Nikon D7500

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Nikon D7500 – with Pat Law
File Photo: The New Nikon D7500 with DX 18-140mm lens.

03rd October 2017, Singapore –
Nikon Singapore recently sent us the D7500 for us to review and we were thinking hard what to do with it. At the time of writing, the D7500 had already been widely reviewed and as for us, we are really more interested in what this camera is capable of. From the published specifications, this new 20.6 megapixel mid-ranger sits in between the pro range and the entry-level DSLRs in the product line.

Before we proceed, as usual we would like to disclaim that we are reviewing based on user experience rather than a technical review which you can easily find on Nikon’s websites. We are more interested in what the camera can do and image quality etc. If you are cool, read on.


The DX (crop factor x 1.53) 15.7mm × 23.5mm CMOS sensor give you a good image size up to 5,568 × 3,712 and it has no anti-alias filter. The Ultrasonic Sensor cleaner comes as standard. The camera also allows user to set the crop factor to 1.3 ratio too. The electronic stablized 4K Video capability allows still grabs while shooting and at normal shooting mode, the camera does a fast 8 frames per second (fps). ISO range starts from ISO 50 to whopping ISO 1,638,400! Time lapse fans will also love the built-in time lapse function but we like the 3D tracking with the 51 focus points more! The bright 3.2 inch tilt-able screen is nice too for low angle shooting & framing. OK there is certainly a whole lot more of specifications to read up on which I will suggest reading those on Nikon’s sites.

So we passed the Nikon D7500 to one of our accredited Photography Trainer & Review Editor Pat Law and let his have the D7500 for 2 weeks. Let’s hear what he have to say after using the D7500 for 2 weeks in his usual applications.




NIKON D7500 – Pat Law

I have been a Nikon user for a long time and when Editor AL passed me the new D7500, I was pretty excited to try it out having read several reviews on this camera.

The first impressions always counts and when I took the camera out of the box, I play around with it feeling its weight and size etc. I found the handling ergonomics to be extremely impressive and personally I love the feel of the grip. Buttons layouts were “very-much-Nikon” and this gives a close familiarity to existing Nikon users while new Nikon users will find it easy to navigate and use.



The 18-140mm kit lens that came with the camera is a little DX monster on its own. The sharpness and contrast are superb and you can see from the above example. (in fact all the images on this article you may click on them – then view at 100% up to 300%). Usually kit lens are a basic lens that comes with the camera but in this case, I think the 18-140mm belongs to a different class – definitely higher than a basic line lens.




Hand-held shooting at low shutter speed somehow becomes much easier with the VR (Vibration Reduction) on the lens and it give users more space for creative shooting. Frankly, I find the D7500 to be extremely easy to use and the camera did not disappoint. I managed to get what I have envisioned every time before I took the shot and I am sure anyone will love D7500. 


The above image was meant to share with readers that when I tried shooting this scene in both Raw & Jpeg, I noticed the image values on the Jpeg is not too far from the Raw. In short, the D7500 is capable of much bigger things – but made simpler & friendlier for users.



From landscape shots to portraits, the D7500 does it all and does it well. I tried shooting portraits with the D7500 and I really happy with the results.





I am certainly impressed with the new Nikon D7500 for what it can produce. From the handling to using it for everyday subjects, this camera is a performer in its class. I wish I can have more time with the D7500 to try the time-lapse or 4K video but as life have it – there are priorities in life and then again, there’s a deadline to return the camera.


_DSC5278-1.jpgImage: Pat Law


My short stint with it has impressed me greatly and I cannot imagine what might happen if I am to hold the D7500 longer – I might just buy 1 for myself too.
– Pat Law
Photography Trainer/ Review Editor


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OK Guys, Buy your NEW Nikon D7500 Kit here.  






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Sigma 19mm F2.8 DN ART

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Sigma 19mm F2.8 DN ART

Image: Sigma 19mm F2.8 DN ART


23rd September 2017, Singapore – As more new mirrorless cameras gets released into the photography market, the demand for mirrorless lenses increases significantly too. However, many mirrorless users is finding the available options are limited for alternative lenses from other lens manufacturers – and today, we take a look at Sigma’s 19mm F2.8 DN ART (DN = mirrorless lens). This ART version replaced the previous Sigma 19mm F2.8 EX DN – which was already a very good mirrorless system lens. And if Sigma labels a lens as “ART”, you know you are getting a lot of bangs for your bucks.

Before we proceed, as usual we would like to disclaim that we are reviewing based on user experience rather than a technical review which you can easily find on Sigma’s websites. We are more interested in what the lens can produce and image quality etc. If you are cool, read on.


Image: Sigma 19mm F2.8 DN ART mounted on an Olympus OM-D E-M1 MarkII.


We were given a Silver unit (also available in metallic Black), this pro-level wide angle lens gives Micro Four Thirds system users an equivalent of 38mm and for E-mount users, a wider 28.5mm (the real equivalent on a 35mm format). Internally, the 19mm ART comes with 03 aspherical lenses that corrects all forms of distortions and great reduction of aberrations especially when compared to the earlier version. Arranged into 8 elements in 6 groups, the 19mm focuses from F2.8 to F22  via a 7 blades (round diaphragm) that produces beautiful bokehs. The lens barrel feel solidly built and the focusing ring are addictive to touch. (lol!) Smooth and classy.



Image: Sigma 19mm F2.8 DN ART – Made in Japan.


Beneath the super compact size at 60.8㎜ × 45.7㎜ and weights a mere 160gm, this tiny lens is very capable for producing high quality images. As a designated ART lens, the front element comes standard with the company’s Super Multi-Layer Coating that have proven to reduce light flares and ghosting while producing higher-than-usual contrasty images. The front takes 46mm screw-on filters and the 19mm ART starts focusing from as close 20cm – which also highly improved the magnification ratio to 1:7.4. 

Image: Sigma 19mm F2.8 DN ART – Tiny but lethal.  



And so I took the Sigma 19mm F2.8 DN ART and mounted to my Olympus OM-D E-M1 MarkII (MFT System camera) and went on a walk to Gardens by the Bay – one of my favorite place to review camera & lenses. All images below are mildly edited for cropping, straightening and adjustment of exposure only – everything else was kept as it is when downloaded from the SD card.


Image: The Sigma 19mm F2.8 DN ART is considered an wide-angle lens so scenes like this are achievable – although regular users of ultra-wide lenses may find the 19mm a little tight for framing. As for me, no problem at all! 


Image: With a minimum focusing distance of 20cm and coupled with a magnification ration of 1:7.4 – the Sigma 19mm F2.8 DN ART is capable of close-ups shooting like this example.



Image: The Sigma 19mm F2.8 DN ART produces beautiful bokehs with its 7-round blades aperture.


Image: The Sigma 19mm F2.8 DN ART produces excellent color rendering and contrasty images like this example. 
P9220066.JPGImage: The Sigma 19mm F2.8 DN ART wide enough for many styles of shooting. The above 2 examples are just so satisfying to view.


Image: The Sigma 19mm F2.8 DN ART produces lots of details despite me shooting at F2.8 at most of the time for this review.


Image: The Sigma 19mm F2.8 DN ART performs exceptionally well in the night while shooting lighted displays.


Through using the Sigma 19mm F2.8 DN ART for this review, my verdict is – this is an excellent all-rounder lens that produces high quality images be it during day or night. The lens are well built, light & compact, helps to balance the weight between lens-camera and definitely an ease to use for hours and hours. The focusing is near-silent and accurately fast, I’ve fallen in love with this lens already.

We will be back with the reviews for Sigma’s DN series 30mm (both F2.8 & F1,4) and the mighty 60mm, do look out for it!

OK Guys, Buy your NEW Sigma 19mm F2.8 DN ART here

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Nothing much to say except that you can click on the link above to find out who we are and here’s an image of our Editor AL.
Image: Editor AL




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Co-op Hot Shots 6 Returns

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Co-op Hot Shots 6 Returns
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22nd September 2017, Singapore – Co-op Hot Shots 6 is back this year with the theme of”Building a Caring and Inclusive Community” – as part of the annual edition of the Co-op Hot Shots, this year’s theme shines spotlight on the importance of building a caring and inclusive society which evolves around the 5 values of help, mutual help, equality, care for others and co-operation.

Whether your passion is towards the elderly such as providing holistic care and promoting active ageing, or towards the youths such as equipping them with life skills, or your passion in helping yourself and others to achieve financial independence – as long as your passion contributes to build a caring and inclusive society, we want your story!

Tell us your story through your photos with a short caption of less than 50 words, and stand to walk away with attractive cash prizes of up to $1,000!

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Organised by the Singapore National Co-operative Federation (SNCF), the apex body of Singapore’s co-operative movement, SNCF hopes to provide aspiring and professional photo enthusiasts with the opportunity to  showcase their creative talents. To participate, interested individuals can simply submit their photos (with a short caption of less than 50 words) based on the five values of help, mutual help, equality, care for others and co-operation.

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Submitted entries will then be judged by a panel of distinguished judges including Mindy Tan, a well-known street photographer as well as Fujifilm’s first female X-Photographer in Southeast Asia. Winners can stand a chance to walk away with attractive cash prizes of up to $1,000!

More details of the competition are available here:


Event: Co-op Hot Shots 6
Theme: Building a Caring & Inclusive Community
Submission Period: Monday, 28 August 2017 – Monday, 30 October 2017
Available Categories:

·         International – For participants residing overseas

·         Local Open – For Singaporeans & PR

·         Youth – For those aged 35 and below; submission to be done only on the SNCF Facebook Page (here) or via Instagram with hashtag #coopHotShots6

Note: Entries for the International and Local Open categories are to be submitted through


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About SNCF

The Singapore National Co-operative Federation (SNCF) is the apex body of Singapore’s co-operative movement, and secretariat of the Central Co-operative Fund (CCF). Formed in 1980 with the aim of championing Singapore’s co-operative movement, the apex body represents 99% of co-operative members in Singapore. Today, the movement boasts a base of more than 1.3 million members. SNCF aims to promote and develop co-operatives as sustainable enterprises that address the social and economic needs through the co-operative principle of self and mutual help, so as to foster a more resilient society. SNCF is a member of the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) and the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU). It enjoys co-operative relationship with the United Nations, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and other International and regional bodies. For more information on SNCF and the Singapore Co-op movement, visit








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Olympus OM-D E-M10 MarkIII

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Olympus OM-D E-M10 MarkIII

– the Little Monster has Arrived!
Image: The All New Olympus OM-D E-M10 MarkIII for our review.



01st September 2017, SingaporeOlympus has just released the latest incarnation of the baby OM-D in the form of E-M10 MarkIII. Sitting at the entry-line of the OM-D series, the EM10 MarkIII was designed as an introductory OM-D for the higher-ups like EM-5 or the flagship EM-1. A quick look at the specs reveals a lot of improvements with new functions, a new sensor, a new focusing engine and many more goodies that we wasn’t quite expecting.


Image: Compact and yet look every part an OM-D should be.


Weeks ahead of the official release date, Olympus had sent us the review unit and we have been having fun with the E-M10 and putting the little guy through its paces. We used it for a commercial shoot, took it to an exhibition and many walks with it. Before we get to the actual images & review shot using the E-M10 MarkIII, let’s take a quick tour.


Image: A quick size comparison – E-M1 MarkII (left) and E-M10 MarkIII (right).





Before we proceed, as usual we would like to disclaim that we are reviewing based on user experience rather than a technical review which you can easily find on Olympus’s websites. We are more interested in what the camera can do and image quality etc. If you are cool, read on.


Image: E-M10 MarkIII back view with screen tilted.


The E-M10 MarkIII features the same image processor – TruePic VIII as its flagship brother the EM1 MarkII, the proven 5-axis in-built image stabilisation (IBIS), 4K video recording and a simpler version of the 121 AF points focusing.


