Musings Archives - Wedding, portrait photography & cinematic films: Stories.my

Strengthening Marriages and Families

Posted by | Life, Musings, Relationships

Over the past few months, I’ve been thinking a lot about marriages, families and relationships. This is one topic that is close to my heart, and recently, Alex and I completed facilitating a 6 week course in our church on Strengthening your Marriage. It rejuvenated me, speaking to other couples and seeing how everyone had similar struggles in a way. One of the thoughts that I have been toying with is starting a video series related to these topics. Though we are primarily a photography and videography company, I feel as if my role could expand in its purpose… greater than what we are already doing in building a heritage of images for generations to come.

Despite talking about it with my team and of course my husband Alex, I struggle to actually get anything started. I guess because I worry a lot. Who would listen to me? Who am I, to speak authority in other people’s lives? What would the format look like? Can I actually finish something I start? (I have the tendency to start projects and end badly). But as the ideas begin to form in my head, I feel as if these questions shouldn’t matter. Let’s just start a discussion and get that going.

It clicked in my head today as I write this that we are already playing a part in strengthening relationships. One example would be when we photograph families, I sometimes ask elderly parents who might be in their 60s to do things like hug or kiss each other. Sometimes I get the incredulous look, sometimes I get brushed off, and sometimes I get the reluctant obligatory response. It tickles me but it also made me realise… Not many older married couples are comfortable with physical intimacy. 

I am not just talking about open displays of affection, but just the simple act of touching each other by holding hands or hugging. One of the topics that came up during our marriage course was intimacy, and how easily communication breakdowns lead to empty emotional tanks for both parties. With the arrival of young children, sexual and physical intimacy also suffers. One of the questionnaires we had to answer to review the state of our marriage stated, “How often do you touch each other on a scale of 1-10?” When I was honest with myself, I realised that even the goodnight and morning kisses and hugs were replaced with grunts of acknowledgment of each other’s existence.

These past 6 weeks, we made intentional time for each other, communicating to one another on a heart to heart level (conversations without kids) and in the process, filled up our emotional tanks. We felt happier.

Coming back to the elderly parents. Maybe just that simple act of asking a husband to give his wife a hug or kiss is enough to trigger a thought…“Have you done that lately?”

Why photos are important in daily life

Posted by | Family + Children Portraits, Life, Musings, Portraits, Relationships

It’s in the little moments. Those moments that we so easily forget within a year, a week or even a day. But it’s not just about capturing the moments. It’s about remembering the happiness that relationships bring. Photography helps you remember why you married your spouse so many years ago. It helps you remember those tiny little feet that brought a swelling to your heart the moment she was born. It even brings to mind that ‘slightly ugly family couch’ you lounged on years ago till your parents decided to finally buy a new one.

Sometimes we are caught up with the routines of daily life and hardly have time to reflect on things that bring us the greatest joy. If we are true to ourselves, we will acknowledge that real connections with the people most precious to us makes us happy. If we can just capture snippets of life with these people, and reflect on these memories when life throws us a hardball, we will begin to remember that feeling.

With the launch of new and better camera phones yearly, it’s no surprise that photography is pretty much a natural habit. But most of the time, we have snippets of so many memories taken without us being part of the picture. This is where I challenge you to include photography as part of your yearly personal budget… not viewed as an expense, but as an investment towards your future. You are building an album filled with happy memories.

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We’re Hiring a Studio Manager

Posted by | Musings, Running a Business

StoriesHiring-studiomanager

When I first started out my business as a photographer, I used to do everything. Handle enquiries, shoot, edit, deliveries… even handcrafting albums myself! That was 10 years ago, and thank God I have the entrepreneur husband who told me that I was foolish to take on everything myself. Now I have a team of wonderful people who are committed to the brand, love each other (I hope!) and who have taken a load off my back.

I am so grateful to have people to bounce off ideas with, celebrate when we score an international job, and lament to when the going gets tough. So now, we’re looking for someone to come alongside us as our Studio Manager / Personal Assistant. This could be a part time role (a few work hours on weekdays, occasionally on weekends) or a full time position if it is combined with multiple roles (eg social media manager, writer, videographer… you get the idea – surprise us with your superpowers!).

Job Scope

  1. Handling enquiries via phone, email, social media sites (Facebook, Instagram) and following up with potential enquiries.
  2. Work with our online systems and handle admin work like bookings, invoicing and issuing contracts. Be technologically savvy.
  3. Following up with clients on shoot requirements, payments, setting up meeting dates, handling their final deliverables and making sure we deliver on time.
  4. Dealing with back end vendors.
  5. Keeping Grace sane and up to date when her memory fails her (poor memory runs in her family, so she needs to write everything down or someone to remind her to do things!)
  6. Being the ‘face’ of Stories as the primary contact person other than Grace… so this is a huge role to fill!
  7. Other than Stories, handling other projects like assisting to manage our corporate enquiries, kombi rental and rental of studio space to external parties.

So, if you think you are up for the challenge and have the qualities that will make us super duper efficient, please apply here. Do state if you are interested in a full time / part time role. We look forward to hearing from you.

Fun Facts about Grace

Posted by | For Photographers, Musings, Relationships

Some time ago, we created a series of videos to show you what the Stories team is like. Here are some of the videos that have been published about Chi Yin, Jamie and Jennifer. But I ‘conveniently’ forgot to post the video we created about myself until I discovered it again recently! Trying to be transparent and allowing others to talk about you (PLUS making it public) is pretty nerve wracking. Anyway, here are some random facts about myself so you can get to know me a little better! :)

Fun Facts Video – Grace from Stories on Vimeo.

Welcome, 2017!

Posted by | Life, Musings, Relationships

As I sit in a hotel room in Dhaka, Bangladesh on the last day of 2016, I reflect on all that has happened this year. It’s been a year of ups and downs, at times filled with beautiful memories, and at times, financially stretching for us as a company. Yet, perhaps with some childlike faith, I have hope. I am hoping that 2017 will be one that is great. A year that will bring about change, as we have set into motion some plans for the year.

Recently, in between our wedding shoots here in Bangladesh, I had time to walk the streets a little. We bumped into an old curiosity shop that looked like it sold antiques (or lookalikes!). I was drawn to a hourglass that had a compass at the top and bottom. That afternoon, as I was praying about the year ahead, I felt God telling me two things: That I need to depend on Him as the compass of my life. He would give me the direction I seek desperately. And the hourglass reminds me that my time on earth is short – what am I doing daily that makes a difference to the world?

Naturally, my thoughts go to my children and leaving a legacy in their lives. It would be tragic if I spent so much time working on my business but neglected the welfare of my kids (and husband!). If today was the last day of my life, would I feel happy with all I had done in life?

Let’s make each day count. Happy New Year from us in Dhaka and have a great start to 2017!

BTS-day1-bangladesh*Thank you to the random waiter who suggested we have a photo together after the holudh event, and who actually took it for us on our phone! (Left to Right: Jamie, Grace & Jennifer)