Saturday, June 16, 2018

The Secret To Studio Like Product Shots Without An Actual Studio

Recently I conducted a new photography workshop for Olympus Malaysia, dealing with casual and lifestyle product and food shots. In that workshop I have shared several interesting tips and the one that got everyone chuckled in disbelief was this particular figurine shot in a simple plain white background with side lighting. When I revealed that the shot was nothing more than a simple, straight to the point image taken on a white chair by the window with no other tricks, I could hear some people gasped.

I think improvisation is important. Of course it would have been better if there was a proper studio setup with professionally done background and wireless flash or strobes for better control of light and a more polished finish. If you are a working professional photographer you do what you have to do to get the shot. However, I was not speaking to a crowd of pro photographers. I was speaking to hobbyists, amateurs and also social media users, who were looking to improve their shots. Simple messages like these go a long, long way: 1) Watch your background, keep it plain and simple, 2) Utilize effective and beautiful lighting, opt for abundant natural light, windows work wonders and of course some basic camera settings and fundamentals of how to get sharp and well composed images.

Observing the local photography crowd in general, sometimes I feel that people are trying too hard, and stressing out at all the wrong reasons. The best images come from the simplest of setup but with a lot of heart and soul poured into the shooting process. It is not the grade of your lens or the size of your camera that makes or break the shot, but your understanding and control over even the most fundamentals of photography: lighting and of course, simplicity always work.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri 2018

To all my fellow Muslim readers here and also on Ming Thein's site, I wish you Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Maaf Zahir dan Batin! 

May you eat all the awesome festive food and have joyous time with family, relatives and friends in this auspicious celebration. I can't wait to feast on the ketupats and rendangs! Here is a portrait of me in a loose baju melayu to hide my ever expanding tummy.

Image credit: Robert Evangelista
Photo taken with Olympus PEN-F and M.Zuiko 75mm F1.8

Sunday, June 10, 2018

But We Can Eat More Burgers

An excerpt from a recent conversation with a friend.

"Whatever happens, will happen. At the meantime, we do the best we can.
Some things are beyond our control.
we can surely eat MORE BURGERS!"

Chicken and Egg Confusion - Myburgerlab, Mytown
Image shot with Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and 12-40mm F2.8 PRO lens. 

Friday, June 08, 2018

The Ocean's Story Photography Competition 2018

If you have been following my writing over the years you would probably have come across me voicing my disapproval on photography contests in general. I believe photography is a personal journey that should not be made into a competitive sport, stroking ego and glorifying stereotypical approach and styles. However, I also believe that if done correctly, photography contests can be a great platform to create awareness and draw a crowd for a good cause.

My photographer friend Sanjitpaal Singh is co-organizing a currently open "The Ocean's Story Photography Competition 2018", and he is also the chief judge for the contest.

Sanjit in action, in his natural habitat shooting wildlife somewhere deep, deep, deeeeeeep inside the rainforest. Photo by Sanjitpaal Singh, used with permission. 

Sanjit has been a photographer that I have admired for the longest time. He is an award winning nature and wildlife photographer, whom I have learned a great deal from over the years. He is always generous in sharing his knowledge and his passion in photography is one of the most infectious I have encountered in Malaysia. He has been championing nature conservation activities and also being persistently involved in Hornbill research in the wild. Therefore, it is no surprise when I found out that he is involved in similarly themed awareness and appreciation campaign for Malaysian sea and marine environment. 

The competition objective is to spread awareness and appreciation for Malaysian seas and marine life through photography. There are two categories: 1) Hope for the Ocean and 2) A Bruised Ocean. The photo contest is open for Malaysians (and expats in Malaysia) in the age bracket of 18 to 30. If you fit into the requirements, why not give it a try, standing a chance to win good prizes and have your photographs exhibited in one of the largest shopping malls in Malaysia (One Utama) as well as helping out a great cause? I'd say go for it. 

To find out more about The Ocean's Story Photography Competition, go to their official site here. 

To find out about the chief judge and awesome photographer Sanjitpaal Singh, go to his page here.