studio

Confession Of A Serial Killer

Some time ago, a mother emailed to inquire my photography service. I could tell she was very keen to have a family portrait made but she was hesitant and was held back by what I believed was "new mother (or parent) syndrome". I was sure I suffered from that too a decade ago: the constant anxiety a new parent feels whenever a routine is upset, something new is being explored, or when the whole family, especially the little one, is nudged out of a comfort zone.

She told me her toddler was very shy in front of strangers; she was worried their pictures would not look like the ones I displayed on my website (warm, happy, candid, natural types). She wanted to come visit my studio with her daughter to remove her inhibitions and basically to "check" if her daughter was comfortable with me. She wanted it on a weekend. Politely, I declined.

First, I don't charge a lot in this family portrait business ($250 basic fee), and I bank on a high turnover to make it work. I don't mind a short meeting during weekday office hours, but to have it on a weekend is a no-no for me because of (1) weddings and (2) my own family time. If I set a precedent, then the amount of time spent on subsequent meetings with interested parents would be overwhelming and unproductive.

Second (and arguably a more critical reason), the natural and candid moments and the happy and excited expressions I capture on kids' faces stem from the fact that they are meeting me and seeing the studio for the first time. The props, the colours, the cosiness they feel upon setting foot in there immediately set them at ease. It is with this first-time novelty that some of the more expressive pictures may be made.

Thirdly, I might not have much luck with ladies, and neither am I adept at small talk or intellectual discussion beyond the confines of club and international football, but I must confess I am slowly gaining a reputation as an aunty-killer (good with mature mothers and grandmothers) and am definitely a child-killer. Kids from the age 12 and below seem to find me disarmingly friendly, due to the fact that I am more than happy to "stoop down" to their level to communicate with them. To smell the flowers, you need to squat down after all, right? Of course, having parents who can interact well with their own kids (other than the standard 'look at uncle; look at the camera;  smile, laugh, don't move) helps tremendously in picture-making.

So back to the new mother and her child. Well, the little one smiled at me within 5 minutes of introduction and started dancing in front of the camera after 7 minutes. And dare I say it? I think I "killed the whole family" at that shoot. In the end, they ended up buying the whole batch of images.

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The Goh Family

This is really one of the rare opportunities when everyone is in Singapore and spending some time together as a family because Evelyn and Jochen live in Australia. I am extremely glad we had this family portrait session, not only because of its preciousness, but also because it served as a sequel to their wedding which seemed to happen only not too long ago.

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Three's A Merry Crowd

I know Daryl since the age of 17, and Wee Nee when we were residents at Temasek Hall. In fact, we were all residents there except that I did not know Daryl was pursuing more than just a degree back then. I had the fortune to shoot their wedding, their family photos when number 3 was still inside mummy's tummy, and then this latest one when all the three monkeys are well capable of flashing their cheeky smiles at me. Having three kids seems like a good idea, barring the incessant noise and shrieks, because parents are guaranteed constant entertainment and they actually make a nett positive contribution to Singapore's population. I would always ask myself if I would relish having a third child. I guess it would have been fun, but it is something I will never get to find out.

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Hope To See You Again

From the firstborn, to the second pregnancy, and now the second-born, it feels like I am shooting an adapted version of the movie Boyhood.

It is heartwarming to witness the growing up and the little milestones of the Kuek family. Hope I'll have many more opportunities to document more milestones, and possibly even number 3 and 4!

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Bailey's British Dream

We have come a long way. From when I shot their wedding (a beautiful day at Suburbia), to making pictures of their first born Bailey when she was just days old, to the cheeky little monkey she has now become, Jason and Tessalin have always been two of my most supportive and nicest clients. Now that the whole family is based in London, I doubt I can see them anytime soon. Luckily for Facebook, I can still keep track of Bailey's many adventures in London. 

