📸 Skai Chan Photography

Skai Chan

Freelance photographer in Singapore

Skai Chan

Hi! I'm Skai, a 100% Singapore-born Chinese freelance photographer, based in Singapore. My languages are English, Chinese mandarin and cold humour. I dread formality.

I'm an artist who helps people to improve their lives. I document down special moments for eternal viewing to warm the cockles of hearts, and create impactful pictures, for businesses and individuals, to attract potential customers or even dates.

Clients hire me mostly for portraiture, event and party, and interior photography. I do both high-end (professional light) and casual (natural light) photography catered for different needs. I also provide consultations to eliminate problems and create the best possible quality photographs given any scenario. I focus on flattering and creative lighting and keeping my work natural.

Doing portraiture photoshoots allows me to have more control, including setting up professional lighting, to create unique personalised photographs. Being able to create the best lighting possible within the uncertainties for my event photoshoots also gives me a great sense of achievement.

Skai Chan with model / friend I do crazy things for photography. Sometimes I forsake my sleep for photo-taking and I don't mind getting dirty in exchange for good photographs. Photography is an addiction for me; it's one way I can express myself with. As an artist, capturing good photographs gives me a sense of living.

I believe in quality over quantity and I believe in under-promise and over-deliver. I'm lucky to be overwhelmed by the trust of many people who have approached me. I'm also extremely thankful to them for writing very flattering testimonials for me - and you should read them to visualise your experience of working with me.

I have devoted a great amount of my time to share my experience and tips to help others. I believe my photography and hard work will make a difference in society.

Professional Photography Equipment

I came from a low-income family. When I was young, owning a 200-buck family film camera was more than a luxury. This obstacle had buried my hobby. My dad passed away when I was in secondary three.

It was during my late teenage days when technology brought my dream into reality; the invention of the digital camera had overcome the high cost of buying films and developing them into hard-copy photographs. The decision to buy my first compact camera was still difficult though, as I was struggling to fill my stomach. I had never thought of doing photography professionally.

It was only when I was in my late 20s, my friends encouraged me to strive for my passion. I bought a mirrorless camera and embarked on my portrait journey. I soon realised I had to learn flash photography to improve my photography skill. I upgraded to an entry-level DSLR, a speedlite and accessories. Soon, I realised there would be lots of wear and tear to my equipment that I would soon need replacement.

Since I'm not financially stable, I make sure I only buy new photography equipment using the fund I've earned through photography. To do professional portrait and event photography, I soon upgraded to the cheapest full-frame DSLR possible. I also started purchasing more lighting and accessories, which are necessary to learn and improve my photography work.

Photographer's Injuries

I have suffered various injuries, directly and indirectly, due to photography. Some have since recovered, while some have not.

  1. Sprained right wrist
    It was during my first official event photography, which unfortunately required an insane number of clicks continuously for almost an hour. I held the camera very long on my right hand while my left hand was busy adjusting the speedlite on top of my camera to create the best bounce lights possible for every snap.
  2. Numbness on the left shoulder
    I carried my tripod sling bag for excessive time without taking sufficient rest. Eventually, I was left with numbness in my left shoulder, together with a kind of non-sharp pain. It didn't take away my strength and the pain would subside over time, but the injury would return whenever I load anything over the shoulder again. I suspect I have badly injured my shoulder blades.
  3. Bad bruises on knees
    On various occasions, I had to kneel to reduce the camera shake. The grounds happened to be rough. Multiple times, I got very badly bruised which would take months to recover from. The rest would hurt me for over a week at least.
  4. Bruises on side of legs
    On certain occasions, I had a more relaxing photography session where I could manage to get seated on the ground to reduce camera shake. However, I pressed onto the ground too hard to keep my camera stable and sometimes, it was just my silly mistake that I tried to get up too quickly that I caused some friction against the ground. Luckily, they weren't very bad bruises.
  5. Sand fly bite
    The worst insect bite that I ever had was during my solo exploration trip to Coney Island for an upcoming portrait photoshoot. I was lucky throughout my life that I had managed to keep my hairy legs clear, apart from a surgery scar, and the suspected sand fly bite left a permanent mark.
  6. Mosquito bites
    Since I do outdoor photography at all kinds of places, I do get attacked regularly. I can get over 10 mosquito bites for photography at places such as Fort Canning Park.
  7. Injured pinky finger on the left hand
    Many keyboard shortcuts require the use of the "ctrl key" in combination with other keys. The last finger on my left hand was somehow injured due to excessive use. In the year 2021, the joint was hit by a fan inside my desktop computer when I was trying to fix something, and somehow the injury worsened.
  8. Left wrist injury
    My left wrist started giving me pain out of a sudden. It was likely injured during a photoshoot trip due to the transportation of equipment in some weird angles that the muscle group wasn't commonly used. The pain lasted for months and I was diagnosed by myself that a vein was injured, and it led up to my elbow.
  9. Dry eyes
    The excessive staring at the computer screen left me with frequent dry eyes, which caused fatigue. The rushing of photo albums that would usually take days for post-production and online marketing were devils.

