In the spirit of celebrating the coming Malaysian Independence Day on the 31st August, I thought it would be fitting to do an out of the usual portrait shot of myself than what I normally would do. I bought myself a spanking new Malaysian flag and initially wanted to use it as a cape, you know, with all the superhero hype everywhere now. That did not come out right so the next best thing I did was to wrapped it around myself like a sarung. I shot this in the living room of the apartment I am staying at, with the aid of two wireless flash being fired off camera. I intended for this shot to be in full color glory but due to excessive sun exposure I have developed uneven skin tone, my head and lower arms were significantly darker in tone than my other body parts which were usually covered by the T-shirts that I wore. Black and white made it easier for me to fix that in post.

I shot a series of photographs and I was only happy with this particular one. It clearly shows how I feel about my country.

Image shot on Olympus PEN E-P5 with M.Zuiko 17mm F1.8 with two FL600R wireless flash.

Happy 61st independence day to all Malaysians who celebrate. The country is still young, we have a lot to do and there is work to be done. Through the recent change of government, we are moving to a new era, but the country will only go as far as the people are willing to go. For Malaysia to change, the people in general have to change too. I cannot say or wish everyone else to do anything or change, but I can play my role as a citizen and be a better Malaysian. I will do in whatever small ways I can to contribute to this growing nation. I am a proud Malaysian and I will always be.

Malaysia boleh!
Nikon has just launched their much anticipated new Z-series full frame mirrorless cameras, Z6 and Z7. There was so much hype and excitement that in an extremely rare occurrence the Amazon owned DPReview crashed after the major Nikon announcement. I did think of trying to get myself an invite to the launch event in Malaysia but knowing how cold the industry has been to myself and other prominent photography bloggers, my chances of getting in would be near impossible. It gets very frustrating that the work photography bloggers do (helping with product announcements, reviewing etc) are generally not appreciated by the brand representatives here. So what else can I do? Just sit back and enjoy watching all the dramas happening from a distance, and maybe, just chime in a little and jot down some of my thoughts on Nikon's latest announcement.

Nikon Z7, they say that if you rotate the letter Z, it becomes N, which is for Nikon. Get it? Get it?
DPReview, the world's largest photography-centric news and review site was unable to handle the heavy load following the Nikon huge announcement. I am sure they have foreseen this coming, yet with preparation, the hype exceeded initial expectation. GGWP Nikon, you have successfully crashed DPReview, that was no small feat. 

There was nothing really new in the photography world when it comes to the Nikon Z series. In fact, Nikon has been terribly late to the game. Sony released the world's first mirrorless full frame camera in 2013. Sony has had many chances to do trial and error and field experimentation with their Alpha series, and they have already so many A7 cameras that it is getting difficult to keep track of the numbering variations of A7 bodies. Nikon taking bite at this chunk of pie this late only meant they are playing very safe, and they better get things right. They have the time to watch and learn from mistakes done by other mirrorless manufacturers. Did they successfully create the perfect mirrorless full frame machine in 2018?

Running down through paper specifications, while the technical aspects of the Nikon Z-series were impressive and possibly spotting some of the class-leading numbers, there were nothing new or revolutionary in the new cameras. 5-Axis Image Stabilization, Olympus got that since 2012, and Sony even implemented their own 5-Axis IS in their A7 Mark not-sure-which-one now. Large and bright EVF, possibly as good or better than the best of what mirrorless today has to offer, but I do not think it is that far from what is in the Panasonic Lumix G9. UHD 4K video shooting with 30fps? I am sure the video will be good, but will not be anything to write home about. The AF bells and whistles, I am sure Nikon being Nikon, they will excel in the AF department, perhaps even best out what Sony has offered. The Nikon Z series seem to be confident and bold and can deliver. They took bits and pieces of the best from many other manufacturers and piece all the puzzles together into a machine that works. 

I am sure the image quality of Z7 will be similar or may even surpass what the current amazing D850 can do. I am sure the Nikon Z series will perform admirably across all aspects, and it will just work. I think the Z7 and Z6 are the mirrorless cameras that Nikon needed to get back into the game. Will they be better than Sony full frame mirrorless cameras? Maybe, but as far as making a product that works, I am sure Nikon will not miss this time. They cannot afford to lose, not this late into the game. 

The more important question now would be: what will the smaller players do? Everyone knows the Nikon full frame mirrorless was coming, and Canon may not be too far behind. What does this mean for Olympus, Panasonic and Fujifilm? Previously, smaller players had many product differentiation factors in the earlier game - Olympus E-M5/E-M1 at that time were the only mirrorless cameras to be fully weather sealed and have 5-Axis IS. Panasonic had their wonderful 4K video implementation. Fujifilm's X-Trans sensor was showing promise but honestly was not going anywhere either. The specialized features were not so exclusive anymore, everyone else has drastic improvements in Image Stabilization, everyone else has good 4K video capture now. The advantages of these smaller players are vanishing. What will they do?

I am interested to see the smaller players fight back. Create a new revolution. 

As impressive as what the Nikon Z series cameras are, they have nothing new, as I have argued earlier. They basically just adopted what everyone else have been successfully doing. If the big players are playing too safe and just work on formula that guarantee results, then the smaller players will have to be more creative and daring in pursuit of stronger product differentiation advantage. Sony has been known to be very disruptive when it comes to product strategies. I think Fujifilm, Olympus and Panasonic can benefit from the same and release something completely unexpected and shake the ground a little bit. 

I am thrilled about the announcement myself and cannot wait to read full reviews from reputable sites on the Nikon Z series. Comparisons against Sony is inevitable, and I am not the only one anticipating this. Also, it is about time that Sony is not being the only full frame mirrorless maker anymore. Canon, please do something already. 

What are your thoughts on the Nikon Z7 and Z6? Do share your thoughts! How do you think these new Nikons will change the dynamics of the imaging industry?

Last weekend I have an unexpected visitor from Japan! At first I thought, hurray, finally after so many years of blogging I am getting a visitor from the land of rising sun. You see, I have had numerous visitors from many countries: the US, UK, Germany (too many visitors from Germany, not complaining, but certainly the number is alarmingly high), Finland, Russia, China, Belgium, Itally, Australia and many more, but none ever from Japan. Looking at my blog readership demographics, it has been consistent over the past few years that the top visitors are from the US, Japan and Germany. Sometimes UK and Thailand creeps into the top 3 spot, but Japan is always sitting very high in the list. So imagine the excitement when I got someone coming from Japan!

(Having said that, I have met several amazing Japanese blog readers currently working and residing in Malaysia, truly beautiful people.)

Here is the plot twist, Humza is an American from New York currently residing in Japan, with high family origins from Pakistan! I have had visitors from New York before, but no photographer I know from Pakistan yet.

Portrait of Humza Ahmad, taken with Olympus PEN E-P5 and M.Zuiko 25mm F1.8

I brought Humza to a local wet market, Pudu and we had a quick shutter therapy there. I had to leave by noon because of work in the later afternoon hence it was such a short session, but a sweet one nonetheless. Humza told me his story on how he got involved in photography and the obsession grew ever since. Along his story-telling, a few lines caught my attention and would definitely stayed with me for a long, long time. He said this when he decided to get a proper camera:

"I am an adult now. I need to take proper pictures. I need a proper camera. Every adult shown own a decent camera." - Humza Ahmad

Wow, I never thought of owning camera that way! I agree, we should all own a real camera and be able to operate it and take decent pictures. It is like a rite of passage and that will be something I tell the younger generation kids - you are growing up, and to be an adult, you must own a real camera!

I hope you have had plenty of fun being in Malaysia for the first time, and do come back for our unhealthy yet yummilicious food! I shall bring you to more shooting locations and hopefully I shall be able to make more time.
One topic that I seldom discuss is dynamic range and that is usually because I rarely stretch the limit of the camera. I always look for good lighting condition and pay attention at how the light falls onto the subject or the frame that I am shooting. However I do acknowledge that in some situations, having good dynamic range capability will can help in obtaining a better photograph. I am not a landscape photographer so I do not need that massive shadow and highlight recovery capabilities. For what I normally do, the worst situation would be people hiding in shades versus those out in the open under harsh Malaysian sun. Even in such a challenging situation an Olympus OM-D (from the first generation E-M5 till now) is sufficient to produce a pleasingly balanced image, with some massaging of the RAW file of course.

This is a processed RAW image, with extensive shadow and highlight recovery. Take note it was not an easy shot, with a dark skinned man in the shade and some of the other guys under harsh tropical sun. 

This was the original unprocessed image. 

Some would say that a HDR image would help with multiple exposures from the dark to bright areas, creating a more balanced output. Nonetheless, street shooting is usually a snap and go situation and I rarely spend too much time at one spot. Besides, the OM-D's RAW file was good enough for some stretching when it comes to highlight retention and shadow boosting. Surely this is nowhere near what a full frame camera can do but it is not too bad either. I do not mind the little overblown background as the overexposed part of the frame was truly representing the harshness of being in a tropical country. Over-correcting the image would have resulted in an over-processed look which may look completely unnatural. 

I understand the pain of dealing with dynamic range limitations when shooting landscape. Sunrise or sunset photography in particular demands every bit of dynamic range you can squeeze out of the camera. Hence the heavy investment in accessories that may help, such as graduated ND filters. Nonetheless, for other less challenging situations, do you find your camera struggling in terms of dynamic range? Or do you think your system is sufficient for what you do? Discuss in the comments below!

After numerous requests, questions and weird accusations of me hiding my secrets when it comes to post-processing, finally, I have made a new video published on Ming Thein's site addressing those concerns.

Things that I have heard people said about me and my images:
1) There are hidden steps on how to achieve sharp looking images, a complex sharpening process to have that crisp yet natural look
2) The vibrant colors and how to get that look: vivid yet not overly saturated and still looking pleasing
3) Robin Wong has a secret filter that he applies to his images to automatically generate that look
4) It is impossible to get similar images like what Robin Wong does even if you use the same cameras and lenses simply because he has advanced post-processing procedures
5) Robin Wong's post-processing is cheating, because he gets good results all the time.

Oh dear... in short, my response would usually be:
1) There is no secret sauce and my post-processing routine is perfectly normal.
2) I apply minimal editing to my images and I believe in efficient and quick processing so I can spend less time on my computer and more time out there shooting. Isn't shooting with your camera more fun?
3) Sharp images? Make sure your images are critically in focus. Natural colors? Don't play with the color sliders too much, leave the original color profile in tact. No shortcuts and no secrets. Just plain old shooting discipline, and get it right in camera!
4) Post-processing is not rocket science. You do not need to apply complicated layers, masks and extensive adjustments to make your image shine. I acknowledge the need for extensive image manipulation work in some scenarios, but for street photography and most hobby shooting purposes, why complicate your life? Keep things simple and most of the time, minimalism works. Less is more.

Therefore, I made a short video showing my complete post-processing workflow, right from the start after I have imported my images into an image editing software. Take note that the adjustments and settings I have made are applicable to any image editing software, they are not Capture One Pro specific.

The video that I have made is not a tutorial or "how to" guide on post-processing. It is an extension of my sharing on what I do with shutter therapy, or what happens after a street shooting session. Think of this as me inviting you to see what I do with my images, the selection process and how I do minimal processing to get the final batch of images to be used on blog articles.

I am still noob in making videos so please do bear with me with some kinks. I know the audio isn't perfect and there were some hiccups (uneven levels). If you must know, I am using a RM10 (USD2.50) PC desktop stand microphone that was designed for old webcam use. I am using that same microphone on my desktop to shout profanity and vulgar phrases to my teammates when I play online games such as DotA. For the first time I am putting that microphone into something more of a productive use. I should really be investing in a proper microphone if I were to continue making more videos soon. Nonetheless, it was a good start, and that al-cheapo stand microphone did a good job for something so old and not "pro".

While I am not a fan of making videos, I understand that some things are better illustrated with videos. I sure will be making more contents from now on, so do subscribe to my Youtube Channel if you have not.