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Third Time Lucky

This is the third time I made pictures of Wendy and KS' (second picture from top) families. A few years ago, it was just them plus their daughter Ezane. Last year it was Wendy's big family who came visiting from Malaysia and the shoot took place at Botanical Gardens. This year, KS roped in his side of the family and finally, the picture is complete.

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Gentle Souls

When two gentle souls get together, they create little gentle souls of their mould. Victor and Theng Theng are yet another wedding clients of mine. The most vivid thing I remember about their wedding (eons ago) was the fact that Theng Theng's family is in Johore Bahru, where my parents were living then too. In order to steal the extra hour of sleep, I entered JB the night before and spent the night at my parents'. The other thing I remember is Theng Theng's wam family, which surrounded her with lots of love. 

I am really happy to see them again, this time with their two kids, Xenia and Isaac, in tow. Unlike the stereotypical warring siblings, these two love each other and really take after their parents. Even though the younger one can be a little boisterous and cheeky, the sister would be patient enough to accommodate, and when necessary, discipline him like how an elder sister would. And the boy would accept his place without much fuss. Any parents who would like to get in touch with them to consult them on parenting, feel free to email me. :)

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Indoor, Outdoor, Natural Light Photography

For an one-hour photography session, clients can have the best of both worlds by combining the comfort of indoor photography with a bit of outdoor greenery when they visit The Family Man studio. Be it indoor or outdoor, Alexis is allowed free rein to push her favourite wagon around. Our emphasis is always on capturing real and candid moments when kids express themselves in their typical childlike way.

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Friend For Life, Foe Once Every Week

Tuck Weng is a friend since our secondary school days. Our classrooms were next to each other, so we saw each other almost every day. Ever friendly, warm and easygoing, he can immediately put you at ease. After we started working, we often gathered with other friends to play football at our alma mater on weekends. Unfortunately, family and work commitments made those weekly joints more and more difficult, plus the influx of new players was getting younger, fitter and stronger, which made oldies like us look bad in a big field.

 I am happy to see he has a very lovely family. The two boys were cheeky, lively and full of laughs at the studio. One hour just whizzed past in an instant. The only downside is his allegiance to English club Tottenham Hotspurs. I know he was mightily disappointed that his beloved club faltered last season. Selfishly, I hope the unlucky streak continues.......sorry Tuck Weng!

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A Bundle Of Joy

Bingkun and Chee Wei are my friends from the eighties and nineties respectively. He and I were in the same secondary school, and she and I were in the same class in junior college. After some twists and turns, the two of them fell in love in London and I had the honour to shoot half of their wedding (because I wasn't available on the other half). I also shot their first family portrait with their firstborn Chloe. As happened to most families, the second-born was skipped (haha) but they got together in front of my camera again when no.3 Bundle the whippet joined the family.

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See how happy and beautiful the three girls are in the above image....but when the daddy joined in, something changed. Just joking. Bingkun is a caring and doting dad and all the girls love him to bits.

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If Eyes Can Kill

This is one serious kid whom you do not want to mess with. Give him a role and he would assume it with his life. Captain America, Jedi Knight or a Kungfu fighter. He would fight you till the end. #veryseriouswithplay #playseriously

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Daddy, Mummy And Baby Khoo

And then there were three. No, I am not referring to KJ and Sylvia's new love, Ethan. I am talking about a hat-trick of photography services-----from their pre-wedding, to wedding day and now their family portrait. I had very little idea when i got into wedding photography that our vendor-client relationship could last so many years. I find this the most meaningful part of my job, and knowing that some pictures I have taken of them would be hanging on the wall somewhere or placed on a table in their rooms makes it just a tad more rewarding.

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The Song Of Joyice And Joyrain

Zuo Wei and Jia Jia are two of the most patient parents I have met. And we met many years ago when I first shot Jia Jia's sister's wedding, then her own wedding ceremony, and then her brother's wedding ceremony. In between I also took photos of their beloved family dog before he passed on, and took pictures of her firstborn as well as second-born----Joyice and Joyrain respectively.

