Portrait Photography Singapore
you just need to appear pretty in photos.
We will work on it together.
I do all kinds of portrait shoot, such as bridal, casual couple, conceptual, fitness, lifestyle, fashion, modelling portfolio, boudoir, art... etc.
The albums on this page are listed in order of the date of shoot, from newest (top) to oldest (bottom). Each album may contain multiple themes and various number of photos. Click the photo to view its full set of photos and write-up about the model and the shoot.
Disclaimer: The write-ups for each individual album/model are limited to the interaction with the models between the planning phase to the delivery of the final photos. As no one is perfect, I do not imply that my models are flawless. Most of them are especially nice and trustful towards me because they bother to find out about me and that I show them respect during the shoots.
Bringing the best out of every model
Most of my models (clients and friends) are not professional models. Portraiture shoot is not about getting the most beautiful model to work together but how the photographer can bring the best out of the model; it is about the transformation even though most people could and would only look at the final product. Photography is also about capturing the moment to implant the desired impression and improving the visual pleasure of the viewers.
Without doubt, working with an appealing model has an edge over working with an average one. However, I do like to challenge myself, as long as the model is willing to cooperate fully.
"What shines through most is the model's personality while her looks complement it beautifully."
What makes my work stand out
Natural, tasteful, beauty.
I personally think my work are still far from perfect but I'm glad that I have produced the quality of work so far with the challenges. If you go through my portfolio above in details, you will observe these:
Natural and tasteful
My work leans towards lifestyle and casual for non professional models, which gives a more natural feel; most importantly, almost every inexperienced model (most of my clients don't have any/much experience) will feel comfortable. My vision is about tasteful work and thus even my glamour or boudoir shoots will turn out to be stylish and not sleazy (like porn). My models trust my professionalism and thus, eliminating the usual awkwardness between photographers and models who have not met before. I'm looking into more varieties of shoots, especially art and conceptual shoots.
I usually go for the softest light possible to make the model look more beautiful. As brightness is one of the main aspects that will draw human's eyes to the portion of a photograph, I always try to keep my subjects' faces properly lighted, unless I want to create a specific kind of feel (eg. moody). These are very challenging as my load for each portrait shoot can weigh from 16kg to 27kg or more, depending on individual situations. Not many photographers are as "crazy" as me.
Focusing on model
For most of the shoots, I tend to focus on my models by filling up the frame with more of them instead of placing them tiny inside the photographs because they are the most important subjects. A portraiture photograph is pointless if the friends and family of the model cannot identify the model due to him or her appearing too tiny inside. Capturing good expression is so much more important than drawing the viewers' eyes to the scenery.
For photographs that require advanced editing (depending on individual client) during post-production, I work towards commercial standard, being very detailed, such that the photographs will look good even in big print (high resolution). I know the basic stuffs to be edited and how not to be over-edited. My goal is to keep the photographs look natural and "unedited". This certainly requires more effort and time.
Perfecting my portrait shoot
Planning and planning!
I care a lot about the hairstyle, makeup, wardrobe, poses, expression, setting (background), composition and lighting. I oversee the entire production process, from the planning of the theme to the outfits (including inner wears), props, location and timing of shoot, to ensure the highest quality of product as seen on my portfolio.
It takes a lot of time and effort to plan and execute in order to produce good photographs. The cooperativeness of the model can determine the outcome, especially for outdoor shoot. There are always unforeseeable situations but we can reduce the impact by doing proper planning and not simply counting on luck.
Manage expectation - understand and advise model
Discussions usually take up lots of time and effort, and spread over days. To begin with, some models may not know what they exactly want. In order to understand more about their preferences, I will spend a lot of time to have causal chats with them. I always try to find out more and advise them against any plan that may reduce the quality of the photographs or if they exceed the limitation.
Problems: Some models are more suspicious of others, especially male photographers, and thus there may be problems with communication. Without finding out more about the model's expectation and preferences, the photographer will definitely feel lost. Besides, some models may have unusual expectations that do not follow the trade's rules.
Wardrobe can make a big difference and they should not only fit the models' looks but also the theme and background, in terms of both design and colour. For example, I will not want my model to wear the shirt that has similar colour as the background unless the theme requires her to camouflage. During discussion, I get my models to take photographs of themselves in the outfits to ensure the outfits are suitable and usable.
Problems: Some models do not have a five-minute time to snap a picture of the wardrobe for me (the photographer) and makeup artist to visualize the looks before the shoot. As a result, the design of the wardrobe does not match with the actual theme or the colour is different. There are also times when the model cannot find the wardrobe right before the shoot or she realises the wardrobe is no longer fitting for her. Sometimes, the model also has very limited varieties of clothes or she thinks she has any clothe that the photographer can name.
