Favorite Projects 精选作品

See some of my work below…


Childhood Documentation 纪录童年

Animation, Audio, Documentary, Photo, Video
Reel 作品集

Animation, Data Viz, Documentary, Film, Graphics, Photo, Video, Web
Photo Editing 图片编辑

3D, Animation, Communications, Documentary, Graphics, Photo, VR, Web
Data Viz: Then-And-Now 图说数据:今夕对比

Communications, Data Viz, Documentary, Graphics, Interactive, Photo, Web
Promo Videos 宣传片

Animation, Branded, Communications, Graphics, Video

Blog Posts 博客

Interesting little things…

Photos That Make Skier Look Amazing

This past weekend has been my 6-year-old son’s second time in his skiing career, if we can call it one. He started to like it. He’s not as remarkable as I have heard about other kids of his age. In my eye, and in particular through my lens, he is a pro already. Alright, I admit, he looks much greater in these photos than he really is. But hey, that’s what photos are for right?

Yoyo elegantly dodging a fallen skier on his way down

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Tech Review: Facetune 2 Putting Photoshop on the Phone

I’ve recently tried quite a few iPhone photo editing apps and Facetune 2 is my favorite, here are real-life case studies:

Tricks applied above:

  • Defocus (the holy grail that the iPhone has been trying relentlessly to emulate after – the shallow depth of field)
    [You may try the auto feature but I find it hit or miss and the manual is definitely much better, if not perfect]
  • Vignette (an oval shaped spotlight effect, with a subtle dark frame around the person(s), on your chosen area of focus)

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Stories from TD, the Human Bank

Paid Parental Leave: TJ Phelps Family

I adore this family and I am so honored to have the opportunity to film them. I am indebted to their generosity with their time, and their son Chase’s camera-friendliness gave me a lot of fond memories. TJ talked about Chase’s bossy, Arnold Schwarzenegger-like tone while saying “Sit down!” And I tried to put that bit in an earlier draft, but eventually it didn’t make the cut; otherwise the video will end up like 5 min.
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Yoyo Scroll

A picture every three months or so, since January 2012.

An ever evolving documentary project.

What I learned so far: capturing the right moments matters the most to the quality of the picture, not whether you have a backdrop or lighting and all those things. But a good lens does help a great deal. Also available at yoyozhao.me

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TD GIFs & Clips [data guzzler]

There is a little bit of buzz lately of China’s ascendance, even on innovation. And here are a couple of numbers from a NYT article about urban China leapfrogging on mobile payments (2016 data via iResearch):

United States ($ billion)
China ($ billion)

This, below, is my personally preferred way of looking at this, thanks to GIF and data visualization and things that I love doing at TD Bank now:

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Air Quality Action Day? Worry Not, NYers!

If you have never heard of an air quality action day, you are most likely a perfectly typical resident in the U.S. who is also lucky, the latter of which you may have been taking for granted. Because a hazy day like July 20, 2017 in Manhattan almost never happens. (Hazy is not the same as “foggy.”)

Manhattan skyline July 20 vs 21, 2017 seen from Queens

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Having worked with images for over ten years, I feel even stronger that telling a good story with imagery is no easy job, even though technology is getting cheaper and more readily available. The world is, indeed, noisier, and people’s attention is one of the most precious resources of our time. Capturing that attention takes hard work and craftsmanship.


Michael Zhao

Michael Zhao

Get in Touch

Feel free to drop me a line, whether you have a general inquiry, a comment or a specific request: