Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Map Reproduction Work with Hasselblad HD4-40

I've been assigned to shoot a series of antique maps of Malaysia for a reproduction work. The maps belong to a local collector and the images will be featured in a book Published by Editions Didier Millet. We decided to shoot this assignment with a medium format to get the highest detail possible.

Before any work start, I had a briefing meeting with the publisher. The purpose is to discuss the scope of work and layout everything on the table. During this discussion, we investigate all possible outcome of the shoot, from the date and time, logistics, shoot schedule, the shoot list, props (if necessary), the method of shooting and some other issues. Once we've cleared this out, we can list out the costs involved which are essentially fees plus expenses. From here, we went on a recce session to check out the location and the items and see if there are any other issues to be sorted out. Once I got all information that I needed, I sent out the quote and waited for approval.

*To draw up the quote, I went on a lookout for equipment rental services and glass makers to supply a 4'x5' glass to be used during the shoot. 

The Call
Within the same week, I got a call to say that the quote is OK and it's a go. Cool!
What now?

Once I got the green light, I quickly confirm my booking with the rental house, FLIER PLE ( I rented a Hasselblad H4D-40, 120mm f4 macro lens, and two units of Profoto D1 air 1000ws with a pair of 3'x4' softbox. I also rented a pair of C-stands and arms to clip the glass sandwich where the maps are going to be placed.

Before work begins, I did a few test shots with the HD4-40 at the rental house to make sure that all is good to go.

Here are the results. Click for larger image:
The details on the maps are similar as the RM1 note's line drawing on Mount Kinabalu. Check out how small Mount Kinabalu is in this image.

Look at how much detail that the H4D-40 captured. All good to go!

Finally, I also made sure that I've assembled my team of assistants and briefed them about the work.

Shoot Day
The owner of the maps wanted us to shoot super early so that we can finish early. We arrived on location at 7am and estimated the shoot to finish at 5pm, which included a 1-hr lunch-break. We had 14 maps to shoot and proceeded with the session. My team was super fantastic that it turns out that we completed all the map shoot at 3pm. It was amazing!

The images are currently being processed and due for delivery within 2-weeks. We got most of it right on location and post production work now comprises of some edging out, and colour checks and stitching if necessary.

I couldn't have done it without the help of these fantastic friends:

Azwan Fakaruddin
Tunku Ishak

Aiman Amir (SR Production)

Support (FLIER PLE)

Check out the Behind The Scenes video here, courtesy of Aiman Amir from SR Production.

Here's a group photo of our team.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Made the cover for Human Resources Magazine, AUG-2012

Made the cover (and also the inside spread) of Human Resources Magazine (Malaysia) for August 2012 issue. This was shot at our studio. Image features Legion Richardson, Director of Human Resources, McDonald's Malaysia. Art Directed by Khairul Hasbullah from Lighthouse Independent Media KL. I couldn't have done this without the help of two of my assistants, Azwan Fakaruddin and Zulhelmi Misran. Thanks guys!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Published work: Time Out KL-August 2012

Hi All,

If you can remember, I've posted a behind the scenes shoot for Time Out KL August 2012 spread last month. Here's the published spread in this month's issue. Go check 'em out! Cheers!

Here's the published issue, Time Out KL August 2012
Here's my published spread. Looks good. :)
Here's the original image.
Here's the alternate option the editor requested that I sent.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Aputure Trigmaster 2.4G

From left: Aputure Trigmaster 2.4G transmitter and receiver set, 3 extra receivers to the right.

This is what you get from a set of transmitter and receiver. From top-left:sync-cord, receiver, transmitter, flash hotshoe table stand. From bottom-left: 1/2" sync adapter, PC sync cable, camera remote cable. 

I recently upgraded my remote triggers to Aputure Trigmaster 2.4G.
At first I was looking to replace my remote radio camera trigger which has failed due to a broken internal wire in the connecting cables to the camera. Therefore, one of my criteria was to find a remote that has a replaceable wire. I found the Aputure Trigmaster to fit the bill.

