I have a feeling that I can comprehend
In my deepest thoughts, you are more than just a friend.
I wouldn't want to rush us now, as love we explore
Let me start off my story with my personal analogy on wedding rings. As more young couples are on the verge of getting married, this particular accessory is very important. Not because of what it symbolizes, a never-ending circle of love and commitment; but more on is it ‘big’ enough, is it ‘sparkly’ enough and whether it represents who you are as a person. They don’t see the cuts and scratches, as it’s usually hidden underneath the finger.
For me, this represents what a relationship is. Not mine exclusively, but everyone’s. Relationships sometimes look easy when the couple are always laughing, hugging, kissing and doing everything together. This is the ‘sparkle’ from their display of affection that is seen by their surroundings. However, what they don’t see are the fights, the bad times, and the difficulty of a holding on to a long-lasting commitment.
Going into our story, we’ve definitely had great times through the 6 years together, but there were also times in our relationship where I wanted to give up and throw the ‘rings’ that we’ve created and molded through the years, down the drain. Some were due to hormonal reasons – yes I admit to being very unstable and hormonal most of the times, but there were one or two that really shook us up and made me rethink of our future together.
“Love is a mighty power, a great and complete good. Love alone lightens every burden, and makes rough places smooth. It bears every hardship as though it were nothing, and renders all bitterness sweet and acceptable. Nothing is sweeter than love, nothing stronger, nothing higher, nothing wider, nothing more pleasant, nothing fuller or better in heaven or earth; for love is born of God. Love flies, runs and leaps for joy. It is free and unrestrained. Love knows no limits, but ardently transcends all bounds. Love feels no burden, takes no account of toil, attempts things beyond its strength. Love sees nothing as impossible, for it feels able to achieve all things. It is strange and effective, while those who lack love faint and fail. Love is not fickle and sentimental, nor is it intent on vanities. Like a living flame and a burning torch, it surges upward and surely surmounts every obstacle.” (Thomas a Kempis)
If there’s one thing that Jan and Della love more than they love each other, it’s Totoro. And if there’s one thing I remember from their pre-wedding portraits session in Japan, it’s Totoro. Yes, this couple love the character so much they had to incorporate that into their pre-wedding shoot. In order to have Totoro in the shoot and to make the scene feel like a page out of a comic book, we had to move things around, think about the concept most suitable, arrange the for the actual balloon to be present which involves carrying the ballon (which was quite heavy and not light at all) across the parks, coordinate the outfits so that it won’t look out of place, and subsequently, the rest of the scenes needed to be arrange accordingly as well. You could say that it was quite a bit of work, but was it all worth it? Yes, it was definitely worth it. All the work paid off once I saw the happy look on both their faces. It was a memory that was worth preserving; it’s great for them to remember that at this particular season of their lives, Totoro was a huge part of it, and that’s the kind of things they would want to remember.
I had to give my hats off to Jan, because as a wedding photographer, he really knew what he wanted and what he needed to bring into the shoot. I guess that is one of the perks of having a wedding photographer as a client. Aside from really loving the fact that he knew what he wanted, I really loved that he didn’t mind the hard work of making it happen.
As a pre-wedding and wedding photographer, I am used to seeing people make the extra effort for their big day. They voluntarily go the extra mile and call it “sacrifice”. Yes - sacrifice can mean anything. From giving up the things that they like, to working harder than they thought, to investing their time… all in the name of love and making their wedding day the most memorable day of their lives. That is sacrifice. I love seeing that because it really tells me that they really know what they need to put in to make the relationship work, and more importantly, to make their partners happy. Sacrifice to prioritize each other. I just hope that they continue to do so, even after they have kicked off their dancing shoes and hung their wedding dresses at the back of the closet.
Hi everyone! It’s good to be back on the blog. Since I last posted anything on this space, I’ve gotten married! My wife and I are currently in Paris, honeymooning (okay well, with a little bit of work on the side.) Sometimes I still can’t wrap my mind around this new fact. It’s crazy yet amazing at the same time. It’s crazy amazing! I’ve seen people get married, I watched them as they entered their new lives, I’ve shared their emotions… However, I realized that I never really understood the weight of this sanctimonious event and how a bride and groom feels until I experienced it myself. Even today, I still find myself at loss for words to say just how grateful I am to finally tie myself to the one person I love most; my better half, my best friend, my wife.
I feel like marriage has opened a new eyes for me. I seem to have gained a new perspective when it comes to photographing couples. You could say that marriage has somewhat influenced my work. And in a good way, because I seem to have a new understanding towards chemistry and romantic interaction. You’d think that marriage will take a while to settle in, right? Yeah, I thought so too… But truth be told, it was as if, within that day, something inside of me was unlocked and I gained an insight I had never seen or experienced before.
