Category Archives: Sharing Planet
2012 is a significant year in my photography journey. While trimming down the number of weddings, I have never thought this is the year I’d move out of my nice and cosy gallery to a bigger space to set up a studio. It is totally unplanned. Rather mention it as an unplanned accident, I prefer to give thanks for the plans God has already had for me.
Never thought it would progress at all with a new location. But I manage to find a place that suits my business so well. In a prime residential area, new shop house, much bigger place and would be 3 minutes drive away from my new house. With these favors, I couldn’t ask for more.
Never had an idea before how to seriously operate a set of studio light. I learnt it (I won’t say master) in a very short period. Now, I enjoy every bit using the studio and the lighting system doing my shoot.
Never wanted to buy any unproven China made studio light. But God somehow led me to a genuine vendor who provides GREAT service in lighting system. His service is truly second to none. I found what I want, comparable to many great european lights. Hooray!
Everything was made, and put in plan in two months. I moved in to a new studio in August, and started to operate in September. That’s only the official beginning of me operating a studio. And it is all by God’s grace. Here I present some of my favorites in family & portrait photography in 2012. And most of them, were taken after the opening of my studio. That all happened after September.
God has really pampered me. I received those underserved gifts. All praises to the heavenly!
This family portrait of more than 20 people was shot during Chinese New Year, while the idea of having a studio was totally non existence. Given a short time of notice, it was a little unprepared to conduct a session like this. But thank God, experience gained over the years made this session a really memorable one not just for the family, but a great exposure for me on the other hand. A little filled flash from left to right as well as middle using CLS was good enough to lit the subjects under the shade.
My favorite subject to photograph. Faith is a natural poser in front of my camera because the communication of the father and daughter often broke down in between because I couldn’t do baby talk. The only thing is I let her do whatever she wants and keep repeating certain shots I desired until the image is created. Faith has been the MOST DIFFICULT subject to photograph so far, always curious about the black big block her daddy carries, and pointing at her at the same time.
Jason came to my house for some test shots. He’s my number one male model, if anytime I need him. As long as he’s on holiday in Kuching, creating images of him would not be an issue. Love this pic because of the first sweet success after experimenting my newly bought studio light. Isn’t the light was set up just perfect to reflect Jason’s personality?
Eye ball to eye ball communication. That reflects the fatherly love to a newborn. This is Jerrick, and his newborn, Nathan when he was just over a month old. Shot in my studio and I love the way how Nathan looked at his daddy.
A family like this is what I wish to shoot in each and every session. Jeffrey and Ally with his two wonder kids made me change the perception of ‘photograph kids are difficult’. You will be surprise at how the pair were so co-operative in my studio and follow every bit of the instruction by the parents.
It is important for a photographer to catch a moment too, despite it’s a studio shot. This is a natural reaction from Violet, non posed as I was lucky enough to catch her naughty expressions. Love this to max.
Curious Ezra wanted to help mummy wear glasses. I like the reaction of both mummy and the toddler. The expression is priceless.
Sweet little girl, angelic Esther gave her mom a kiss on the cheek. Lovely moment in between a daughter and the mom with priceless expressions.
A self captured family portrait. I am still amazed at how I managed to make this happen in just 20 minutes. I gotta tell you again, Faith, my little girl is the MOST DIFFICULT subject to photograph. She was very restless and curious to find out more about my studio in that afternoon. Crawling around with her touchy hands. Wondering about my equipments. It was so challenging to make her sit still. I had hard time to photograph her properly. I knew it was impossible to make a good shot with three of us sitting together in a frame. Hence, I first created two images of Faith and Alicia each, and get Alicia to press the button of the preset camera on my behalf for my personal portrait. With three different individuals in three images, I put them together, stitched and here’s my Christmas family portrait!
Sook Joo and Vincent are expecting their newborn in January. After certain communications via Facebook messages, we came to a point to create a pregnancy portrait series. For the first time, I spent two good hours with the husband and wife in the studio and this is one of the images I planned to shoot. It was on the Christmas eve afternoon, straight after I came back from a shoot in Perth.
When I was much younger, my dad brought us to a local studio for our family portrait session almost every year. After some great fun and big smiles in front of the camera, I remember the excitement of waiting to see the preview of the captures, spending long hours together selecting our photos, the discussions involved and the laughter we had. Those were the great bonding times for our family, and that became a culture and belief of mine in gathering everyone for a family moment like this.
My belief in having a family portrait session is rather important. It witnesses your family progress one year to another. You may realize the difference of yourself after some years especially referring to the earlier captures. Or even, there might be a new addition of a baby in this year’s family photo compare to the previous year. It is surely a great bonding as the family gets together, reviewing, selecting and appreciating the big print when it was finally hung up on the wall.
For this cause, for the love of capturing people’s photos, I have been putting a lot of effort to learn more about photographing family portraits. We have even moved out from our current gallery to a neighborhood based studio to cater the growing need. Family portrait is a trend that will never gone out of fashion. The way we put everyone in a frame might change, but the idea of capturing each of the family member’s timeless moments remains. Sometimes, we still frame you in a traditional way, but with additional fun interactions to be introduced, you will experience a different style as compared to the conventional ones. Something bright and special will be rolled out just to cater each family group.
We will share more. Stay tuned.
Photo Above: Before I approached Chai Lee and Joon Thian my idea of doing their pre wedding photography in Fairy Cave, Bau, which is about 40 minutes drive from town, I took first step to scout the cave to ensure it fits in my safety measurement. I am certainly glad they are a fit couple (not every bride is that adventurous, seriously) who had no problem climbing up and down in the cave, despite poor weather condition that caused the path way a little wet on the day. Shall they felt uncomfortable about have the session in the cave, I would not hesitate to abandon the plan.
I came across an article, or rather a news yesterday regarding a newly wed, namely the bride was drowned in a river in Canada while posing a shot in her post wedding, “thrash the dress’ theme photo session. It’s rather sad, as I guess accidents as such could be avoided in many occasions, if we (clients, photographers and whoever involve) pay more attention in our safety measurement.
Since I started wedding photography, in the very first workshop I attended, I remember one thing I have learnt which is still clear in my mind is that, safety comes first in every situation. Despite the beautiful sceneries, or the locations, we rather let go the opportunity if the environment is not as friendly as we want. I myself, for sure would rather abandon such plan if I do not feel comfortable.
How to ensure all of us would be happy to have a great and fruitful photography session without exposing much risk to our clients and ourselves? This is what I would usually do in order my clients are comfortable with me in the entire photography session:
1. It is my practice I always make a trip to scout around the locations we’re going to photograph. This would not just help to identify the good spots to save us time on the assignment day, but also to give us an idea the friendliness of the whole environment.
2. During the assignment, before approaching a picture which may require a little of stretching to the bride and groom, I always ensure they feel comfortable and ask questions like, “Would you mind to climb up here and pose this way?”. If our clients give us some unusual expressions or tell you they mind, I know they are not comfortable and worried about the consequences. I’ll stop approaching them and change to another location or spot. I will never force.
3. Let’s say if our clients agreed to take a further step for an unusual position, I’d take the first step to walk up first to take a look at the surrounding to final confirm there’s no huge risk involve before allowing them to follow. I will also take away some objects that are potentially a source of injury like glasses or bottles to minimize the risk.
4. Give them hands, to hold, to pull or to support them whenever is needed.
5. And finally, I am always the one who walk ahead of them before and after the shoot to ensure they are well ‘covered’ and ‘protected’. Anything happen, I’d rather to face it first in order to reduce the risk for my clients.
Beautiful things, are the natural magnetic attraction to most people’s attention. Even photos, we do overlook most things by focusing on its beauty. Certainly praises arise. “Wow!”, “Gorgeous!”, “Fantastic” and so on. I guess this is how we as wedding photographers first attract the brides and grooms’ very first attention, giving them an amazing impression so they would continue to further acknowledge our skills and personalities to hire us on their wedding day.
No doubt, this is important. But often, people might have sometimes forgotten having meaningful photos is equally important as beautiful photos. A meaningful photo, is not just about having their moments recorded. But in my humble opinion, it would be even better if there’s a story to tell and to present, that our clients would continue to remember to serve them a good piece of memory.
The picture above, to me, is important if I were one of the three gentlemen. Well, it looks so ordinary, perhaps. Three men, in a line facing the camera with a photo like this captured. Instead of a beautiful landscape, I used plain background. Nothing fancy about the pose, tight composition. But the expressions of each and everyone, to me is great.
“Click, click.” I remember I pressed the shutter a few times. Job done! So simple.
However, to me, it’s not just as simple as a photo.
If you notice further, it’s a photo of three generations. Grandpa, dad, and son. It serves a meaning, especially if you know dad and son do not meet grandpa as often as everyday. However that day, we happened to have the grandpa visiting my client from Sri Aman, a little town that is about 2.5 hour drive from our city. It tells great stories! This is because many people hardly have a good photo of three generations gather together. How many of you had one? I got to say, I don’t. But I will surely treasure it like gold if I happen to have a picture like this. It’s going to be a good memory, long lasting, and serve many more generations if it is well kept. We at ShenSnaps Photography were so blessed to witness such moment of gathering of different generations. It’s a meaningful photo which makes it even more beautiful.
Having a photo as such captured through my lens, pleasure is ours!
Some times the best position may not necessary deliver your desire result. Hidden surprises could be unveiled if you try slightly harder by stepping out where you think is best. For photographers, I guess we always desire to stay in front of our subjects, thinking that, “Here’s the best spot for the official pictures from the official photographer.” That’s the default thinking we have most of the time. I am talking about the picture below.
Undeniable, it’s a pretty OK picture. I took it, straight in front of the bridesmaid during her speech. Composition is OK, broad lighting with catch light in the eyes and she was well lit. But I guess I could do just more than that. Continue to stand in front to press a few more shutters could bore me to death. Hence I decided to move towards my right, about 10 steps aways for different angle. And this is what I got below.
It’s obviously different position, and the switch has given me a different direction of light, from broad to side lighting that create a little shadow. This makes the picture a little more dramatic with just a few steps away, a move that is within few seconds. No flash required, all bang on the spot light above. If wish to know if I have photoshopped these pictures? No, none of them have gone through any post processing. They are both straight from the camera.
I am definitely not the first person doing this technique, nor I would be the last. I learnt this simple technique from a great mentor of mine, seeing light this way and that is how I was trained whenever I have the opportunity to photograph alongside him. I guess there’s no secret about photography. You and I can just get it done, with a few steps away.