I may not come from a wealthy family to kick off my photography dream early but I am lucky to have met many generous and kind people who have helped me along my photography journey.
Tricia Lee was a full-time commercial make-up artist who had worked with many professional photographers and talents before quitting her job to take care of her three children. She has been taking up ad-hoc make-up jobs but often has to turn down requests due to her tight schedule. Even though she isn't an enthusiast of cameras and lenses, she's trained to see results. She even has the skill to guide models during photoshoots.
Tricia had been spending time going through photos with me to guide me on the outlook and poses of the models. Without her, I could never learn to spot obvious errors in models so quickly. Under her guidance, I've learnt more than other photographers.
Benson is my ex-polytechnic classmate and army platoon mate. He moves into professional photography much earlier than me and has since built up his knowledge. He has been sharing photography knowledge with me unselfishly and even spent two lunch times getting the necessary photography equipment to start off my professional photography journey. To me, he's a smarter search engine than Google as he could always give me straightforward and accurate answers, unlike websites that go on top of the search list because of Search Engine Optimization.
Nat Neo Wei Tat
Nat Neo is my old-time volleyball buddy who has never failed to be thoughtful and generous. He was the person who had encouraged me to take the first step out. He helped me to get my first decent camera (Sony NEX F3, mirrorless) with a staff discount and lent me gear to test. Without him, I would probably still be playing with semi-pro cameras without knowing what are aperture, shutter speed and ISO.
My elder brother was the person who introduced me to PhotoShop long before I took up professional photography. It was a good head start compared to people who knew nothing about the software and did not know how to even get started. A photographer without PhotoShop is akin to a cripple.
Tay Lay Hong
My mum is a seamstress and thus she's able to help me to fix some of my broken tools, including my poor budget light stand bag. On top of these, she's helped me to customise accessories like bands for securing colour filter gels on my speedlites. Being a poor photographer, I manage to save a lot because of her.
Gold's Gym Singapore
My two good friends, Tze Khit and Bobby Tan, from Gold's Gym Singapore, have given me unconditional help whenever I need a space to build my makeshift photography studio or even a gym. They are very busy businessmen and sometimes I feel very bad for being a "burden". On top of this, they also give me advice on running businesses.
My Assistants / Chauffeurs
Jonathan Tan Guoxin
My Clients and Models
Thanks to my clients, hair and makeup artists (HMUAs) and models who have trusted me, photography skills and professionalism!
My models consist of my friends and clients. Most of them are non-professional models, except for a few who may have some experience in freelancing. When I was a beginner, there were countless opportunities for me to do practical work for event and party photography but not portrait photoshoots. It was very gracious for any model to work with a new portrait photographer, knowing there was a low chance to get excellent photos. Out of ten friends I had approached online, nine of them would either ignore me, reject me or pretend to be interested before going MIA (missing in action). There was one who replied to me that she would only shoot with a professional photographer. Therefore, I really appreciate my models who are not interested in modelling but have worked with me purely to help me.
Family and Friends
My family and friends have given me numerous chances to heat up my camera. I'm also thankful to friends, especially my volunteering gang, who have not blamed me for holding onto the camera most of the time instead of helping out with the work.
Kaiwei and friends - Thinktank backpack
Chan Seng Hwee (my uncle) and wife - Canon 600 EX-RT
Gold's Gym Singapore - Space for makeshift studio and gym
Gilbert Lew - Gimbal
A big thanks to everyone who has spent the effort to help me to write a testimonial!