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You’ve been Bombed!

2 days ago I was lamenting to my fiance on how a high school friend, W whom i wasn’t really close with, invited himself to our wedding reception & tea ceremony. We did not plan to have a grand reception, just a simple one with closer friends and family- hence our invitation list was a bit tight.

The whatsapp conversation between him and me went like this:

Big W: Hey when is your wedding date?

Me: Its on the xx October! 🙂

Big W: Great I shall reserve that date on my calendar!

Me: (wat the.. i wasn’t even planning to invite you!) Ummm…

Big W: And don’t worry I will help you out as a ‘Heng Dai’ in the morning

Me: (^*%&!.. r u kidding me?!) *awkward silence*

I explained to my fiance that I wasn’t really close to W at high school, we probably only spoken less than 5 times in 5 years. That I thought W was a little thick skinned to send an invitation to himself- since I did not think of him as my Heng Dai.

What my fiance replied me completely changed the way i see W and weddings.

She said:

“Well its better than you sending invitation to your so called friends and being viewed as a ‘burden’ for them to attend your wedding. At least when W’s colleague asks him if he has any plans for the weekend, he would reply enthusiastically ‘I HAVE A FRIENDS WEDDING TO ATTEND TO :):)’, rather than ‘haiz, got to attend a wedding la.. this month dunno how many red bomb edi lo, sienz’.

She added “Take for example the time when we had our little Registration Ceremony, I was hoping that one of my best friends could attend even for a while to share our happiness but it seemed that for her work came first. My other friends who wanted to be there went to the extent of taking leave off work and flying 5000km just to show up. Why would you decline a person who truly wishes to attend your wedding, while invite others who would rather be somewhere else?”

How true. I stand corrected. W if you are reading this, please do come to my wedding.

I relate this thought to some of my friends who complain about the 4 chinese weddings that they ‘had’ to attend the next month, only to be outdone by another friend who claims to have been ‘BOMBED’ 6 times for that same month. I can’t help to feel disheartened by the way they implied that attending weddings will make you experience one of the following:

– make you broke

– rob you of your time

– is done for the sake of ‘giving face’ to the couple or their parents

– bore you to death (have to keep mobile device handy- to escape mentally)

When a friend invites me for a wedding. I am usually thrilled and will look forward to see the bride and groom looking the very best on that day. Unless of course if I am booked earlier to shoot another wedding, which is another story altogether..

A couple does not simply invite random people to fill up the spaces at their wedding. They put tremendous time and effort in preparing their guestlist. They wish that the people invited can share their joy, and at the same time will be happy for them and give their blessings.

During a wedding, the positive vibrations from a couple is so great that they wish their guest can feel and share those vibes. In other words, they bless the guest with their constant flow of positive energy. That is also part of the reason that it is not a good idea for two couples with wedding dates very close to each other to attend the others’ wedding- as those energies would clash.

It may not really show that the couple is appreciative of your attendance as they might be stressed out on the formalities and trying to keep everyone happy- but trust me that they do! Couples are happy that you came- that is why most of them emphasize the importance of taking memorable pictures of their guests. That is where the importance of my job comes in.

Why wouldn’t you want to be a part of a couple’s happiest day in their lives? Either as a photographer or as a guest, its an honor and a pleasure.

Formalities in weddings are important- the giving of red packets, tea ceremony, toasting etc. If you can’t stand it then just don’t go. If you decide to go- go because you want to.



A Small Award, a Good Start

Recently, I got accepted into the ISPWP. Membership requirements to the International Society of Professional Wedding Photographers (ISPWP) is strict. They only accept experienced (having shot more than 50 weddings) and best photographers from around the world. A quick browse through their contest award winners is enough proof of the quality, talent and professionalism of the members. Check out the requirements here. It isn’t like any other ordinary wedding directories where any photographer is open to list their services for a fee. Membership here is earned. So far there are only 2 Malaysian members.

I know that there are many photographers who are against joining contests. Perhaps it is mainly due to certain bodies focuses to much on profiting from contest entries, biased voting process, and the law of large numbers in action (the more you submit, the higher chances of winning). Somehow I find the images on the ISPWP contest galleries very inspiring – and clearly demonstrates mastery of the craft- being aware and able to capture split second moments, possessing the creativity in composition and setting up a scene and capturing priceless expressions. No amount of post-processing can rival these basic and important traits of an excellent wedding photographer.

Early this year I submitted 7 of my favourite images for the quarterly contest and was lucky enough to garner a 12th placing recognition in the “Kids will be kids” category. Its far from being an excellent result but this spurs me to continually improve my craft. Being able to capture impactful story telling pictures is and have been my goal in every wedding.

Here I would like to share that image and my 7 other submission which well.. did not make it into the top 20 (but I still like them 🙂 )



Submission for the”Engagement Portrait” category


Submissions for the “Family Love” category




Submission for the”Kids Will be Kids” category


Submission for the “Humour” category


Submission for the “Framing the Subject” category

Since we are at it, and on a pretty random note, I would also like to share my picture that received an “Accolade of Excellence Award” from WPPI early 2011