob. I hate leaving him in Thailand when we are away working, but thankfully he is well looked after by our friend.

Liam Collard