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Discovering my personal voice

About a year ago, I attended a Sony Digital Workshop on studio portraiture helmed by Wesley Loh (IG@karwaiwesley). While I learnt valuable tips on how to shoot portraits, lighting, interact with the model, etc, the most intriguing part of the workshop was when Wesley asked me how I felt about a photo that I took. And why. That set me on a whole new journey on discovering my personal voice.


Looking back, there are three aspects to this discovery process. Firstly, I realise that a portrait captures two persons - the subject and the photographer. In fact, the image is more a reflection of the photographer than the subject. The more I invest in the photo imaging, the more personal the photo becomes. And consequentially (hopefully), the more emotive the image.


Secondly, photography is catharsis; the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions. Conceptualising, creating and editing a photograph that resonates with people ought to originate from within - personal experiences, memories and feelings. This process makes the photographer vulnerable. It is risky and yet when the elements come together, there is immense personal satisfaction and relief; and we create magic.


Thirdly, shoot for myself, not for others. This is easier for me as I am not a commercial photographer. Yet it takes some discipline not to seek approval, positive comments, likes on social media, etc. Shoot subjects and concepts that I like. Work with models and themes that pose various challenges in terms of photography skills, technique, etc. Never settle for good. Strive for better. Always innovate and improve.


Along the way, I develop my photography style. To be honest, developing my personal style is an ongoing process. But there are some lighting, looks, vibes and feel that I favour. And I don't apologise for my personal style. This is me. Period.


[Interestingly, I had queries from people I don't know who approached me because they like my style.]


Last but not least, the last year has been a fun journey. Perhaps this is the most important aspect of discovering my personal voice... to have fun doing so. :)


Test frame | Cara | SonyA7iv 85mm F1.4 GM


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