I do camp at random cafes often to get most of my blog article writings done, as well as replying emails and doing "paperwork". Why not work from home? Because home is too comfortable, with the bed constantly calling me for short quick naps, the ever present gaming PC with friends forever online with frequent invitations for a game of DotA and basically I have programmed home to be just home for rest and play and not conducive enough for productivity and serious work. Besides moving out of the house into a new environment has its psychology explanation on how it can boost productivity. With good coffee, comfortable environment and a huge enough table for me to work, I am set.

I have some favourite locations that I rotate around but recently I found this really awesome place, and an unexpected one: Ikea Cafe.

All images were taken with Motorola G5S Plus smartphone camera, using Google Camera app ported over and HDR+ feature enabled for most shots. 

An important criteria for my cafe "workstation" is large working space. I cannot work on a cramped table or small seating areas. That is a Lenovo Miix 510, a 2-in-1 tablet/PC device that I have used to write my blog articles for the past 2 years. Yes, it is a Microsoft Surface clone. I bought a clone because obviously the original Surface is so overpriced and I cannot afford it

The abundance of natural light is great to create illusion of space. I have generally favored bright working locations. I hated all my previous employment working offices that use the health damaging, headache inducing and skin-tone disaster fluorescent lighting. 

Everywhere you look at, even up above the ceiling level, the whole place is just beautiful!

The awesome thing about this place? It is not that packed during weekdays, which is fantastic. They serve good coffee too, and at super cheap price in comparison to many other hipster cafes in town! A cup of Latte here costs about RM7.40, in contrast to the typical RM12 found everywhere else. I can't vouch for the coffee quality, but the one time I tasted it was decent enough. 

I honestly cannot imagine how busy and packed this cafe will be during the weekends, when humans from all over the place crowd IKEA for no reason and there is that cheap coffee just outside. I probably will never find out and just come here during the non-peak hours in the week working days. 

I thought to myself, hey this place looks really gorgeous and lets take some photos! I whipped out the ever ready smartphone and started snapping away. Although this particular shooting session was a brief, non-serious and purely for personal "visual diary" purposes only, I did not take it easy. Every photo that I took, even if it is personal use and has no consequence if I screw up, I made sure I did my best and found ways to make them look as good as I possibly can. Photography is about constantly seeing, working your vision and doing the best with what you have in hand. While the tool may be simple (smartphone camera) but the photographer can surely work harder to get good shots. No excuses and stop being lazy! Put some effort, and just start shooting away. 

The smartphone may have a lot of limitations but you know what? The limitations should not stop you from shooting. Same goes with whatever camera you have with you. I see so many friends or photographers feeling defeated when they do not have the latest, most powerful and coolest camera or lenses. I am not saying don't upgrade your camera, I am just saying, whatever you have, just use it. An image is an image, no matter how grainy the high ISO is, how limited the dynamic range is and how little the megapixels it has. 

Coffee is only RM7.40! Probably cheapest "overpriced" coffee in town. 

Obviously all furniture are from IKEA, and the cafe has the IKEA smell. 

Some buttery sugary fatty food to feed you and make you fat. 

I don't think the culture of returning trays, culteries and bowls/plates will catch on in Malaysia anytime soon. 

Using the Motorola G5S Plus for a while now, especially with the Google Camera app installed, I don't think I wish to have a better smartphone camera anymore. 

Yes, it is not perfect, in terms of image quality, autofocus, limited manual functions, and no RAW file support. Seriously, for all these demands, I can have them all satisfied with my Micro Four Thirds system for any serious shooting. For everyday snapshots, the smartphone is sufficient. 

I also found that the HDR+ feature to help tremendously in situations with difficult lighting conditions. Unfortunately, using the HDR+ on the Moto G5S Plus slows down shooting operations significantly, and there is a lag between shots. 

If you walk by that IKEA Cafe during weekdays, do have a peek inside. You might just find me in there working, writing my latest article for Ming Thein, or for this blog here. 

And if you buy me a cup of coffee, I will feature a portrait of you here! Sounds like a good deal?

Please follow me on Facebook and Instagram
I initially wanted to shoot with an old, old compact camera, the Panasonic LZ8 which I bought in the year 2008. Yes, 10 years ago, I purchased a budget compact camera and I still have it. However, the LZ8 refused to start up properly, giving me an error message (after a few days of inactivity the camera fixed itself and is fully functional again). I was already planning a night photowalk with some friends so I thought why not shoot with my current smartphone, the Motorola G5S Plus, and see what I can produce with the budget smartphone instead?