Although there are still a few kinks that my wife and I have to work on regarding to settling into our new lives, we’re very much looking forward to what lies ahead of us. And although I may not clearly have a perfect understanding on marriage (just like everyone else in this world), I can finally see what my married wedding photographer friends actually see. And I am looking forward to see what other influence this new journey will bring to my work.
When two people are at one in their inmost hearts,
they shatter even the strength of iron or bronze.
And when two people understand each other in their inmost hearts,
their words are sweet and strong,
like the fragrance of orchids.
There’s a splendor about cape town that brings out the exotic side of even the most glamourous. The landscape, the weather, the encounter with nature are just a few wonders that cape town offers that can instantly awaken the adventurous side of anyone. It is truly more captivating than we could have ever imagined.
If you’re living in the big city or a concrete jungle, you’ll find that nature has so much to offer you in South Africa, surely more than the majestic mountains or the breathtaking coastlines or the stars, the clusters of lights spanned across the borderless sky, or even an up close and personal encounter with animals you’ve only seen in books. Being at one with nature in South Africa will leave feeling overwhelmed and small in the glorious creations that only God could have made.
Every time I am in South Africa, I am constantly inspired by nature and I realize just how much I am missing by living in the big city. It’s always great to take a breather from the city lifestyle to commune with tamed elephants or to enjoy the mild winter winds. Whether I am craving adventure or looking to kick back and chill, I can always find something for me in South Africa.
Most people associate learning with formal education, like getting a diploma, a certificate, or a degree in school. We all believe that a formal education and the resulting qualifications are important. But while education may maximize our potential to find better job, be more successful in our careers and perhaps - and hopefully - earn more, I believe that knowledge can be acquired and developed anywhere because learning in unavoidable and it happens all the time - as long as you allow yourself to learn. I believe that lifelong learning is about creating and maintaining a positive attitude to learning, for both personal and professional advancements. When we have the mindset for continuous learning, we enhance our understanding of the world around us and it can provide us with more opportunities to improve our quality of life.
I choose to continuously learn at my job - not only because I have seen the benefit of it for my professional development, I have also seen the benefit of it to my personal development. And how do I do that? By keeping my eyes and ears open.
By observing my mentors at work, by seeing how they work, and by listening to their advices, I learn to become a better photographer. By keeping an attitude of not being afraid to experiment, I challenge myself to try new things and to acquire new skills. Through the friendship I built with them, I have the privilege to listen to them share their life stories and most of all, their hearts. And that’s probably the most valuable learning of all.
So, I’m sitting here writing this in my apartment in Paris while listening to some songs on YouTube. My song choice tonight is nothing current. It’s the best of the best mellow tunes of the 90s. And it’s making me get all kinds of mixed feelings. Like it’s awaken the teenage boy inside that I hadn’t thought of for a while. I’m glad to know that he’s still in there somewhere and I know that he’s probably giving me all kinds of high fives knowing where I am today.
Never in my wildest dream, have I ever thought I’d end up here. I am turning my passion into a living, I get to work with the best, most talented people in the industry, and I am in Paris, you guys!! Life is pretty good. Good has been good in my life.
Even when He pushed me to be somewhere I didn’t want to be, even when I felt the growing pains, even when I felt like I was in need, and even when He stayed silent as I cried out to Him… every time I look back, I can only see that His hand has never left me. He is always faithful to me. I know I can face tomorrow fearlessly. He is good, and I will always be sufficed.
“Try to relax! Pretend we’re not here!” I find myself telling my clients this clichéd sentence when I notice that they’re feeling awkward standing in front of the camera. I don’t know why I say it because on days when I’m not shooting, I fully realize just how silly that actually sounds. As if we can actually make people relax by telling them to relax! It never happened for me.
As a wedding photographer, I realize that my clients aren’t models. They don’t spend hours and hours practicing to be “natural” in front of the camera. To not feel natural is the most natural thing to them and that is okay. That is completely okay! I also realize that to help them relax has everything to do with me. It is not their job to look comfortable, but it’s my job to help them be comfortable. With that in mind, I usually try my hardest (when I remember) to refrain from telling my clients to “try to relax!” and to “pretend that I’m not here!” In fact, I actually want them to realize that I am there and that my presence is not intimidating but comforting instead.
If you feel like you’re one of those couples who tightens up when you know the camera is on you, here’s a few tips to help you out: