Author: sophiahsin

Hello and welcome. I'm glad you're here. I am a freelance commercial and lifestyle photographer based in Vancouver. I am known for creating minimalist and clean imagery accompanied by good light and creative storytelling. On top of being a photographer, I am also many other things — an artist, a med school graduate, an educator, designer, accidental writer, a lover of em dashes and an unapologetic library nerd. For project inquiries, creative ideas or just to say hi, drop me a line at

Five Tips for Travelling Light

I have found in all my travels that I have never regretted packing light. There is a certain joy in knowing you have everything you need—or perhaps less than you think you need—on arrival at your destination ready for adventure and wonder.

So here are my five tips for traveling light—for short trips, long trips, backpacking trips or trips with a furry friend.


1. Do your research
Head to the library and get a travel guide, learn the customs, get your shots, reach out to make a local friend, plan for all sorts of weather and plan for surprise.


2. Simplify your outfits
I stand by the belief that a monochrome wardrobe is the way to go. Throw in a few pairs of jeans and choose pieces with textiles that breathe and dry well. Figure out the balance between casual and professional. A few things I never travel without: basic white shirts, running shoes, comfy yet professional pants (even better with pockets) and—if necessary—a dress for special occasions.

3. Skip the essentials
There is a tendency to pack everything you can imagine for unexpected situations on the road. I have found that extra battery packs, Q tips, toiletries or vitamins tend to weigh me down on the trip and return home unused.

Surprisingly, in most countries (especially Asia)—you are always able to find daily necessities, toiletries, and medication that meet your needs. India has pharmacies with selections that are second to none and able to treat any kind of ailment, though I advise bringing a local friend to help you with labels that get lost in translation. Save on your travel budget, luggage space and purchase what you can on location.


4. Pack within a pack
I have found that separating the contents of my suitcase into individual packs helps with space and organization. There’s lots of great garment cases or packing cubes out there that you can use to organize all your worldly treasures.

5. Leave space for wonder
It is a wonderful feeling knowing you have space in your luggage for gifts and souvenirs—be it the Mexican dog sculpture you find at a market in Bali, an antique sculpture in Bangladesh or simply space to store your experiences and all the wisdom of the world.

Go somewhere, be a tourist in your own city, take off to come home again and don’t forget to travel light.

Photos of me by Alisha Weng
Written by Sophia Hsin for Lojel Travel
Subedited by Megan Jenkins

Thank You + An Exciting Update

Happy Easter! Bob and I are currently in Southern Taiwan where we are visiting local creatives, teaching art to kids and hanging at the beach. It is restful and beautiful.

Aside from creative work — it’s been great to take a step back and be thankful for how far this project has come. It’s hard to look at this community and not be blown away by how beautiful it is.

amelia_hedeghog_bob_the_hog_flower_power.jpgBob and bougainvilleas. Thinking of making this into a postcard.

Teaching kiddos about hedgehogs, storytelling, and art.

Portrait sessions. Everyone went home with a paper hedgehog.

Put together the layout for hedgehog postcards. There are 10 designs in total. You can preorder a set here.

Aside from books and printed art — the reward I am most excited about producing is the commissioned story where I will travel to Hualien, Taiwan, to shoot and fund-raise for a First Nations school started by a local teacher. The school faces a huge language barrier and lack of government support. It a project that tugs at my heartstrings and a great opportunity to be a voice for someone in need.

Please continue to support our campaign. Share the link with a friend, sign up to be a patron, or book a one hour Skype session with me. Ask me anything about my creative process, building a brand or growing your social media.

I am super excited to see this project come to life.


Thanks again, and Happy Easter!

Back my Kickstarter project: link | Follow me on Instagram @sophiahsin

Sharing Saturday: 5 Creatives That Inspire Me

Hello Friends! Hope you’ve all had a great week. One thing I’d like to do more now as I’m crowdfunding for myself— choose a day of the week and share about artists, creative things that are inspiring me right now. After all, good artists copy and great artists steal. Where would we be on this road without others to blaze trails and lead our way. Here goes:


One Illustrator I look up to: Kate Pugsley

Illustrations are a thing I am into this season. Because…why not! We’re all visual here. I love her use of bright colors. And yes, Kate is coming out with a children’s book in 2019. Virtual mentor for you ladies here!