Turns out that the Aputure Trigmaster can also trigger flash, therefore I decided to spend some extra cash to get another three extra receivers for my speedlights.

At first I wasn't so sure about getting this brand, but after reading a review at, I was confident to go ahead with this choice.

The price is very affordable compared to other makes. A set of transmitter and receiver is RM100 only, and additional receiver is RM50/unit. This is the selling price at Digicolor, at Jalan Ipoh ( So far, Digicolor sells this unit the cheapest compared to other sellers in Malaysia.

One thing that I like about these triggers are that the transmitter uses a 23A battery and the receivers use 2xAAA batteries, which are very easy to find at 7eleven's or your local marts. My previous Cactus V2 flash triggers and my Phottix radio camera remote uses CR2 batteries which were expensive. This problem arises when the "on" switch is accidently flicked during transport or while they're in your bag and drains the battery out before you can use it.

Field Test, what I like about these triggers:

  1. Consistency.
    They fire perfectly and I have peace of mind. I've used them in three assignments to date and they all work beautifully.
  2. Low profile.
    The receivers mounts low on my umbrella bracket and it's more stable than my Cactus V2 receivers.
  3. Multipurpose.
    I like the fact that the transmitter can trigger my flash or my camera. Now I carry one thing less in my bag. Travel light.
  4. Cheap to expand your set.
    The cheap price of an extra unit of receivers (RM50/unit) means that you can build up your set faster than any other brand. 
If money is no object.
If money is not an issue, I'd probably get the TTL radio remotes from either the Phottix Odin or the new Yong Nuo 622

For photographers starting to build their off camera systems and looking for a decent remote flash or camera trigger, I highly recommend the Aputure Trigmaster 2.4G because of its is value for money and because of that it's an affordable to expand in the future (if you're planning to add more receivers into your system).

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Behind The Scenes tour-Product Photography

Hello All, here's another quick tour of my product photography shoot for a designer shoe brand, GlamRockChic. Video shot with Sony Xperia Pro. English subtitles available. Please press the CC (closed captions) button on the YouTube player bar for English subs. Enjoy!

Behind The Scenes of a Simple Food Photography Workshop

Hi All,

As I mentioned in my previous post, here's the Behind The Scenes video I put together of our recent Simple Food Photography Workshop on 23-JUN-2012. For those who couldn't make it, I hope this video will give you some idea of what's involved in the workshop and hopefully I'll see you all in the next workshop, ya? Enjoy!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Yesterday's Simple Food Photography Workshop outcome. Delicious!

I'm so ecstatic about the outcome my recent Simple Food Photography Workshop yesterday. Here's a quick post of the shots I took during the workshop to demonstrate to the participants on the fundamentals of simple food photography. The participants and I are very well satisfied with the new updated techniques we used in this session. I didn't take any stills of the participants at work, but even better, a video post of behind-the-scenes will follow soon! Meanwhile, enjoy the mouth-watering images :)

We started off with a clean white background technique using a DIY light tent with two speedlights. This is wholewheat spaghetti with prawns. Did my own styling this time. :)

I must say that I' love this shot to bits! This example is to demonstrate a different lighting technique to introduce mood into a food shot. I'm very proud of my student Zain Aziz and Mohd Zulhelmi Misran who did the styling of the wholewheat spaghetti and prawn in the bowl this time. In the background is a bowl of fried rice styled by Muhammad Alif Saufwan Abas and Muhammad Al Arqam Ismail.
The same setting as above. This is an overhead shot to demonstrate different camera angles. I'm very proud of my student Zain Aziz and  Mohd Zulhelmi Misran who did the styling of the wholewheat spaghetti and prawn in the bowl this time. The fried rice was styled by Muhammad Alif Saufwan Abas and Muhammad Al Arqam Ismail.

Finally, some small snacks! Did this simple styling to demonstrate a close-up shot. We shot this with a 50mm and a +3 close-up filter. No-macro lens involved, how's that for "simple"?

