WOHAb​eing Exhibition

Sharing some nice pictures of WOHAbeing exhibition, named Bonjour. WOHAbeing is a new design brand by the Singapore architect firm WOHA at Singapore National Design Centre. The exhibition had already made its way to Maison&Objet Paris in 2017 and was awarded Maison&Objet Designer of the Year.

For the first time in Singapore, WOHAbeing presented six collections of homeware that were developed in collaboration with five of their partners. WOHAbeing also held a photo competition on their Instagram page.

 

I took the opportunity to sharpen up my interior skill since it is a public event. The intern from WOHA were extremely friendly and professional in the products introduction and information. The freedom to roam around the exhbition various section was amazing, that suddenly reminds me of the time doing lots of SPACE Furniture product launch events for many wonderful years there.

I realize that was the time i fell in love with some of the product when i learnt about the story behind it, the complexity of making those high end luxury furniture products. No doubt the products were extremely expensive to me at least, but the design was beautiful and lasting, some were handmade, some were recycle material. Once i even had a rare chance to witness a craftsman weaving on a Wishbone Chair. The expensive price is not a put off for people who can afford it, but more importatly to appreciate the design, the idea behind it and the fine worksmanship.

I think a good piece of furniture that can resonate with the owner or the design of your home deserves a place. These products stay with you for a lifetime. Or even can hand it over to the next generation to understand the story and appreciate the beauty of it.

You can view the remaining images of WOHAbeing exhibition on my website.

Am an Architecture Interior and Industrial photographer based in Singapore.  Thank you for reading my blog.

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Jin Mao Tower Architectural Photography in Shanghai

I had a brief chance to witness Jin Mao Tower by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in Shanghai. Located at 88 Century Boulevard, Pudong, Shanghai, completed in 1998. The Jin Mao Tower is a 278,800 square-metre, 88-storey and a height of 420.5 metres. The skyscraper is used for incorporating offices, Grand Hayatt Shanghai hotel, retails, service amenities.

The tower recalls the traditional Chinese pagoda forms, the design is created in a rhythmic effect. Its​ metal and glass curtain wall reflects the constant change of sky. A very significant​ addition to the Shanghai skyline in the late 90’s. It was the tallest building in China and a masterpiece​ of Shanghai development and architecture.

Below are my 2 best pictures. Also, that was the only day with a vast of blue sky. As my time is limited in this trip, i only can make the best out of it from wherever i am in the area. But remember that certain type of photography is a patient game, such as landscape and architecture for example, requires a good lighting moment.


Jin Mao Tower is in the center


A close up of the facade, can clearly half of the moon from a whopping distance of 38,440km

When i first looked up, my jaw was opened. I mean, i don’t know which part of the world can you see three skyscrapers side by side. China is indeed exciting! Dump the bad mindset about China or complaining about the product quality. The new China’s city we see in future will continue to be so beautiful and stunning!

Pudong International Finance Building 2000

Interestingly, the Bank of China Tower in Shanghai used to have other names – Pudong International Finance Building and Zhong Yin Building.

 

The structure took 5 years to complete in the year 2000. Design by Nikken Sekkei. The architect collaborated with Shanghai Architectural Design and Research Institute to build a powerful element within the skyline of Lujianzui in the 90s.

The 53-storey tower provides​ an additional 70,000 square meters​ of office space to the financial district, the beginning of many skyscrapers later. The building is in​ a highly visible position. Located just near the timeless presence of the Orient Pearl TV Tower.

Today, the structure of Bank of China Tower is visible from The Bund, but with the progress of urban planning, the building somehow has been “scale down” by the surrounding extravagant neighbours​. More cluster of skyscrapers creates and ever-increasing anxiety along the Century Boulevard. there is a great competition for a unique identity on the skyline of the new America Wall Street.

The lower element appears as a monolithic square column, a massive base cut diagonally at about 1/3 of the height, which showcase a brightly polished slender oval tube that soars to more than 250m in height. At the crown, ​this polished sleeve pulls back to form an elegant arcaded corona.

The Best Picture is from your Backyard

Believe it or not is true.

Many photographers are always chasing for the next best pictures. Like me as well.  Photographers thought the next big picture must be somewhere special that requires to jet out from their country, the place must be super popular or, never been to. But that is more of a traveling and exploring new places experience than getting the next best picture.

The best picture i can personally think of is from my own backyard – the familiar neighborhood, the streets that i usually frequent, the hill that i always visited. These familiar places make my brain and body to be able to resonate with the surrounding.