ISO400, 1/4 sec

From the short walk we had around KL city area, I only had one particular shot which I was happy with, as shown above.

Here are some things I had in my mind while shooting with the Motorola G5S Plus:

1) There is a manual mode that allows full control of shutter speed and ISO which I have not used before this. The manual mode made a world of difference when shooting in low light. The Auto mode daringly bumped up the ISO to ridiculous 3200 all the time in this session shooting the city buildings at night, rendering images that will make any of our eyes bleed.

2) The manual shutter speed control has limitations. The slowest I can go down to is 1/4 second, which is not slow enough for any long exposure photography. I was not able to do light trail shots and even for normal city buildings at night, with 1/4 second shutter speed, I need a minimum ISO of 400 or higher. ISO400 on a budget smartphone is not doing so great either.

3) I wish the shutter speed can go as slow as 30 seconds, or better, 60 seconds. That can open up even more shooting possibilities. Though I understand non-photographers may find no use with such long exposures.

4) Though the camera is rated at 13MP on specifications, honestly, the final output quality, after pixel-peeping thousands of shots I have taken with the Motorola G5S Plus, is closer to probably 7 or 8 MP only. I have the 10 years old Panasonic LZ8 tiny sensor compact camera which was also 8MP and can deliver sharper, cleaner and more detailed shots than the modern day smartphone camera.

5) I am in no way expecting the smartphones to surpass dedicated cameras. Look at it this way, instead of selling a mediocre 13MP camera on a smartphone, why not do some downsampling to 8MP? You will have a great 8MP camera with better overall image quality. 8MP is still plentiful these days, good enough to fill a 4K screen. Surely, an optimized 8MP camera on a budget smartphone is a good solution.

6) I wish there was an option to shoot RAW, purely for shadow and highlight recovery purposes. Nonetheless, that is probably asking too much for a budget smartphone. I don't think including DNG support in the camera will shift the cost of smartphone manufacturing significantly either.

7) I need to find a replacement for my broken tripod. Shooting at dangerously slow shutter speed without a tripod or any means of image stabilization is no fun at all.

8) How I wish smartphones have the capabilities of the 5-Axis IS from Olympus. Seriously, with the powerful stabilization, the smartphones can truly do wonders.

9) Before anyone asks, of course the image shown above was post-processed. However, I do my post-processing with minimal adjustments and the changes of colors, contrast and exposure balance were done to bring the image as close as what I saw with my eyes in real life.

Do you shoot night photography with your smartphone? Do share your thoughts!

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram. 
Olympus Malaysia has been rolling out some interesting workshops lately customized for social media influencers and bloggers. I was invited to attend an OOTD (outfit of the day) photography workshop conducted by Leslie Png. The venue of the workshop was The Majestic Hotel, a grand location with plenty of "instagrammable" background and scenes to utilize for portraits and selfies. In an extremely rare occasion, I was actually there attending as a guest, learning and enjoying myself! It was indeed a refreshing change.

 Workshop was held at The Orchid Conservatory in The Majestic Hotel, Kuala Lumpur. The ambient light was plentiful but flat. The room was surrounded by living orchids of various species. 

A 4K large screen TV was used to show the images from Olympus OM-D system at their best. 

The guest speaker photographer was Leslie Png, who also originated from the same hometown as I did, Kuching, Borneo. Leslie is a well traveled photographer who has stunning portraits of himself plastered all over his Instagram feed (check him out at @lesliepng). Combining that with his talent in photography and also his love using Olympus OM-D system, he is the perfect candidate to speak about getting the best out of the OM-D system and the M.Zuiko lenses to shoot OOTD photography. I do not consider myself photogenic and surely posting too many portraits of myself on my blog or any other social media feeds will guarantee me losing blog readers and visitors. Nonetheless, keeping an open mind, there is always something to learn and explore, I just need to surround myself with passionate people with infectiously positive attitude toward photography. Leslie definitely over-qualifies.