The parents have their own sense of humour which they sprinkle on their kids regularly; there is constant communication within the family, and any spare time is spent with the girls. The result? Two very well-adjusted, eloquent, cheeky and bright kids. I wish more families can be like this.

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Friends Of Childhood Past

The Tans are a family of five whom we got along pretty well during the days when our kids attended the same kindergarten. Their only daughter Gwyneth and mine were in the same class and they hung out back in those days.

Subsequently, they each went to their respective primary schools and "lost touch" (the parents still keep in touch). This family photo session was so special because it provided us an opportunity to catch up. "Gwyn misses Yuwen," according to her mum, CY.

Interestingly, the two girls just looked at each other and laughed for the duration they were together in the same room, and that is precisely why kids are such precious creatures. They are genuine and do not hide their feelings. Honestly, their paths have diverged and have no common topics now. They do not know what small talk is, but then, from their laughters I could sense their affection for each other.

I believe the seed of friendship has long been sown inside them, but due to distance, it has not germinated the way it should. Maybe one day, their paths might cross again, and the seed will have grown into a tree.

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A very innocent pair of Gwyneth (L) and Yuwen share a moment.

A very innocent pair of Gwyneth (L) and Yuwen share a moment.

There Is A Little History Here

Dr Jaime Koh (in spectacles) was an ex-colleague at Today newspaper. Both she and her partner Dr Stephanie Ho now run The History Workroom,  a research and editorial consultancy specialising in Singapore history and heritage. One fine day, they brought their adopted mongrel Benny to the studio for a family photo shoot. The handsome young dog was a bundle of joy and energy, but nonetheless, a gem to make photographs of.

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The Tongue-twister Couple

I have always remembered them as the "tongue-twister" couple back when I shot their wedding, because I would always have to refer to them as Gerald and Sheryl. Another thing I remember fondly was I never failed to capture interesting expressions on their faces because they were always smiling and laughing throughout their wedding day. Obviously, this trait of theirs have passed down to their two girls, with dramatic effect. :)

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Where it all began.

Where it all began.

Three Girls And A Daddy

Back when I shot the wedding of Vern and Ellen, I was very taken by the chemistry shared between them. Both are highly energetic and fast talkers, with Vern seemingly a Duracell bunny, and Ellen acting as a more collected foil to him. What struck me most was how respectful and loving Vern was towards his wife. If there is one person who can turn off that switch on the toy bunny, it is Ellen. (Vern, I AM NOT implying you are hen-pecked, ok!)

And I knew then there would be a few more ladies in his life. True enough, he is now dad to two lovely girls Jacqueline and Jesslyn, and with the flick of a switch, he has become the envy of many men.

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Like father, like daughter.

Like father, like daughter.

All About Today

Today's post is about.....Today. Ariel , mum of the two boys;   Lawrence and Meifang, parents of the two girls; Phei Phei, mother of son and daughter ----- are  all ex-colleagues from Today newspaper. Ariel, whose husband Chris is working in Business Times, was a sub-editor when I worked as a photojournalist. Phei Phei was a reporter while Lawrence was and still is in IT and Meifang was a photo technician. Meifang was eager to learn photography, and we were happy to share our knowledge with her. Before long, she was shooting assignments on top of her usual duties, and more rewardingly, she and our IT colleague became an item.  Those were good days because back then Today was a start-up which nobody really gave a chance when we were fighting the Goliath Singapore Press Holdings. We had a well-respected boss in P.N. Balji, but at the junior level, most of us were either rookies or fresh graduates. Wide-eyed, wet behind our ears, but most importantly, FEARLESS.

 I am very happy to document some precious moments of their families. It is an honour to have them visit The Family Man studio. Sometimes, just once or twice, I wonder what it would be like if I stayed on with Today? Would it have been a better tomorrow? *chuckle*

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Source: http://www.thefamilyman.sg/blog/2016/7/7/t...