Friday, October 31, 2008

Stuck in a rut

My last post for October comes on Halloween! Yvonne (Kayden's godma) aka Lianmei, one of my best friends from QUT gave birth to her first baby today! Her name's Chloe Ting and I'm going to see her tomorrow, will post some pics :D Congrats Nic & Yvonne!!!

Lately I've been feeling kinda stuck in a rut about photography and the business. Nothing negative, I still enjoy the job and business has been good but I feel I am lacking of a goal. How do I put it? I feel that I am going nowhere. I would like to do more meaningful things through photography. I shared my thoughts with a few friends and one of them suggested I do some volunteer work, she mentioned Operation Smile.
Their purpose: Throughout Asia, Operation Smile Singapore volunteers repair childhood facial deformities while building public and private partnerships that advocate sustainable healthcare systems for children and families. Together, we create smiles, change lives, heal humanity.

I have emailed them to offer myself for volunteer work as they requested for professional photographers. Haven't heard from them but I feel quite excited about this :) Hope they reply soon.

Another fellow photographer Hart suggested to me that we should both hold an exhibition with donations from it going to charities of our choice. I thought this is a wonderful idea as well! Perhaps we can pick a selection of our work and get them printed on canvas and auction them off during the exhibition with proceeds going to charity. That will be so cool! Personally, I would prefer a children or women related charity as they are the foundation of my work and I would like to "give back".

What do you think of these two ideas? Hopefully I can do both :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Happy 20th Ashley!

Ashley turns 20 today! So young my goodness :s I am almost 15 years her senior kekeke! Anyway we celebrated her birthday last friday. Got her a cake from Awfully Chocolate since she likes chocolate and we had a simple lunch in as we had shoots till quite late.

Happy Birthday Ashley! May your dream of becoming a top wedding photographer come true soon! Here's wishing you all the very best in whatever you do and remember to dream BIG always! :)

Here are some photos from the Lumix with studio lights.

Just look at the greedy baby! :p

Who you calling greedy mummy?

Just a little taste please? *smacks lips*

I am dreaming of the cake... :D

Comon! Let me at em!

What do you mean I have to wait a few more months???

Make a wish!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Baby's firsts

Baby Dylan had his first haircut on monday! Daddy used the electric clipper and although not perfect, my little boy looks superduper boyish and oh so handsome with his new do :)

He had another first today, he fell :( The THUD still echo in my head when I recall the incident. Sigh, "SO CARELESS!" I kept shouting to myself. I was cooking and left him on the sofa with Daddy and Kayden, reminding them to please look after the baby as he can flip now. Next minute I heard that loud thud and then Dylan's screams :'( I ran out fast as a lightning and screamed at Erwin who had left baby's side to look at something outside the window. Just goes to show it only takes a second for accidents to happen and although I kept blaming the daddy, I know I was responsible as well. I should NEVER have left him on the sofa, NEVER have trusted a toddler to watch him and NEVER assume that any situation is safe since it's just for awhile.

There's a small red bruise on his forehead but other than that he's ok. Took awhile to sooth him but he's a tough cookie and back to his jovial self after his bath :D Actually, Kayden too had a little accident on monday while we were at the sushi place, he pushed the lever for the hot water and his hand got burnt by the water. Despite his cries and big droplets of tears, he can still nod when I asked if he wanted chocolate ice cream :s HAHA! Kids!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Her er Emma aftur

So far I have shot 2 Icelandic clients. First one is Emma whose mum is Singaporean and daddy is Icelandic. Second is Thor who was the cover model for a magazine cover we shot last year. His mum is Icelandic and his dad is a Hongkonger. Anyway I digress. I was most intrigued when Emma first came for her shoot last year as I knew very little about Iceland (except that there's a city named Reykjavik which I came to know some years back when I watched a film "101 Reykjavik") and was surprised that there are Singaporeans living there! Anyway Emma's mum Angela and I have been keeping in touch via emails and Facebook so when they came back to Singapore for a holiday this month, I was happy to welcome them back for another shoot :)

3 generations, yes that's a VERY young looking grandma!

If you are wondering what the post title mean, it's Icelandic for "Emma again".

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Chestnut out, Almond in

For the longest time, our backdrop colours have been white, black and a dark brown one we call Chestnut. Whilst the white and black rolls have been changed a few times, the chestnut has been surviving the torture from all the Little Big Shots we've shot over the years. It's so torn and creased and we do love it's rugged looks but most parents wouldn't want a torn backdrop in their children's portraits so we decided to change it. Do welcome our new colour - Almond.

As usual Dylan is the guinea pig, here he is looking so utterly cute :p

the trademark wrinkly nose smile :)

I "painted" in the flowers digitally, does it look real?