Monday, June 11, 2012

My Colour Profiling Tools

I just thought that I shared with you all my not-so latest white balance and colour profiling tools. Currently , I'm using the X-rite Color Checker Passport which is superb in making sure I get the colours right. I've moved on from the QP card to the Whibal, and finally to the Color Checker. I shoot a lot of products in the studio and also some colour sensitive subjects on-location and getting the right colour is very crucial for me. Adjusting the white balance and colour tint in the camera can be a tricky guesswork and I'd like to get my colours correct as much as possible. Here are some visuals for your reference. Enjoy!

I've moved up to the ColorChecker Passport from the 'ol QP card. :)

My Ol' skool colour targets. :)

My rugged & abused Whibal. Amazingly it's still standing strong after approximately 4 years! :)

Latest addition to my colour management workflow, the X-RITE ColorChecker Passport. :)


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Published Work: Time Out KL

Please excuse the quality of the images. I shot these quickly with my mobile phone. :)
I'll try to update them with scanned ones soon. Cheers!

Time Out KL May 2012 Issue.
Shot this at KL Pac 
Some architectural shots (interior) for the Nightlife section.

Close-up of the spread. Low light shooting is challenging, but I love it to bits! 

The other side of the spread.
Here's the latest June 2012 issue.

Photographed this at our studio, the day after the big yellow Bersih 3.0 assembly in KL.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Lightroom 4 vs Capture One 6, simple comparison.

Lightroom 4 vs Capture One 6 comparison

Recently I shot an editorial assignment that I was not happy about. It was a point where my gear had reached its limit. This was shot at 1/125s, f5.6, ISO400 7D+24mm f1.4L and was lit with 600ws studio light. This is a 100% crop.

This image had compromised its clarity and noise. Nevertheless, I tried processing with Lightroom 4 and Capture One 6 to see if any one of these softwares shows any improvement in those two aspects.

During this investigation, I found out that Capture One 6 fixes chromatic aberration better than Lightoom 4. However, Lightroom 4 processes details & clarity better than Capture One 6.

On my last note, it appears that Capture One 6 produces more neutral colours than Lightroom 4.

I'm not happy with this output and now scratching my head to plan out for a medium format with a digital back. Wish me luck! :)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Adobe Lightroom 4

I was really stoked after collecting my package at the distributor in Sunway Damansara.
This might be old news, but it's been a month since I bought myself Adobe Lightroom 4. I've been testing out the beta version for a while and once the full version was released I couldn't believe how affordable it was. I got it for RM 505 through The Network Hub Sdn Bhd, who is one of Adobe's Gold Distributor as listed on Adobe's website.

What I like about Adobe Lightroom 4.
Although you can be content if you still have Lightroom 3 at hand, having Lightroom 4 does give you some edge in processing your images.
  1. Better shadows & highlights rescue than LR3. I shoot a lot of high key portraits on a white cyc. It's easier to clean-up the highlights in LR4.
  2. More options on the adjustment tools (gradient and brush tool). More control on highlights, colour, saturation, clarity and almost all of the basic editing variables are also available on the adjustment tools to be tweaked, hence more control.
  3. Superb noise reduction. I shot an ISO 2500 image and it did wonders in cleaning up the noise.
  4. More stable tethering than LR3.
If you're interested to learn more about Adobe Lightroom 4, why don't you attend "The Ultimate Lightroom Workflow" , a 3-day workshop by Jared Platt all the way, LIVE from Seattle via the internet, from 14-JUN till 16-JUN. It's FREE!

More info at:

Recent Tearsheets

I've been guilty of not updating my blog for almost a year. 2011 seemed like a bleep from the timeline. I've been really productive in 2011 that I didn't have time to keep you guys posted on what I did. Therefore, for this year, my aim is to disseminate information as quickly and as accurately as possible.
Here are my recent published work for Time Out KL and Time Out Malaysia magazines.

I've been meaning to scan these prints but it was consuming too much of my time. I needed to share these and in the end I took these quick shots with my mobile phone. Not too shabby I suppose. Probably I'll scan the tearsheets in another time to replace these. I found out that blogging shouldn't consume much of my time, because it's about sharing as fast as possible, so here they are, for your viewing pleasure. Thanks for reading!