How I Became a Photographer

Freelance photographer - Skai Chan

How I Became a Freelance Event Photographer

I'm a sentimental person who loves documenting memories. There's no lack of opportunities for me to practise event photography skills. At times, I struggled between hands-on and photo-taking at the same time when I was doing volunteering work with my friends. My family, relatives and many friends supported me in my hobby.

The event pictures from my volunteering work helped me to gain clients. Over time, more clients got to see both my event and portrait photography work and started hiring me.

Unfortunately, there are too many photographs in every event album and I'm unable to continue to update my event portfolio.

How I Became a Freelance Portrait Photographer

When I was working in Clementi ITE, one of my colleagues sighed that she was ageing fast. It greatly affected me because she's an extremely nice and capable lady, and our team was close; most importantly, she's a hot babe who's quite confident. This inspired me to use photography to beautify ladies and keep memories of their beauty.

I didn't have the budget to pay for freelance models to learn portrait photography. I started approaching volunteer models both online and offline to practise and met with lots of arrogant rejections. Since most of the models who were willing to do portrait photoshoots with me couldn't do proper makeup, I had to spend a lot of time on PhotoShop (post-production). While I could have expedited the quality of my portrait portfolio fast with the help of professional models, I'm glad the non-models have helped me to learn more of the basics; moreover, my target audience is normal girls and not professional models.

My friend, Tricia Lee, saw my enthusiasm and started guiding me along. She spent a huge amount of time and energy going through every photoshoot album with me, to spot tiny flaws and coach me accordingly to the commercial standard. The quality of my portrait work soon improved tremendously and aspiring models started approaching me instead. Then, clients came along.

How I Became a Freelance Interior Photographer

I grew up in a house that was plain (and clustered) and thus I was always fascinated by houses with nice interiors. This was one of the reasons why I loved visiting my friends' houses. I think nice things should be documented and interior photography helps a lot.

Both my portrait and event photography work helped me gain my first interior photography client as they were eye-catching on social media. When the opportunity came, I grabbed it. The first thing I did was to get a reasonably good tripod, which was almost covered by my first interior photography project. After that, I had the luxury to work with some very interesting interior design companies, furniture shops and homeowners.

My Other Photography Work

Types of Clients Skai would Reject

I will reject them directly or indirectly.

Just as clients choose photographers, photographers do choose their clients too. My experience tells me not all money can be earned. Dealing with a problematic client can result in a huge loss of time and energy; it does not worth it. Besides, good clients can build a rapport with me easier, so that I can produce better work.

I spend more time and effort than most other photographers on every photography project. Therefore, I can only take up a limited number of photoshoots per month. My target audiences are good clients who appreciate photography and want to obtain high-quality images.