For example

(1) Below picture used to be an old railway track is in-between Upper Bukit Timah Road and Hillview Ave, now is called the ‘The Green Corridor‘ after the rail track was removed years ago. Grasses started to grow across the path, joggers frequently ran here because of the greenery. Over time, the grasses formed into a trek in the center. I love how the trees were bending in an arch shape providing canopy. Each time when i jogged past here, i can’t help to notice the beauty nature has to offer. I know this scenic place must be captured by the camera. I don’t even need to go France or Korea for such a beautiful view.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(2) Every time i took a direct bus to Johor Bahru, i can’t help to notice this HDB block at Senja Gateway has layers of a walkway that resembles a wave. Because i had bypassed it so many times, the sight becomes so utterly familiar. I even know what is the timing of the best picture.

But that’s only the exterior i am interested in. Initially, i thought it was a super long walkway for the handicap that is meant for wheelchair. Until i explore deeper.

This walkway acts as a recreation park for the local resident to hang out. It has a beautiful greenery corner, seats for a family to rest their legs and enjoy the greenery opposite. Behind is a multi-storey carpark which connects back to the residential blocks.

           

 

 

(3) This architectural abstract picture was taken from my home kitchen. A depict of how daily life is in an HDB estate. The long streak of shadow showing the clothes was hanging out with a bamboo stick on the right. And the kitchen window on the left. This picture was also through daily observation to achieve this result, the best part is i don’t even need to step out from my house.

The best picture is all along in your backyard. In another way of putting, by knowing your places in depth, then you will be able to make the best picture for yourself.

To start it off, you don’t even need a camera at all. Go take a walk or jog in your area at various timing whenever you are free, exercise is good for your health anyway. Spend some quality time with yourself, you will unknowingly be practicing your observation skill. Slowly you begin to understand the scene or places a bit better – start to visualize or think how would you compose the picture, repeat the process. Over time, you will bound to find something worthwhile for a great picture.

Do share with me pictures and story in your neighborhood. Don’t restrict yourself, let your mind roam free, find or discover the hidden beauty in your backyard.

If you have any question feel free to drop me a message.

Hope you like it.


Scaling Down

Scaling down is not a bad thing. Scaling down at this moment is a huge relief for me.

“What are you talking about if i may ask?”

Capture Asia Photography is going to focus on 2 key services in 2018 onwards. Mainly focusing on Architecture Interior and Industrial Photography.

The previous business service in 2016-17 consists of corporate, portraits and event. In the earlier years before 2016 i was also presenting food portfolio as well. Here my thought that time, I have so many portfolios to showcase, i am going to be good with the various skillset, i am so talented because i can do so many things and am going to earn big bucks from different clients. I am going to cover the market with the various skillset i have. So basically, i was firing my “missiles” on everyone in the market! And now i realize, is wrong of me to think this way. I can’t get most of the client. Is painful.

Read on

The funny thing is I had this vision “To be the best architecture and industrial photographer in the world.” But in reality, i was power slamming conflict on myself, because i was offering corporate, portrait, architecture, interior, industrial, covering event service. And why i am offering these services is because of the money. Because of the money, i am providing services that conflict with my vision i had created “To be the best architecture and industrial photographer in the world.” Because of the money, i am providing a service but not to the point of extremely well. Somehow down the months i totally forgot about my vision and it stretches another year. I stop fulfilling my intention to be the best. I miss out the chance to focus on architecture and industrial photography because i was busy with other services that came along.

When i was called upon to do a corporate session. I was nervous. Why i was nervous is because i keep questioning myself whether my lighting will break down, will my lighting set up good enough, is my assistant available, will the client ask for a backdrop to be set up. I was creating these self-doubts and worry. Of course, i still did the job well and the client was happy about it from the feedback I’ve received.

Whereas, if a client wanted me to do an industrial photo shoot, for example, let’s say a logistic company needs pictures. I am happy and excited to go to the meeting with confident, that is lots of positive energy from the start. I know what to say, sharing expertise view, what are the things required from them. I am able to stamp my experience, expertise, and knowledge. I am in full control of the situation and that feels like giving a world-class service. During the photo shoot whatever hurdle that comes along the way i was more interested to solve it and gain that experience. So i am in a way solving their problem, giving a great service – which i call it a “Picture Solution for your business”.

It’s extremely hard to be the best in the world in various genres of photography. I absolutely love taking pictures. However not being an expert but jack of all trades is a waste of my time on this planet. To be good at just what you love, you got to focus your energy and time on it. Be a specialist and expert in it.

You may be thinking, “Ricky, you got 2 skillsets instead of one, you have architecture and industrial, isn’t that conflicting again?”

I did think about it, but my passion for this two genre is almost similar.

  • I am required to work outdoor regardless how hot the weather is.
  • I have the passion to explore and outdoor photography which requires a lot of walking.
  • I enjoy working by myself to have that peaceful moment when i am capturing the scene – the need to feel and interact with the subject is one of the keys to having captivating pictures.
  • I can crisscross my skill set between architecture interior and industrial photography to offer a unique perspective.
  • Both jobs are available for travel, i can easily bring my gears and laptop to work anywhere on this planet.
  • Both are capturing the building, except one is completed, another is in progress.