Besides being a keen participant and absorbing like a sponge, my fingers got itchy as usual and I took some snapshots of the event. I had the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and M.Zuiko 12-100mm F4 IS lens. Considering that I was not on assignment and I was shooting only with a blog update in mind (this one you are reading now), that combo was a fail-proof solution and I managed to do everything with it. The 12-100mm lens was a flexible lens to use as I was seated as a guest and not being able to move around like the usual official working photographer. Being stuck in one position, the zoom comes in handy, allowing me to get close to the presenters and other subjects without interrupting or obstructing other guests. The 12mm wide end was sufficient for some environmental shots establishing the location. Thankfully there was plenty of natural light via the translucent roofing hence I worked with only available light. Light was abundant, but flat due to diffused, translucent ceiling panels. Flash would have helped to add depth and contrast but that would be an overkill when I was not even on a job.

Mr Tang, the product specialist for Olympus Malaysia giving his opening remarks during the event . 

Keene Ng, a friend and ex-colleague that sat besides me in office during my time at Olympus Malaysia. We had countless DotA sessions together too. 

Leslie sharing some tips on general photography. He recommends using the Rule of Thirds. I still adhere to this guideline sometimes, but I find myself breaking it more often these days. 

Good photography has a lot (everything?) to do with lighting. I like how Leslie and I have very similar take when it comes to getting good images, and lighting is crucial. 

The guests include some of the popular and renowned social media influencers in Malaysia. 

Whether you are a well-known influencer and accomplished photographer, or a newcomer to photography and just starting out in the game, the workshop proved to be beneficial in many levels. I learned many tips on how to construct a more balanced looking images and to pay attention to details that I normally have overlooked when posing for simple portraits. Leslie shared and emphasized heavily on using various prime lenses to achieve different outcomes, either to add depth, isolate the subject or to frame the background better. He places importance in the F1.2 lenses for their ability to render beautiful bokeh and contrast in his images. He recommends shooting in JPEG for OOTD photography as these images need to be uploaded fast to social media. Shooting RAW requires a more laborious workflow thus can be counter-productive in this particular situation. After all, Olympus does produce excellent straight out of camera JPEGs, and having used Olympus over the years, I agree. 

The event started with participants listening to the sharing of tips on how to do OOTD photography by Leslie, followed by practical demonstration and shooting sessions. Leslie did both indoor and outdoor sessions and everyone had a chance to see how the shoots were done live, as well as having a go at getting similar results, or adding your own creative spin on the shoots immediately after the demo sessions. The Majestic Hotel has well kept lawn areas outdoor in contrast to the white colonial style traditional building exterior, making that a perfect setting for OOTD shots. There were many beautiful interiors to work with as well. If only I look less ugly I might just join all the beautiful participants in shooting portraits of each other. 

Leslie speaking about how the Olympus F1.2 PRO lenses made a difference in creating some of his best images. 

Live shooting demonstration was conducted, and everyone was free to shoot too. 

Model of the day, Edeline. Follow her at @edelinehow

Leslie shared some tips on how to create flare with a small prism glass (not shown here) as well as using foreground for more creative framing. The effect was not really visible here since I was using an F4 zoom lens. Of course, an F1.2 prime lens would have rendered the depth more beautifully.

Indoor shooting session, always utilize the window light! 

It was indeed an enjoyable experience for me surrounding myself with local bloggers and social media influencers for once, because being a blogger myself, I have always isolated myself from everyone else. I should put myself out there more and get to know some people. I guess, being the very few photography bloggers in Malaysia (the only other active one being Ming Thein, a site that I also contribute actively to), it does get lonely some time.

Also, do let me know, what kind of workshops you would like to see happen and organized by Olympus. With the right idea and good feedback, I may just help make things happen.

Kindly keep this page going by purchasing imaging equipment from my B&H link here. 
Follow me on my Facebook Page and also on Instagram. 
It has been a while since I last took up wedding related photography jobs, mainly because most weddings happen in the weekends and my weekends are tied with consumer activities run by Olympus. I did miss shooting actual day weddings and also all the related events such as registration of marriages, proposals or engagement parties. When the chance came for me to take up an assignment with the right timing, I jumped at it. I probably had too much fun shooting this awesome couple, Frankie and Jess. I covered their official registration of marriage at Thean Hou temple, and of course during the course of the event we took some portraits.

