This year’s Her World Good Men campaign shines the spotlight on 12 men—each of them influential leaders in their respective fields with the social media followings to prove it.

Apart from being known for his moody, stylised pictures, Yik Keat (@yk) is also popular for his smartphone photography tutorials and shoots with both an iPhone and a camera. Here are some things to know about the 25-year-old.

With 1.1 million followers, his IG following is the second largest in Singapore, largely because of his photography tutorials
“I had about 400,000 followers on Instagram two to three months ago, but the number blew up after I started repurposing my tutorials on Tiktok for IG reels. I teach people how to make use of everyday objects to create more in-depth photos. For example, to take an interesting picture of a dustbin, you can go close to it to frame it in a certain way or wait for a human subject to pass by.”

He also has 1.7 million followers on TikTok
“The growth on Tiktok can be extreme. I was initially skeptical about the platform because used to just have videos of dancing and music, but I decided to dabble in it anyway and it’s been amazing. It’s interesting because people used to ask, ‘Aren’t you the photographer from Instagram?’ Now, it has become, ‘Aren’t you the Tiktok guy?'”

But he earns his keep as a commercial photographer
“Clients tap on my ability to see everyday life creatively and fit their product into all of it. I’ve worked with car brands like Land Rover and Porsche, fashion brands like Louis Vuitton and Burberry, and done a lot of architecture and interior design work. I’ve also worked with various tourism boards, and used to travel a lot before the Covid-19 pandemic.”

He was inspired to join the trade while sitting in a van
“I used to help my uncle with deliveries when I was 17, so I’d scroll through social media and scrutinise beautiful pictures taken with mobile phones while going around Singapore in a van. I became inspired to take pictures in my free time and made my curiosity become a passion.”

He developed his photography style by looking for “timeless” elements
“I asked myself, ‘Are these photos timeless? Can they be replicated?’ The answer was ‘yes’. I had a void in my heart as I felt something was wrong. Then I started to see that the streets are full of energy and that it’s not just about a big building with a nice design–it can also be about the small things.”

He gave up his degree to pursue photography
“I’d gotten a placement in aerospace engineering in NTU. While I could have pursued both a degree and photography, I didn’t want to halve my efforts, so I told them my parents to give me one year to give photography a shot, and that if I failed, I’d be go back to uni. It’s been three or four years and it’s no longer part of the plan anymore.”

He has toured with several international artistes, including US singer Lauv
“He had a two-night show in Singapore and his management e-mailed to ask if I could take photos of his shows. At first I was like, ‘Are you kidding me?’. I thought it was a scam e-mail. We eventually linked up and connected really well, so they engaged me for his other tours.”

Leather jacket, and polyester and viscose, trousers, Asos. Organic cotton T-shirt, Selected Homme. Shoes, Vans. Jewellery, Yik Keat’s own

He has absolutely no qualms about sharing trade secrets
“Some photographers keep everything to themselves – I suppose they are afraid of competition and losing their jobs, but I truly believe there is enough to go around. Plus, it’s good to have an edge in educational content. I can’t keep running around to take photos when I’m older.”

And welcomes it if you DM him about other stuff
“I try to have engagement with my followers. People usually ask me about tech and photography but a lot of youths also ask me things like how I started out, and if I have any advice on what they should do with their lives. There’s plenty of those type of intimate private conversations as well.”

He credits his success to his ability to grab opportunities
“Many people like to take their time to do things because they want them to be perfect. But for me, I’m like, ‘It doesn’t have to be perfect – I should just take the opportunity and start something first.’ In the beginning, I took every job, but always tried to over-deliver.”

Photography: Veronica Tay
Art direction: Ray Ticsay
Styling: Lauren Alexa
Hair and grooming: Angel Gwee, using Nudestix & Davines; Zoel Tee, using Estee Lauder & Kevin. Murphy

A version of this story first appeared in the November 2021 issue of Her World.