  1. Clients who have unrealistic expectations: Photographers may turn away clients who have unrealistic expectations for the final images. This can include clients who want a specific style or look that the photographer is not comfortable with or experienced in.
  2. Clients who have unrealistic deadlines for the final images: Photographers may also turn away clients who have unrealistic deadlines for the final images. This can be a major stress for photographers and can disrupt their workflow. Photographers need to have enough time to edit the images and deliver them to the client in high quality.
  3. Clients who are not willing to pay a fair price for services and expenses: Photographers may turn away clients who are not willing to pay a fair price for their services, such as clients who want to negotiate the price or want the photographer to work for free. Also, clients who are not willing to pay the required expenses such as travel costs or equipment rental fees.
  4. Clients who are not easy to work with: Photographers may turn away clients who are not easy to work with. This can include clients who are not responsive, who are not respectful of the photographer's time, or who are not willing to communicate effectively.
  5. Clients who are not willing to provide a deposit: Photographers may turn away clients who are not willing to provide a deposit. This can include clients who are not willing to put a deposit down to reserve the photographer's time and services.
  6. Clients who want to use the photographer's images or services for something I'm not comfortable with: For example, illegal or unethical activities, adult content, promoting hate speech or discrimination, political campaigns, religious purposes, weapon or tobacco advertising, or controversial medical products or services. This could be because of personal or professional reasons, or because it is not legal in the region where they operate.
  7. Clients who are not prepared for the photoshoot: Photographers may turn away clients who are not prepared for the photoshoot. This can include clients who have not provided the necessary information for the photographer, such as location details or a list of the people who will be in the photoshoot. It can also include clients who have not arranged for necessary equipment or clothing for the photoshoot.
  8. Clients who are not willing to provide references: Photographers may turn away clients who are not willing to provide references. This can include clients who are not willing to provide the names and contact information of previous clients that the photographer can contact for a reference.
  9. Clients who don't appreciate or undermine professional photography: Photographers may turn away clients who don't know how to appreciate high-quality photographs or who undermine professional photography. This can include clients who can't tell the difference between high-quality and low-quality work and think photography is simple, or clients who have a history of requesting edits or revisions that the photographer does not feel are in line with their artistic vision. They may also request to use cheap equipment, want to direct the photographer's work, or have poor taste in photography.
  10. Clients who have a history of not following through on their commitments: Photographers may turn away clients who have a history of not following through on their commitments. This can include clients who have cancelled photoshoots or not paid their bills on time.


Communicating with Me

  1. I rely mainly on my computer
    Typing on the soft keyboard on my smartphone is slow and highly inefficient; moreover, the small screen requires me to scroll up and down to proofread my messages before sending them out. Worst still, I usually type a lot for every reply. It's just too inconvenient to do the typing on my smartphone. I get extremely frustrated relying on the phone at times.

    Since sitting in front of my computer is kind of a luxury to me nowadays, please bear with me if I can't reply to you immediately.

    Before I got my first Android smartphone, I was tempted to upgrade to Blackberry instead for the physical keyboard. However, I foresee that good usability (with APPs) for Android users would outweigh the privilege of having a physical keyboard.
  2. My phone is usually in silent mode
    My phone is in silent mode most of the time. That means there's no point in calling me unless you have informed me earlier that you need to talk.

    Text me instead!
  3. I don't know my photography rates by heart
    I do many kinds of photography, such as portraits, events and interior/ real estate. For portrait alone, there are different rates and optional services to be added. Therefore, if you happen to ask me for my photography rates in real person or via phone call, I likely won't be able to give you a proper quotation without going through my document or website.

    If you somehow can't find or understand my photography rates for your specific photography need, just text me with as much detail as possible. However, you should know the basic rates on my website to not waste both our time.
  4. I can't reply to every enquiry
    I'll try hard to assist all people who truly appreciate my work and are looking forward to helping me or hiring my photography services.

    However, the fact is that there are various weird or ridiculous requests that I already know won't turn out well. Some people are obviously in different frequencies that, in my experience, will only be wasting our time to engage in the first place.
  5. Trying to undercut my photography rate is a big turn-off
    I can't focus properly if I can sense that the person whom I'm trying to help is trying to squeeze me hard. I have some nasty experiences and I understand that it's just not worth it to take up some projects. It's not that I'm loaded but there's a high chance for problems to emerge, especially after the photoshoot.

    Providing photography services is different from selling products or conducting large classes. If I were to be selling certain products, giving some discounts would at least be ensuring that my cash flow has no issue, whereas, I can be selling them to many clients at almost the same time. If I were to be conducting a huge class, an additional student with a discounted rate is a bonus.

I'm Busy

As most freelance photographers do their own post-production and marketing work, they spend most of their time in front of their computers. This, unfortunately, may give others the wrong impression that they are easily available.

I'm usually overwhelmed and can only take up a few projects every month.

  1. Update website
    I've spent a vast amount of my life on my photography website to showcase my work and educate people. The design of the colour, font, navigation and page layout, coding and copywriting requires a huge amount of time.

