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All Posts By

Grace Tan

A Harajuku Styled Shoot on Kuala Lumpur’s Streets


Imagine if we could only use colours, textures, and fashion styles to express who we truly are – no words allowed. What would that look like? What would YOU wear? ⁠⠀
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I have never done a Harajuku-inspired shoot before. So when our friend and bridal make up artist Cindy, suggested the idea of doing one as a creative exercise, we jumped at the opportunity. She roped in Yon Lynn, an artist who fronts Raijin, a Japanese pop rock cover band in KL. Lynn thinks that the Japanese are very expressive and these costumes are a way for her to express herself in a bold and creative way. ⁠⠀

We spent almost five hours on the shoot with breaks in between. Each ‘look’ took about an hour for hair, make up, and styling to be done, but it was all smiles as we could do all the prep work in the comfort of our room at Four Points by Sheraton, Chinatown. We took photos at the hotel and around the premises, including the newly restored back lane – Kwai Chai Hong.

It was a very interesting experience for me and the team. Once the costumes are on, it feels as if a different person emerges, but in reality, it is a true representation of who they are. ⁠To me, the shoot represents boldness. Just like the people on Harajuku Street whose individuality and boldness soon came to define a significant part of a nation’s cultural identity. It takes boldness to be different, to stand out in the crowd, and be unique.
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Big thanks to everyone for making this happen. It feels so good to keep our creative juices flowing with opportunities like this! More photos below with some interesting facts about each Harajuku style.

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A Photography Workshop on Storytelling & Branding with WPM


I was recently invited to conduct a session on Photography: The Art Storytelling & Branding at Women Photographers Malaysia’s first-ever workshop! It was hosted at Citizen M Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, gathering about 20 of us from different backgrounds – the organisers, participants, our talents, and fellow photographers – all who shared one common interest: a love for this art.

It felt good to be connected with these photographers – some were already full time photographers, others were considering on making it as their career, or were hobbyists and even students who want to learn more.

When I was planning the workshop, I knew I wanted to run it in a way that was more than just a theoretical session. For me, it was important that participants could go back with real thoughts that would challenge them where they are, at whatever stage they might be at.

So I was really glad when many came up to me after the workshop to tell me what they experienced and learned in just three hours. Here are some other feedback message I received:

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Maternity Studio Photoshoot: Chris & Sindee

In 2017 Chris and Sindee officiated their marriage with a super fun “Double Happiness” wedding in Kuala Lumpur, and we had the privilege of being their photographers! So when they found out they were expecting their first child this year, Sindee had no hesitation in getting in touch with us again for the maternity shoot. Both of them came to our studio with a few outfits for Sindee to change into throughout the session. We’re especially in love with the kebaya piece!

Not long after she delivered, Sindee took the time to write us a really thoughtful review:

“We love Grace and the Stories team. They were our wedding photographer almost 4 years ago and we have no regrets. The team was amazing and amazing at how fast they turned the photos into a beautiful slide show for our dinner guest. Also, the music they used was a perfect fit! We love our wedding album so much and it was greatly crafted to show the happenings of the day.
Now after almost four years, I’m pregnant and we wanted to take maternity photos as well as photos of the baby soon. There was no question that we would go back to Grace. Thank you for fitting us in so quickly and we managed to get really beautiful photos of my belly just four days before my delivery!”

Thank you for your incredibly kind words, Sindee! We’re so happy to be able to journey with you through life’s most precious milestones! More photos below.

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Dancing Around KL City Centre

As a Canon EOS ambassador, I get to test out the new EOS R5 and a few lenses, namely the RF 15-35mm f2.8 and 85mm f2.0 macro. I contacted my friend, Joanna Koleth, who is an amazing dance-artist, and some other amazing vendors who made this shoot happen. Soon, we were doing jumps around KL city centre. This shoot is part of a bigger project, one that involves a few other photographers. But that is yet to be revealed. The theme of the shoot revolves around this word, Harmony.

When conceptualizing the shoot, I thought about this word and what it means to me. A quick Google search revealed the meaning of harmony as “the state of being in agreement or concord.” As a Malaysian, I truly desire a state where the people in our land can live in harmony with each other. Our country is full of culture and heritage, and we’ve gone through good and bad seasons since celebrating our independence in 1957.

Learning how to balance our diversity with unity is not easy. Harmony is not just an outward appearance of accepting each other, it’s respecting each individual as they are. It’s also about merging old and new mindsets so that we can grow as a nation.

It’s a delicate dance.

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Lessons I Learnt in 14 Years of Marriage

It was 14 years ago, exactly on this date that I said my vows at my dream wedding. I had 200 guests seated at the garden of the Palace of the Golden Horses, all dressed in shades of purple or white. It was the perfect day. There was a cool breeze that day, and everything went smoothly, despite a little accident that broke a portion of the trishaw I was transporting from Malacca for the ceremony that day.

14 years flew by, it wasn’t short, but it didn’t feel so long either. I do not remember the personalised vows I said that day but thank God for videos…all the memories were recorded beautifully. I was an idealistic 27 year old bride. I believed in true love and I found it. But I didn’t know how much work it takes to stay in love.

I’ve learnt many lessons over these 14 years. It took me some time to learn them, so if I could speak to my 27 year old self, I’d say…

The romance may disappear but true love is deeper than just feelings

The commitment we made to one another that day was the seal that brought us together. The heart palpitations faded after a while, but it didn’t mean I was less in love with the man I married so many years ago. The love I feel now is much deeper because of my understanding of who he is, and how much he tries to make things work for the family.

Change yourself first

We had a difficult first year of marriage trying to understand each other. In between tears and feelings of insecurity, I had to come to terms with my own weaknesses. If you accept responsibility for your own actions, your marriage will thank you for it.

If you want the fun and adventure to carry on, you need to make time for it

Life goes on after a while. The bills need to get paid, children come along, and soon, the only excitement you get is to choose which movie to watch on Netflix that night. We really had to make time for date nights where we spent time talking or exploring some new activity. This is even more important after the children are born.

Make time to listen

Even though we work in the same office, there were days when we just breezed through life without saying anything significant to one another. I had to learn to listen with undivided attention so that I could understand his needs. Frequent conversations was the key that made us feel connected.

Always forgive

We might have differing opinions, but we always attempt to resolve issues before sleeping. We need to remember that we are on the same side, not against one another. If there is a problem, it’s our problem, not the other person’s problem. Through the years, we had to learn what it means to speak kindly in the midst of a disagreement.
Ultimately, the very cord that holds us together is our love for Jesus Christ. It’s our belief system that kept us unified all these years. 14 years and counting.

If you would like to follow my marriage and parenting journey, please head on to Comma: Rethink Life.