Balancing the Grind with Eric Yip, Photographer at EYXL

Eric Yip is a Sydney-based advertising & commercial and portrait photographer focused on capturing people and movement to create dynamic, energetic and rich images.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

My career is parted in two – corporate past and creative present. Who knows what will come in the future!

I spent 14 years of my working life in the corporate space spanning telecommunications and HR consulting. It was the right time in my tenth year with the consultancy, to make a move into the creative space with my photography.

8 years as a full-time photographer; 4 of which was based in Singapore and the rest based here in Sydney. Pre-COVID, I straddled the two locations; following the work. I spend most time on my advertising and commercial portfolios:

2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

The morning routine is a tall glass of water, 20-30 minutes on the rower or a run whilst listening to podcasts and a cold shower followed by a long and slow breakfast; fruit, Earl Grey and toast with my 4-year old son.

This routine is often interrupted by Kai, who does not have consistent waking times these days; the firm requirement is that he is fed when he wakes. After school drop-off, the workday begins.

The work-day process is somewhat malleable as it would depend on projects and which stage each is at; typically it would begin with email responses and phone calls particularly for pitches and networking. Following the administrative work, the creative work follows with selections, retouching and colouring work.

When shoots are booked, the production takes priority with the schedules and the inevitable late nights / early mornings happen for the period.

My wife and I tag-team pretty well, so the flexibility allows us both to cover each others’ time needs for the most part. This is a huge positive for balance.

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

It sure does.

Apart from the actual time on set (which is subject to unfathomable dynamics) all the necessary editing, retouching, colouring, administrative and business related work can be done from just about anywhere with a mobile workstation and an internet connection.

At this point, the flexibility fits really well with juggling the personal parts of my life however at times, I do miss the more predictable and structured “9-5” of my corporate past.

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

The line between my “work” and “life” is a very thin one, if there was one at all; my photography is very intertwined with my everyday life as it is a creative entrepreneurial pursuit.

My checks for balance are: body, mind and heart, which I try to address daily in small doses to make sure that I don’t fall behind.

Keeping it simple (no matter how little!) with daily physical movement – run / walk, row etc , mental exercises (mindful breathing, reading or getting creative) and getting family time.

A little everyday keeps me in the balanced zone.

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

One of the big things this year has been the adjustment to diet. 2020 had been a massive push towards whole-foods and a heavier weight on fruits and vegetables.

It’s been a long time coming for this change to happen (for the obvious reasons), and COVID allowed it to naturally happen with so much more control with whatever we eat at home.

Though this often falters when it comes to fried chicken and beer.

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

Alain De Botton’s writing and insights often show me something different. The Architecture of Happiness and The Course of Love are my most recent reads.

Candela the Podcast – Christopher Hooton and Alan Schaller host conversations with guests and with each other about film and photography. Funny, casual and full of character.

I get much of my inspiration from film, a podcast with Roger Deakins (cinematographer) called Team Deakins is also on my list at the moment. They talk business and the art of cinema within themselves and with the people they have worked with in the past; from directors to actors, gaffers to casting directors. Great insights.

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

Weather and sun location / direction apps that help me with planning location shoots. Knowing the light and the probable weather makes production & prep efficient and minimises risk delivering for clients.

I use The Photographer’s Ephemeris as my “light planning app”.

Zoom / FaceTime / Whatsapp Video are all necessary communication tools that I cannot live without with the nature of work during this COVID age and beyond.

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

This is a tough one, there would be many! Each will have their own approach to managing this very fluid topic.

Some of the key ones would be Dalai Lama, Elon Musk, Michelle Obama, Beyonce and my parents (how in the world did they handle us!) to cover various life and business categories of the world today.

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

Though striving for balance all the time, we also have to be skilled and comfortable with imbalance – this is something that is unavoidable and will always show itself in our lives.

As long as we are aware, mindful and have a positive intent during our periods of imbalance and stress, we will have the ability to act on it decisively.

Daily exercise and gratitude practice keeps me in the balance and prepares me for the times I am not.

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.