One designer I would love to hang out with: Timothy Goodman

More like…designer I have a crush on. I spend more time looking at his pizza shirt at Uniqlo than actually eating pizza. If you like reading about feelings he has a fabulous tag #instatherapy_tim you can follow.

One Instagram account I really dig this week: Wendy @nomadicfare

Fun fact: I connected with Wendy way back over social media and finally met her in Taipei this week! We’re due for a proper coffee in May. Wendy travels and shares inspiring post along with fabulous photography on her blog and social media.

One musician I’ve been digging this week: Conner Youngblood

Seriously, if you’re an artist with a dog — I already love you. My favorite tracks: Everyday and Australia. One of those musicians you discover and immediately goes on google to read all their interviews. I’m going to write him an email this week 🙂


One Typographer that kicks a**: Stefan Kunz

If you struggle with perfectionism or putting your work out there every day. This guy is someone to follow for hand lettering + creative inspiration. Stefan’s motto: Create Something Everyday Even If It Sucks. My take away: create every day, because it might just be awesome.

And lastly, a quote not related to an artist but something I’m discovering for myself:

There is so much beauty out there waiting to be discovered.


And there you go, I will leave you with a beach photo from Yilan, Taiwan this week.

Till next time.

PS: Live stream my Hedgehog Q&A on Kickstarter here


On Starting Small but Living Big


Hello friends! As you may know. I recently launched my first ever Kickstarter project — The Extraordinary Book of Hedgehog Puns. A photo/illustration book of positive puns featuring my late hedgehog Amelia.

Today I’d like to share a part of the story that happened on my photography journey.

I started photography on social media during my last few years of college. And as any humble newbie, I started with 100 followers, figuring out my filters, hashtags, learning the social media game, reaching my first 50, 100k etc..

Over time, I figured photography was something I want to do for the rest of my life so I saved up, booked a ticket to North America and began my freelance photography career. I started from Craigslist gigs, second shooting for wedding photographers, shooting portraits in studios, and asking seasoned photographers for critique and advice. In time, I expanded my work into social media influencing, creative writing, art directing and styling.

Of course, these things didn’t happen overnight but one thing that has kept me super motivated was knowing that I might have started small with my resources and connections — but there is no limit to how far I can go. My creativity might have started within the walls of a college dorm, but there are no boundaries to people I will meet, stories I will tell or people I will touch through my work.

One thing I’ve realized recently is to not expand on the “small”. To not be caught up in perfecting details, but to think large, and to live life expecting the extraordinary. My story might have started with a hedgehog. But this is really just the beginning.

Imagination is the ability to see beyond what you can currently see, and big things come from the accumulation of decisions you make in the everyday.

I hope these words are an encouragement to you today. Whether you’re a student wanting to start a career in art or photography, a stay-at-home mom wanting to start a side business, or a seasoned professional looking for new inspiration.

Do the small things with love, with intention. Because they grow and snowball into great and amazing things.

To learn more about my book project, visit my Kickstarter project here.

Till next time x

Say Hello to A Hog Named Bob



A little update from Taiwan. Today was a very special day. I traveled out of Taipei into Keelung and came home with a new friend — Bob the Hedgehog!

I realized there will never a time when I feel ready enough for many things. Things like new cities, new beginnings or new pets. But the beauty of life is to make up your mind and move forward with complete courage while expecting the very best.

Taipei will be the eighth city I call home in my many years of life. I have never known where I am heading next and I figured that’s the way it will always be. Moving around so much also made me realize the importance of being present, of making home wherever I am, and to accept every challenge that comes up with a fully committed heart. Sometimes those decisions involve hedgehogs.

So now, I am excited to call this city home and look forward to what I can create here. I know there will always be limits that come with each place like geographic location, industry, and culture. But right now, I look forward to growing lots in this season — in boldness, in creativity, in kindness, and to believe that there is nowhere in the universe to be now but here.

With that being said, here are photos documenting this special day with Bob.

keelung_harbour_taiwan_基隆港_sophia_hsin-5A rainy day at Keelung Harbour. This was the city where I lived and attended music school. The concrete building on the right was where I held my elementary graduation concert.bob_the_hedgehog_sophia_hsin-4.jpg
Meeting Bob — the lightest colored hog among his siblings. Basically love at first sight.bob_the_hedgehog_sophia_hsin-2.jpgTiny Bob. Born December 12, 2017. Two days after Amelia left for heaven and a week away from my birthday. His hedgehog coloring is classified as “milk tea” or “white chocolate”. Both delicious.bob_the_hedgehog_sophia_hsin-3.jpgTo new amigos!