    A massive amount of my time was spent researching, writing and proofreading my various photography tips and articles. Till now, there are a gigantic amount of language issues all over my website.
  2. Edit photos
    Photo-editing usually takes up the majority duration of the entire production. Advanced editing may take on average, around two hours for each photograph, depending on various factors.
  3. Partner
    Throughout my life, I've been searching for my soulmate. I experienced various rejections during my younger years before being hurt by a few playgirls. I did meet quite several nice girls but we realised that we weren't compatible. I've finally met my dream girl who has given me unconditioned love. My top life priority would always be her and we would try to compensate for the loss of our youth years as we didn't meet earlier.

    We stick together almost 24/7. We walk a lot to get food and grocery, and any impromptu errand her creative mind can suggest. On a usual weekend, we would go out for late breakfast, and by the time we reach home, it would be almost lunchtime. After lunch and grocery or some impromptu shopping, we would be home by late afternoon. We may nap or do some housework before dinner. As we love strolling around instead of taking public transport, we spend a lot of time travelling.

    To help you understand better, imagine yourself conquering 10,000 footsteps on a weekday (work from home) and 20,000 footsteps on a weekend - estimate the amount of time you would have to spend outdoors.

    I used to go to bed near sunrise and work almost every moment upon waking up. My partner has helped me to restore a lifestyle completely, which improves my health. However, my working time was shortened to mostly 10am to 6pm on weekdays to fit into hers, which forced me to step back on some of my work due to the time restriction.
  4. Upload new photo album
    For every set of photographs that I've done, I'll spend time sharing them online, unless the client pays me extra for privacy.

    The first step is to select the photographs to be uploaded, followed by reducing their resolution (for web viewing purposes) and renaming the files properly. The write-up usually takes the longest time, such as half a day of work on average. After that, a new web page (coding) has to be created to put in the images and text. Other pages will then be linked to it, which involves coding as well. Eventually, all the files will be uploaded to the server.

    Look at the number of photo albums I've uploaded and estimate the effort.
  5. Answer new enquiries
    I receive new enquiries for photoshoots often, and many are simply doing price-checking. There are enquiries that I may need to take quite a lot of time to think over so that I won't over-promise anyone. Occasionally, there are also weird requests.
  6. Brainstorm for shoots
    Since I personalise concepts for individuals, and I try not to repeat ideas and locations, it takes a lot of time to research and brainstorm for shoots.
  7. Discussion with clients
    I just need one client who has lots of questions to keep me very occupied. Some clients do have many interesting ideas and trust me a lot to give them good feedback.
  8. Social media update/ PR
    Social media such as Facebook and Instagram are monstrous time-eaters. Posting good work alone is never sufficient; a lot of public relations work is required.
  9. Unforeseeable issues
    There are times when my equipment and tools will be down. They include computer hardware and software and photography equipment such as my camera, lenses and other accessories. I need to spend time trying to fix them.

    For example, in the late year 2021, I spent days trying to fix my computer, including two days at the repair shop, and I still had to go elsewhere to go get some parts fixed/ exchanged.
  10. Self-improvement
    Everyone needs to pick up new knowledge and skill. I do keep myself updated with news and new skill. I spend a lot of time on YouTube and sometimes Udemy.
  11. Family
    Family is part of my life. I especially love spending time with my nephews and niece. I also accompany my partner to visit her family. Every gathering occupies the entire day, and sometimes till late at night.
  12. Tuition agency business
    I have a tuition agency business that I need to do administrative work for. I'm the web producer and the coding part for the website is much more hectic than my photography website. Every year, I also produced Calendar Planner and Calendar for the public, totally free of charge.
  13. Friends
    I love making new friends although I hardly have time to meet up with most of them. I do occasionally keep in touch with some of them.

    I also have a businessman friend who acts as my mentor. He would randomly call me and pick me up to go for coffee. Whenever I need any gym space for a photoshoot, he would settle for me. Of course, I do my part as a friend by providing him with my little knowledge and ideas for his businesses.
  14. Volunteering work
    I have a group of kind friends who are crazily into volunteering work. Therefore, I do have the opportunity to get involved once in a while, apart from providing volunteering photography services. My partner's involvement in other volunteering groups(s) gets me involved as well.
  15. Other commitments
    I do have other commitments other than the above.