And this is one of the coolest family I've ever shot. Both Mum and Dad sport tattoos on their bodies and while chatting with mummy, I learnt that daddy has a high risk job handling nitrogen, how dangerously interesting!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

LX3 rocks!

Here are some test shots from the Lumix shot last weekend. All straight out of camera JPGs, no editing done. Shot at ISO 200 on Aperture priority mode.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Godly Studio

They say cleanliness is godliness.
I have to say I have always been an untidy person. My dad and husband will agree vehemently! Not that I am proud of it but I have never had a tidy desk in the workplace, nor a tidy bedroom, nor a tidy wardrobe, nor a tidy bag, not even a tidy desktop on my computer! :s And obviously the studio is not so tidy too hehe :p

Well since our move from Devonshire, we have been busy shooting and processing that we haven't really done any space planning and thus there are still boxes lying about with photo frames not put up yet etc. Yesterday I took the first steps to start getting organised by going to Ikea with Dylan in the pouch, Charlene and my in laws in tow too. We managed to buy some shelving and filing cabinets, a new reception table and a wardrobe for the fabrics in the studio. Furniture arrives tomorrow then the fun begins.

***edited on 29th Oct to include the photos below, all taken with the LX3***



check out the gigantic canvas we printed on the left wall :p it's 1.5m x 0.75m!

and that's our new open concept wardrobe on the left

We also changed the backdrops today. The chestnut background has now been replaced with an almond one. It looks great lighted, sort of a happy pale yellow. As usual our demo unit Dylan was shot against it once we got it up. Will post a photo soon.

Anyway we look forward to welcoming you to our newly improved and godly studio :)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Flipping Four

My baby boy is 4 months old today! In the week leading up to this day, he has been sleeping less, crying and drinking more, shedding his lovely locks and *drum roll* he has learnt to flip all by himself!!! Clever boy :D He's different from other babies who flip from their backs to front, this fella flips the other way because 95% of his time is spent being on his tummy (yes, he still loves to sleep and ONLY sleeps in this position).

In my frustration at not being able to capture his flips and hearty chuckles on video with my N73 or iPhone, I went out and bought the Lumix DMC-LX3 today after my last shoot at the studio (which was another marathon saturday, 6 shoots! I'm poofed out)! I can't wait to test out the HD video function on this nifty camera :)

Now that he has reach his 4th month, I am trying to recall if I started Kayden on solids at this age? hmmm, I think it should be 6 months before we should introduce solids ya? Good lord, my memory is failing me. But anyhow, I think he's still quite healthy and chubby and shall wait another month or so before I start him on solids.

He is starting to be very observant of his surroundings, due to his rapidly developing eyesight. In the car, he will check out the prints on the car seat, staring hard till he's crossed eyed. Even the sunlight falling onto the car door panels will cause him to stare and try to touch them with his little fingers which are now very good at pinching you or grabbing a bunch of your hair! Watch out! :p

The Quinny Buzz I bought him a couple months ago has gone largely unused as he screams bloody murder each time we try to put him in it! pffft! I was thinking, what a good waste of $888 :s Then last week we discovered that he will not protest if we put the seat upright! Why didn't we try that earlier duh!

He's talking more now, loudly even but no real meaningful words as yet which I can pick out. Oh actually there's a couple, it's "Hi!" and "Harrooo". I swear he says hi because a few of my clients have tried to talk to him during their shoots and he has responded with "hi" a few times to their astonishment hahaha! Oh in case you are wondering, he sleeps in a playpen that's in the studio area near the props shelf. The other day a Bloom client's husband was innocently sitting near the playpen watching his wife as I shot her when he heard some shuffling (that's Dylan shaking his butt while he sleeps) coming from there. He peered into the pen and exclaimed, "Is that a real baby?!?!" Wah lau, of course la! Hahahah!

Some quirks of my sweet boy:
- Before bathtime, when I pull your onesie over your face, you will smile as the fabric goes over your face :)
- You will cry most pitifully (and loudly) when I (or anybody) raise my voice or when another baby cries.
- When we roll you over onto your back after you awake, your face will light up with joy and you will wriggle your fat body as your laugh and coo to us. This is SO TOTALLY ADORABLE! I call this your happy dance :D
- When I kiss your tummy or under your chin, you will break up in chuckles and guffaws. I can't help doing this for at least a few minutes because I love to hear you laugh!
- After night feeds when I don't turn you back onto your tummy, you will sometimes wake up and make sure I do by giving some short cries for help or kicking me. Usually as I turn you over, you will give out a little burp.
- Talking about burps, you gave some of your loudest ones this month!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Lumix DMC-LX3

Our first digital camera was the Canon G1 (a real digital dinosaur now as they just launched the G10!) and back then I thought it was such a great compact digicam as it has some manual settings and a LCD screen that can be flipped and rotated. We have not bought another point and shoot since then (if you don't count the HP one which Erwin got at staff price while he was still working for them) and I am now contemplating the latest offering by Panasonic, the Lumix DMC-LX3 which boasts slightly better features over the G10 (which I would have considered instead had I not come across the LX3).

