Today I received some tips from my uncle who used to run a photo studio and who was a professional photographer himself. He shared his thoughts about some of the photos I took and commented that I should not use dark backdrops to shoot baby photos, like this one:
His important tip is that the background setting MUST complement the subjects.

He went on talking about the importance of finding the right location for pre-wedding shoots, and how one should have backup locations in the event of foul weather. One has to have a vocabulary of locations for different scenes, from high-noon hard-light to cloudy soft-light to evening twilight.

(I wonder is that the reason why all the wedding locations are similar?)

He did stress that one should find his own style that will make people want your services. As he said that, I immediately think of some of the popular wedding photographers of my age. He told me to seek references from bridal studios to learn from their styles.

After this talk, I began to understand why photography can be an academic subject.

I guess I must have missed out so many of these important theories and concepts during my self-exploration in photography. In comparison, my music education has definitely been more structured and yet I am only where I am now.

Suddenly, I felt so humbled.

There are 3 roads I can take.

One: I mope about how ignorant I am in the area of photography, and since I don’t have the time and commitment to learn more, I should quit and not disgrace the photographic community.

Two: I put in time and effort to look for apprenticeship, master the skills, develop my techniques.

Three: I continue my journey at my own pace, shoot my own style. I probably won’t become good enough to be famous, but at least I provide services for people who like the way I shoot.

The only consolation I have is that, I have known my limitations all this time. I never take pre-wedding shoots because I do not have the vocabulary of locations like my uncle mentioned. And sometimes when I shoot on-locations, I do face challenges in finding the right angle for the subject. And agreeing what my uncle said, once you have an eye, any ordinary scene can be transformed into something extra-ordinary in your photo.

Ironically, while moping over my photography destiny and writing this blog, I received an email from my client moments earlier. Her first sentence on the email: “The photobook is perfect.” What more can I say? You can belittle me for being lousy at my skills, but dare you criticise my clients for not knowing what they like?

More photos of our princess.

Despite all the skills you have, you are only as good as what others think of you.


  1. Hi Chester, fyi I do like your style as compared to all other bridal studios as they all look exactly the same! I think you have the talent for photography and I believe that even as you take on the path of doing pre-wedding shoots for couples, you will do an even better job than most bridal studio photographers!! Have faith in yourself and look at your satisfied clients all around you ok!!! You are definitely not lousy like what you think!!!!
    PS: I do like your baby photo in the dark background…it is really a matter of what the individual prefers actually…

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