Life Archives - Page 3 of 26 - Wedding, portrait photography & cinematic films: Stories.my

Reflections: Photography as a Lifestyle and Business

Posted by | For Photographers, Life, Musings, Running a Business 4 Comments

It’s 2am and I lie awake in bed, one of those nights where my thoughts lead me to my work, life and my general state of happiness as a person. It’s been 10 years since I started this journey as a photographer, and in these past 10 years, I’ve explored many areas of photography – from travel to documentary, posed portraits vs candid photography, learnt about studio and natural light, thought about diversifying my work to get various sources of income, and then thought about finding my niche so that I can get the type of clients that I really like.. Lately, I’ve been thinking about how to grow my team, spending more time with my family yet running this business that I love and thinking about my retirement plan when my body is too weak to shoot.

These past 10 years, I’ve also felt insecurities as a photographer – not knowing if I am on the right path, feeling envy when others are successful, worried about how to move forward in this business.

How I wish there was a blueprint in running a successful photography business.

Many of the lessons I learnt while running this business was built on trial and error. I have swayed to the left and to the right over the years, and now, I think it’s time to go back to the start.

What drew me to photography in the first place?

I just love capturing life. 

People intrigue me. Everyone is so different and yet, the human emotions of love, joy or sadness connect us. I love photographing human connections – that moment when a child looks trustingly at his mother, when the father of the bride cries as his little daughter is finally getting married, that laughter shared between life-long friends.

This thought comes through again and again – keep doing what you love and you’ll excel in it. But it also takes a lot of work. On days when I am not shooting, I am trying to learn something new – reading about ways to improve my business, looking at Pinterest to find new inspiration, signing up for workshops  and trying out different genres of photography just to upskill myself.

So 10 years on, I am still learning and doing what I love. It’s what keeps me going.

GT1_916120160501 - Steamboat Makan-21

Documenting Ethan’s Water Birth

Posted by | Beautiful Everyday, Family + Children Portraits, Life, Maternity, Musings, Portraits One Comment

I must admit that the thought of seeing a woman going through labour and finally delivering her baby scares me. A little. Even though I have 2 kids of my own… but I went through c-section and I never really experienced childbirth the way it was meant to be…. natural and painful. So I was a mix of emotions when Crystal hired me to document the birth of her baby Ethan last month. I was a tad bit worried that I might pass out when I saw blood.

The whole experience was new to me. About a year ago, I was also supposed to photograph another birth, but that didn’t quite happen the way we expected (pun not intended!). When Crystal’s delivery date drew near (18th May) and she started having contractions, I was a bit of a nervous wreck! I would check my phone frequently for updates, and was all charged to head out to the hospital when needed. On Thursday night, she checked into Pantai Hospital but by Friday evening, she was still far from delivering her baby!

That Friday night, I went to watch a movie, and even lugged my camera gear into the cinema, just in case! Crystal really suffered through hours of labour, and it was only on Sat night (11pm) that I was called into the hospital. I must say, she is one tough cookie. With no painkillers, she laboured and delivered beautiful baby Ethan at 3am on the 22nd of May. I could see how supportive her husband Wei Leong was through the entire process. Even though it was pretty back-breaking to help support Crystal in the tub, he did it over many hours with occasional stretches. I think Crystal was in the tub for a good 7 hours!

When Ethan came out, there was a sigh of relief and lots of happy smiles around.

Overall, I am just so amazed at this miracle called birth. How wonderful it is to witness a human being coming into the world. It is just so beautiful.

20160522-BIRTH_ETHAN_CHEW-060 20160522-BIRTH_ETHAN_CHEW-061 20160522-BIRTH_ETHAN_CHEW-071Extra interesting notes:
1. Lighting was extremely difficult in the dim room, since they wanted to create a more relaxing and conducive environment. Flash photography wasn’t allowed and occasionally a spotlight would be turned on at times – so thank God for high ISO and experience shooting in low light!

2. The little floating duck is a thermometer! How cool is that. It was the first thing I spotted when I arrived.

3. The nurse and doula was in the room all the time, monitoring the contractions, keeping Crystal warm by pouring water on her. Dr Paul came in towards the end to receive the baby. I truly respect those in this profession, their personal lives are dictated by the lives of others!

Read More

My fourth year as a mom

Posted by | Life, Musings, Relationships

It’s my fourth day in Japan, attempting to have a somewhat ‘normal’ holiday with my husband and two kids. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy traveling with 2 toddlers, but we were determined! We packed light, left the stroller at home, and managed to fit 1 week’s worth of luggage and toys into a large bag, 1 handcarry size and 1 backpack.

