Digi-Tech Q&A With Ken Yu

This Q&A series is all about shining a spotlight on people in the industry. The goal is to learn about them and share their insights with you. There are many talented people in various markets around the world, and hopefully this series will help you get to know them better.

Q: Who are you, where are you based and what type of jobs do you work?

Hello. My name is Ken Yu. Along with digi-teching, I’m most known for my Polaroid portraits of the crew. I’m currently based in San Francisco, but I work as a local along the west coast of the United States. My focus is on commercial jobs ranging from tabletop, fashion, and lifestyle: 80% on-location and 20% in studio. I have been in the photo industry for over a decade now and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else.

Q: How did you become a Digital-Tech and how long have you done it?

I became a Digital-Tech after graduating from the photography program at The Art Institute of Seattle (RIP). Initially, I worked as a photo assistant and it was there that I learned how to use CaptureOne fluently and with finesse from all the different photographers I assisted during that period. One of the photographers I assisted at the time, Charles Blackburn, had a PhaseOne P45+ on a 4x5 rig, which helped me to become a Digi-Tech. I have now been working as a Digi-Tech for almost a decade.

Q: What do you like most about your work; what do you like least?

The best part of my job is working with a fantastic crew, from the Creative Director down to the PA. The feeling of everyone enjoying their time together on set and making something is always a feeling I cherish. However, the constant grind and feeling of chasing can be challenging and exhausting.

Q: What do you feel is important to learn for anyone starting out or what do you wish you knew when starting?

For anyone starting, I believe it is essential to remain active and always offer assistance when possible. Have a pre-production chat with your photographer if you have never worked together before to get a vibe check and understand their set quirks. Relationships are key in freelancing, and it is crucial to take vacations or breaks. Work will always be there, but you have one life. Live it, enjoy it

Q: What’s one item in your kit you can recommend to everyone?

I would recommend power banks to everyone.

The small powerful ones like the Anker Power Bank, 24,000mAh, Omni Ultimate 38,400mAh, or Zendure SuperTank Pro 26800mAh 100WPD Portable Power Bank

Q: What piece of equipment would you like to never see on set again?

USB-A anything and Micro-B ports are the pieces of equipment I would like to never see on set again.

Q: If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?

If I could change one thing about the industry, it would be vetting. A lot of times, you have to hire on faith that the new person on the crew can fit in and do the job.

Q: What was your best day on set?

My best days on set are when I get to work with a solid team that makes the 10-14 hour days enjoyable and productive.

Q: How do you explain what you do for work to family/strangers?

I provide IT and asset management services on photo sets.

Ken Yu

You can read others in the Q&A series HERE