Image: OMG the pop-up flash is so cute!!!


Other highlights includes new shooting modes, new high-speed AF with touch screen (touch focus), easy sharing via smartphone connectivity with built-in Wi-Fi, a new art filter (Bleach Bypass), high speed shooting at 8.5 fps, a cute built-in flash and all of these in a compact package in a timeless and elegant OM-D design body. You can read up more over at Olympus’s website.


Image: E-M10 MarkII Top view. 



So when we received the OM-D E-M10 MarkIII about a week ago, we were thrilled as the E-M10 MarkIII is insanely cute and after learning about the new specs, we called it the little monster. While we were planning on how to review this baby OM-D, we decided to use it for a commercial assignment for a fitness company (PRECOR) to shoot a car with corporate branding and also brought the E-M10 to Yayoi Kusama’s exhibition at National Gallery.


The objective here is see how the E-M10 MarkIII perform in varying shooting condition for the commercial shoot that involves 3 different scenes with different lighting condition, from an abandon distripark to the expressways and to check out the image quality. As for the Yayoi Kusama exhibition, it will be a good test for its low-light performance, ISO noise and focusing in near-darkness condition.
Do check out the images posted on this article. (You may click on the image, zoom to 100%).

*Except the first image which we edited to client’s specification, the rest are mildly edited with straightening, cropping, adjusting of exposure values and adding watermarks. 

We took the E-M10 MarkIII with the kit-lens 12-42mm + 8mm Fisheye and produced the below images.
Our clients (PRECOR) were impressed with the image quality and colors produced by the E-M10. They were expecting us to show up with a DSLR and some elaborated set-up but said nothing when I pull the E-M10 out from my camera bag and to get away with any questioning, I gave them a silly grin. (it works).

And over to Yayoi Kusama’s exhibition at National Gallery, Singapore.






The E-M10 performs seamlessly in low-light and when I set the ISO to Auto-ISO, the high ISO produces very clean and decent images without much traces of noise or any form of deterioration. Very impressive.



And how can I resist not shooting my bunny with the E-M10 MarkIII?


In brief, the OM-D E-M10 MarkIII has come a long since the 1st E-M10 was released. This latest incarnation had positioned itself nearer to the mid-ranger E-M5 while giving users lots of friendly functions and a fun camera to use. Targeted at advanced users, I will also highly recommend the E-M10 MarkIII to professional users who will find it useful as a 2nd camera or a backup camera. For the rest of you, the E-M10 will be a great family camera & a vacation camera – easy to use, compact & elegant, great image quality & tons of functions for everybody! Lastly for those of you who are already using the E-M5 or E-M1, get this too!


OK Guys, Buy your NEW Olympus OM-D E-M10 MarkIII  here.




About Olympus


Nothing much to say except that you can click on the link above to find out who we are and here’s an image of our Editor AL.
Image: Editor AL



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Nikon D850

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Nikon D850

24th August 2017, Singapore – At 12.10pm (GMT +8.00), we received the official press release from Nikon Singapore about the long-rumored Nikon D850 DSLR. A quick check on Facebook reveals that many other camera sites had already posted up the full press releases with Editors already sharing their thoughts and comments – ahead of us  and before we receiving the press release.

Screen Grabs of other sites announcing the release of Nikon D850 before we received the press release from Singapore’s Nikon office.

Since it’s meaningless for us to announce it again, we decided not to post up the full article as many of you would have read up on other sites. Anyway here’s some extracts from the mail we received. For the full information on Nikon D850 please visit

Nikon today announced the latest release of the D850 – the highly anticipated successor to the widely popular FX-format D810 released in 2014. Engineered with advanced features that deliver versatility and uncompromised performance across stills and video shooting, the D850 is geared towards the growing segment of hybrid photographers in wedding photography, and also of those in the genres of nature, events, and fashion.




D850 primary features:

  • Equipped with a powerful 45.7-megapixel FX-Format CMOS sensor with silent photography feature and no mechanical blur
  • Full-frame brilliance with 4K UHD (3840×2160)/30p support
  • Complemented by NIKKOR’s extensive selection of high-performance interchangeable lenses, be it from the latest AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED, or the AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED for wide-angle landscapes, or the AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR
  • 9fps or 7fps continuous shooting makes easy and adaptable tracking of moving subjects
  • High-resolution tilting 3.2-inch touch-screen with 2359k-dot LCD monitor
  • Dynamic range of native ISO 64 to 25600 and an extended low metering limit auto exposure (AE) shooting is enabled in low-light and a variety of situations


The D850 will be available from September 2017 with the AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR, or with the body-only configuration. For more information on the new D850 and other Nikon products, please visit Pricing to be confirmed at a later date.



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SNCF – Co-Op Hot Shots 6 (2017)

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Co-Op Hot Shots 6 (2017)


18th August 2017, Singapore –  “Building a Caring and Inclusive Community” –
28 August – 30 October 2017 – Co-op Hot Shots 6 is back this year with the theme of “Building a Caring and Inclusive Society” which evolves around the 5 values of help, mutual help, equality, care for others and co-operation.

Whether your passion is towards the elderly such as providing holistic care and promoting active ageing, or towards the youths such as equipping them with life skills, or your passion in helping yourself and others to achieve financial independence – as long as your passion contributes to build a caring and inclusive society, we want your story!

Tell us your story through your photos with a short caption of less than 50 words, and stand to walk away with attractive cash prizes of up to $1,000!

There are 03 categories and lots of prizes to be won! More information on the competition here.

Apart from that, Besides that, SNCF will also be holding a smartphone photography workshop on 26 August at Crossings Café from 11am to 2pm. More information available here.

About the Organiser:
The Singapore National Co-operative Federation (SNCF) is the apex body of Singapore’s co-operative movement, and secretariat of the Central Co-operative Fund (CCF). Formed in 1980 with the aim of championing Singapore’s co-operative movement, the apex body represents 99% of co-operative members in Singapore. Today, the movement boasts a base of more than 1.3 million members. SNCF aims to promote and develop co-operatives as sustainable enterprises that address the social and economic needs through the co-operative principle of self and mutual help, so as to foster a more resilient society. SNCF is a member of the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) and the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU). It enjoys co-operative relationship with the United Nations, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and other International and regional bodies. For more information on SNCF and the Singapore Co-op movement, visit











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Journey: Photo Competition

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Journey: Photo Competition
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16th August 2017, Singapore – “Journey: Photo Competition” is organized by Jurong Health Campus as part of their Art&Health Festival 2017. As the banner says, this competition is open to all Staff, Residents residing in the South West District of Singapore.

You may wish to click here to check if you are staying within the South West CDC.

For more information on this competition, please kindly visit here.

Ourshutterjourney Photography Consortium is not party or involved or contributed in/for this competition in any way. We are just helping to share.








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Samyang AF 35mm F2.8 FE

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Samyang AF 35mm F2.8 FE
Image: Contributing Editor Qian Ling with her Sony A7 + Samyang AF 35mm F2.8 FE.

17th July 2017, Singapore – When Samyang previously released the Autofocus 14mm F2.8 FE & the 50mm F1.4 FE, Sony mirrorless users was shocked since Samyang was better known for their wide range of reasonably-priced & high performance manual focusing lenses. The 2 autofocusing lenses did not disappoint as both lenses produces high quality images and the images were sharp and the focusing was fast & quiet giving Sony brand lenses an unexpected competition. So that did not end there, Samyang’s latest Autofocus 35mm F2.8 FE simply stiffens the competition for Sony brand lenses and the new little lens from Samyang did not disappoint.

35mm has always been a favourite focal length for many photographers, be it wider street photography or portraits, it is also a range that is probably 2nd most popular after the 50mm. Before we proceed, if you are here looking for technical specs or MTF charts, you may stop reading now and move on to the other sites. Over here, we are more keen on how the lens perform and the image quality that this lens can produce. If you are cool, read on.

The new Samyang AF 35mm F2.8 FE is a tiny little lens. The exterior design of the 35mm continues the design cue from the previous 14mm & 50mm FE and although the lens is tiny (33mm x 61.8mm), it really feels purposeful & weighty when handled but surprisingly the weight is only 85gm. The focusing motor is the same as the earlier 14mm & 50mm giving the user fast & near-silent focusing and it is accurate and lands a focus point within milliseconds. The front accepts a 49mm filter which is getting common so there won’t be much issue finding one.

The 7 blades apertures produces a nice and creamy bokeh that is defined and internally the glass are arranged in 7 elements in 6 groups – quite expected from a tiny lens and the apertures allows focusing from F2.8 to F22 which is pretty standard. In distance, the 35mm starts focusing from as near as 35cm from the front of the lens with a magnification ratio of 0.12x – means you can actually do a fair bit of close-up shots and later crop further without much resolution loss.

We decided to pass the Samyang AF 35mm F2.8 FE to Qian Ling, one of our Contributing Editor and see what she will do with the lens.



Samyang AF 35mm F2.8 FE 
– by Ang Qian Ling

Two months ago, I was considering to get a 35mm lens for my Sony mirrorless camera when Editor AL told me to hang on as he had received news about the upcoming new Samyang 35mm F2.8 for FE mount Sony cameras and I am supposed to keep quiet about until Samyang officially announce it. Soon, the Samyang unit came and I decided to review it while doing a pre-purchase trial with it.


01Image: Everyday commute: The usual sight of commuters fixated on their mobile phones. Shot using the Samyang AF 35mm F2.8 FE with a Sony a7 camera.


Image: Lens was light enough and I had no issue trying a one-handed high angle shot. 
Shot using the Samyang AF 35mm F2.8 FE with a Sony a7 camera.


03Image: Captured while walking around the station. Shot using the Samyang AF 35mm F2.8 FE with a Sony a7 camera.

First impressions: When I first opened the box, I was surprised by how tiny the lens was (Plus it came with a nifty lens cover). When I mounted it to my Sony A7, the balance in the weight was obvious & well managed. The entire set felt light and was easy to carry around. The build was solid and for a moment I can imagine what the rumours had claimed was true – designed to fit a Sony A series camera.


Image: Lens was fast enough to allow a last minute capture of a man on his electric scooter. Shot using the Samyang AF 35mm F2.8 FE with a Sony a7 camera.


Image: Office worker sitting around the Boat Quay area at the end of the day. Shot using the Samyang AF 35mm F2.8 FE with a Sony a7 camera.


Image: As dawn turned to dusk, it’s the end of the day for some, and the beginning of the day for others. Shot using the Samyang AF 35mm F2.8 FE with a Sony a7 camera.


I had been doing quite a lot of street photography and since 35mm is like an “everyday lens” to me, I decided to take it out and capture whatever that comes along my way while I am heading to work and back.

Do check out all the images in this article which was shot from this lens. All images are un-edited and you may click on the image to view the actual resolution size at 100%.


Image: Drinks and good food triumphs. Shot using the Samyang AF 35mm F2.8 FE with a Sony a7 camera.


08Image: Wrapping up the day with some yoga. Shot using the Samyang AF 35mm F2.8 FE with a Sony a7 camera.


Using it as an “everyday lens”, I will want the lens to be able to focus fast which the Samyang AF 35mm F2.8 FE does very well. The focusing is so quiet I even tried to refocus several times just in case the lens was not focusing – but I was wrong. Not only it is quiet & fast, the focusing are so accurate and it lands on the intended focus point every time without fail. The images are sharp and colors well rendered as you can see from the un-edited images above. I really love the tiny size and the “tiny” asking price for this lens. I am buying mine soon – If you are looking for a 35mm for your Sony A series camera, say no more – get this lens!
– Qianling



Editor’s Note:
From the above images that our Contributing Editor Qianling had submitted, I guess we all have the answers to why we should buy this 35mm. Further to the “rumours”, while the internet says that this lens was designed and produced to time it with the launch of Sony’s flagship mirrorless A9 – but beyond the rumours and hearsays, the lens definitely pairs off well with any FE Mount cameras and it has proven that it has all the capability to hold its own in the market. I am sure the Samyang AF 35mm F2.8 FE will attract fans with its reasonable asking price and excellent performance. Yes, I will be buying mine too.
– AL.

