"To Be a Better Photographer, Be a Better Person" Jerry Ghionis in Malaysia

It has been a terribly hectic week for me and I had very little time for shutter therapy. Nonetheless I had very rare opportunity to meet Jerry Ghionis, the legendary and one of the greatest modern wedding photographers who was in Malacca for his workshop. I attended the pre-workshop session, the Wedding Photographer's Conference, where hundreds of wedding photographers (who did not have a wedding job that particular weekend) came for a whole day sharing and learning event, from Jerry & Melissa Ghionis, Keda Z, and some of the big names in the industry such as Jon Low, Iskandar Ibrahim, Grace Tan (from Stories.my) and many more. It was quite a refreshing twist to my usual weekend activities, as I spent almost entire day sitting down and just absorb as much knowledge as I can into my worn-out engineer-trained brain. 

At the end of the session, my friends and I had an opportunity to spend some time up close and personal with Jerry. I managed to even asked him a few questions which he humbly replied. He even showed us many of his photographs that he took during his non-working hours, just for fun! Truly Jerry was a great inspiration, though wedding photography is not my forte, I have learned so much from his generous sharing session in just 2 hours on stage, and the private session after that. 

A group photo with Jerry Ghionis!
I was so lucky to be standing by his side! In the photos are my friends from KL, EC Tong, Meng Keat, Lim and Joseph. Image was taken by Joseph's Sony A7s (at stratospherically high ISO numbers)

Sharing the few memorable quotes from Jerry that I could recall from his session:

1) "Everyone wants to shine bright like a diamond. When everyone does, there are many, many diamonds out there it becomes difficult to outshine each other. Instead of being bigger and brighter, sometimes, it is better to be a ruby." 
Jerry talking about standing out from the crowd and be unique. Not only does this apply to wedding photography, but I think this is so relevant to everything else we do!

2) "What is the difference between seeing me in videos and seeing me live? One is Porn and one is Sex." 
Jerry's opening line for his talk! What a line. 

3) "How do you know, when it is the last time you are going to hug someone?" 
Jerry sharing his experience on the importance to express emotions, and capturing them. 

4) "I hate Photoshop. I'd rather touch my wife's boobs, than touch the mouse" 

5) "Photograph your subjects through the eyes of a loved one"
Powerful and applicable mostly for actual day wedding photography approach. 

6) "To be a better photographer, be a better person" 
This one actually left me with a huge impact. How true it is, being a better person, we see the world in a better perspective, and that will affect the way we shoot. Photography, is after all, the art of seeing. 

After the two hour session with Jerry, honestly I wished I have signed up for his 2-day workshop on the following Monday and Tuesday. Unfortunately I do have to work, and my life is not all photography at this moment. 

I think Jerry is a skilful photographer who has tonnes of experience, and the remarkable thing about him is his generosity to teach and share. That is one photographer crossed off from the list of photographers I want to meet in my life!

A reminder to self - "If I want to be a better photographer, be a better person".


  1. Beautifully summarized. Was lucky to be there as well, it was a great learning experience even though it was only for 2 hours. I loved this two phrase the most..."Photograph your subjects through the eyes of a loved one" and "To be a better photographer, be a better person"

    1. Surprised to see you there! Yes, learned so much from Jerry. Wish I am attending his workshop now. Arghh

  2. Thanks for sharing your experience with Jerry.

  3. For me I recall learning to photograph food. It was for my wife's cookbook: Veggiepowerburgers.com

    My first round the pics were like the burgers they looked fit for the dog. Our second set burgers and pics were much better. And I was eating the burgers this time. Then together we worked on spices and texture and I bought a professional cookbook on many types of burgers. Now seeing the burgers as pro photos I saw the more I cropped the burger pic the more delicious it looked and I ate them all. So seeing the burgers as the hungry person eating them and setting them up on the plate the way pros did became a lot of fun. And as it turns out I lost weight eating them because they provided fiber various beans, grains and spices and when I got on my bike for a 2 - 3 hour ride I didn't need sugar loaded energy drinks. Then social diet requests came in so as we covered to an eBook we again saw the burgers through their diet needs ... gluten free, even wheat free if necessary. It became a work of love with those who made the burgers and ate them. Love your blog Robin. We meet such interesting people through you.
    Bob in Chicago

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  5. This is an immaculate location for a party, wedding, or other special event. Incredible views and classy interior. I have been to a few parties here and they have been really well done. The NYC wedding venues were perfect for mingling. The courtyard was beautifully decorated as well.