Who Will Dislike Skai?

I count myself very blessed because the majority of the people whom I've worked with are fantastic people. The testimonials summarise it.

Nobody can make everybody like him. After doing photography for years and holding my principles well to not harm the already hurt photography industry in any way, I still can't help but offend some people unintentionally.

For example, I have to reject hot babes who propose I photograph them in little clothes as a form of collaboration (unpaid), which they would be using the professional work as a catalogue to sell those clothes. How could professional photographers make a living if nobody needs to pay for commercial work anymore?

If I have to offend even hot girls (who have many followers online), who else can't be offended?

  1. Cheapo
    There are cheapos who try to ask for discounts or even free services. I don't allow anyone to devalue my work and thus I would rather turn them down or simply ignore them.

    I'm not proud nor am I loaded. Working with bad clients will drastically drain my short available time, or may even affect the quality of my work. No matter how hard I've been screening through the enquiries, there's no foolproof way to filter them. I'm quite blessed that the number of good clients outweighs the bad ones by a lot.
  2. Failed aspiring models
    I had helped many aspiring models to build their modelling portfolios when I was more available in the past. They usually sang high compliments on me and my work when they approached me. The terms and conditions were clear on my website and they agreed. I showed them great respect and photographed them professionally to help them get tasteful photographs of themselves for experiences, memories and/ or other purposes.

    Eventually, some of them may approach me years later to make me remove the albums. They would cite ridiculous reasons instead of compensating me properly for my work (photography, copywriting, editing of websites and social media accounts).
  3. Black sheep
    I have been writing educational articles on my website to help people do the best I can. Some of these articles do include bad photography culture and even blacklisted photographers. Although I don't mention any name, some people may, out of guilts, turn defensive and start bearing grudges towards me.
  4. Over-sensitive people
    Besides, due to my lack of supremacy in my language skill and also my bluntness, I may have used words/ terms that are sensitive to some people. For example, the term "flaw" describes the common skin issues that my clients have often complained about and demanded to be removed - some people twist my words to incite that I'm trying to insult others.
  5. Jealous amateurs
    I was once informed by a female model friend that some amateur photographers criticised me in a Telegram group because they thought I was sharing too much photography knowledge online (on my platforms). Since I focus on my photography and don't get involved in events and forums, I don't get to interact with many photographers to offend them directly.

    I humbly suspect that it's partly due to the number of female models who have trusted and approached me for photoshoots; in contrast, amateur photographers likely have difficulties approaching girls. Besides, my Instagram account was once very popular when I was extremely active, which was before Instagram changed its algorithm.
  6. Two mentally unstable people
    I've stepped on the tail of a makeup artist who self-proclaimed that she had some mental illness. Then, I caught her sowing discord between me and some project-mates. Eventually, she succeeded in turning a snowflake into hating me. Snowflake started spreading lies. To this day, I've no idea what I've done or said wrongly to her - I didn't murder her entire family.


#1 Experiences

  1. What are the most common mistakes you make for portrait photoshoot and how do you rectify them?
  2. What's the most saddening moments after doing a portrait shoot?
  3. Do you regret not buying an advanced camera earlier?
  4. What's your biggest regret so far?
  5. What's your most embarrassing moment during a shoot?
  6. Did you get turned on while doing sexy photoshoot?
  7. Do you get to see 'free show' during the photoshoot?
  8. What are your achievements so far for event photography?
  9. Which is the most generous group of clients for event shoot?
  10. Do you have clients who are unsatisfied with your services?
  11. What are the kind things done by clients?
  12. What weird things some clients have done?
  13. What kind of clients you cannot communicate with?
  14. What kind of clients are considered annoying?

#2 Personal

  1. Do you do links exchange?
  2. What is the most difficult thing about photography?
  3. How good is your photography skill?
  4. Will you lower your rate just to take up more photoshoot projects?
  5. How open-minded are you?
  6. How many shoots do you do in a month?
  7. Why don't you go to all the car and IT shows to take photos of models for marketing, networking and building of portfolio?
  8. Why do you have so few photos of yourself?
  9. Why don't you take photos with every model you have shot with?
  10. Would you get a model as girlfriend?
  11. Can I borrow your equipment (camera, lens... etc)?
  12. Why do you not want to work with PR/advertising agencies and 'middle-man' companies?
  13. Why don't you like to talk over the phone?
  14. What are your non-photography worries for every shoot?