OK Guys, Buy your NEW Samyang AF 35mm F2.8 FE  here.  



Nothing much to say except that you can click on the link above to find out who we are and here’s an image of our Editor AL.
Image: Editor AL




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The NEW 135mm F1.8 DG HSM|ART

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The NEW 135mm F1.8 DG HSM|ART
Image: Left- Canon EF 135mm F2L USM & Right- Sigma 135mm F1.8 DG HSM ART.


04th July 2017, Singapore – So recently there’s been a lot of questions asked about Sigma’s latest ART Series lens, the 135mm F1.8 DG HSM | Art. Instead of just shooting with the lens and write a review, we decided to take the lens and shoot with it side by side with the Canon EF 135mm F2L USM. While the Canon EF 135mm F2L USM had long held the unofficial title of being the “King Bokeh-licious portrait lens” for a really long time, the new Sigma 135mm F1.8 seems to be going the same route as their previously released & world-recognized 50mm F1.4, the mighty 35mm F1.4 or even the 24-105mm F4 and if you are thinking what I am thinking, yes, Sigma is definitely going after Canon users with an alternate lens that promises better quality build and better images, and if we get lucky – better priced too.

002.JPGImage: Left- Canon EF 135mm F2L USM & Right- Sigma 135mm F1.8 DG HSM ART. 



From our understanding, the existing & ageing 135mm lenses from the various makers had been around for a pretty long time (you can google this yourself) and what Sigma did was brilliant – design a brand new 135mm that is meant for the current crop of newer DSLRs which produces much higher resolution images and still produces that addictive bokeh and sharpness even when shot wide open – a feat if you ask me. Just like the saying goes “it takes a smart mind to design an original and a smarter mind to improve it”.
Image: Left- Canon EF 135mm F2L USM & Right- Sigma 135mm F1.8 DG HSM ART.  


Before we proceed further, and as usual, we would like to disclaim that we are really more interested in the lens performance and the images that it can produce. If you end up here looking for technical information probably you would like to stop reading and pop over to Sigma’s official site. Over here, it’s sharing of user’s experience and a layman review that others can understand. If you are cool with this, read on.

The 135mm had always been widely used for various genres mainly by professionals. As a medium telelphoto lens with a really wide aperture, the 135mm is well suited for wedding photography, documenting events, portraitures and given the speed, it can be used for certain sports and for capturing action-packed activities. The Sigma 135mm was given the ART designation and this means this lens is made as a premium lens sitting higher on the product line and it’s targeted at professional & advance users. Made compatible with Sigma’s proprietary USB Dock (MC-11), now pros have more avenues for tweaking and fine focus adjustments.



The lens build is no doubt one of the best as expected from an ART lens. The TSC based material gives the lens a super hardy feel and the switches are well positioned allowing users to make adjustments without really having to take the eyes off the viewfinder and the focusing ring turns smoothly with a hint of Leica-ish feel to it. Elegant looking and ergonomics well sorted, the Sigma 135mm is way ahead of our times. At 91.4mm x 114.9mm, this lens is not small and thankfully it weights at an useable 1130gm which will not break your hands if you use it for a full day shoot.


005.JPGImage: Well-designed Sigma 135mm F1.8 DG HSM ART.  


Inside the Sigma 135mm F1.8, the glasses are arranged into 13 elements in 10 groups. From the drawing that Sigma had provided, it seems to suggest that the “floating” group are probably ED & LD  elements – so it means no matter what range you are focusing on, you get crispy sharp images. Powered by a much larger Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM), this reduces drag and focusing speed becomes turbo-charged while maintaining the silent operation. The 9 (rounded) blades F1.8 aperture seems like a mild improvement when compared to the existing F2 from other makers but we believe most of you out there will still shoot at F2 anyway. As mentioned earlier, the Sigma 135mm was designed for the newer DSLRs, which many users are already finding that the older legacy lenses are not doing any justice to the newer camera bodies. The front of the lens accepts 82mm screw-on filters & the Sigma 135mm was made as a dust-proof and splash-proof lens – luring users to bring it outdoors without fear of bad weather.

Image: Sigma 135mm F1.8 DG HSM ART on my hands.


And so, we took the new Sigma 135mm F1.8A, the Canon 135mm F2L out to a local park and shot comparatively with both lenses. Do check out the images below – shot by the same camera sequentially with both lenses at the same settings and environment.
All images are viewable in 100% so just click on it and view at full size.




The camera, a Canon EOS 5D MarkIII was set at the same settings for both lenses. From the above images, do pay your attention to the leftmost palm tree – you can visually see the bokeh are more creamier than the shot done by the Canon EF 135mm.




The above shot of the bench looks similar on first look. Even the out-of-focus area like the pebbles in the foreground all look similar. But if you take a closer look at the plants on the left side near to the bottom, you can see the Sigma’s bokeh are much smoother than the shot produced by Canon.





OK this is tough. I spent some time trying to “spot the difference” and can’t really find any. Except that the color of the plants are slightly more rich from the Sigma 135mm and the Canon 135mm colors are slightly dull. Although this can be corrected during editing, direct color rendering saves us time during editing. Don’t you agree?

The next few images will be me shooting a scene and cropping out part of the image to see the sharpness – and the Sigma 135mm does not disappoint.



(above) I took a shot. I focused on the pillar with the words “Greenhouse” and shot at F2.



(above) I am cropping out the box in red as marked above.


(above) after cropping – just see for yourself how sharp the Sigma 135mm can be. Do not forget I had cropped.

And since the 135mm range is medium telephoto and mostly used for portraits, here’s a few examples below of my friends – shot with both lenses –  as a comparative example.



And the scarecrow too.



From the above images, you will notice that the bokeh from the Sigma 135mm is more defined yet creamy without any loss of “out-of-focused” details while the ageing Canon 135mm gives you either a creamy bokeh with near-zero details or the bokeh just “flakes out” leaving the user with “other this or that”. While the Sigma 135mm gives you the best of both worlds and in a near-perfect balance.



From the images that I’ve gotten from both lenses, it is evident that the new Sigma 135mm is designed, configured & built to meet the specs of DSLRs of today (or this era) for managing the higher resolutions that camera sensors of today are capable of.

Like the famous saying goes, “Do Not Pour Old Wine into a New skin” and in photography context, why use old lenses designed for low megapixel cameras on your 24-36mp? I am not saying that it will not work – but the question is – are you doing justice to your photos?

Canon EF 135mm F2L USM – Released April 1996,
Sigma 135mm F1.8 DG HSM|ART – Released March 2017.

You decide.

OK Guys, Buy your NEW Sigma 135mm F1.8 DG HSM|ART  here



Nothing much to say except that you can click on the link above to find out who we are and here’s an image of our Editor AL.
Image: Editor AL




Posted in Accredited Merchants, Brand: Sigma, Featured Photography Merchants, Group Test & Reviews, Photography Articles & Videos, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Winners Announced – Snapshots of A Little Red Dot

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Winners Announced – Snapshots of A Little Red Dot


03rd July 2017, Singapore – After 3 rounds of judging by the judging panel, the winners for the Snapshots of A Little Red Dot Photo competition & exhibition had been selected!
Before we announce the Winners, let’s take a look at some numbers!

Total Number of Accepted Entries: 1495 entries.
Total Number of Rejected Entries: 344 entries.
Total Number of Entries Received: 1839 entries.

We were thrilled at this year’s response and we are happy to share that we had 3 times more submissions than last year. The winning 18 entries, along with 82 other selected exhibition entries will be on display at Capitol Theatre, 11 Stamford Road, Singapore 178884 from Sunday, 30 July – Tuesday, 8 August 2017. (More details on the Exhibition Opening, Prize Presentation & Photography Workshops after the jump.)



Exhibition Opening & Prize Presentation
30th July 2017 / 11.30am / Inside Captiol Theatre.

11.30am –
Opening Speech by Exhibition Curator Allan Lee, Founder of

11.40am –
Speech by Competition Chief Judge Hilarion Goh, Professional Photographer

11.45am –
Speech by Competition Judge Liew Tong Leng, Award-Winning Photographer

11.50am –
Speech by Competition Judge Jino Lee, Professional Photographer

11.55am –
Speech by Competition Judge Tommy Chia, Professional Aerial Photographer

12,00nn –
Speech by Capitol GM Judy.

12.05pm –

12.25pm –
Declaration of Exhibition Opening by Curator.




Photography Workshops
There will be Photography Workshops during the exhibition on 30th July 2017 & 05th August 2017, the workshops are free however registration is required. You may do so by RSVP over here.

Activity & Sales Booths
1) Olympus Singapore will be featuring their latest product line during the period exhibition and there will be irresistible exclusive offers!

2) Cathay Photo will be exhibiting their exclusive offers during the exhibition with unbelievable deals!

3) Membership booth. Sign up as a Registered Card Member
($20 Lifetime Membership) & enjoy exclusive Members-Only benefits + free Sensor Cleaning worth $40.00!

The WINNERS for 2017 Snapshots of A Little Red Dot Photo Competition

1st Prize Winner – Chong Li Beng – Entry 0050
Caption: Slated for upcoming demolition, the colourful blocks of Rochor Centre will live on in the memories of their residents.
Prize: Olympus OM-D EM1 MarkII (Camera) + $2,000.00 Cash

2nd Prize Winner – Ong Wee Khee – Entry 744
Caption: Changi Airport, the world’s Best Airport (Skytrax  2013- 2017), is a gateway that connects the little red dot to the world. Being the busiest airport, is forever expanding.
Prize: Olympus E-PL8 (Camera) + $1,500.00 Cash

3rd Prize Winner – Suhaimi Abdullah – Entry 1208
Caption: Celebrating the birth of our nation. Together as ONE.
Prize: Olympus TG-4 TOUGH (Camera) + $1,000.00 Cash

15 x Consolation Prize Winners (*Not in Order of scores or merits)
Prize: Cathay Photo Vouchers + F&B & Retail Vouchers from stores at Capitol Piazza

Kelvin Ng Wai Mun – Entry 331
Caption: Machines that had helped to improve all Singaporean lives.

Gary Chow – Entry 425
Caption: Grand Entrance

Arthur Lee – Entry 443
Caption: I think I need a longer ladder!

David Ng Soon Thong – Entry 669
Caption: Harmonious Society – Regardless of race and religion, Singaporeans are united as one nation.

Chang Lee Liang – Entry 872
Caption: Achieving an amazing 50 years of nation building certainly was an event worth every cent of the celebrations for the little red dot.

Andrew Bi – Entry 939
Caption: Cleaning the Garden City.  Cleaners keep the city shining.

Teo Han Yang Effendi Jeremy – Entry 1001
Caption: Through the Eyes of Technology – One of Singapore’s housing estates, the iconic red and white blocks viewed through the smart phone.

Cheah Siew Chuan – Entry 1015
Caption: When all people of different races come together, they enjoy one another company in particularly these children.

Ong Yi Chao – Entry 1020
Caption: Joyous moment between parent and child at Raffles Place.

Wong Chek Poh – Entry 1050
Caption: While the new HDB blocks look swanky and condo-like, it is the old architecture that exude charm and character.

Ahmad Iskandar Bin Abdullah – Entry 1059
Caption: Heartbeat Of The Nation – These ordinary boys regardless of race, language or religion have been trained to serve and protect our nation with their hearts.

