Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Ladies Photography Workshop by 8 Days

Hosted by Fly Entertainment Artiste Stephanie Carrington, this event consists of 2 sections; photography talk and practical workshop, with 3 speakers; award-winning photographer Sim Chi Yin, food blogger/photographer Dr Leslie Tay, and freelance photographer Rory Daniel. They did not give much about technical stuff that you need or want to understand more about how to use a camera. But, it was more about sharing the experience, challenges and some other not-so-technical things as a photographer. 

Sim Chi Yin was sharing her experience on documentary photography, taking picture on people. She is a freelance photographer and her works are mostly seen on newspaper or magazine, that touch a lot about humanity. Documentary is about people, moment and event. In order to get a documentary picture about people and understand what are they going through, they need to trust us, allow us to understand them more, involve in their lives and importantly allow us-a stranger to capture their moment. Here, she emphasized that as a woman people tend to believe on us more as compared to a guy, which is of course an added advantage. As a woman with small body, she uses this as her added advantage, since she cannot really bring heavy camera gear like what men can do. So, don't be intimidated with a big guy or any stereotype that a person should/should not be as a photographer or any professional career. 

She shared some of her past/present project, about lead poisoning in China and  China's 'Rat Tribe' - China blue-collar workers who live in underground city of Beijing. These made me (and other participants I guess)  think about our lives. Her works are great , you could see story from her picture. (I guess it was just like a tears bursting moments, not a photography

Dr Leslie Tay, a food blogger, a doctor and a father of 2 (can't imagine how he's juggling his time) shared some practical stuff about how to shoot a yummy food picture (or give an underline here, yummy picture for not so yummy These are some of his tips:

1. Turn off flash.

2. Light positioning to be in front of the food and not from the back of our body.
Usually when we take a picture, we do not want to face the light, unless we would like to take a silhouette. Well, when we take food picture, it is the other way around, because food is small, and we usually take it from a nearer distance. So, take advantage of this light positioning instead, when taking food picture.

3. Do not take a food from such a near-to-zero distance, instead, zoom it from more distance. 
This is what usually most people do when they take a food picture, they put the camera very or extremely near to the food, which actually can make it bubbly (imagine just like when you are taking face photo). Instead, what you should do is zoom it from more distance. It is for the purpose of eliminating distortion and noise in our food picture.

This is about focusing on your emphasize object, by placing your emphasize object at the third portion on your whole picture size. This does not only benefit on taking food picture, but as well when taking any objects, scenery or anything. Which, in my opinion, make the picture talks more. 

Below illustration might give you more idea on what is the advantage from Rule of Third.

(Left: Without Rule of third, Right: With Rule of Third)
Now, see what Rule of Third's benefit that I am talking about?

This is simply to make your emphasize object be more focused/seen on the photo. By having a blurry effect on those around the emphasize object that are not 'important', and give a clear appearance on the focused object.  So, it gives the focused object appeared more in the photo. Bellow illustration is what DOF about.

6. Composition and Dynamism
Of course, talking about food picture, do not forget on the object itself, the food, the composition of it. Imagine you are shooting an abalone-soup, which from above appearance you will only see water (unless there are lots of abalone inside it). Initially, you do nothing on it, just purely taking a picture, which of course you can only see the soup (water) without seeing a single abalone at it. How you can tell that it is an abalone soup just from a picture. So, what you do is, take out the abalone before you take a shoot, make it seen on the picture, so people will know you are taking an abalone-soup. 

The last speaker, Rory Daniel, explaining about travel photography. He is a freelance photographer, lots of his works are mostly seen on Singapore advertisement, which is great. But honestly I was a bit disappointed on what he shared to us, because may be I was expecting more about some technical stuff on how to take a good outdoor, scenery picture. Instead, he shared what is it about a travel photography, about the feeling when you are taking it, the need to bring out curiosity inside you and not to miss a right moment at a right time. 

On top of that, he did share to us though, when is a magical moment to take blue sky scene at Singapore, which is after sunset finish and the night time is about to begin, which is exactly about 7.20 pm. At that particular time, you could still see a bit yellow light from the sun, and there comes the moon, and yet the building are light up. This is what I am talking about.

Courtesy of Gardens by the Bay (Impressive picture taken by Rory Daniel himself)

Last but not least, Rory Daniel shared to us that as a travel photographer, you must prepare not to stay at home all the time, and go explore the world around you (which is great, I think). And sometimes, you will do something that is not usual to other people, and considered as strange, funny, and might even embarrassed yourself in the middle of the crowd, just to get one good shot. 

Selected photo submitted by the participants.

Guess what, the second picture from top-right (a picture with only a bright moon seen on it) is the winner among all, who gets a Canon EOS 650D Kit. I guess that scenery was taken from Faber Mount. The concept is simple, but getting that moment itself is not that easy though. It has to be precise full moon, no cloud and at a particular time.

So, coming to the second session, which is a practical session. Not much to do though, and just practice to take a shot from the object that they provide us. Share with you, some that I take using my personal phone.

Try to implement knowledge from the 'guru'. :)

Photography is about light, shadow, shape, moment and about how we see the world from our eyes. As what the 'guru' says, it does not matter what everybody say, there is no right or wrong, what the matter is what you think and how you express the world around you. It's your camera, you and your world.

When EOS meets TO-FU (a very cute card reader)

Singapore river-view from Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel



  1. Thanks for the photography tips! I love taking food photos but they can be tricky sometimes. Gonna use these strategies!

    Driftwood and Daydreams

    1. Hi Aryn, yeah, its bit tricky taking food pict sometimes, but with some keys, we could get a great food pict ;)