Shooting personality on the ground without any prep

Adhoc challenge, client ask:”Ricky we need a portrait picture of her, can you help?”

Such last minute usually picks my brain, experience starts to kick in. However my gears were prep for covering the client’s event. At that moment i would love to have a 50mm with me because of the wide aperture to shoot indoor. I usually open it up to F/2 for portrait shoot.

So, this lady am requested to photograph. By the name of Nani Marquina, Founder of Avant-Garde spanish rug designer. Her company name, NaniMarquina . The rug product was awesomely appealing, lay the right designer’s rug across the floor and your entire house can sell for extra few thousands dollar. *self-thought*

Nani was friendly, yet at the time speaking to her. I knew her mind was busy with something else. She was polite at her reply, soft spoken, understand a bit of English. Is my first time shooting a Spanish, nationality don’t bother me. My job is to get a good photo. My time was limited, as usual.

Took many frames, directed her in different positions, observing where the light coming from, should i used a flash to bounce light off elsewhere. Too many technical adjustment but so little time. Still, i managed to pull it off.

As you see in the picture below, my final shot was to get her to sit on the rug she had designed. Her dressing was stylish as well, i love the shoes she’s wore. Her constant wide smile was loving my lens. Her personality already make half of my job done.

Enjoy this picture of Nani Marquina.

Drop me email if you like me to solve your picture problem.

Travel Collection – 3 in Sri Racha

How i learnt about Sri Racha was back in 2007, i was still learning the rope of the photography industry, more interested in the commercial aspect. I was asked to assist a photographer who is going to have an assignment in Thailand. It was my first time going to Thailand, was very excited about it at that point of time. Later i learnt we were going to Sri Racha to work for a few days. Where the hell is that??? That was then my first intro to the subdistrict town in the eastern part of the country.

Many years later, back in 2011 (has it been so long already). I travelled back to the less crowded town to pay a visit to my local friend. I took the opportunity to wander around as a tourist, more chill not too focus on making pictures. I did later transformed into a photographer mode and start my ‘hunt’.

Portrait of a local kid

Portrait of a local boy

Portrait of a young girl

Even thought my three subjects are children, i still treat them with respectful manner, more funky approach as well. Bear in mind good manner will influence others to be courteous and polite as well.

I approached each of them with a friendly smile, and with my fascinating broken Thai language, hand gesture was more universal at that point of time. Trying to engage with the kid for a while before i try to take pictures. I usually visualise how i want the picture to turn out, rather than pondering about how to compose the picture. Because i am not in a controlled environment, i never know what is going to happen next, the kid can suddenly dash off , or the parent calling for them. Is better for me to do it asap than been draggy, if the child still hang around, i can continue to take more pictures.

One tips to get their smile, is  to show the children their pictures on the LCD screen, they love it, their smile will appear if they did not smile initially. This method never goes wrong for me so far. Once that smile break open, quickly capture more pictures while they are smiling from the heart. You got yourself some great pictures.

Feel free to check out other of my travel collection articles.

1 in Beijing

2 in Bangkok

Same scene but different perspective

Scene #1

Scene #2

A little bit of background. The building architect is Iversen Van Sitteren & Partners. This building is name Shaw Tower. Standing along Beach road. A 35 storey tower building meant for offices and retails. Precast concrete panel fenestration allowed floor to ceiling gazing in the office units. It offer the building’s undisturbed views of the sea. Shaw Tower remains a distinguish feature in the commercial district today.

Look at the two pictures above. Am wondering which one do you prefer? Some may prefer both images. Some may not even like it at all for whatever reason. A few may choose one of the favourite from the two pictures. Sometimes it can be a headache to select the best picture out of the many. Let’s use this 2 pictures to have a quick discussion.

Scene #1 was the first picture i took. The light was great as you can see, the sky was in saturated blue which i totally love it. A bit of puffy cloud to add as an extra element on the sky. Sometimes i like to include a taxi vehicle inside my frame as my personal style of work. Common colours of taxi vehicles in Singapore are usually in red, blue and yellow. However, i dislike the tree branches on the left of the image. It seems to distract my main focus on the architecture.

Scene #2 i start to make improvement. I’ve adjusted my distance and composed in a way the tree branches is out of the frame. Now you can see the sky is completely in blue colour, the viewers can easily now focus it attention on Shaw Tower. However, there was no taxi at that point of time for my personal style of work. The flow of the traffic is hard to predict, sometimes many vehicles can come all in one time, making it hard to wait for a single taxi vehicle to appear even after a long wait.

What makes a striking image if i have to decide the best out of the two. I think a great photograph rely on line, shape, form, texture, pattern and colour. These are the basic elements of good composition. Every successful photograph rely on one or several of these elements, regardless of the subject.

As i am writing this now, i have a clearer perspective scene #2 would be my ideal choice. If you looked carefully at scene #2, 3 colours; blue, yellow and green caught my attention. And also without any distraction of the tree and vehicle on the road. The building is in a proper vertical manner for architecture photography work.

Case study for work problem and solution #1

Sharing my work experience regarding arising problem on set and creating solution. Photography is not just simply taking a camera and click a picture for the professional. Is also about solving problem and issue on the ground, giving solutions through varies suggestions. These requires with years of experience and handling the situation professionally.

Above is a picture last minute requested from the client to do a portrait picture, and i only have 2 wide angle lens with me, I choose the 16-35mm to capture this picture, another lens is 17mm fixed lens which is not suitable at all. Which explains the picture have more head space on top. Going in too near will cause distortion. In this way i have to make sure my perspecitve is correct. The next problem is there are no proper background inside the shop.I will have to choose an outdoor location with a narrow white wall available as the back drop. Make use of the available tight space and natural light to do this. And this is how the result turns out to be.