If you are targetting everyone on the market, you can’t get anything right. You can’t get the problem fix, there will be more problems instead of a problem. Look, I don’t want to be seeing a corporate client on Monday, food client on Tuesday, event client on Wednesday and editing on Thursday, Friday Saturday and Sunday busy with events.

Go think about it, i know my 11 years of photography is somehow wasted in a way. But hey, we pick up and learn rather than giving up. Is quite scary to hear how business fails after 1 year, 5 years and 10 years. And am going into 12 next year.

I refuse to be victimized again.

Good luck.

 

 Let the spark within you to ignite

The Mindset behind a Successful Stock Photographer

Here is an article i came across on Alamy about a photographer, his name is Keith and he is a natural editorial photographer who had earn $250,000 worth of stock photos to pay for his house. I am trying to learn about what goes into his mindset of his success? Hence i study his words carefully and wish to share my point of view with you about his success.

Here we go..

Natural Editorial Photographer?

This is the first time i heard of the term “Natural Editorial” I got no idea what is that suppose to mean. But he has positioned himself pretty well in the market, and is niche too!

Congratulations on hitting $250k Keith! Other photographers keep asking what your secret is, but is there one?

“A lot of hard work! But really it isn’t that difficult…just put in the hours, and keep your eyes and ears open for every opportunity that comes your way. Keep on looking and seeing and learning….and try to expand the range and style of work you have to offer. I’m fortunate in that I have a background as a newspaper and magazine photographer, so I’ve worked with picture editors for decades. It’s given me a much sharper eye for what sort of work is likely to be used in print.”

Hard work is inevitable. The harder you work the luckier you get. Keith had put in the hours and pounding on the open opportunity that comes his way.  You might be thinking, “come on he has a background as a newspaper and editorial photographer to his advantage, or he is well-trained and i can’t be liked him, or maybe he is just lucky.”

The good news is you can be like him selling tons of images even you aren’t a  photographer like Keith. All you have to do is to keep practicing, do what you love or your specialization, expose yourself to the right people and right market. Find out what the market what.


When you started with Alamy in 2006 did you give yourself a sales figure to aim for?

“My initial aim was to sell one picture a month. I got to that point after about 6 months. Then the target was one a week, then one a day…I got to one a week after about a year, and one a day on average maybe a year or so later. At the moment I’m selling around 80 images a month and my aim is to have zero ‘blank’ days in any month! I’m getting close…usually I only have one or two days with no sales (but I’ve probably jinxed myself now!)”

Keith had clearly set a target. Setting a target to define your path down the road to success. But many people fail to reach their goal is because they expect to see instant result or weeks down the road, and if they don’t see the result, they quit. Whereas Keith was persistently working hard and patient.

The cause and effect space out over time, there is no such thing as an immediate result, nothing is an instant. You have to learn to be patient and keeping working on your belief, there will be hurdles and emotion, success is a roller coaster ride. Jack Ma right from the start believe in e-commerce in China is possible, but only a handful believed in him. He and his small team persist in his dream and more than a decade later he became very successful.


What makes a saleable image?

“Good question! In my experience it’s images that have a clear message, that are easy to read, not over-cluttered, and which have an immediacy about them. Think about what the ‘issues’ are and make images that really illustrate them well. If I had a better answer then I’d be selling far more than I do!”

Keith understand what the market wanted, and he clearly provides the need for the market demand, sell it to the market and make tons of money. Earning $250,000 is a lot of money from stock pictures in my opinion. I see Keith is going to become a millionaire if keeps doing it.


 

Over the years i have seen more people fail to live a living through stock photography. What is the reason behind the failure, what are the public opinion about the stock industry?

The general public opinion of stock photography industry.

  1. People are saying the market is shrinking, do not go into stock photography because it is too saturated.
  2. Everyone that has a camera is submitting pictures to sell. The market has too many similar pictures to offer.
  3. I got less income from stock pictures there are so many pictures out there.
  4. My stock picture is not selling, i am going to share this news to everyone and let them know is not worth the time and effort.
  5. The system keeps rejecting me to submit, ok I give up.
  6. The stock industry is too crowded with photographers.
  7. Stock agency is using my picture to make more money from them than themselves.

You get my drift right, lots of excuses, shitty reason.

Do not play the victim game. Do not blame the agency. Be responsible for your own result. I had to admit i had go through the process of playing the victim game, blaming on something to justify my failure and not be responsible for my result in other ways.

Keith is a successful photographer who doesn’t copy other people. Successful people like him create things differently. The mass market sways your mind easily. You need to form your own view to stand out from the rest of the mass. I can tell you only a handful shall make it and able to make a good living out of it.

I define a good living means you are doing what you love and making lots of money. Work towards a joyous feeling to wake up each day to do what you love.