Koh Meng Hua – Entry 1142
Caption: Satay Man

Partha Pratim Roy – Entry 1161
Caption: Reflection – Chinatown in Singapore is a place where you could experience heritage culture of Singapore and known for its beautiful street art.

Allan Abarra Espolong – Entry 1302
Caption: The beautiful nightscape of Singapore city

Chan Wai Meng – Entry 1474
Caption: A fun and happy moment for family to enjoy over the weekend at Marina Barrage. There’s always fun thing to do in this little red dot that we call Singapore.

All Winning Participants will be notified via email too!

As for the additional 82 entries that we will be exhibiting, do visit the exhibition to find out if your entry had been selected to be exhibited! You can RSVP here.

See you all of you at the Exhibition!






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Featured Photographer – Leonard Chua FJ

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Featured Photographer – Leonard Chua Fey Jye
Image: Leonard Chua


25th June 2017, Singapore – There’s many “Fashion” Photographers in Singapore however, there is a certain fashion photographer that I had been (secretly) following closely for the last 18 months – who had produced world-class fashion images that takes my breath away – every time. His works are refreshing, concepts are original and from the recent interview, I even came to know that he makes his own props!

Thankfully, Leonard had agreed to an exclusive interview and I even challenged him to shoot me – as a non-professional model who is in my 40s, with a beer belly and with really nothing to talk about & my ordinary looks. Leonard happily took up the challenge. Before we get to the shooting, here’s the exclusive interview!
(Images after the jump) 

The Interview:
Image: Editor AL interviewing Leonard before the shoot.

Leonard, thanks for agreeing to be interviewed and even taking up the challenge to shoot me with your original concept!

You are most welcome AL!

Would you like to share how long have you been a Photographer?

Well, I started learning the art and taking photo proper only in the year of 2011. So that means I’ve been shooting for about 06 years – that makes me a pretty new photographer! 

New but accomplished! I have been following your work for almost 2 years!
Tell me, which/what genre did you started with?

Strange as it is, I started with portraits and editorial style fashion shoot.

Wow! While most photographers started with landscapes, street photography or what I called the mainstream genres, you started with an advanced genre! But why Fashion Photography?

When I was in Secondary school and Polytechnic, I was an avid reader of fashion titles like Bazaar, Vogue & W magazines. I am deeply inspired by how creativity meets styles and further has the ability to combine art & styles together seamlessly. 

Tell me, Leonard, what inspires you. 

Well, Creativity and Style that are timeless or industry-leading always inspires me. In fact, they excites me and makes me think & helps me conjures new concepts or style.

I see. Let’s narrow things down, please share what are the 3 main things you love about Fashion Photography. 

I will say the room for Creativity. Followed by the ability to express current or future styles with a personal flare of delivery through my own style and lastly, it’s an important medium of expressing myself and my thoughts through photography. 

Wow! Now how about 3 things that you hated about Fashion Photography?

Logistic planning. This is tough as everything that is needed to bring out the concept and style has to be carefully planned and sometimes even needing to source. Secondly is getting sponsorship or loaning or props, accessories, wardrobe etc and all these takes a lot of time and networking. I remember when I started, there’s a lot of rejections from merchants just because I am new in the scene. Lastly, will be manpower and budget. You will agree with me that these are not only costs, but also hard to get the right crew and some shoots costs a lot more depending on the concept and extent. 

OK, that sounds really tough. I am sure you had overcome that as you are now much established and well-recognized by the industry. Tell me, what is the boldest shoot/ concept that you had done so far.

The Red Year Series Red Year Series from 2 years ago. For this shoot, I have four hunks and one hot model who are all half-naked in this series. 

Image: The Red Year Series. You can view the whole album here



I’ve seen the series and they are awesome & very original! Like every industry, there are bound to be weird or strange people. Have you met any?

Definitely yes! I’ve met some delusional talents who think that they should be the main subject, or some people who contacted me out of nowhere and asked me to collaborate with them when in actual fact, it is really for their own personal interest for their business needs or other related stuff but not willing to pay me.


Image: Editor AL interviewing Leonard before the shoot.

Wow! Terrible people! On a lighter note, is there a dream shoot that you had not done?

Sure I do have! My dream shoot will be like Shang Hai Tang, or Annie Lebovitz kind of settings with big sets and exaggerated props one day! 

Interesting! Hope we get to see that soon! Now, how about some tips for photographers who are going into fashion photography?

Sure! For a start, don’t be a follower, what people are already shooting, please stop shooting in those directions. Secondly, don’t be complacent and follow certain templates of shooting over and over, be bold & try out different themes, story-lines or the method  of shooting. Try to include & create your own personal character in the shoot. Lastly, always go the extra miles in preparing your own shoot, prepare props , try unique accessories and your signature pieces. Whatever that is easily available in the market is call “fast fashion”, don’t go there.

Those are really good tips! Please share with our readers what are the gear you frequently use for your shoots?

My gear are – a Canon EOS 5D MarkIII, Canon EF 70-200mm F2.8L, Canon EF 24-105mm F4L, and EF 85mm F1.8 plus a few Cononmark strobes. 

Hmmmm, light, what about light? How do you define light?

Light is a Sculptor. It moulds us & lit us.

Ok, here’s something personal, when you are not shooting, what will you be doing?

(*Laughs) I am a gym freak. I am always in the fitness scene 

Any famous last words for our readers?

Be Creative. Be Yourself. Create Your Own Style.

Thank You for granting me this interview!

You are welcome! Let’s get the set ready for you!

***End of interview

As the interview ended, our guest Make Up Artist Sharon Pow started to work on my face and hair while Leonard and his crew gets the set ready to shoot me.

Before that, here’s an image of the ordinary-everyday me.

Image: Editor AL’s original look. 

After Leonard had briefed MUA Sharon Pow on his concept for the night and how he is going to shoot me. Sharon started to work on my face. A “Transformation” is taking place.

Image: MUA Sharon Pow working hard to give me the look that Leonard wants.
And here’s some behind-the-scene images while the shoot is going on.


Image: Behind the Scenes images as Leonard is shooting Editor AL. 

Image: All my personal instruments for the night’s shoot. Fender Precision Bass, Fender Jazz Bass, Squier Tomomi Edition Jazz Bass, Yamaha BB425 Bass, Modified Epiphone Les Paul Studio, Modified Fender Stratocaster Hello Kitty Edition.


So are you ready to see what Leonard & Sharon had done to (for) me?
Are You Ready to see how Leonard had transformed me?
Here you go!

Image by: Photographer Leonard Chua


Image by: Photographer Leonard Chua


Image by: Photographer Leonard Chua

AL4a.jpgImage by: Photographer Leonard Chua


AL5a.jpgImage by: Photographer Leonard Chua

I don’t know about you but I was shocked to see the end results. Every single detail, props, lighting was meticulously planned and executed. It took me a while to accept that these awesome images are actually me – transformed and conceptualized as part of this shoot! I am very impressed beyond words with all the effort put in by Leonard and the crew and I guess the images had spoken for itself what Leonard is capable of.

Special Thanks again to Leonard for the interview and the shoot. wishes you all the bests & may all your dream shoots comes through! – Ed.

Photographer: Leonard Chua Fey Jye (Pix.Story Photography)
Make Up Artist: Sharon Pow
Model: AL Lee (Editor
Crew: Calvin Ang, Robin Choo, Steve Focus & Cyndris Neo
Studio: Roy Chuang Productions.

About Leonard Chua & Pix.Story

Pix.Story is founded by Leonard Chua who has immense passion for photography. As a fine art photographer, he has been consistently exploring new concepts. Together with his talented partner, Yoseph, who is specialise in retouching, they relentlessly challenge themselves to produce brilliant pieces of arts.


About The Makeup Artist
Sharon Pow is a Singapore based freelance makeup artist with 6 years of experience in the industry. Trained in NAFA and started out as an interior designer, she made her career switch in 2010 with a passion for the beauty industry and became a full-fledged makeup artist with trained background from Makeup Forever Academy and Cosmoprof.

Believing that each and everyone’s is special and unique in their own ways, enhancing and bringing out one natural beauty is her specialty and motto for each and for every client she serves. With her vast knowledge of beauty products in the industry, she has also worked for/with various brands such as Christian Dior, Burberry, Guerlain, Elizabeth Arden, Laura Mercier etc. She specialized in weddings, fashion editorial and cooperate events.


About Roy Chuang Productions
Roy Chuang Productions is a Singapore based production company. We shoot everything from 360 degree panoramic virtual reality tours, to cityscape and architectural shoots, to professional stylised driven projects like events, weddings, and even corporate and lifestyle films with aerial footage! Offering you flexibility as well as lots of creativity, and each project has an individual approach.



Nothing much to say except that you can click on the link above to find out who we are and here’s an image of our Editor AL.
Image: Editor AL





Posted in Featured Photographers, Photography Articles & Videos, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Photo Competition Tips.

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Photo Competition Tips.


15th June 2017, Singapore – As most of you know by now, Ourshutterjourney organizes many nation-wide photography competitions & exhibitions with our corporate partners. I’ve played many roles from being a regular Judge to the Curator for exhibitions for different campaigns and I am sharing some tips here on how to ensure your competition entry gets accepted. Recently we are running our annual signature competition & exhibition which is a national level campaign that allows submission and participation from the general public.

As I write, about 10% of the entries had been rejected for various reasons and along with the feedback from the administrators who are tasked with screening the entries, I’ve decided to write this article on competition participation tips and hopefully it can help you in some ways and not have your precious entry getting rejected for the stupidest of reasons.

Tips #01 – Read Terms & Conditions.
All Competition Organizers will have their set of rules, conditions, requirements and in most cases, all these will be published publicly on their website. It doesn’t hurt to read a bit more before you submit. In stricter than usual competitions, usually rejections can be due to the most trivial missing details like contact number, name etc. There will also be other terms like – if your submitted image will be used (or abused) and lose your ownership rights so you have to read carefully. However, do remember, if you do submit, legally it means you have accepted the terms & conditions stated and if you found your image being used elsewhere later, you really have no case against the organizer. Will talk more about this later in this article. In summary, please read the Terms & Conditions of any photography competitions before you submit.

Tips #02 – Required Details.
Depending on the organizer, different level of personal details will be required. Some is needed for your to collect your cash prizes, some is for verifying your identity and nationality, so is for auditing purposes and so on. If the terms & conditions stated that you need to furnish any form of information, you need to abide. For example, recently there’s a competition that requires the participant to furnish just a name & a contact number, that was easy – and then there’s another competition that requires Name, NRIC, Emails, Contact Number, DOB, Address etc etc. Now, for the latter, if you forget to add any one of the required information, your entry will be deemed as incomplete and rejected. So read carefully what are the details required. If you are concerned over your personal details being leaked and not willing to furnish to the organizer, then I will suggest that you do not participate. You have the choice & decision.


Tips #03 – Check Image Requirements.

While there are many competitions out there, many failed to check & read what the organizers want of your images. Some accepts all kind of images of any orientation while some only accepts strictly a stipulated orientation so just be sure and do not end up having your entry rejected just because you had shot an awesome image in portrait-orientation but the competition only accepts landscape-orientation images. And size, yes, some competition allows any image size, but some requires the image to be of a certain image size (pixel size). Like our Snapshot Series Competition & Exhibition, entries will be selected for exhibition and how do you expect the organizers to print your 45kb image into a Super 8R size? Go figure.

Tips #04 – Image Ownership Rights.

