Interview With Riane Ayoung From Canada

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Riane Ayoung

Riane Ayoung is a freelance photographer and a graphic designer. She believes that with photography and design, she could inspire others to make the world a better place for everyone.

Interview with the 2021 MUSE Photography Awards Winner - Riane Ayoung

1Can you introduce yourself and talk about how you got into photography?

My name is Riane Ayoung. I am a freelance photographer and graphic designer. I studied at Conestoga College for Graphic Design and within that program, we had to take Photography classes as well; that is where my true photography journey started. With a wide variety of interests in fashion, illustration, animation, graphic designing, and photography I had chose to focus on the ones I was most confident in. My photography in high school never stood out, and I based my judgment on that. I was interested in photography, but I thought realistically I was not talented enough. It was until Julia Maier, aka Lens on Life came in to talk to our photography class. I was blown away by her work and felt inspired. That inspiration soon fizzled out in the background, but the passion was still there deep down. It wasn't until my "first real shot" I took for a project made me realize my potential. Seeing my model's face light up when receiving the final photos gave me joy. I decided to combine my interest in fashion, photography, and graphic design, things I had been interested in for most of my life, and really practice and develop my skills.

During my journey in school, I truly resonated with working on projects that uplifted BIPOC individuals, and that is when I decided to commit to diversity within the fashion and art community as we struggle the most there. I believe that I am capable on contributing to change and inspiring others to do the same. With photography and design, my voice can be heard.

2Where did you study photography?

I studied a bit of photography within In my Graphic Design Advanced Diploma program at Conestoga College. Part of our curriculum was to take 4 photography courses in four terms our of six. Outside of taking those courses, for some of our projects, we had to utilize our photography skills as well, for example when I produced my magazine for another class I had to use my own photography as well.

3Do you remember your first shot? What was it?


I had my first camera when I was 8 years old, and had an interest in photography and shared that interest with my dad. However, the most memorable shot that I consider "my first" was during my first-year Portrait Photography project in Conestoga. My class and I had the opportunity to use our school's photo studio for the first time. I started playing around with the softbox lighting to capture my volunteer model. I did not get the grade I wanted, but I did feel proud of my work and saw that I had potential from there.

4What equipment do you use?

I use a Canon EOS Rebel T3i, a Silver Reflector, and a Camera Stand.

5What do you hope to achieve?

I have always had an interest in photography, but was not confident that it would take me far. One of my dream careers is to become a successful fashion or portrait photographer. I would love to work for a fashion company and take charge of their photoshoots as well as design for them. I hope to overall better my photography skills, my photoshop skills, and to gain confidence in my skills. I would overall love to have my work showcased in a magazine.

6What compliment inspired/touched you the most?

The compliment that touched me the most was "you are so committed, you will go far". That compliment has pushed me more to stay committed. I have never heard that compliment before, but it was a quality I never realized I am. Despite the hardships with school, my photography passion, and being a WOC pushing for diversity in fashion, I stayed committed to my purpose and goal. I stay committed to learning and developing my skills, whether it was through hobby, school, or within a passion project. I think that compliment made me not give up on pushing my photography skills

7What inspires your unique storytelling?

Ever since I was a little girl, I have always been interested in fashion. When I started to grow up, I started getting exposed to the issues of the fashion community regarding BIPOC individuals. As a WOC myself, I felt like it was my responsibility to make a change. I was not always behind the camera, but I loved the idea of becoming a fashion photographer. I followed so many photographers I felt peace being behind the camera and seeing the smiles on people's faces after revealing their photos.

8What THREE (3) words describe your photography style?

Cultured, Allure, Vogue.

I am heavily interested in fashion photography. I like to capture good quality clothing on BIPOC individuals. I love to uplift them through photography and be a part of their self-love experience.

9Congratulations! As the winner of the MUSE Photography Awards, what does it mean for you and your team to receive this distinction?

As a winner of the MUSE Photography Awards, this changes my perspective on myself. This means so much to me as I did not quite believe in myself before. I was insecure about my talent and my skills. What I deemed as a hobby has become so much more to me. To my client's photos that I entered, he has now been recognized and can have an advantage when applying for modeling agencies. For myself, I can finally use this award as a resume booster that will set me apart from other applicants. I can truly invest my money, skills, and time into developing my skills in photography even more and know that it has been paying off.

10Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2021 MUSE Photography Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

The two sets of photos I entered features model and client Micah Reynolds. Micah is seen showing off his high-end clothing and embracing himself in it. With both a passion for fashion and a goal of uplifting BIPOC individuals, we mainly work together to bring inspiration to BIPOC individuals so that they can accept themselves, embrace the beauty of their color, and that they deserve to be on magazine covers and clothing advertisements regularly. A big issue in the fashion community is diversity. We praise brands for doing the minimum for featuring a colored model once every while, but we challenge that by capturing visionary photos of a black model in the brand name. Nevertheless, I based my entries on commercial photography, fashion photography, and fine art because essentially that is what I am interested in and work with.

11How has winning an award developed your career?

Winning the award has helped me gain worldwide recognition and a name next to some other incredibly talented photographers. I know that in the future when I put this on my resume, I will definitely stand out from other applicants. Most of all my confidence, which is the most important, has been boosted. Knowing that I have been recognized for my skills, I feel secure enough to not second guess or sell myself short.

12Name 1-3 photographers who have inspired you.

Julia Maier, Lara Jade, Tim Walker.

Julia Maier, I have had the pleasure of meeting her in real life and having a conversation with her. She first presented to my Graphic Design class in 2018, and ever since then, I knew I wanted to do photography. Seeing her work made me inspired to attempt my own photography. Besides always being interested in photography and being inspired by a multitude of photographers, Tim Walker and Lara Jade have inspired my photography style and eye.

13What was the best piece of advice you were given starting out, by a mentor or your role model?

The best piece of advice that I was given by a mentor was to try new things and that practice makes perfect. I was very insecure about my photography skills starting out. My grades in my photography class were not what I wanted to achieve. That ultimately discouraged me. It was not until I had an opportunity to utilize my photography skills. I was hesitant at first, but then I was told by my mentor to try it out and to practice if I liked it. After years of photography. I can definitely say that practicing IS the way to get better and not be discouraged, and if I did not try it out at first, I would've never gotten here.

14 What advice would you give someone who would like to become a photographer today?t makes your country specifically, unique in the design industry?

For anyone who would like to become a photographer today, I would tell them to not be discouraged and that their photography will get better over time. Seeing your first works compared to your current works after a few months or years will really make you feel accomplished. I certainly was discouraged as I was not blessed with immediate expertise.

15What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?

Focus on what you believe in. If you focus on success, you will feel disappointed by your shortcomings; if you focus on money, you will never be satisfied; but if you focus on a cause and match your passion with what you believe in, it will create a unique meaningful story that you will be proud of regardless.

16 How do you stay in that space of being receptive to new information and knowledge?

I like to browse on Pinterest heavily for photography inspiration, and or Instagram. I keep collections of photography styles, model poses, and Photoshoot settings so that I can imitate them and explore them.

17Q17. Which THREE (3) friends/peers would you nominate to participate in the next MUSE Photography Awards?

Cassidy Clemmer (

Emanuel Contreras (

Louelle Marvi Reyes Adanza

18Which THREE (3) peers, within the photography industry, would you nominate to be a judge in the next MUSE Photography Awards? (You may include yourself within, and please include the email addresses)

Julia Maier (

Mike Powell (

Cassidy Clemmer (

19Anything else you would like to add to the interview?

I would like to thank my dad for believing in me. He and I share a passion for photography, and without bonding over our mutual interest in photography, I would have never had the opportunity to learn techniques, the equipment, and the "eye" of capturing beautiful pictures. He has always uplifted me and critiqued me to better myself.

Winning Entries

A-Tractor | 2021

Interview With Riane Ayoung From Canada

This "a-tractor" denim photoshoot features model Micah Reynolds in Abercrombie & Fitch's famous light wash denim jacket...
(read more at MUSE Photography Awards)

Tranquil Moments | 2021

Interview With Riane Ayoung From Canada

Inner peace comes through self-acceptance. What a moment it is to love and embrace your own skin...
(read more at MUSE Photography Awards)

Riane Ayoung

Riane Ayoung is a freelance photographer and a graphic designer. She believes that with photography and design, she could inspire others to make the world a better place for everyone.