Good luck.

 

How my pictures turn out in an Annual Report

I am always eager to see how the pictures i captured for a company annual report turns out in an annual report. Been an annual report photographer, it doesn’t mean all the time i have to drag my gears to the mother company, set up the lighting to do some half body or headshot. Depending on the type of service the company is providing. I can also be heading down to a no public access facility, a shipyard, or on the vessel to capture a series of images to tell a story.

After the whole photo shoot process is completed, i will send the images to the agency or company through my website. They will be able to download all the high-resolution images, start to figure out which picture best and how to fit into the annual report book. I am always curious how the picture is cropped and blend into the book design.

Branding is very important for the company – branding is one of the many important ingredients for any business.  Branding can be seen as a sign, company name, symbol, logo, design etc. The branding of the company needs to reach out to as many people as possible in their related industry or target audiences for example. Capture Asia Photography photographer Ricky Gui (myself) not only capture pictures of the company requirement but also constantly aware of the client’s company branding as well. Is not easy to photograph a scene that always must a branding within the picture.

For the four annual report pictures below, the client chooses pictures that emphasis a lot on their company name on their vessel. Images were mainly cropped into a long rectangular shape for the annual report design. I have to say the designer did a very good job!

 

Just some memory recapped to share: It was a 2 days photoshoot at a local shipyard. The client’s vessel was docking in Singapore for a while for a maintenance service. I was there by 7am and went up to the “monkey island”. The view was spectacular like this.

The vessel was more than a football field long. The height of the vessel is about 4-5 storey. I was walking and climbing so much during those 2 days just on a vessel itself. I was excited and doing my best to get as many great pictures as possible. This was also my first time doing a photoshoot on an oil vessel. All the visual aspect and scenes in the surrounding intrigued me. Despite the hot weather, the energy within me did not falter for the 2 days.


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Tear Sheet

noun
noun: tearsheet
  1. a page that can be or has been removed from a newspaper, magazine, or book for use separately.
It always feels surreal to me yet the love to see my picture that came to “live” in a print at whatever medium did by the client.
 A corporate photography in Singapore, the client flew in from Thailand to facilitate the photo shoot. The photo shoot had a lot of good discussion regarding the various type of art direction. It was supposed to be a full day shoot but the man in the picture was busy and only have half a day. My job is to get the best out of it as quickly as possible within that few hours. By the end of the photo shoot, the client was happy with the result back in her Thailand office. Is great the client later gave me a testimonial too.
I used 2 lighting set up in the whole process. Is either one main light on the subject and a background light that bounces off the side wall or ceiling. If not i put on the reflector to bounce it off the wall to light up the working office. Various type of ways to do it depending on the effect i wanted.

I am at a local clubhouse that has over a hundred years history in Singapore. The clubhouse wanted to thanks the support of their members and also wish them for the coming festive season. They wanted to have a cover page and a subpage for their upcoming editorial.

I set up 1 light on each side to light up the group picture. I purchased the biggest ever white cloth as a backdrop. My game was to get everyone to smile within a single frame so the designer would not need to exchange the head. The poses were a more challenging factor, there were many minor adjustments to make the picture look awesome, feel of gratitude and happiness. Overall everyone was spontaneous, had good fun and laughter in this session. When the magazine was released, i thought the designer did a fantastic job on the creative end.

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The Most Famous Photograph on the Computer

Here is a video story (below) of the most famous photograph, ‘Bliss’. A computer wallpaper that appears on each Window XP since its first release in Oct 2001. We all know the Microsoft no longer support Window XP since April 2014. But ‘Bliss’, that beautiful wallpaper had already seen billions of people by then. However, the story behind the picture is remarkable. I know this may be old news for some of your, some may already forget, but please read a bit more about it if you don’t know the story behind it.

The man behind the photograph of ‘Bliss’ is an American photographer, Charles O’Rear. It was my first time watching this video a few minutes ago. His story somehow touches deep into my bones. His sharing makes think about how landscape photography process should be like. It should be an enjoyable slow process, returning various time or season to photograph a particular scene. Sometimes the best view appears at the least unexpected moment.

I think a stunning and memorable landscape image requires various ingredients to be a successful picture. The photographer needs to practice – patient, understanding, timing, risk factor, marketing to the right company, able to resonate with people.

Enjoy this video about the story behind the wallpaper if you have not watch it.

On a side note. I think the world today is moving at a very fast pace, the client only demands results quickly and expect images to deliver as soon as possible. But, do they care about the process of photography, the purpose, idea or meaning of the picture in a deeper level. Do people even care about it because is just another picture in the world of the internet? After watching this video. I feel I want to photograph pictures that serve a meaning, a good purpose, photograph that brings value to your business. A photograph that has value, create happiness, memorable or documentation for a specific purpose, all for a lifetime.