The S word.

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The word ‘storytelling’ has been paraded across the creative industries for the last ten years.
I notice when we are talking about ‘stories’ in general, we are using it as a marketing mechanism, to sell.
Sell the story to strangers. Readers. Potential clients.
If complete strangers were to see your work, can they see the story?
Is your personality as a storyteller shining through your work?
Will they click through your stories?

That’s a load of bs.
The story is never about us; it’s about them.
Our clients.

The photograph above is a wedding photograph.

But if I were to show it to pedestrians, they will see a man and woman in a room.
If I were to enter this into any awards, it will be disqualified because: no dress, no flowers, no tuxedo, no church, no bridal party, no mason jars, no rings. no shoes, no kissing under a tree.

But this is a wedding photograph.
In fact, to me, it is the most important photograph of the day.

Strangers will not know that it is 1am in the morning.
We had just finished a formal portrait session.
They won’t know that the bride and groom had gone through a day so long, so busy, that the complimentary afternoon high tea was left (mostly) untouched.
The bride and groom will remember the scones with strawberry jam with cream on top.
The cream, smooth and shiny as a hard boiled egg.
Their friends have just finished crashing their suite in Raffles Hotel, leaving the empty wine bottles.
The groom is cutting the 500g wedding cake (different from the one they cut on stage) and feeding it to this wife.
For the very first time.

The photographer was still there because all three of them, bride, groom and I, went to high school together.
We haven’t seen each other for quite some time.
We would later chat about past, present, and future.
Until 3am.

This is a wedding photograph.

Strangers won’t know that.
Strangers probably won’t care.

But every time the bride and groom see this photograph, it will remind them of the day.
The day they registered for marriage.
Sure, we had taken many other formal portraits before then.
But this shot, in my opinion, sums the day up.
Sometimes, one shot, that’s all we need.

We are there to capture the uniqueness of our clients, not to apply some storytelling stardust on their day.

The story is never about us; it’s about them.

Myekie - Great post Harvard. I often think about what true storytelling is in the context of Wedding photography.

Do Singaporeans dream of Singlish sheeps?

They are timid; they are well-exposed.
They are resting; they are eating.
They play Chinese chess; they play Candy Crush.
They are locals; they are ‘angmo’s.
They are chicken rice; but also single origin espresso.
They live in the past, they want cutting edge.
They are waiting; they are lost.
They are shopping; they are shopping more.
They are contradictory; they are predictable.
They are suspicious; but believe in saving seats with tissue papers.
They are family-driven; they are desperate for a pocket of privacy.
They are competitive; but seem to have accepted fate.
They are happy; they are bored.

I went to Singapore for the first time since I was a kid.
First time as a grown up, a photographer.

It looks like Japan, like China, like Malaysia.
Like a melting pot.

But the people, they fascinated me the most.

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Sydney for the Nth Time.

I’ve been to Sydney countless times.
But, I have not been to Sydney with my wife.
We rented a studio near Ultimo and pretended to be locals.
Certain mornings, we will walk to Pitt Street to have brunch just after rush hour.
We would rent a car just to get croissants from Surry Hills.
I took her to Alexandria to have that watermelon rose cake too.
She finally tried Xiao Long Baos from Din Tai Fung.
Also, we didn’t have to queue for Ippudo ramen.
They say Sydney is hectic.
Well, making a living in Sydney is hectic.
Being a tourist in Sydney, is a blast.

Here are some shots from a roll of Portra 400.

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Tina & Dennis – Newport Substation Wedding

This wedding is a fresh one.
Two months old.
Tina and Dennis literally crafted this day by hand.
They made the ceiling decorations. The giant wire ball thing.
I remember Dennis describing how he’s going to make the light-boxes on the table over coffee.
They are their very own planners, stylists, and to say I was blown away by their vision for Substation is an understatement.

Round tables.
Red curtains.
Crystal chairs.
Spotlights.
Lolly bar.
Epic dance routine.

Much later, one of the bridesmaids told me in a hush way, that Dennis always haggle. ALWAYS.
Yet he did not haggle with the photographer.
He trusted you, she said.
He wants you to be comfortable and do the best job, she said.

That night as I got into my car I thought:
It’s only March, and I probably just shot my best Asian wedding of 2015.

That night as I was driving home I thought:
The photographer is only as good as the client.

Click here if you fancy a 15 minute director’s cut slideshow.

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hannah - love it! awesome venue!

Shuen - Beautiful wedding and beautiful post!

Collby - Great shots there! You’ve captured all the emotion, veracity, authenticity of this special day! :-)