#3 General

  1. Why some photographers don't like to take up jobs from friends/relatives?
  2. Will I get 100% satisfied photos if I were to engage a big photography company for my shoot?
  3. Why is DSLR necessary when phone cameras can do reasonably good job?
  4. Does skin colour affect people photography?
  5. During a big group shoot with kids, why don't you just keep snapping multiple times?
  6. What are the challenges of taking random group photos?
  7. Why do some photographers try not to take up jobs from friends?

#1 Experiences

  1. What are the most common mistakes you make for portrait photoshoot and how do you rectify them?
    Unable to spot errors in the models' makeup and outfits. To avoid these problems, I will try to discuss the models' photos with my HMUA friend(s) to judge the models' makeup skills and outfits. I will also refuse to shoot with models who do not show me their outfits before the shoot. Of course, this will create another big problem as some models have been working with photographers who don't care much about preparation work.
  2. What's the most saddening moments after doing a portrait shoot?
    The HMUA wanted to have the three looks, be shot near her studio so that she could do the makeup and hair comfortably. Since the first look was a little revealing, I was a bit lost but decided to accept the HMUA's proposal to use the small studio after I failed to find a better location while they were doing the makeup. For the second and third locations, I had them planned but the HMUA was detailed in her work and that she 'last minute' had something on and I had to use the 'interior' of the building for the last shoot instead. After the shoot, things went fine and the model liked the photos. We discussed the next shoot but the model dragged on for months. Eventually, she confessed to me that she thought the HMUA and her had already done their part by choosing the outfits on their own (which I did with the HMUA privately after she sent the HMUA some of her outfits) and that she thought I didn't do 'my part' of selecting the locations well.
  3. Do you regret not buying an advanced camera earlier?
    No, working with the more entry-level cameras help me to know the limitation and thus allow me to pick up the basics. If I had begun with one of the best gears, I would be in deep shit when I have to handle more basic ones.
  4. What's your biggest regret so far?
    I was invited to a friend's friend's fashion show to do the shooting. There were at least two other outspoken photographers who had turned up much earlier. Since I did not like 'fighting', especially in crowded places, I lay back and kept a very low profile. Even during the group shoot, in the end, I was blocked by all the photographers and 'photographers'. I did not perform well due to my lack of experience but it turned out that the quality of my photos was much better than any of theirs. It was a total waste of my chance to not get better photos, especially of potential models, by giving up all the good spots to others when they could not perform.
  5. What's your most embarrassing moment during a shoot?
    I took up a cheapo project because the girl who had approached me sounded very nice and I was curious about it. Eventually, I had to work with a very experienced and highly confident director and the extremely insufficient time disallowed me to set up the basic equipment. He did not know it was just a cheap project that was supposed to be paid for by the PR/marketing company. By the way, the company was cheap enough to delay my cheapo payment for around four months after contacting them around ten times. By then the girl who had approached me had already left the company.
  6. Did you get turned on while doing sexy photoshoot?
    No. I'm a dedicated and stubborn guy and would be too focused on thinking of how to capture good photos. During a shoot, there are just too many important things to think of, such as poses, lighting, background and composition. It's more of the intention of the photographer that will cause his mind to wander around. If the photographer is purely into getting good photos, he probably can control himself; unlike some 'photographers' who are paying for models to remove their clothes instead of the models paying them, they are very likely to want to have something more than just a photoshoot.
  7. Do you get to see 'free show' during the photoshoot?
    There will sometimes be wardrobe malfunction and upskirt (often) during shoots, which I have 'immune' to. Of course, for implied nude shoots, the model will likely be naked. Professional models will likely be very comfortable hanging around without trying to cover anything. Everyone else around will get to see more because the photographer's job is supposed to not let any unglamorous thing appear in the lens. The worst thing that can happen is when the expression and posture of the model inside a photo are perfect but a little part of the underwear is revealed. The photo won't be tasteful anymore and thus cannot be used.

    As I'm quite protective of my models, I may even call for a rest when there are too many onlookers/passers-by during an outdoor sexy shoot. This is the reason why I'm trying hard to work only with female assistants.

