fbpx Skip to main content

Running a Business

Stolen: Our photography images

UPDATED AS OF: 17 May 2011, 1:05am

They say that copying is the best form of flattery. But not in this case.

Thanks to one of our Stories’ readers (Cecilia Loh), I discovered today that a fair bit of our work has been copied by another photographer in Indonesia and claimed as his/her own. Our watermarks were removed, replaced with this photographer’s logo, and fake blog posts were written about the shoot experience… The amazing thing is that it’s not just one image, but a whole series of images from multiple clients of ours.

I am a little sad to see things like this happening. It has happened to other photographers I know, but I never thought the day would come when it would happen to me. Enraged? Violated? Of course, but at the end of the day, how am I do react to such a situation? What do I do to bring justice?

It’s interesting to see how many photographers have banded together to help support me and make it known that plagiarism has happened. While I am somewhat thankful, I would also like to hear what Yuda Photography has to say first. Everyone makes mistakes, and the key is to learn from them. I’m sure this serves as a shock to them, knowing they can be found out.

Should they reply to my email and apologise, I am more than willing to forgive, as life is too short to hold grudges. I always recall the words from the bible that say…

You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.

Matthew 5:43-47 (The Message)

I have yet to hear a response from Yuda, but rather, I see their blog posts and Facebook pages disappearing quickly, as if it is more important to cover their tracks first, before responding to me. To all our clients who are affected, I am truly sorry this had to happen. I am taking measures to make sure this is rectified.

I feel sorry for the clients that have booked this photographer, with the assumption that these images are theirs. I wonder what kind of images they got in the end. Here are just some of the screenshots I’ve saved based on the plagiarism.

All of these thumbnails below are our images.

Continue Reading

That “Corner”

It’s been my dream to own a little Stories studio and decorate it beautifully. Over the past one year, I’ve been meeting couples in 2 places – my office / studio in Centrepoint Bandar Utama and also my home. Because I share the office space in Centrepoint with my other Integricity colleagues (different companies under the same umbrella), I don’t have a specific room where I can meet couples, showcase my work and decorate it to my heart’s content. All I have is a little corner that is ‘somewhat’ decorated, but up till today, I am still dissatisfied with that space.

Over the past few months, my home has undergone a major renovation, and I’ve allocated a space that will be dedicated as a consultation studio. That’s when my excitement level increased. I am no Interior Designer, but I can look at inspiring images and plan. Pretty much like brides who start planning about how the decorations will look like on their wedding day, I am thinking about how my little consultation room will look like once it’s done. An excellent website that showcases lots of inspiring details is Style Me Pretty, where you can get lots of ideas for your wedding.

This was my thought process as I planned on how to decorate the room:

1. Colour theme – Brown, blue and white (Brown and blue because that’s the Stories’ colour!)

2. Words to describe what I want to portray – Chic, Stylish, Romance, Warmth, a hint of Vintage

3. List of items that I can display – photos on canvas, metal prints, albums, postcards, Save the Date cards, cool phrases, my dad’s old camera, my lomo cameras, my mum’s handmade blue seashell jewelry case, cookies, birdcages…

Since I have so many ideas in my head, I have to sometimes stop and ask myself if that really goes together… or does that idea clash? I don’t want to end up with a room that looks completely disjointed in terms of ideas! :)

Here’s a photo of my half completed home taken with Alex’s iPhone camera. The image on the right (the room behind the brick wall) is my consultation studio.

And here’s some images that I borrowed from various sources to illustrate the idea of what I want to create. What do you think? Any ideas?

Stories is turning ONE!

God is really good. Just one year ago, I was fretting away about what to call my new wedding & portrait photography brand that was due to launch in January 2010. Just one year ago, I wondered if I could really make it out there just focusing on wedding and portrait photography and choosing not to shoot any actual day wedding videos and less corporate videos. Just one year ago, I wondered who would come and fill my empty looking calendar?

But as I review the year that is almost coming to an end, I am pleasantly surprised. And completely grateful.

Three years ago, if you met me and talked to me about what I was doing with my life, I would say… “I am running a photography and videography business” – I was dabbling in all sorts of work, but deep down, I was conflicted. I knew that my love for weddings had grown over the years. Slowly but surely, the conviction that this industry is right for me grew stronger by the day. But I didn’t have the skills, nor the confidence to venture into it wholeheartedly. That was why I was conflicted.

Fast forward 3 years. Now, the bulk of my work comes from wedding and portraiture shoots, and about 20% from corporate videos and photography. And now, I am so happy doing the things I do.

In 2008, I had 10 clients who wanted wedding photography. In 2009, the number of clients who wanted me to shoot their weddings & also pre-weddings doubled to 20. These numbers do not include all the wedding videography jobs that I was also doing, and other shoots like family portraits.

This year, I counted that I have 39 different wedding clients that I have photographed – whether it is their wedding, pre-wedding or both. The family, maternity, and other types of photography work has increased too! I really thank God for the wonderful team I have, some of whom have come and gone in the past to other ventures. I must definitely give credit to Mark and Johan, our key photographers who have made a huge impact to the Stories brand by the amazing images they create. And of course, to Weiming, our Digital Artist who works hard to make sure all the clients get their images touched up quickly and delivered as soon as possible.