In short, the LX3 has:
- A Leica 24-60 F2.0-2.8! yes, f2! For all the zoom geeks, this is not for you as it stops at 60mm on the long end.

- Full HD video recording! Whoo hoo! :D Time to say bye bye to my N73 (what I have been using to capture videos of my kids as my iPhone has NO video recording capability)

- Full MANUAL settings!

- A 3inch LCD

- 3:2 or 16:9 format, NICE! (my G1 and most other compact digicams has the 4:3 format)

- RAW shooting!

- High ISO up to 3200 but I wouldn't shoot that high on a compact, max 800.

I first heard about this camera from one of my favourite blogs and then I google for a review and this is the best one by a photographer.

You may ask why I need to get this as I already own a couple of DSLRs. Well, other photographers may find joy in lugging their DSLR everywhere they go but I don't. If it's a shoot yes I'll bring out all the gear necessary but for ordinary days out with the family or with friends, who needs that heavy bag to add to what I have to lug around on a daily basis already? Namely, 1 x 8kg baby, 1 x 3yr old toddler, 2 x diaper bags, 1 x personal bag, 2 x baby carriers, 1 x stroller and 1 x husband.

So that's why I need a compact camera - for all the other moments in my life when I do not have my DSLR with me. And so far the LX3 seems the best choice for me :)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Where's Ah Fang?

Since March of this year, my Punggol home have had the wonderful cleaning service of Ah Fang. She comes fortnightly and she's the best part time cleaner ever! My kitchen and bathroom looks spanking new after she's done with them and the floors are so squeaky clean your feet lingers on them just a tad bit longer :p

I got Ah Fang's contact from a thread on the Punggol Forum. On 1st September, Ah Fang came to our place as usual around 5pm and cleaned the house for 3 hours. I was bathing the baby when she left so I didn't get a chance to say goodbye. Little did I know that this will be the last time I see her :( Since that day, Ah Fang has not showed up at our place. And she's always punctual. Her phone is permanently on voicemail now and my message remains unanswered. When she didn't show up the first time, we thought she must have fallen ill so we didn't call her, thinking she needed rest. Then when we didn't hear from her the next day, I gave her a call and it was directed to voicemail. I tried a few times for the next few days and it's always the same. One time, the automated voice says that the mailbox is full. Then we started to entertain bad thoughts, maybe she stole something? A quick rummage through my drawer dismiss this accusation. Hmmm, maybe there was a family emergency back in China (Ah Fang is from China, married to a Singaporean and has 3 kids). As the days became weeks and her phone remains on voicemail, we began to think the worse. Was she one of the 3 murdered china nationals in Yishun? Ah Fang lives in Yishun. But the names of the murdered victims did not tally with hers.

Arrrrgh! Where are you Ah Fang? I hope you and family are ok. Please if anyone of you who has your home cleaned by Ah Fang and knows what has happened to her or know how we can contact her again, please let me know. Thanks.

Just tried her number again, still on voicemail...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Trying out - Textures

Seems like textures are the rage at the moment. They work better on non-studio shots but I tried some on this fabulously cute Little Big Shot Shevon, and they look great :) Maybe it's her adorable face...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Netherclefts

Andy and Hollie came to The Studio Loft for their Bloom shoot late August of last year. I was slightly nervous midway into the shoot when I realised through my conversation with them that he's the group head for an advertising agency :p "Oh my god!", I thought to myself, "He'd probably be scrutinising every shot later when they are making their selection, I must shoot well!". I think I did ok because they both seemed pleased with the shots, phew :) Hollie was a radiant preggy and I love her natural curls in contrast to Andy's shaved head :D

Three weeks after Tabitha was born, they brought her in for a newborn shoot. If I was stressed before the shoot, you should see her parents. Hollie was about to break down as a jaundiced Tabitha continued to fuss throughout the shoot and Andy looked like he hasn't slept in days.

Then last week, the Netherclefts brought Tabitha for a shoot on her first birthday! I was excited to see her and goodness, she has grown into such an adorable and pretty little darling. So chubby too compared to how she looked at 3 weeks old :p Andy and Hollie were looking great too! Haha! Andy's mum was on holiday here and she joined in the fun.

On days like this, I feel great about my job! The wonderous journey from pregnancy till the first birthday of the baby captured on camera. Thank you Andy and Hollie for letting me photograph some of your big moments in life.