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Bloom Workshops #3: Portraits in Penang

Our 3rd Bloom Workshop was held in beautiful, heritage Penang where tradition meets modern art ideas and creativity abounds. As usual, we had the support of wonderful sponsors such as Schmidt Marketing, WCA Fine Arts, Simplr, Kitty Bakes, My Hyper Store, Black Milk StudioBarnyard & Prairie and That Special Occasion. Our 3 day workshop focused entirely on the art of posing and portraiture, and the participants had a great time with the theoretical and practical sessions.

I personally find teaching satisfying, though pretty exhausting. I’ve conducted about 20+ workshops and also taught photography and film editing to college students through out the past 8 years. It’s a challenge to think of how to verbalize your thought process and simplify it to students. I guess the good feedback I receive from my previous participants have shown that I am doing some things right!

If you ask me, I don’t think I’ll ever give up actual photography work for teaching. I still love creating images through my lens and making my clients happy when they see those images. But every now and then, you’ll find a workshop or two coming your way from us.

Here’s some highlights from the workshop. Enjoy!

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The four Bloom girls speaking at the workshop – Anna-Rina, Fiona Lim, Asther Lau and myself.

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A blend of cultures: Roy & Pek Yee

It was an epic wedding – full of wonderful moments that will be etched in my mind forever. Roy’s humour brightens the day and keeps us entertained while Pek Yee’s infectious (loud) laughter reminds me of my childhood friends who are equally boisterous. The wedding was split to 2 days… the first half was the Chinese wedding ceremony in KL, followed by a beach wedding at the colonial-looking Danna, Langkawi. Seriously, I consider this a 6-star wedding…not just because of the gorgeous location and beautiful decorations that adorned the venue, but because it had all the elements that made it special – a superb couple that was so easy to click with, really fun guests who made the party happening, and family members who treated us like… family. Most of the decorations were done by Roy and Pek’s friends and family members… amazing flower decorations by Pek’s aunt June and stationery by her friend Hooi Yee.

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Through out my stay at The Danna, my team were treated so well by the staff there. I appreciate it that they didn’t see us as merely vendors, and saw to our every need, making sure we had water to drink all the time, made sure we had a decent place to have our meals, brought us cutlery and even offered us home made butter when it wasn’t necessary! Needless to say, the team ate well and slept really really well the night before and after the wedding, which made us really happy campers!

I love it how Roy and Pek Yee blend so easily into each other’s culture. Swiss and Malaysian cultures are worlds apart, yet, they seem so at home with each other, and even speaking a little of each other’s language. Roy’s Mandarin is definitely better than mine, since I am a pure ‘banana’ as how Malaysians would put it (yellow on the outside, white on the inside – someone whose first language is English).

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So, they met in Shanghai, China about 3 years ago… and here’s how the story goes…

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Fraser Island, Australia with the Panasonic GX7

Early this month, I was invited to Fraser Island, Australia to test out the new Panasonic Lumix GX7. The first time I laid eyes on it, I fell in love! It has a beautiful vintage look that will look good with any outfit I wear, plus, it fit my small hands perfectly. Over 2 days, I had the privilege of going around Fraser Island with this micro four thirds camera and a huge range of lenses. Thank God the camera and lenses were light, so lugging around 7 lenses in my sling bag was easy-peasy! I would definitely consider this camera as a travel buddy.

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The landscape at Fraser Island is just so raw and untouched. It is the largest sand island in the world, with the beach stretching over 123km in length. What was interesting to me was the fact that the beach is actually a designated highway so there are signs saying 80km/hr is the max you can go!

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Now can you imagine this landscape with a couple in the photo? Darn, I wish we had models to photograph!

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All the photos in this post were taken with the Lumix GX7 – minimally edited. I was really amazed at the quality and colour of the images. The curse of being a photographer is that sometimes, your photos never get to see the light of day because you’re always wanting to ‘edit’ your images before posting them online. I mean, I have been guilty of colour grading every single travel photo before posting it to Facebook! Since the images that come out of this camera look superb already, hopefully, it’ll cure me of this ‘editing’ disease that every photographer faces.

The 90-degree tiltable Live View Finder also made shooting interesting since I could see things from a different perspective. (Plus, it made me look cool – do refer to the first image in this post). One thing I had to get used to was learning to focus on the touch screen, but with the focus peaking feature, it gave me the confidence knowing that the highlighted edges in an image are the parts in focus.

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Beach Wedding, Andaman: James & Brielle

It was the perfect setting for a summer romance. The venue: Penang. Two families from 2 different continents – James from UK and Brielle from Australia happened to meet by chance at the very same resort. They were 15… young, adventurous and naive. From the moment James said hello to Brielle by the pool side, they were inseparable for the week of the holiday.

What started out as a teenage holiday crush, turned into keeping in touch regularly as pen pals. Naturally, they took every opportunity to meet up whenever Brielle came to the UK to visit family as she was growing up. Soon, the teenagers grew up, and after a backpacking trip to the UK when Brielle was 21, they both realized that their teenage crush was more than just a crush.

It was then that they started a relationship. Their first holiday as a couple was in Langkawi, and so Malaysia was a place where many memories were born.

Brielle returned to Australia and James to UK…and 6 long months of being apart made things really difficult for the both of them. Unfortunately, things didn’t quite work out. But circumstances changed in 2008, when Brielle returned to the UK to live there. With some persuasion from James, they met up and rekindled that teenage romance once again.  From that moment on, they went on from strength to strength, and in 2011, he proposed.

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Beach Wedding, Andaman: John & Tiffany

He was there to attend his ex-roommate’s birthday party. She was fashionably late. A stranger to John. But the moment she walked through that door, his heart literally dropped. John had no idea who she was, how she was related to the birthday girl or what ethnicity she was, but all he knew was that he HAD to meet this girl. Throughout the night, he tried to be as close as possible to her so he could initiate conversation with this mystery girl. That was all he needed to motivate himself to ask her out on a date the next morning, at 6am when he got home!

Over the next few months, they went on numerous dates, but though they were really comfortable with each other, John never worked up the nerve to hold her hand till 4 months later. But after he started, he knew, from that day onwards, he could never let go of her hands.

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I only met John and Tiffany on the day of their wedding. They had flown all the way from the US to be wed at The Andaman, Langkawi. Some of their family members came from Hong Kong to witness the ceremony. When I walked into the room, Tiffany said to me, “Tell us if you need anything…Do whatever you need to get the shots.”

Yes! To me, that was like a free ticket to move furniture in order to get better photos, and the freedom to control timing so that I can give them the best possible coverage in the time we have together.

That day, I witnessed one of the most amazing sunsets I had ever seen in Langkawi. John and Tiffany, the day couldn’t have gone any better. Enjoy the wedding video highlight below, and the photos in this post!

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