This blog post is not meant for me to brag, but to really show how awesome God is. I know that to some photographers, 39 weddings is the norm, but for me, it’s an achievement. I am sure these blessings could not have happened without Him having a hand in it. I truly believe if you love your work passionately and work hard at it, it will really pay off so that work becomes a pleasure, not a pain! I absolutely believe life is meant to be fun, and we should be doing things in life that we are passionate about. Why slave away for hours on end on a job you absolutely hate? (Considering how many hours we work compared to our leisure time). Sure, I have had my share of disappointments and heartaches but life is meant to be lived forwards, not backwards.

Well, having said all that, life IS unpredictable, and tomorrow, I may not be here. So, for what it is worth, cherish TODAY.

I have been meaning to showcase 2010’s pre-wedding & wedding highlights but haven’t had the time to create a slideshow yet due to my crazy schedule. Until I find the time to do it, here are some teasers from recent shoots from the past 2 weeks that have yet to be blogged about.

Eric & Mun Wai’s pre-wedding in Singapore & KL

Ben & Jun’s Singapore Art Museum wedding

Kwan Seng & Jasmine’s pre-wedding in Malacca

Have a wonderful countdown to 2011!

Marketing yourself as a photographer

Alex and I are speaking at a photographers’ conference called WPPM, in less than two weeks. There are several simultaneous sessions and being the person I am, who is afraid of speaking to an audience of five, I decided to put together a video to try and market our session to the delegates. Please, PLEASE, come and listen to us share!

Who better to rope in to act, than Alex?

Details of our session are:

Topic: YOU, unleashed!
Date: Saturday, 14th August 2010 at 11am-12.30pm

We will share the story on how a new brand for photography was launched, the initial marketing and secrets on how we got the word out about the business. Also, you will find out tips and tricks on how the Internet can be harnessed as a vital tool for marketing yourself. If prospects cannot find you, how will you get business?

Oh, we did have a shortage of actresses, so I had to make a clone of myself! Hope you enjoyed the video. Let us know which parts you liked best. We may share a behind-the-scenes clip on how we filmed it, especially on the clones.

My WPPI 2010 Experience… cont’d

It’s easy to overdo yourself when you attend WPPI. There’s just so much going on simultaneously. With multiple Platform classes ongoing and a huge trade show to visit, I constantly felt that there was not enough time to do it all.

(Read part 1 of my WPPI experience)

One of the things I managed to do was a trash the dress photo shoot with other photographers around the Vegas strip. Here are a few shots from that session. I’ll be putting up other images later. [updated: view the photos from the Trash the Dress session here]

After a few days of rushing for classes, I realized that it’s best I choose my classes wisely, and be there really really early for popular speakers!

I was disappointed when I couldn’t get into Jasmine Star’s Platform class even after queuing for 45 minutes. Good thing was that the organizers for WPPI had a back up plan, and those that missed out, heard her speak the next day! And what a blessing it is, when I won a shootsac during her session!

Here’s me with Jasmine and her husband JD (taken at different times!)

Jasmine Star inspires me to dream big, to believe that anyone can succeed… after multiple failures. We all have failures in life, but as long as we fail forward, we’re moving in the right direction.

In her first year of shooting weddings, she shot 3 weddings, and then the next year, 37 weddings! And all this without paying for marketing! She communicated who she was through her blog, and when people saw that, they were attracted to her. Use every opportunity to be ME.

She cares for people around her, and completely believes in helping others, eg. vendors. The question we should ask ourselves as photographers is, “What can I do for others? To help others?”

Kevin Kubota, in his Platform class, brought up a very important question that we all need to answer:

It makes me think… what are my goals in life? Can I quantify them? Or is success some vague concept in my head that seems unachievable? How would I know if I have reached there?

The other 2 key speakers who influenced me a lot in WPPI 2010 are Marcus Bell and Dane Sanders. Marcus showed the class a very touching video / photo slideshow and shared his passion in capturing moments for his clients. I was moved to tears when I saw the video.

The bridal couple came up with this surprise for their parents, who had been married for about 50 years. The video showed old footage of their parent’s own wedding, their moments in life when they had a newborn, intercutting with footage from their child’s wedding day, years later. The expression on the parent’s face as they watched and reminisced old days and how far they have come was so moving.

It just reaffirms my belief that what I do is so important. I am here as a photographer to capture bits of history in people’s lives, whether it is the moment they say their vows to one another, or when a mother feels her child in her tummy kicking, or when a family demonstrates their love to each other.

Years from now, I want someone to look through the images that I have taken, and remember… not me, the photographer, but the feeling they had when that image was made.

Which, at the end of the day, comes back to that question of “What will success look like to you?”

Dane Sanders, author of the book, Fast Track Photographer, shared with us this quote. I love it.

I am looking forward to this journey of life, and what it holds for me.

On the last night of WPPI, we celebrated the work of many talented photographers from around the world. Awards were given out to the winners of the 16 x 20 print competition, and also International Prints of the year award for various categories.

I am so proud to say that Asian photographers are rising and making a mark internationally. Louis Pang won the International Portrait Print of the Year award, and CM Leung won 2 International Print of the Year Awards, not to mention many mentions of accolades of excellence! That is so exciting! Congratulations to the both of you!

Here’s a group photo of the Malaysian ‘contingent’. Jenny had left Vegas earlier in the day. Glad to share all these exciting moments with you guys!

Read about Cliff Mautner’s Plus Class here.