Some say photography competitions are CON-petition. Well, I am sure by now you have heard of photographers complaining about their images being abused, used without permission etc. Going back to Tip #01, you should understand that you have to read the terms & conditions carefully. Once you submit your image, you may lose the copyrights or ownership rights to your own image! Some organizers may state clearly in their terms but if you did not read, then it’s really your problem. However, some organizers may use your submitted image to promote the competition then really its OK. You get featured and You still own the images. So read and be really anal about this clause.




Tips #05 – The Judges or Photography Partner

This is a must-do that I will advise everyone to carefully check. Usually the Judge or Judges or Judging Panel will be announced, do find out who are these people.
– Are they even qualified to judge your images?
– Where are they from?
– What are their track record in photography?
– Are they certified?
– Are they supported by a respected brand?
– Have they won public awards? (In-house awards are bullshit)
– Are they professionals?
– Is their images even meeting professional standard?
– And if their certifications (if any) are even recognized.

Even if they comes from a registered outfit or a huge group, this does not mean that they are credible. So do your homework. Do not end up being part of a participation statistics while these so-call judges awards favorably to their students or members.

Tips #06 – Check Out Submissions by Others.
Some competitions are very transparent to which they actually post/ published all accepted entries for the public to view. (I can’t think of any reason why some organization chose to do judging behind closed doors and no one get to see the entries).
Do take a leaf from other photographers’ submission. See what kind of images had been accepted by the organizer, see the genres, the styles and you can form an idea of what kind of images that you can submit and likely to be accepted. A simple step, but sadly many did not realised the importance of this.

Tips #07 – Captions.

Keep captions simple and original is my tip to everyone. Do read the terms and check if there is any restriction or word limits. In some cases, language too. Do submit captions that best describe your image, or the scene or the mood at the time of the shot rather than trying to be abstract and ended up with a caption that no one can understand or relate. Worse, you submitted a caption that has zero relation to your image and in such cases, especially during judging, you stand to lose scores. During the recent competitions, we even have people copying & pasting text from Wiki and use it as their caption, needless to say, these entries are thrashed, no matter how beautiful the image is. Respect the word limit set by the organizer and respect yourself by checking for grammatical & typo errors before you submit. Trust me, the captions tells a lot about you as a photographer.

Tips #08 – Theme
This is another area that is commonly ignored. Well, a theme is there for a reason. If any competition accepts images from any theme – related and non-related – I will suggest you stop wasting your time with such competition. And you, as a photographer, read carefully what the theme is all about and work your submissions towards the theme. Organizers set themes for many reasons and you can try submitting an image of a Monkey when the theme is say – People. You ought to be shot, and shot again. 

Tips #09 – Watermarks.
Most competitions discourage the use of watermarks for many reasons. Firstly, the Judges must not know who submitted the image, by putting your name there on the image, people can cry foul – “Hey! That’s his student!” you get the drift. And if the competition eventually will bloom into an exhibition, you can be sure that there will be a name tag and a caption tag for your image and you do not have to destroy the beauty of your image by putting your name there. You are not in elementary school where you have to write your name on your lunch box, on your water bottle, on your pencil case etc.

Tips #10 – Sponsors
This is another way to see of the competition is well supported. Normally for credible photography competitions (in Singapore context), there will always be a camera brand and a mega retailer along with some media company sponsoring or in joint effort to organize the competition. If a photo competition with no photography-related sponsors still seems legit to you, I would like to know what have you been smoking. Brands will not give up a chance to be seen, to be associated with credible & large photography organizations and if a photo competition have none of that element, do think twice.


Hope the above 10 Tips will be helpful in your next submission for a competition.

Meanwhile, I would like to share about a conversation with regards to a Photography Competition & Exhibition that I am Organizing and Curating for.


Via Email – Part 1

XX: AL, why my image got rejected for 5 times? Your staff got problem?

Me: As the Curator, I do not know which images is yours. However, I had checked with my staff, they told me – despite them repeatedly asking you to read the terms & conditions, apparently you did not:
1) you keep submitting captions of 80+ words when the limit is 30 words.
2) it is stated we only accepts Landscape-orientation images, you keep sending Square-Cropped.
3) and it will be really tough for us to print your 45kb images into an exhibition size as we had asked for a minimal of 2mb.
4) And your entry name is BrightMelon Tan, I seriously do not think that name appear on your NRIC. When the staff asked, you keep ignoring that question.

XX: Why So strict? It’s just a competition!

Me: I believed my staff had informed you that all entries will be audited and yes, we are strict. Probably there are many other competitions that are going on – organized by some old folks, you may wish to enter those too since I heard they are pretty lax.

XX: But those do not have standard!

Me: Precisely, why we are strict. Please kindly adhere to the published terms and I am looking forward to your submissions.

XX: Can submit directly to you?

Me: Let me repeat, I am the Curator, you can send directly to me, I will send your images directly to the trash box.

XX: Why so strict???

Me: Please kindly read the published terms & conditions. We reserves all rights.

XX: Means?

Me: Please kindly read the published terms & conditions. We reserves all rights.

XX: I know but why send me images to the trash?

Me: Please kindly read the published terms & conditions. We reserves all rights.

XX: Can You give me a call?

Me: Please kindly read the published terms & conditions. We reserves all rights.

XX: Excuse me, you understand English?

Me: Please kindly read the published terms & conditions. We reserves all rights.

XX: I am going to share this on Facebook!

Me: Please kindly read the published terms & conditions. We reserves all rights.

Ok Bye.


Via Email – Part 2

XX: Hi AL. I had read the terms & conditions, the image size required is minimum 2Mb. Mine is 45Kb, why your staff reject?

Me: Hi, I already said, please kindly read our published Terns & Conditions carefully.

XX: I did. That’s why I am confused. 45 is bigger than 2.

Me: hope you are kidding BrightMelon, 2mb is bigger than 45kb. And as mentioned, Your image is square crop, not allowed.

XX: this is crazy! How can 45Kb be smaller than 2Mb! Your company needs to employ people with proper qualifications. Maths hallo, Maths!

Me: Please kindly read the published terms & conditions. We reserves all rights.

XX: Dun give that shit. You guys are just biased! As mentioned, I am going to publish this on Facebook and Mothership.

Me: Please kindly read the published terms & conditions. We reserves all rights.

XX: are you guys even from Singapore?

Me: excuse me? Yes we are all Singaporeans including all my staff and admins. Is there a problem?

XX: I am reporting your group! You guys are just rejecting my entry on baseless grounds! Being such a big group, can’t believe it is run by a bunch of people who do not know Maths!

Me: Excuse me? Whoa please chill. I suggest you google for Mb & Kb. No need to get so work up.

XX: Chill? Why scare I post on social media is it? Scare your incompetence is publicized?

Me: Hi, you are aware such allegations can amount to a Threat & criminal intimidation + defammation right? You are most welcome to share the full conversation. We are a legitimate company and a well respected Independant Photography Outfit, we are open to lawsuits and will defend our stand vigoriously if the need arise.

XX: You are scare. I will also make Police report because you are racist.

Me: BrightMelon Tan, please go ahead and do what you wish to do. 2Mb is bigger than 45Kb.

XX: You are crazy. Go do your Maths paper again.

Me: I have a Bachelor actually.

XX: I am not interested in your marital status!

Me: ok. This conversation is not going anywhere. Ok Bye.

XX: Bad attitude! How you do business like this?!?

Me: Please kindly read the published terms & conditions. We reserves all rights.

XX: This is bullshit!

Me: Please kindly read the published terms & conditions. We reserves all rights.

XX: i am boycotting your group!

Me: Please kindly read the published terms & conditions. We reserves all rights. Plus please google the difference between Mb & Kb.

XX: Stop replying me!

Me: Please kindly read the published terms & conditions. We reserves all rights. Plus please google the difference between Mb & Kb.

XX: That’s it. I am making a Police Report.

Me: Please kindly read the published terms & conditions. We reserves all rights. Plus please google the difference between Mb & Kb.


The above is a real conversation via my personal email.
Due to Singapore’s law & restrictions for public disclosure of personal details,
I am posting the email conversation as above.

Well, I am lost for words. Share your thoughts below!






Posted in Photography Articles & Videos, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Latest from LEE Filters

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Latest from LEE Filters

08th June 2017, Singapore – Here’s the latest Solar Eclipse Filter from LEE Filters and the ClearLEE Filter Wash! 

Solar Eclipse Filter


Solar eclipse photography is becoming increasingly popular, and achieving good results can be surprisingly straightforward. However, without the right sort of filter, results will be blown out and overexposed – even at the lowest ISOs and fastest shutter speeds.

In response to the needs of those who often travel the world to witness this fascinating phenomenon, LEE Filters has introduced the Solar Eclipse Filter. Available for the Seven5, 100mm and SW150 systems, the Solar Eclipse Filter is capable of reducing the intensity of light by 20 stops, bringing the exposure range down to a manageable level. It is designed to allow the user to capture the partial phases of an eclipse (the stages before and after total eclipse) with accuracy and consistency. The filter should be removed when photographing totality.

The filter simply slots into the standard LEE Filters holder, and features a foam seal at the rear, to ensure a snug fit and to avoid light leaks.

It should be noted that the Solar Eclipse Filter is suitable only for photography of eclipses, and is not recommended for general, long-exposure landscape photography. This is because it is designed to filter out some of the sun’s harmful infrared rays, and is therefore very blue in colour. Any colour cast affecting eclipse images can be corrected in postproduction, or the images converted to black and white.

ClearLEE Filter Wash
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In the course of the average photographic day, filters can be exposed to all sorts of potentially damaging conditions – from rain to sand to salt spray from the sea – not to mention grubby fingerprints from being handled.

Keeping filters clean not only increases their lifespan, it also means images retain their clarity and sharpness, as the sort of softness that arises from a dirty filter can be almost impossible to correct in post-production.




ClearLEE Filter Wash has been specially formulated to cut through dirt and grease quickly, efficiently and above all, safely, and is suitable for use on both resin and glass filters.

Supplied in an aluminium bottle with a spray top, ClearLEE Filter Wash is available in 300ml and a smaller 50ml size, which is ideal for dropping into a camera bag when heading out on a shoot.

To use, simply spray directly on to the filter, then wipe with a clean microfibre or lint-free cloth. For best results, buff the filter with a fresh cloth or tissue.

For further information, visit 

OK Guys, Buy your LEE Filters & Accessories here



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CyArk – Preserving World Heritages

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CyArk – Preserving World Heritages

31st May 2017, Singapore – As a photographer, I am sure many of you would have travelled around the world to photograph interesting places and culture of different countries. One of the highlights of travel photography is when places of heritage – dating back to past decades or even centuries – become part of the itinerary.

Although we have heard of “reckless” & signage-defying tourists who will destroy heritage sites in their quest for that perfect selfie, I would like to bring your attention to something more horrifying, something beyond your control, and super badass destructive – nature.


Let me give you a real example, a personal experience. In September 2009, I was visiting Bhutan on a lens review trip. I was at Monggar City looking at some really old temples and shooting the people, the small town and everything else – which the locals are preparing for a festival. There are so much colors & subjects to shoot. After I returned to Singapore a week later, I saw the news that the very place that I had visited just a week ago had been hit by a severe earthquake and one of the temple that I was shooting in Monggar had been completely destroyed. I later confirmed with my Bhutanese guide via FB that the damage is pretty bad and I was lucky to have left Monggar and and I was even more lucky to have photographed the main temple (I cannot remember the name).


Now, temples can be rebuild, iconic sculptures can be repaired, but then again, it’s already “not that original” isn’t it? Not forgetting most heritage sites (including UNESCO sites) are all over the world and how many can you really visit? I am lucky to have visited about 18 UNESCO sites since 2004 and at the rate that I am going, some of these sites may succumb to the brute of nature before I can even physically visit them!

OK breathe. What if I tell you that now all heritage sites can be digitally preserved and it can “visited” by anyone, anytime, in a full 360 degree view and you can “be there” via VR? You will be thrilled with what you are going to read.