Hello 2018

Hello 2018

Oh my. It feels like yesterday that I got home from my backpacking trip in India and sat down to write Hello 2017.

What a year. 2017 has been a year of gain, loss, refinement, changes, and celebration.

There have been highlights like working with amazing people, seeing creative ideas come to life, and feeling more content with my creative self. There have been lows like moving countries, redefining home, losing my pet hedgehog/creative partner, but learning and discovering a lot about myself in the process.

This year, I want it to be a year less focused on achievements and goals but people and home. After all, I have to realize that the best art is art that is created from a place of contentment, a place where you are surrounded by friends and family. And a place where you can be quiet, to come to oneself and inspired by the water.

This year, I want to create art that is not the best art but art that welcomes imperfection, art that celebrates connection over perfection, and most of all — to create from a place of wonder, beauty, and deep hope that motivated me to make art in the first place.

Here is to the new year. To a year of celebrating more and celebrating better. To days off, cups of tea, conversations, journaling, collaborating, to dreaming and executing ideas, newness, intentional art, creativity, and furry friends.

Happy New Year!

Postcards from New York II

A quiet moment from Washington Square Park, NYC

Hello from Taipei, Taiwan!

I have this funny feeling that I have to be in a new city before I can process and write about the previous one. It is wonderful being back in Taipei. There is much inspiration in revisiting old places and some days it feels like I never left. Although it is interesting living in the grey area between a local and a foreigner — I have never felt more clarity that I am in the right city at this time of my life.

This season will be spent working on a personal projects (hint: hedgehog book) while taking on freelance photo shoots. Between jet lag, stuffing my face with Taiwanese eats, waking up super early and navigating this familiar and unfamiliar city — I am slowly discovering a handful of local and international creatives. Excited for the next season and trying not to book a flight to Japan anytime soon.

Sunset with Lady Liberty from Brooklyn Bridge Park
Now, back to New York City — the city of creativity, art, thunderstorms, scorching metro systems, and galleries you can spend a lifetime exploring with crowds as dense as any major Asian city.sophia_hsin_new_york_yoko_kato_long_island_city-8sophia_hsin_new_york_yoko_kato_yokocca-9Studio visits with @yokocca
I love a social media friendship turned into an afternoon of conversation with homemade jam and chiffon cake. It was a delight being able to visit Yoko’s studio tucked away across the water in the quiet of Long Island City. yoko_kato_japan_new_york_city_family_portrait-1Akari and Kaisei are the most adorable active kids. I could have spent a long time taking photos of them.della_orrey_c3_brooklyn_new_york_portraits_photography-1Portraits with Della
Della Orrey — my boo, talented musician friend and sister in Christ. It was inspiring getting to see her work at C3 Brooklyn. Getting to experience New York from a local’s perspective was also an eye opening experience though I got reprimanded a couple of times for being too much of a tourist 🙂Hanging with the talented Mark Leubbers at Le Labo in Williamsburgsophia_hsin_new_york_queens_-6Chasing light on the streets of New York. The light and shadow on fire escapes get me every. single. timesophia_hsin_new_york_ineriors_guggenheim-1Interiors from the Guggenheim. I love you Frank Lloyd.sophia_hsin_new_york_nalata_nalata_photographer-7
Shop visits with Natala Nalata
It was wonderful meeting the shop owner and fellow Canadian in the city. The ceramic exhibition from husband and wife — Momoko and Tetsuya Otani was also a pleasure to experience.sophia_hsin_new_york_matcha_shop-10ichiyos_matcha_vancouver_bc_styling_photography-1Matcha Matcha
I am really getting into matcha these days and New York had so many matcha shops to offer. My favourites — Cha Cha Matcha and Ippudo New York. Here is a set of new photos I shot for Ichiyo Matcha in Vancouver too.

Next week I will be heading down South to tropical Kenting for a creative retreat. I look forward to spending time by the ocean, getting my feet in some white sand and unwind from the last season of work and travel.

Till next time x