Hair and Makeup
Hairstyle and makeup are decisive factors to the success of the shoot on the model's part. Without proper hair and makeup done, the result will be undermined no matter how good the photographer is. I always give feedback on the model's self grooming and try to involve a hair and makeup artist (HMUA) in the shoot.
Problems: Some models are on a tight budget while some are over-confident of their own skill and thus do not see the need to engage a hair and makeup artist. However, without the help of a good hair and makeup artist (HMUA), there will not be a big transformation in looks. Although some models are able to do their own styling, the results will never be as good as those done by professional hair and makeup artists - otherwise, there will not be demands for these talents. Makeup is not only about hiding flaws, it is also the ability to enhance features. To add on, photographers are not makeup artists and there are also limitations to editing work in Photoshop even if the model is willing to pay for the additional time.
If the model is not a professional model, she is likely going to feel awkward. Depending on the theme, I may suggest using props to help the model feel more comfortable during the shoot.
Problems: Some props are expensive. Not all models has high creativity to make full use of the props. Besides, it is difficult to not repeat using of props.
I'm usually more lenient in the location and give options for the model to choose. However, depending on the day and time, there may be more photobombs around in certain locations. The model may also feel awkward when there are too many spectators.
Problems: Singapore is over-populated and thus there are photobombs in most outdoor places. The development is also very fast that some good places are being developed.
Every location has its golden time for shooting due to the sun's direction and strength. There are also general golden hours for outdoor shoot and I always stick to them to ensure the best quality photographs possible; I do not pack my shoots such that I need to shoot at bad timing.
Problems: Some models have too packed schedule for an outdoor shoot that the time of the shoot is least flattering or they can only shoot during weekends when most places are more packed.
Professional lighting means less mobility
Lighting up faces properly, shaping them and creating a contrast against the background will often require the use of artificial light. In order to get better artificial light, heavy and bulky equipment are required. It takes time and effort to set them up and dismantle them. After setting them up, they become bulkier and thus more tedious to move around. Therefore, if you are seeking for professional lighting, you will need to have at least a photographer assistant and expect lower quantity of photographs and fewer locations.
Example: Lighting a model with bike at night
This photograph was taken using a mobile phone. There was one main continuous white light at the top. The dim orange/warm light on the right was produced by the street lamps of the carpark that were quite a distance away. It was not ideal for this shoot to have two colours for it would be distracting. The scene looks bright enough due to the high ISO setting, which had resulted in noisy image that I would avoid. Even at high ISO, the ambient light would be insufficient to light up both my subjects properly and the direction of light was not what I wanted.
Since the white light was not going to be included in the scene, I decided to eliminate it totally. In this way, I could also keep the ISO low for cleaner photographs. As the orange light was dimmer than the white light, they were eliminated as well. This photograph would be in total black if not for my main light on my right. The left side of the photograph was dark and the model seemed to be blended in.
I added in my second light at the left back, which would act as the hair light to separate her hair and right side of her body from the dark background, such that she would stand out. The hair light actually simulated a street lamp shining downwards.
Note: The mood of this shoot was supposed to be edgy and thus I increased the power of the main light.
Since I wanted the focus to be on the model and the bike, I added in a honeycomb grid to the main light so that the light was more directional and it would not light up the background on the right. After limiting the main light's direction, the back of the bike was in the shade of the model.
Note: As the space was very tight and I wanted to use a narrower angle on my lens, I actually had the bike shifted nearer to the wall to allow more space between me and the two subjects.
Since the bike was one of the two main subjects, I added in a filled light on the left to slightly light up the back of the bike.
Note: Due to the lack of equipment (I was injured and didn't want to bring too many things along), the filled light was more scattered and thus a wider area was slightly lighted up as well.
All the sample photographs above are converted directly from raw images - unedited. Although some effects can be done in Photoshop, professional photographers will always try to get everything correct during the shoot. The reasons are: (1) editing may take longer time, (2) there will be repeat of editing work if a scene has more than one selected photographs and (3) there are chances that the photographers would make mistakes and allow viewers to spot the "photoshopped work".
As any step the model takes will change the exposure on her quite significantly - nearer to light source means brighter and further away from the light source means darker - and thus movements will be more limited. If the photographer wants to try shooting from different angles (to be more creative), some of the lighting equipment may appear inside the photograph and thus have to be shifted/changed and the power has to be adjusted accordingly, which will require testing of light again.
After the equipment is being set up, they become bulky on top of the (heavy) weight. Since it takes time to set up and dismantle them, it will be problematic to shift the location unless there are assistants around to help carry them. Given that the second location is a long distance away or require using vehicle, the equipment has to be dismantled and kept.
Of course, it depends on individual situation (e.g. location, number of locations, amount of ambient light, direction of ambient light and the mood that the photographer wants to create) for the number of artificial light to be set up. Unfortunately, in most situations, the budgets don't include the much needed assistants and time to do with more professional equipment that are essential to produce better lighting.