    There was once after I did an outdoor dancing shoot, the model told me many people got to see a 'free show'. She had raised her legs to do splitting with her side facing me and thus I did not know the upskirt had even happened - impossible from my angle.
  8. What are your achievements so far for event photography?
    I have clients paying me extra money right at the end of the events without even looking at the photos. They can see and appreciate my character and effort. Eventually, they claim that they love the photos I have produced and I think I should believe them.
  9. Which is the most generous group of clients for event shoot?
    From my experience SO FAR, Chinese and Caucasian individuals are generous although they may not make it obvious during the discussion. When they see that you are hardworking and they like your attitude, they may give you extra money (tips) in the end. Caucasians may even give tips before the start of the shoot. Don't expect to get any extra buck for doing any corporate event because the cheques are likely to be prepared beforehand, moreover, the person (likely not the boss) who contacts you is not able to make such a decision. Companies are also trying hard to cut down on costs. However, they may cater good food for you depending on the job scope. I have gotten a free buffet at the hotel's restaurant.
  10. Do you have clients who are unsatisfied with your services?
    Yes, of course, since no one is perfect and not every client can have a good rapport with me. As I'm quite selective in working with clients and most clients are kind and appreciative, this is rare though. If you're really curious, you can read clients from hell.
  11. What are the kind things done by clients?
    The staff of a company ordered a bowl of shark's fin soup for me despite I had told her not to prepare any food for me during the gala dinner. A guest gave me a free copy of National Geographic from his hotel room as he knew I loved photography. During a portrait shoot, a couple treated me to good champagne. Dinner treats from clients after the portrait shoot. Another family asked the waitress to bring me a chair to rest in during an event shoot. A lady gave me tips before her event even started... etc. I'm overwhelmed by kindness.
  12. What weird things some clients have done?
    A client asked me to call him and when I was on the phone with him, he told me he was working.
  13. What kind of clients you cannot communicate with?
    There was once after the client sent me a couple of photos of hers, I asked her when were they taken and she questioned me why it was relevant - the tone was just not very friendly, or rather, she was very self-conscious. It instantly defined the wall between both of us. The worst thing was that the photos were underexposed and that I could not get to see other photos of hers to do any planning.

    Another type of client is people who would ask me about the 'estimated' quantity of photos.
  14. What kind of clients are considered annoying?
    There are quite a few types of them. The most common ones are those who go MIA after getting my quotation. The worst ones confirm the shooting date with me and go MIA before transferring me the booking fee.

#2 Personal

  1. Do you do links exchange?
    Yes, I do links exchange with good quality websites!
  2. What is the most difficult thing about photography?
    Educating clients. To most clients, photography is just about clicking the camera's shutter and they think using a good camera alone is enough. They usually don't understand all the constraints. Many things are very technical and thus they won't be able to know even if I were to explain them in detail. For example, when I warn them about lighting issues, they usually won't care. To them, they simply want good photos even though they are likely not able to judge the quality of photos. Whereas for shoots like interior and product, they may even try to be the expert to estimate the time required instead.
  3. How good is your photography skill?
    Photography is wide and has many categories. I know most of them but do not have practical experience with some. My current experience is mainly in people (portrait and event shoots) and interior photography. When compared to most hobby photographers, I'm better than them but I'm probably still behind those very experienced professional photographers in terms of skill. Hence, I try to be creative and hardworking at times to compensate for it. Viewers can judge by themselves through my latest work.
  4. Will you lower your rate just to take up more photoshoot projects?
    No. The quality of photos matters most to me and I don't want to feel underpaid and under-appreciated, and eventually put in only 50% of my effort. Most of all, I don't wish to undercut the market. However, I promote certain types of shoots that I'm interested in.
  5. How open-minded are you?
    When it comes to photography, I'm extremely open as long as the shoot is tastefully done. My character is, however, very traditional.
  6. How many shoots do you do in a month?
    I'm very inconsistent in this and thus unable to give an answer. I can only say that I'm doing very limited number of shoot.
  7. Why don't you go to all the car and IT shows to take photos of models for marketing, networking and building of portfolio?
    1. I'm very busy.
    2. Too many stalkers and perverts are doing that and I'm not confident that people would not associate those people with me.
    3. I'm a passive guy and none of the models has invited me personally to show my support - I'm not taking into account those models who do mass spamming on Facebook.
    4. I'm not those PR guys who can fake smiles to network and speed up their success.
  8. Why do you have so few photos of yourself?
    I'm the one holding onto the camera.
  9. Why don't you take photos with every model you have shot with?
    I usually forget it after a hard day work.
  10. Would you get a model as girlfriend?
    I will avoid. I have come across too many stories of photographers with ill-intention and I don't want to keep worrying for my girlfriend whenever she goes for job.
  11. Can I borrow your equipment (camera, lens... etc)?
    No. I may need them any time, including the spare ones, and it's going to make life very difficult for me if anything happens to them.
  12. Why do you not want to work with PR/advertising agencies and 'middle-man' companies?
    Bad experience - low budget, ridiculous demand and extremely late payment. Photography is a fun thing to do and we should not destroy the good feeling about it. Most advertising agencies in Singapore will probably give the same problems while big agencies with generous clients will rather go to big photography companies than work with a low-lying freelance photographer.
  13. Why don't you like to talk over the phone?
    Need records for evidence. Besides, I have poor memory and, unlike texting, I can't refer back to the conversation. Since every request is different, I will need time to work out the quotation. From my experience, most 'clients' are just wasting my time. It is not worth the time to go over the phone before the clients have confirmed they are okay with the fee, which is usually the most important factor to them.
  14. What are your non-photography worries for every shoot?
    Travelling - 'public' transport in Singapore is getting more unpredictable and I can't estimate the travelling time anymore. My meal time is another big problem for the shoots are usually done at weird hours while photography exhausts me both physically and mentally, draining off more energy than sports.