When I was sharing about my thoughts with my photography peers on preserving heritage sites, or even places where changes takes place frequently, someone pointed me to CyArk. CyArk is a non-profit organization that “preserves” heritage sites across the world using digital technology and this means, the site(s) will be intact for ages to come, away from badass tourists, vandals or even the harsh condition of nature not excluding nature disasters.


A quick check on CyArk’s site reveals that they have completed an impressive 40 projects to date. That is 40 sites that will no longer subject to any form of threat! Further more, CyArk embrace the latest 360 imaging technology to bring us the best “visit” experience! You should also check out their work flow videos here. To ensure accuracy, CyArk uses LiDAR to measure key data points of the project site along with professional & structured light scanning to capture the details of smaller relics and intricate details on structures and buildings.

CyArk also employ the use of Photogrammetry by shooting a series of overlapping images (No, this is NOT HDR, but somewhat similar, only more accurate & more realistic) and later merged, layer by layer onto a 3D site skeleton to create the scene. Drones are also extensively used for hard-to-access, top down view and at sites where it is too fragile to step on. Such method produces realistic colors and textures unlike some of the 360 VR games that we had played, you get a super real scene which you can explore from the comfort of your home!




Now everyone can gain access or get “transported” to these locations in a priceless and realistic experience using VR technology no matter where you are located in this world. It is CyArk’s mission to share these 3D images with everyone! To take things a step further, CyArk collaborates with regional educators & professionals to create lesson plans which incorporate 3D imaging to encourage interactive learning and sharing. What CyArk is doing here is very inspiring, they are doing this not for the fame, but to share and inspire others!


As a commercial photographer for more than a decade, there are many times when I am out of the studio and just walking around, looking around in this country that I live in. Changes is something that most of us can relate to, especially when Singapore is land-thirsty and old heritage sites, iconic buildings, old estates eventually gives way to modernization and how I wish I can preserve all that and immortalize time and space – right at where we live in.

If you are inspired by CyArk’s mission, (drum roll….) I am pleased to share that you, yes you, can play your part too. Our disappearing history keepsakes and culture need photographers like you to lend a hand to help digitally preserve them!

Start contributing by joining the Uniquely Singapore Sites Contest that Seagate is hosting in honour of CyArk’s inaugural arrival in Singapore. They will be in town for just one day to spread their message of heritage preservation. There will be upcoming workshops and webinars that you can attend. Be the first to know by popping over to and follow Seagate’s Facebook page. Find out more about the Uniquely Singapore sites contest here.

I am in. What about You?

Image: Editor AL



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Olympus 8mm F1.8 Pro Fisheye

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Olympus 8mm F1.8 Pro M.Zuiko Digital ED Fisheye
– Old But Gold
Image: Olympus OM-D EM1 MarkII Mounted with Olympus 8mm F1.8 PRO M.Zuiko Digital ED Fisheye & Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 PRO M.Zuiko Digital ED by the side.

30th May 2017, Japan-Taiwan-Singapore – Apart from the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH that Olympus Singapore had sent me for review, along with the package as per my request, they had also sent me the OM-D EM1 MarkII (which I had previous reviewed) along with the 12-40mm F2.8 PRO & the 8mm F1.8 PRO Fisheye lenses. But I was really looking forward to the 8mm Fisheye. As one of Olympus’s appointed reviewer for Singapore, I had touched almost every lens in the Olympus inventory but strangely, I was never given a chance to review the 8mm. So this time, I was super thrilled.

I have seen many nice images of cruise ships shot by Fisheye and since I am heading on a Fly-Cruise package with Princess Cruises on board the Sapphire Princess, it’s like finally I get to shoot my own fisheye images on a real cruise ship!

The Olympus 8mm Fisheye was released in May 2015 and from the MSRP, this lens is on the expensive side, suspecting that it could be due to the bright aperture of F1.8 instead of the usual F2.8 that most Fisheye lenses comes with.

Before I proceed, as usual I would like to disclaim that this is a user’s review with real world images from the camera with mild editing like cropping and adjusting of exposure, everything else was left as it is. If you found your way here looking for technical review and specs, I will suggest you stop reading and move on to Olympus’s main website.

Small as it is, Olympus had packed 17 Elements in 15 Groups including 01 Aspherical lens, 03 Super ED lenses, 02 regular ED lenses, 1 Super HR Lens & 2 HR lenses, so expect the lens to be slightly weighty at 315gm. It may be feather weight to regular DSLR users but may proves to be a little heavy to regular Micro Four-Third users (come on people, go to the gym or something! This lens is too light to be called heavy!) The lens focuses from merely a 10cm distance and designed as a 7-bladder for that nice bokeh even when distorted. Aperture opens from F1.8 to the F22 and the lens focuses very fast and quiet.

OK. Now check out the images that I had shot during my vacation on Sapphire Princess covering from Taiwan to Japan using the Olympus 8mm F1.8 PRO M.Zuiko Digital ED Fisheye!

Image: On the Sun Deck of Sapphire Princess, shot with Olympus 8mm F1.8 PRO M.Zuiko Digital ED Fisheye.



It was a gloomy & wet day when I boarded the Sapphire Princess. Once on board, I decided to quickly settle my luggage in the stateroom and get to the top of the vessel (sun deck). For the simple reason that there will be lesser people there and I do not want to wait till everyone is up there then I start shooting.



Image: On the Sun Deck of Sapphire Princess, shot with Olympus 8mm F1.8 PRO M.Zuiko Digital ED Fisheye.



As expected from a typical Fisheye lens, you get the full 180 degree view, and it is crucial if you are going to shoot in & around the cruise ship as spaces are carefully utilized up to 90%. I have always wanted to shoot the view from/on a cruise ship and it is like a dream comes true.


Image: On the Sun Deck of Sapphire Princess, shot with Olympus 8mm F1.8 PRO M.Zuiko Digital ED Fisheye.  


What surprised me was the details captured in every image. (You may click on any of the image on this article and blow them up to see). I was shooting between F2.8 to F5.6 throughout and the images are super sharp even at the outer distorted circumference. Some of the fisheye lenses that I had used from other brands started to have soft corners – a typical optical phenomenon – but definitely not on this little Olympus Fisheye.



Image: On the Sun Deck of Sapphire Princess, shot with Olympus 8mm F1.8 PRO M.Zuiko Digital ED Fisheye.

Personally I own several fisheye lenses for different systems (brands) and I like how the lens distorts and changes perspective, plus the ultra-super-uber wide focal range, fisheye lenses are capable of many things apart from just making everything round. For those new to Fisheye lenses, the close focusing distance + the high magnification ratio allows you to do some form of macro to an extent, or use it as an interesting portrait lens given the bokeh possibility. In short, you will enjoy hours and hours of fun with a fisheye lens!



Image: On the Sun Deck of Sapphire Princess, shot with Olympus 8mm F1.8 PRO M.Zuiko Digital ED Fisheye.

The couple above was trying to avoid my frame, but this is a (badass) fisheye lens. No one escapes the angle line of vision! After I got all the shots that I wanted on the sun deck, it’s time to explore the ship’s interior. You can see from the below images, the Olympus 8mm fisheye does not disappoint and perform well even in super low-light shooting condition. (and I wasn’t even using F1.8!)





Image: Staircase in between Decks on board Sapphire Princess, shot with Olympus 8mm F1.8 PRO M.Zuiko Digital ED Fisheye. 


Image: Took this shot from inside a Fine-Dinning Restaurant on board Sapphire Princess, shot with Olympus 8mm F1.8 PRO M.Zuiko Digital ED Fisheye.


Image: Took this shot at the main Piazza on board Sapphire Princess, shot with Olympus 8mm F1.8 PRO M.Zuiko Digital ED Fisheye.


The above shot was shot vertically giving a very magnificent perspective for an interior shot covering from ground all the way up to the ceiling and across many floors. In tight confined spaces especially on a cruise ship, a fisheye lens is definitely fun & important to have.


Image: The Stateroom Corridor on board Sapphire Princess, shot with Olympus 8mm F1.8 PRO M.Zuiko Digital ED Fisheye.

And I waited until everyone went to bed before I make my way up to the sun deck again. I wanted some night shots and also test the Fisheye lens + OM-D EM1 MarkII combo to see how they behave and perform. The result is definitely more than satisfied from the below images.


Image: Night on the Sun Deck on board Sapphire Princess, shot with Olympus 8mm F1.8 PRO M.Zuiko Digital ED Fisheye.

Image: Night on the Sun Deck on board Sapphire Princess, shot with Olympus 8mm F1.8 PRO M.Zuiko Digital ED Fisheye.

Image: Night on the Sun Deck on board Sapphire Princess, shot with Olympus 8mm F1.8 PRO M.Zuiko Digital ED Fisheye.


I do not know about you but I am certainly thrilled with the images. Not to even mention the sharpness and details that are all present in every image, the fisheye performs well and lives up to its designation as a “PRO” lens and indeed, this is one shark of a fisheye lens.

Took the fisheye lens out to Okinawa and took the below image inside the castle as well a shot from a supermarket while I was at Ishigaki too.
(There’s a lot more images on my Facebook album)

Image: Ancient Ryukyu Castle at Okinawa Japan, shot with Olympus 8mm F1.8 PRO M.Zuiko Digital ED Fisheye.

Image: Ancient Ryukyu Castle at Okinawa Japan, shot with Olympus 8mm F1.8 PRO M.Zuiko Digital ED Fisheye.


Lastly, a shot of Taipei’s main train station (below) is a must too. Many had done panorama shots at this location but very little fisheye shots. Check out the below image!

Image: Ancient Ryukyu Castle at Okinawa Japan, shot with Olympus 8mm F1.8 PRO M.Zuiko Digital ED Fisheye.

To sum things up, the Olympus 8mm fisheye is an amazing lens for Micro Four-Third systems. From the uber bright F1.8 aperture to its corner-to-corner sharpness, seriously I feel that the asking price is reasonable although many of you are complaining that it is expensive. Well, I had tested this lens and saw what this lens is capable of, you should look beyond the price tag and as a photographer, you know quality lenses comes with a price. This Fisheye is definitely worthy of its asking price.


OK Guys, Buy your Olympus gear here.

Image: Editor AL doing “his thing” again on Ishigaki, Okinawa Japan.



Editor’s Note: Thank you Olympus Singapore!

About Olympus


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Olympus TG-5 TOUGH-er Than Before

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Olympus TG-5 TOUGH-er Than Before

Video: How Editor AL started the Review on board Princess Sapphire at Okinawa.


29th May 2017, Japan-Taiwan-Singapore – I was extremely thrilled when Olympus Singapore sent me the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera right before I left Singapore for Japan/ Taiwan. Having reviewed all the TOUGH Flagship cameras, I have a lot of expectations for the TG-5. I do hope Olympus had sorted out a few things that bothers me from the TG-4, like not-that-fast focus, sharpness compromised during continuous shutter, ISO noise at high ISO & weird underwater shadows. Without much thought, I packed the camera along with my other gears and off I went to Japan & Taiwan with the NEW Olympus TG-5.


Image: The NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH 


Before I proceed, as usual I would like to disclaim that this is a user’s review with real world images from the camera with mild editing like cropping and adjusting of exposure, everything else was left as it is. If you found your way here looking for technical review and specs, I will suggest you stop reading and move on to Olympus’s main website.

The Olympus TG-5 comes with an ultimate zoom range of 25mm wide angle to 100mm telelphoto range and the lens elements are arranged in 9 elements in 7 groups, with dual aspherical elements and 2 ED elements that promises zero ghosting and or any distortion at its widest focusing range. The TG-5 starts focusing from 10cm and 1cm in Macro mode which is expected from a Flagship TOUGH. The front of the lens accepts a 40.5mm screw on filter which is very helpful if you manage to buy a ND filter of that thread size. You can even add a lens cap to it too.