Here's Time Out KL March 2012 Issue. I shot the cover!

I shot this cover for Time Out KL March 2012 issue!

Been going around after dark to shoot these fantastic bars around KL.

Here's Time Out KL April 2012 Issue.

Didn't shoot this cover. :)
I loved this assignment. We've got some pretty amazing unique boutiques around Kuala Lumpur.

Shot the lovely Nina Hidayat at our studio for this section.
Time Out Malaysia Restaurants, Bars & Clubs Guide 2012
Wished I had shot the cover, but I didn't. This is a reference to the issue.

Lovely food around KL. You'll be surprised.
Time Out Malaysia Shopping Guide 2012
Cover for issue reference.
This assignment would be one of the most exciting assignments that I got. Partially because I just got a Sigma 30mm f1.4 and used it first on this assignment. The lens produced such depth and clarity I really loved the outcome of it. The focal length is nice too. I got to work in tight and wide spaces with just this lens. Loved the angle of view. It was so pleasing to the eye. Several wide angle shots were taken with the Canon 10-20mm on the 7D.
Now this is one of the most interesting assignment I got. Love shooting this one.

The 30mm f.14 is one of my favorite lens for this assignment.

Loved the photos on the right page of this spread. Such shallow depth-of-field creates more dimension to the photos.

I bet you thought that these images are from the ambient lights. Nope. I filled the ambient with a bit of flash from my speedlight with attached CTO (colour temperature orange) gels. When I light, I try my best to blend and camouflage the flash with the ambient. This was and is my challenge.

Here's another section in this issue. The products and talents were shot in our studio except the furnitures which were shot on-location at VIVA Homes, Cheras. Some of the small items were shot by Stacy Liu, Time Out's in-house lovely photographer.

I thought I took a close-up of this section to show my photo credits. Nice :)

Path to Success

Recently I've been searching for some answers on how to break away from a plateau. I can say that we've all meet successful people who we look up to and we've probably asked "How did you get where you are today?".

Most of the time they'll tell us their story beginning from when they were rock bottom till how they gained success. What I've found out is that none of them really shared the critical "breaking point" or shall I say, the moment they broke away from their downturn. I don't know why, but perhaps they'd like to keep it a secret or simply don't know how to tell.

Well, recently I've done some digging through several successful people in their respective industry and found out these fundamental key to breaking the plateau. If you don't understand what I mean by plateau, what I'm trying to illustrate is how you can increase your stagnant earnings by adapting a few method.

I've burst my maximum humanly hours possible in a day for work and feel that there's not enough hours in a day. Therefore, if this is my yield per day, how on earth am I going to increase my earnings when I've maxed out the amount of hours I can spend working in a day?

OK, here's what I learnt:
There's no shortcut to success.
The answer is just:
  1. work harder
  2. make savings and finally 
  3. invest
Here's some explanation, working backwards.

In the end, the only way to maximise our earnings is by investment, be it personal or business. An investment would be the only way that you can be at two or more places in one time. Since there's only 24-hrs in a day, consider and investment is making copies of yourself working as much as you're working right now and earning for you. An investment could also be diversification of business. It could also be an "opportunity". Simple concept isn't it?

You can only invest when you have extra resource. This resource comes from savings. Now, how do we get savings? You can get savings by working hard and keeping your expenses manageable.

Work Hard
This is the only way to build your savings. Some people say work smart. That's true, but working smart is already part of the plan, which is our end goal to invest. At the end of the day, initially you do need to work hard to get extra resource to generate savings, consequently leading to an investment. Work hard could also mean consistently improving yourself, your skills to be better and the best you can be at what you do.

Now that you know this, try it out. There's no secret to success but to put your sweat to it and work hard.

Go on, it's no secret. I hope this will change your life. Share this. :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Last year's portrait

I was clearing my disk storage and found this old photo I shot last year. Featured in the photo is Azwan, who is also a rising photographer and my close friend. We've worked closely together for the past year with each of us taking turns to assist one another in our individual photo assignment. I can't exactly recall when we took this photo, but most likely it was right after we wrap for an assignment. Enjoy!