Here are some notes from the shoot that I think are worth sharing, in no particular order:

1) The temple was under heavy construction, so it was not easy shooting on location. I had to avoid messy scaffolding and construction material pile ups everywhere in the compound. Nonetheless, using long lenses worked well to isolate the couple in this scenario. Having lenses that can obliterate the background into blur nothingness is more of a necessity in portrait shoots.

2) Communication is key to successful portraits. Constantly listen and understand what the clients want can be crucial in getting the shots that everyone is happy with.

3) Not everything went according to plan, things can go wrong at unexpected moments. It was not about how prepared you were or how skillful you can be at preventing things from going wrong, they will go wrong regardless. It was how you dealt with such situation and reacted that can save or break the day. I did the first round of quick portrait shoots before the official registration of marriage, and I intended to shoot a few more immediately after the ceremony. However, it rained so heavily that we decided to cancel the second session. I improvised and shot a few more portraits at the lunch venue (indoor) instead.

4) Having an external flash is crucial, and knowing how to use them effectively can save you. Not all available light will be kind to you and your subjects. if the lighting is bad, your photography can't be any better. Hence, having the option to override the available light can be beneficial. In the tiny room where the registration took place, it was dimly lit with flat, ugly, green-cast heavy fluorescent tube lights. It was so bad, i decided to just fully overpower whatever light in the room with my flash.

5) Shoot natural expressions. Allow the couple to be themselves. The first few poses and many shots will be wasted before they get comfortable and ready for the real shoot. Like any sports, it takes time to warm up, and I have taken this into consideration.

6) I do not do extensive post-processing or photo manipulation. If my clients expect me to produce such work, I will do my best to convince them not to, and if they still insists, I will decline the work. I believe the couple are already perfect the way they are and should not require extensive digital transformation to mutate them into something completely not themselves. I have nothing against digital re-touching, but if you are into that, don't look for me please. I believe in shooting your natural beauty, not showing you an illusion of something you are definitely not.

7) Be confident with your gear and equipment. You may lust over better lenses or newer cameras during your off-time but during the job, you make the best of what you have. I have once had a client that questioned my choice of using Micro Four Thirds camera for my shoots. Show them photography portfolio, if the clients like your style and agree with the results you can provide, there is no reason for them to doubt you. I shot this session entirely with Olympus OM-D E-M1 and M.Zuiko lenses 12-40mm F2.8 PRO and 45mm F1.8.

8) Know your priorities when shooting, and you cannot capture everything, so be wise with your timing and choice of frames. Moments will always trump technical perfection. I'd take a successfully shot moment of a laughter with plenty of high ISO noise than a blurry mess due to the hesitation of bumping up the ISO.

I hope you find these small tips helpful in shooting engagement portraits! It was such a thrill to shoot a registration of marriage again, and if you want to find out more about my photography work, feel free to visit my PORTFOLIO here!
My favourite local band was performing at Commune, Sunway Velocity and as usual I was shooting the band. The stage lighting was predictably dim and uneven throughout the stage, and was unfavorable since in some situations I needed to bump up my ISO to 6400 for sufficiently fast shutter speed to freeze movement. The band members were actively in motion (they do have fast-paced, rock-styled music) so I needed to constantly watch my shutter speed, else everything would turn out in a blurry mess. It was always, always fun to shoot Nadir and Bihzhu and they performed my favourite song, "Why Do We Cry" that night which I recorded in video!

Performed live at Commune, Sunway Velocity
Check out Nadir at:
Check out Bihzhu at:

If you have not realized, yes I do have a Youtube Channel! Please subscribe if you have not. More photography contents coming up soon, including a post-processing video!

The video clearly showed the uneven stage lighting, which was difficult to deal with. Nonetheless, every single time I used the E-M1 Mark II for video recording, I was impressed by how steady the video was being hand-held. The 5-Axis Image Stabilization seriously was godsent for a lazy photographer like me. I am just the run and gun type. 

All images were taken with Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and M.Zuiko prime lenses 12mm F2, 25mm F1.8 and 45mm F1.8