#3 General

  1. Why some photographers don't like to take up jobs from friends/relatives?
    Most of the time, these people are expecting special discount on account of the relationship with the photographers. This can be problematic to the photographers and may sour the relationships.
  2. Will I get 100% satisfied photos if I were to engage a big photography company for my shoot?
    For event and non-studio photoshoots, no (not 100%). The turnover rate may be high and thus the photographer being assigned to you may be less experienced. However, for shooting inside the company's studio, it's likely to be yes since everything, including the lighting, can be pre-set like a template.
  3. Why is DSLR necessary when phone cameras can do reasonably good job?
    When lighting condition is good, actually phone cameras can produce quite good photos especially when you only need the photos in small resolution for web purpose. You can judge the difference in the quality of photos when you enlarge them or print them out. Most of all, you can't play much with the aperture and shutter speed, and the autofocus speed will be slower.
  4. Does skin colour affect people photography?
    Yes. Darker skin tone absorbs more light and thus the lighting and post-production method/setting will be different from taking photos of a person with a lighter skin tone. If you put two people with very different skin tones in a photo during an event, it will be more challenging than usual.
  5. During a big group shoot with kids, why don't you just keep snapping multiple times?
    This is a technical issue for flash photography. Having kids as part of the group can pose difficulties as it may not be easy to grab the kids' attention to get everyone looking at the camera. Under the best scenario with good ambient lighting, I can just snap photos multiple times. However, when taking group photos, it will require a smaller aperture (bigger depth of field) to keep everyone in focus and thus there may not be enough light. Very often, speedlite (flash) is required for indoor shoots. The problem is that speedlite requires time to recharge the power from the batteries. If I were to snap before the speedlite is fully charged, the photo will turn out to be underexposed (dark) even if you can see some flash firing out from the speedlite. Therefore, there will be an interval for clicking the camera's shutter. This is the usual problem photographers face. Photographers can buy an additional battery pack to attach it to the speedlite but it means the extra load on the body.
  6. What are the challenges of taking random group photos?
    Apart from the technical limitation of requiring a small aperture (less light) to keep everyone's face in focus, the subjects to be taken can pose more challenges. For example, one or two people inside the group may be distracted or are trying to get more people to join in, while the rest are insensitive to the ho-ha. If there is any outspoken person within the group that will demand photos to be taken immediately despite the mess, the photos will not turn out well. Overall, it's the communication with the subjects that will pose the greatest challenge.
  7. Why do some photographers try not to take up jobs from friends?
    It's awkward when friends ask for discount or more things. It may sour the relationship.

If you are interested in working with Skai as your photographer, do contact him.

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