The 12mp CMOS sensor is slightly bigger than its predecessor and the ISO control has improve by leaps. ISO capability of 100 to 12800, I used many 6400 during my trip especially during the night or pre-dawn hours. Coupled with the exposure compensation (EV)of +/2.0 in 3 step adjustment, this NEW Tough is superb even in low light condition. The back LCD now comes with a high-res 460,800 dots (153,600px) display and even when under water, the display is crisp and bright. Comes with Focus peaking and a blazing fast focusing (this is something which I am super impressed), the TOUGH is now also an excellent street camera which you can see from some of the examples below.
The WI-FI transfer & GPS logging comes as standard for the little TOUGH.



Weight like a feather, the TG-5 dives 15 meters under water without a housing and the battery life surprised me too. Olympus claims 340 shots per charge and on-site use I managed to get close to 500 shots before the battery dies on me. You will be happy to know that the TG-5 does a continous shots of 20fps in RAW, now that is scary isn’t it?

Here’s some quick specs you might wish to know.
You can bring the TG-5 for a swim or dive without its dedicated housing up to 50ft/15m (Waterproof), Freezeproof endurance up to 14F/-10C means you can go snowing countries without a worry, drop the Shockproof TG-5 from a height of 7ft/2.1m and the camera still rocks. Bring it to the middle east desert as it is Dustproof (IP6X),  and it is so tough, it can withstand a weight of 220lbf, 100kgf (Crushproof) in case your big friend sits on it. Other features includes; Built-in GPS, Manometer, Temperature Sensor, Trekking Compass and Wi-Fi. Lastly, It is available ONLY in red or black.



Sounds like a little monster to you? Do not forget it is an Olympus so it comes with all the Art Filters and a wide range of pre-sets white balance and Scene mode that makes shooting so much easier and fun. Well, I will say it is definitely a monster. During the trip, I had tried to use the TG-5 in as many shooting situation as possible and you can see from the examples below.  Get ready to be amazed!


Image: Japanese Performer at Okinawa, Japan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera.


I like the color rendering for the TG-5. I am not sure if I am the only one who thinks that the TG-5 gives me more vibrant colors when compared to the previous models especially TG-4 & TG-3.

Image: Street of Okinawa, Japan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera. 




P5230056.JPGImage: Street of Okinawa, Japan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera. 
Using the TOUGH like a Street camera is fun. It is small and not easily noticeable, that allows me to shoot the weirdest of subjects. And the shots from the TG-5 had further assured me that it is a competent street photography tool.


Image: Streets of Okinawa, Japan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera. 
The image quality is awesome and good for large print despite the 12mp that seems a little small in today’s 24mp to 36mp era. It is well capable of producing images for printing.


Image: Street Bus at Okinawa, Japan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera. 
I was walking when this cute dwarf of a bus turns out from the car park (at the back) and I quickly point the TG-5 and pressed the shutter. It all happened within milliseconds and I’ve gotten the above shot in sharp and beautifully exposed (P Mode). If this does not convince you of how fast the TG-5’s focusing is, read on. (Check out the Taiwan Train shot right below)


Image: Okinawa Port, Japan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera. 
One will easily fall in love with the colors produced by the NEW TG-5. Just imagine getting an image that is close to 95% of what your eyes saw. Yes, I know many DSLRs is capable of doing that today, but mind you, the NEW TG-5 is a compact camera.


Image: Underwater Selfie. I always do this whenever I review underwater cameras. Seriously, I am very happy with the image quality. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera.


While I had done lots of underwater selfie, I am exceptionally happy with the TG-5. The underwater mode had improved a lot especially the sharpness and color. If you had read my previous reviews and had saw my other underwater selfies, you will notice the skin is usually shaded in a weird smurf-like hue while the image above shows that I am really human in real skin color. Thumbsup! Below is another image that my partner had shot for me using the TG-5 and shot me from the other side of the pool. Not bad!


Image: On Board Princess Sapphire’s Swimming Pool while in Japan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera.


Image: Sun set from the sun deck of Princess Sapphire’s Swimming Pool while leaving Okinawa and moving to Miyko-jima. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera using the Scene Mode (Sun Set mode).


Most of you who follows my articles knows that I am not a person who uses any of the pre-set in-camera filters but the above shot of the sun set while using the SCN Mode “Sun” promises a magical sun set image. Just see for yourself what the TG-5 is capable of.
(You may click on any of the image on this article to view the image at full size at full resolution).

Image: A view of Princess Sapphire while moving to on-shore Miyko-jima. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera.


Image: A view of Miyko-jima Pier, Japan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera.


Although I have 3 other cameras with me, I was glued to the TG-5 and I was shooting practically everything on this trip with it. And it does not disappoints a bit. Below is an image taken at Ishigaki where many cameras will have difficulty to meter the exposure as there is thick clouds, far away mountains, bright sun, crystal-clear blue water and white vessels. I gotten the below image direct out from the camera where everything is “properly sorted” and I am truly convinced that the TG-5 is worth upgrading to from my current TG-4.


Image: A view black pearl lagoon at Ishigaki, Japan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera.


After I left Japan, I went back to Taipei city, Taiwan for a couple of days and decided to try out some street shoots. Weather had been erratic at this part of the world and as I am getting worried with the colors or how my images will turn out, I was relieved that the TG-5 does not disappoint at all. Most of these shots were taken while the sky is drizzling non-stop.


Image: Street Art on a Taipei Street, Taiwan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera.

Image: Toy vending machines in an underground mall in Taipei, Taiwan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera.


Time to show some high ISO images. The above image was taken at an underground mall at Taipei and fearing the flash will kill the reflective machines, I decided to boost the ISO and I was glad I did.


Image: Street Stall selling gigantic sausages at Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera. 


Many of you would have gotten a shot that the signage will be too bright or if the signage is correctly exposed, the rest of the image will be super dark. I am sure you can relate to what I mean, but with the TG-5, shots like the above and below is a breeze and the TG-5 is really more than just a tough camera. It is a street monster too!

Image: Night Street in Taipei, Taiwan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera.



Image: Sky Lantern Blessings at Shi Fen in Taipei, Taiwan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera.



Now, about the 20 frames per second thingy, I basically heard the train coming, I held up the camera and press+hold the shutter. I’ve gotten 25 shots of the train passing and you know what? All 25 shots are tack sharp! This is very, very impressive! Given the same shooting environment, my TG-4 may produce 25 images too but about 4-5 images will be blur. The TG-5 gives me 25 tack sharp images, wow!


Image: Train Passing at Shi Fen in Taipei, Taiwan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera.

Image: Under the Suspended Bridge at Shi Fen Waterfall in Taipei, Taiwan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera.


In a quick summary, the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera had yet (again) set a new benchmark for “endurance” cameras. From using the TG-5 personally across 2 very different countries with contrasting shooting environments, the TG-5 had proven itself to be a real all-rounder. Maybe that’s why Olympus call it TOUGH.

Check out my other Olympus gear that I used for this trip.

OK Guys, Buy your Olympus gear here.
(Or You can also check out over at ActionCameraFinder)


Editor’s Note: Thank you Olympus Singapore!

About Olympus


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Seagate’s Uniquely Singapore Sites Contest

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Seagate’s Uniquely Singapore Sites Contest
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Join Seagate’s Uniquely Singapore Sites contest!

Simply submit a 360 VR image and you stand to win attractive prizes. Submission closes on 23rd June 2017!

Join the contest here:






Posted in Brand: Others (Cosina, Featured Photography Merchants, Group Announcements & Notices, Photography Articles & Videos, Photography Contests, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Snapshots 2017 – Call For Entry

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Snapshots of A Little Red Dot Competition (2017)
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21st April 2017, Singapore – Following 2016’s successful Snapshots of Heritage Photo Competition & Exhibition, Capitol Piazza is teaming up with again for 2017 to bring you the Snapshots of A Little Dot Photo Competition & Exhibition! As the “Snapshots” series is catching on as a series-brand, this year the scale has been greatly expanded!

Apart from the competition & exhibition, there are workshops planned during the competition as well as many outings planned in conjunction with this competition & exhibition! The venue has also been Upsized, instead of doing the exhibition at the Piazza, we are moving the larger scale exhibition indoors to the Capitol Theatre!


Image: 2016 Snapshots of Heritage Photo Competition & Exhibition Opening Day. 


The Theme
– For 2017, the theme is “Snapshots of A Little Red Dot” – a photography competition & exhibition that celebrates all things Singaporean, the name “Snapshots of a Little Red Dot” aims to engage photographers of all levels to bring out the subject matter via digital photography & creative interpretations of the theme. More information about the theme & competition here.


How to Participate
– Based on your interpretation for the theme, snap a photo of either a building, place, cuisine, people, moments, objects of anything you deemed appropriate and relevant.
– Accompany it with a caption of not more than 30 words.
– Submit your entry via email to together with your Full Name, NRIC and Mobile/Cell Number by Tuesday, 20 June 2017 before 11.59pm.
All submitted entries that are accepted will be featured on the Snapshots of A Little Red Dot contest page on



The Prizes
1st Place Prize: Olympus OM-D EM1 MarkII (Camera) + $2,000 Cash
– 2nd Place Prize: Olympus E-PL8 (Camera) + $1,500 Cash
– 3rd Place Prize: Olympus TG-4 TOUGH (Camera) + $1,000 Cash
– 15 x Consolation Prizes: Cathay Photo Product/Cash Vouchers + F&B & Retail Voucher from stores at Capitol Piazza


The Judging Panel & Exhibition Curator
1) Curator: AL Lee
2) Judges:
– Capitol Piazza Representatives.
– Hilarion Goh (Chief Judge)
– Jino Lee (Judge)
– Tommy Chia (Judge)
– Liew Tong Leng (Judge)

The Photography Workshop Speakers
1) AL Lee 
2) Hilarion Goh
3) Liew Tong Leng
4) Daniel Ho
5) Tan Boon Gee




Quick Links
1) How to Join Compeition – click here.
2) Competition Information – click here.
3) Prizes & Sponsors – click here.
4) Terms & Conditions – click here.
5) To View Accepted Entries – click here.
6) To View the Judging Panel – click here.
7) For Information on the Workshops – click here.
8) To attend the Planned Outings – click here.


Organizer: Capitol Piazza

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Capitol Piazza panders to all who come seeking life’s finer pleasures. With seamlessly connected bespoke zones of retail, dining and entertainment, each promises businesses and customers an experience beyond exceptional.


Official Partner:

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Founded in 2009, Shutter Journey Singapore is one of the fastest growing photography consortium in Singapore. With 12 specific photography groups and 6 associated groups, the group has a combined memberships/ subscribers of over 200,000 at press time. Probably the first hobby photography group in Singapore with their very own authorized service centre, a network of accredited photography merchants, registered membership program & lots of activities, no wonder they are known as the Advocators of Carefree photography.


Official Main Sponsor: Olympus Imaging Singapore

Olympus Singapore Pte Ltd is a subsidiary of Olympus Corporation, headquartered
in Japan. Olympus Singapore Pte Ltd is responsible for the marketing and distribution of Olympus consumer products in Singapore. The Olympus consumer range encompasses still and video imaging products, binoculars and digital audio recorders.
Your Vision, Our Future.


Official Sponsor: Cathay Photo Store Pte Ltd

Established in 1959, Cathay Photo since its very beginning has been driven by the objectives of providing the best photographic equipment, pricing and service to our customers. These objectives have ensured its continued growth from just two humble showcases occupying a quarter of a shop-front to its present five retail outlets, an administrative / distribution office and a warehouse.