A decent picture solution! Click on my website for more great pictures!

Tall Buildings in Singapore

Recently on my Instagram, i’ve posted a series of high buildings in Singapore with over 200m tall. Capture these using a Canon camera, 17mm TS and a 70-200mm f4 lens. I love exploration and documentation series of pictures, is a great chance for me to do what i love.

Let's check out some of the tall buildings in Singapore Marina Bay Suites. Height is 227 metres. 🏢 66 floors. Am unable to show the tip of the building roof due to instagram sizing. 😵😵😵 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . #city_explore #tallbuilding #skyscraping_architecture #skyline #ig_great_pics #ig_worldclub #ig_world #unlimitedcities #world_shotz #worldbestgram #ig_great_shots #tv_buildings #rustlord_archdesign #rustlord_cityview #icu_architecture #singaporeinsiders #yoursingapore #exploresingapore #singaporeig #sginstagram #architecturelovers #ic_architecture #archdaily #captureasiaphotography #singaporearchitecturephotographer #marinabaysuites #kohnpedersenfox #skyscraper #condominium #lookingup_architecture

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Next in line of tall buildings in Singapore is AXA Tower, formerly known as Temasek Tower. One of the tallest cylindrical building in the world. Height is 235 metres. 🏢 52 floors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . #city_explore #tallbuilding #skyscraping_architecture #bluesky #ig_great_pics #ig_worldclub #ig_world #unlimitedcities #world_shotz #worldbestgram #ig_great_shots #tv_buildings #rustlord_archdesign #rustlord_cityview #icu_architecture #singaporeinsiders #sgarchitecture #exploresingapore #singaporeig #sginstagram #architecturelovers #ic_architecture #splash_oftheworld #captureasiaphotography #singaporearchitecturephotographer #skyscraping_magic #skyscraper #pocket_architecture #lookingup_architecture #epic_architecture

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Really appreciate all the LOVES!!

Exhibition Photography Coverage

1st half of 2016 did an exhibition photography for an overseas client, the requirement was to capture nice pictures of their exhibition set up at Singapore Expo. Capture Asia Photography previously had similar experience covering a much bigger scale exhibition for a very established event company in Singapore. Photographer Ricky Gui knew of the challenge and expectation needed. He was more well-equip over the years as well, this allows him to take very good perspective picture when limitation occur. In this job, time management is crucial, photographer sometimes need to reach the venue really early because there is more than 100 exhibition booths to document. In this assignment, the client walked through with the photographer because of their various brands and specification. Most photography job is not only to capture nice pictures, but also act as a problem solver at times for the client to achieve their aim.

Please check out these nice exhibition pictures below!

Experience in photography assignment a day before

I always enjoy helping people who is urgently in need of photography service, especially in the field of commercial photography. My forte is to capture pictures of corporate, industrial, architecture and interior work.

This year i had a few job requests, always 1 day, 20 hrs before. Standard practice is to issue quotation that state T&C. But due to urgency, no quotation was issued. Resulting in a lot of terms and conditions were not explained clearly. A lot of bad communication and promise happened which i don’t normally agree or do. which is NOT GOOD. I probably get too excited by the challenging job that is coming in, i love challenge. Challenge is a way to improve one man capabilities. It feels good to be helping client to solve their really URGENT problem quickly.

Pro photographer who take pictures for a living. May need to feed their wife, maybe 3 kids, fuel for other equipment to provide better service, fuel for faster computer so less time is spend on waiting for the file to process (waiting is always painful and not productive). Photographer is not only paid for their time spent from traveling from office to the location, start shooting from daylight to sunset, or agreed upon the number of  X hours to work. Client seldom understand there is a back end work that spent even more man hours than the actual shoot. That is the photo editing. The follow up to GREAT picture, VIBRANT COLOUR picture. The number of editing hours put in should be clearly factor into the cost in either explanation or state inside the quotation. Especially with the huge amount of files a pro shoot for job, it can easily store up to 8GB at least, for a less hectic day.

Back in office after a long day, load up the CF card in the computer. The time required to convert from RAW to either JPG, TIFF, DNG files. Is not a sprint of 100m. Follow up by the X hours of pictures editing can sometimes be  tremendous. THE WORST MISTAKE is when i told my client “Yes all the pictures will have very basic editing”. Which i later realise what the hell am i talking about, this is not my common practise!!!! You are thinking there is batch process in Photoshop. Sync it up Lightroom. But still, many set of images are different, there is still a need to run through it in detail. Such practice can easily fill up a full day to do editing depending on the requirement and difficulty requested by the client or the number of  X images. Am i paid in that area, usually nope, because editing of the images are pre selected by client is minimum, quality pictures. So by telling your client, “Yes all the pictures will have very basic editing”. Slitting my own throat.  Very bad and poor decision by me.  I think a spirit must have possess my body. 

Please, please do not let my fatal mistake runs into you. Is going to be extremely painful.

End of the day. Nobody wants to have an unhappy relationship with anyone, especially your client. Neither do you want to be unhappy with yourself because of these unnecessary s**t. Do not over promise and under delivery, it will reflect very badly on yourself. We are pay to solve client’s problem, not create more problems!

There are 2 solutions i can think of, either reject the job because preparation time is not enough and the brief is not clear and no quotation was given because time is short. If not you must prepare a quotation, state your T&C clearly and get client to sign before executing the job on the agree price.

There is still much more to share in my field, but at this moment of time. I feel silly + dumb = naive. Photography sometimes is really easy. Business, is cruel.

A motto for your consideration Work Hard, Work Smart, Work Fast.