20160506-HOLIDAY_JAPAN-051Alex and I have been relatively easygoing when it comes to raising our kids. We are not the super strict type of parent who must get their kid to bed by a certain time or the kind who whips out a hand sanitizer at every given opportunity (yup, we let them pick their food off the floor and eat it, if the floor looks relatively clean).

So I thought that this holiday would be pretty relaxing with not that much of an agenda. After all, I managed a company holiday with my kids when they were much younger… clingy baby and all.

Four days into my holiday, I find myself screaming at the kids… “Eat this… NO, don’t eat that! Don’t roll on the ground! Don’t pull your sister’s hair! Stop pinching your brother!” Yup, I’ve turned into a machine that barks orders every few minutes. (occassionally, the poor husband is also at the receiving end of these orders). Coincidentally, it’s also Mother’s Day today, and my 4th year of being a mom.

20160507-HOLIDAY_JAPAN-302But suddenly, these frustrations turn into little moments of joy when Krysta suddenly bursts into random phrases that sound like broken Japanese. Or when Kyle does a happy dance in the middle of a street as he hears buskers singing K-pop.

It’s at these times I realize I need to cherish the litte happy moments more than dwelling on the frustrations I feel. I’m just going to enjoy the next few days, and even if Kyle only decides to eat a diet of white rice and biscuits, I won’t get upset. I won’t complain as well when my needs are not met because it won’t be fair for Alex to deal with 2 toddlers and 1 adult who is never satisfied.

Enjoy the journey, not just the destinaton.

Happy Mother’s Day, everyone.

20160506-HOLIDAY_JAPAN-011

 

You are beautiful

Posted by | For Photographers, Life, Musings, Other Portraits, Portraits

I read this beautiful write up recently and would like to share it with all of you. Speaking on behalf of my team, we are honoured that we’re given this privilege to photograph you. And though physical insecurities are not exclusive to women, I somehow feel that women struggle with these issues more. So I want you to know that we, as photographers, take our job seriously. You are important to us.

youarebeautifulOriginal article posted by Missy Mwac.

Dear Portrait Photographers,

You do not cure cancer.
You don’t have the power to stop the path of a tornado
or make rain fall on a land covered in drought.
You take pictures of people.

And although you aren’t performing surgery or landing a spaceship on a comet
You still have a gift to share.
And that gift affects lives

For in front of your cameras stand people
And people, well, they often wear masks disguised as a smile
And beneath those smiles are the hidden things
The unspoken insecurities:

“I’m fat”
“I’m ugly”
“I’m not worthy to have my picture taken.”
“I’m going to hate these.”

You won’t know this, of course
Because most won’t share it
I mean, who can blame them?
But rest assured those feelings are there
More often than not
And they bounce around in the minds of those you’d least expect.

It is your job to create images that silence those fears
Images that prove those fears unfounded
Images that shout louder than the lies our insecurities whisper

Images that say:

“You are perfect.”
“You are beautiful.”
“You are deserving of attention.”

Your gift, dear portrait photographers, may not save lives
But never doubt its importance

Highlights: Family Portraits 2015

Posted by | Beautiful Everyday, Family + Children Portraits, Life, Maternity, Musings, Other Portraits, Portraits, Studio 2 Comments

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” ~ Robert Brault

Each of us only has 24 hours in a day. When I first started my business, I was grateful for the extra ‘time’ that I could have for myself, and then when I had kids, I wondered where all that time went! Each day, I am surrounded by news of disaster, and how easy it is to lose someone you love. Ironically, when I have time with my kids, I just wish they would fall asleep faster, and when I am away shooting a wedding at a beautiful destination, I wish I could be back with them.

I also want to do more in life, but when I have time on my hands, I just want to laze and not do anything.

Such is the irony of life. And then, before you know it, time just slips through your fingers and then a week passes by, and then a month, and a year. Just recently, on Sunday, I sat down with my husband Alex at a random cafe in PJ to talk about life (without the kids!). It felt like a breath of fresh air. We ordered fries, tea and coffee, then flipped our mac screen open to look at our February calendar and intentionally planned date nights, family nights with the kids, swimming sessions etc! We left that cafe a little more rejuvenated, and a bit more focused with what we wanted to achieve in our life as a family.

So, as a pause… here’s a little compilation we did of some of the 101 families we photographed last year. We hope you will take a moment to cherish your family today.

Photography by Grace, Diane, Jamie & Weiming