Sunday, March 27, 2011

Taking Stock of Life

Taking Stock of Life, originally uploaded by Mervin Chiang.

This one's a personal blog. I've been reading and following a few photographers. Usually we keep business and personal stuff separate. But it seems that occasionally, I feel it is important to blog about something personal as well. It keeps me real and genuine I think.

Anyway, recently at my day job, I've been having a few conversations about work, life and play. It seems that recently for me they are all kind of blended together! And there seems to be too much of all of them!! As I was telling Kat, "it's not that I don't like it or don't find these things fun. It's just that at the moment there are just too MANY fun things at the same time!!"

1. Work to me is always interesting and fun. But we are going through big changes and big challenges.
2. I started Brokenvase Photos. And in some ways my "marketing plan" is working, and/but its keeping my busy...
3. Kat is feeling quite tired recently and we have a 2.5 year old to look after.
4. Our recently purchased house although fun, has a BIG yard!! Too much grass :(
5. I made a personal commitment to God this year to put more time in His ministry.
6. Oh! and I forgot to mention and nearly forgot myself... I am doing my Professional Doctorate at QUT as well!

Yes, I am young, but I am feeling that all these things are a little too much. It's like a little Kid having free reign on candy and am feeling the after effects of having too much with a tummy ache...

Overcommitted? Being to driven, and getting too successful on the goals too fast are also sometimes not a good thing. All through life I feel like I'm always "moving on the fast lane". Wonder when I'll get to slow down...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

My First Family Portrait Customer

I can't believe it's more than 2 weeks since Peter and Janice came to our place to take their family photos. Lot's of research, trial and testing to prepare myself for the shoot. Lot's of lightroom and photoshop time to get the shots perfect for delivery. It's quite an involved process!

When it comes to satisfaction as a photographer, nothing can compare to the feeling I got when Janice commented on all the photos showing how happy she was with the photos.

I will forever be grateful to them for supporting Brokenvase Photos as I start out. Peter and Janice were really good sport. Despite a long and hard night with Tom the night before, they came with high spirits. Really fun to catch up with them and we had lots of fun trying to think of what will be a good shot to take. We struggled with Tom's constant frowning as he slept. All in all a very good and valuable experience for me.

Few notes to self:
- Need to really work on the backdrop. Had to do a lot to the background post processing time.
- Must remember to fire off more drive shots to get the sharp and right moments.
- Need a wider repertoire of poses and things to do. I ran out quite quickly. Thanks to Janice and Kat we were able to do a few more things.
- A series of themed shots are great to tell a story when composed into a sequence.

My next challenge: a large family of 9 adults and 3 kids!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Family Shoots Galore

I'm taking a break this weekend and next weekend, but so far I've done 2 families (1 was a last minute thing) and will be doing 4 families over the same number of weekends! This means I can't take bookings until after May...

This is great! Getting lots of experience and having fun along the way. Thank you all for supporting me to "jump-start" this thing this year. At this rate, I'll reach my quota of not more than 26 sessions per year very soon :P

For this first year, I am capping the number of sessions I am taking to limit my time spent on this as well. Still got a family to enjoy, work to do and a Professional Doctorate degree to finish at QUT! And not to mention God's work in church as well, which I want to somehow fit in and amongst all this. 2011 is has been a big and busy year so far. Both globally with the disasters closer to home and in Japan. And also many changes and huge things happening at work.

Taking photos is my way of keeping a mental sanity balance inside of me. Besides praying and keeping close to God.

p.s. I love this featured photo *grin* (thanks Lemmy and family!)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Fun FREE practice session

Ron Mueck Exhibition-32, originally uploaded by Mervin Chiang.

I'm still experimenting with different lighting set ups and techniques. Anyone interested to come to my place for a bit of photo fun? I was thinking of organising a combined practice and learning session for all interested photographers as well.

The general idea is to meet up at my place one Saturday morning, have morning tea, then take some photos using various studio lighting and flash set ups and exchange ideas and learn. I'm happy to open and extend this to all beginner DSLR photographers who are interested to come and learn about the basics.

I will of course need volunteer "models"! If you are interested to get some free glamour shots taken, come along!

Register your interest and I can judge uptake arrange a get together if there are enough interest to run something.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Impatient OCD?!

This shot is one of my favourite ones for the day.

I admit that I do have some Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) sometimes. I may be too much of a perfectionist. But at the same time, I am impatient! So I want to hurry through the editing of the photos, yet I want to go through it with a fine tooth comb... I suppose it helps that I am lazy as well :P

OCD, impatient and lazy?! What a combination.

Anyway, 27 of 81 so far... At this rate, all should be done by next week sometime.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Poll: What color scheme to use?

Which one's better? Please help me pick one and state some reasons. Thanks...

After 2 hours and getting a little blurry eyed from post processing 10 photos out of 100++ I now can't decide which looks better? Honestly I like both, but the minimalist in me says to pick one. I personally prefer the right one, as it adds an added character to it. The one on the left is the "safer" one as it is more close to natural colors (a.k.a boring :P).

Oh and the photo shoot went well. I had very patient subjects! In the end we had fun (At least I think they did...). I know I certainly did have fun. Although I felt that I could have done better with more creative poses and use of props. But this is the first of many I suppose :)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Getting ready for my first shoot

As part of my roadmap to skill up and gradually get better as a professional photographer, a few weeks back I committed to 7 free sessions to shoot family photos and babies. A few of our friends were kind enough to put their hand up to be my first *a-hem guinea pigs a-hem* customers. :)

After a few practice runs at home and much research. The day has finally arrived tomorrow where I'll be shooting my first session with the Woolfs - Peter and Janice's family. So how do I feel about it?

Excited - as it will my first and I think it will be fun
Nervous - at the same time as it is the first and hope that it will be fun
Happy - that I am able to pursue a passion
Sad - that as I did my research I found that many are doing the same (a.k.a. competitive, not unique)
Disappointed - that I haven't had time to practice more
Tired - as I had 3 big weeks at work

I posted a few photos on the forums for feedback and basically most weren't good. Some notes-to-selves...
- Don't use too much light on both sides. Some shadow is good.
- Be careful of posture and poses.
- Pay more attention to details. E.g. stray hair, etc...
- Try not to take frontal shots - not flattering
- Sharpness in this case is quite important

Let's hope I don't stress myself out and have some fun along the way. Oh and I will be doing lunch as well! :P Come for a shoot and get lunch on the house... LOL!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Kat's Sewings

Kat's Sewings, originally uploaded by Mervin Chiang.

Just a short post to flaunt Kat's stuff... We're still deciding on the label we want to brand my wife's designs and clothings. Her name is Kat. "Kat Doodles" is already taken, but I believe "Katoodle" sounds nice... There were many other comments on what she should name it as. But in short, I think it's great that we're both exploring our creativity side :)

On a photography note, I'm exploring a more consistent way to take the shots of her "products". Of course there is always a natural model to wear them ;)