It is constantly on the lookout for the latest gadgets and solutions to add to its line-up of over 60 internationally renowned brands, and recognizing the growing presence and popularity of HD video, due largely to the introduction of DSLR cameras with HD video capabilities, it made its foray into the Pro Video market, expanding its offering to products from brands such as Steadicam, Zacuto, Kessler Crane and Genus to name a few.

Having served the photography industry for over 50 years, and backed by its proud heritage, Cathay Photo is without doubt the preferred photographic retailer in Singapore today.


Official Lifestyle Media

Time Out Singapore is the most trusted source for events and culture in Singapore thanks to its independent, impartial, interesting and unbiased editorial and advice on what to do – making it unique from every other publication in the country and therefore enjoying a huge, loyal readership.

Time Out Singapore is among the most influential magazines in the little red dot, boasting a readership of over 600,000 affluent, outgoing people who share a love of finding out what’s going on and who actively participate in everything that’s happening in their city.




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Freshly Shot, Freshly Pressed

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Freshly Shot, Freshly Pressed

15th April 2017, Singapore – Have you ever wonder why tons of socks out there in the market are mainly in dark, monotonous colors? Maybe you will be thinking that since most part of the socks will be conceived in between your shoes and pants so why emphasize on something that people can’t really see when you are wearing it, right?

Whatever the reasons are, we are all out for comfortable fitting socks but Freshly Pressed Socks takes this to the next level by incorporating designs that brings out characters into their range of theme-inspired socks. It is not really about letting people around you to see what socks you are wearing, rather it is something between you and the pair of themed socks, just like a secret relationship that only you will understand.

Beyond the design, nearly all Freshly Pressed Socks are crafted with 65% cotton, 33% polyester & 3% of spandex, this combination ratio also adds to the lasting integrity of the socks which will survive countless washing machine cycles & the user’s comfort to the feet. This is why I fell in love with Freshly Press Socks.

My Freshly Pressed Socks are so attractive that I decided to bring them out for a shoot. A quick browse on the net reveals many nice images had been shot towards the fashion genre so I decided to go with the magazine-style-plain-old-product-shoot and have all my Freshly Pressed Socks all documented in my own way.

Image: “Barton” by Freshly Pressed Socks.
“Barton” may sound foreign to you, but for Marvel Comics fans, you will remember Clint Barton aka Hawkeye. Now look at the socks (above) again, okay now you get it.   


SAM_1612.JPGImage: “Peter” by Freshly Pressed Socks.
While there are many famous “Peter”, I was trying to guess which Peter inspired this design. Reading the socks packaging tag which speaks of fictional adventures, it has to be Peter Pan.



Image: “Tony” by Freshly Pressed Socks.
There’s a Tony that we all adore so much on the big screen. He makes many grand entrances and has lots of fans. Does Stark Industries ring a bell to you?



Image: “Mojo” by Freshly Pressed Socks.
According to the product description, the Mojo was inspired by the 70s culture revolution where bright colors, pop music, bell bottom pants, slick hair & partying comes together. I love this Mojo as it also signifies the era which I was born into. (And I love this color!)  


Image: “Taro” by Freshly Pressed Socks.
Taro is Yam in Japanese, Freshly Pressed Socks dedicated this Jap-style waves design to the Jap executives who are modern day warriors fighting on the corporate ladder. Good one FPS!   





Image: “Lee” by Freshly Pressed Socks.
While there are many famous people with this surname (including me!), the bright yellow with black stripes only points to a certain martial art legend – Bruce Lee.  🙂  



SAM_1627.JPGImage: “Steve” by Freshly Pressed Socks.
This is easy. The Red, the blue and little white star already screams Caption America! But please remember when he is not Captain America, he is Steve.    





Image: “Bruce” by Freshly Pressed Socks.
Before your mind goes Barney, this design is called Bruce. Who else turns Green and wears an undersized Purple Bermudas while chasing the bad guys? The Hulk of course! 


Image: “Escher” by Freshly Pressed Socks.
According to FPS, Escher is an artist who uses Maths as his inspirations for his art, although I can’t make out the design to be from which maths formula, I like the repetitive and contrasting design which oozes elegance and class.   



Image: “Robin” by Freshly Pressed Socks.
Probably the black in this design is the only hint that how Robin is linked to the man in black from Gotham city. This is Robin, Batman’s trusted aid and partner.


Image: “Prince” by Freshly Pressed Socks.
Dedicated to the late Prince who left us quite recently. This design seems to be inspired from one of Prince’s hit song – Purple Rain.    



Image: “Carl” by Freshly Pressed Socks.
There are two “Carl” that are associated with Hot Air Balloon. The first Carl that I know is Carl Edgar Myers – inventor of Hot Air Balloons and the other is Carl Fredricksen from the Disney animation movie UP. I leave the rest to your imagination.




Image: “Ringo” by Freshly Pressed Socks.
Freshly Pressed Socks stated that this design was inspired by a Circus Canopy and the designs uses familiar colors that we always see at a circus. Nope, the name has nothing to do with the Uncle Ringo Fun Fair that we know in Singapore.  


Image: “Pablo” by Freshly Pressed Socks.
This is FPS’s tribute to Cubism Avant-garde art movement in the early 20th century that swayed & changed European’s style of art (paintings, sculptures) which created a chain effect that also influenced music, literature and even architectures. We suspect the Pablo here is Pablo Picasso.  



Image: “Austin” by Freshly Pressed Socks.
Freshly Pressed Socks stated that this design is a homage to the capital of Texas, Austin. And Austin is home to SXSW, a festival & world conference where movie makers, musicians, artists of various disciplines comes together – in Austin.



Image: “Wayne” by Freshly Pressed Socks.
No. Not Wayne’s World, but Bruce Wayne, the real identity of Batman when he is not out there catching the bad guys. Every super hero needs an everyday identity right?  



Image: “Thor” by Freshly Pressed Socks.
Yes, for that man with a huge hammer and an attitude. This design uses all the colors that we use to put our point across to others. Just like how Thor uses his hammer.



Image: “Guile” by Freshly Pressed Socks.
Most of us will immediately remember that Street Fighter character Guile, the square top
blonde army guy who delivers a powerful sonic punch.

Image: “Duke” by Freshly Pressed Socks.
GI-Joe fans will remember Duke aka First Sergeant Conrad S Hauser. Although fictional and a cartoon character, Duke is everything about what a leader should be and reading the FPS packaging tag, I guess this is the Duke that FPS is referring to.  



Image: “Rusell” by Freshly Pressed Socks.
When I was reading the tag from the package, this sock was inspired by Esplanade. But Russell? A quick search on the net reveals about the Esplanade Concert hall was designed by the late Acoustician Russell Johnson. Wow!  



Image: “Alex” (left) & “Anakin” (right) by Freshly Pressed Socks.
These pairs were given to me as a Birthday Gift 2 years ago and this was what sparked off my curiosity and interest in themed socks. From then on, these are my favorite socks, and these pairs have outlives many other socks that was more expensive (and some branded) in my wardrobe which I am certainly convinced Freshly Pressed Socks was made to last.

The FPS socks are comfortable, great design and there will always be a pair for any occasion. For those of you who doesn’t know, I had threw away all my other socks and only Freshly Pressed Socks gets to stay in my wardrobe.

Get yours here.

*All Images in this article are shot by an “almost-dying-samsung-nx-mirrorless-camera”.






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How To Spot A Fake Model

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How To Spot A Fake Model (or Wannabe)
Meme courtesy of AL Memes Singapore.


23rd March 2017, Singapore – By facts, Modelling is a really tough career – if you know what goes on behind the glamorous screen of popularity, stardom, throngs of followers and the super lucrative income that comes with all that perks. However, there are many out there who are oblivious to how much work, preparation, training, PR, sacrifices the successful models had went through just to take a stroll on the fashion runway. And with social media today, many model-wannabes or fake models start to surface.

Today, I am not going to share about the well-respected models that had worked hard to where they are today, instead, I am going to share about the fake models that are “cheapening” the modelling trade as a whole. Before I proceed, I would like to stress that, new, upcoming & budding models are “trainee models” who are learning the ropes the correct way and importantly, they are well respected for choosing a tough career.
So how do we spot the fake models?

Based on my personal experience, I’ve compiled a list of how to spot a Fake Model so that Photographers and Models can spot a Fake from 5 Km away. I would like to legally disclaim that this article is purely a share of my personal experience as a professional photographer for the last 10 years and any description – direct or indirect – or incident, or behavior similar to any person alive or dead, with or without boobs, are purely coincidental and not intentional. So if you are cool with the above, read on.

How to Spot a Fake Model?

1) Physical Aspects
Odd One Out.jpg
Meme courtesy of AL Memes Singapore


– Height – It is not difficult to see the difference between a tall person apart from a short person. Locally, most of the models you saw sashaying on the runway are mostly 1.7m tall or taller. Fashion Brands always stress on how their new line of clothes are presented and the height of the models helps to elaborate the fashion sense carried out on the design and accentuates it on stage. Short models makes every fashion piece longer and sluggish.
Important Note: You will never spot the odd 1.56m tall model on the runway unless it’s a fashion show for Kids Wear.

– Face & Figure – On the other end, there are beautiful models who did not quite make the height, but instead, they are “Body models” which we usually see a part of their body (usually face) being used specifically for certain shoots. (I use such models pretty often) The pretty face model are usually engaged for cosmetics or facial care brands or those with flawless hands, arms, thighs, bums, boobs etc are widely engaged for commercials for hand cream, slimming, personal care brands etc.
Important Note: If someone claimed to be a model, always check the face first, followed by the body.  If none of the above assets are present, run away as quickly as you can. It’s a scam.

– Age – Most modelling agencies look for younger ladies for a good reason. Age does show on the face and body while agencies are mostly looking for models that can span a good 5 to 8 years modelling career. This is not official but from what I was told, usually the girls aged from 18-26 years old are most ideal. Girls in this age bracket looks fresh, probably with a nice figure & body lines and are suitable for a wide variety of shoot and brand representations, good for the model as well as the agency.
Important Note: So if you spot a “model” with that lup sup KTV (a Hokkien pun) look in her 30s, either she is a Ladyboy (a Thai pun), or she is the infamous Beer Auntie from a particular coffeeshop in Yishun (local pun).    




2) Social Skills
Meme courtesy of AL Memes Singapore

– Language Fluency –
In today’s internet-connected modelling world, there is no place for models who cannot or not able to hold an expressive conversation in fluent English. I am sure Brands & companies do not wish to have a Bimbo to represent their brand advertising campaigns, especially when branding and brand association is the key to a successful campaign.
Important Note: If a model cannot even type proper English on her social media updates, especially if her English is painful to read, do not expect the person to be able to converse properly in person too. 

-Social Media Behavior –
A respectable model will put on her best behavior online so that potential clients or agencies can look out for the socially graceful ones to engage.Whether its brand owners, agencies or photographers, they are looking for someone classy & elegant to use for shoot & campaigns. So the “social face” is very important in today’s context and it plays an important part for decision-making to which model to engage.
Important Note: If a model goes around online and type Hokkien slangs like “Bo Jio”, “KNN” etc, well, you don’t really see real models going around doing such things. And do look out for the fake model who will always post status like “I have no money to eat”, “Who is free to meet me now”, or post a shit load of painful English soliciting for people to engage her for shoot. 

3) Background
Meme courtesy of AL Memes Singapore

-Personal Problems – Personal problems are meant to be personal. But some fake models tries to use this to their advantage by tugging heartstrings of others, hoping someone will take pity and fall for her trap. Will you engage a model who – half the time post nonsense using her painful English and asking (almost begging) for people to feed her, to meet her or to engage her? Self-respecting models are what everyone in the industry loves, not such fakes. And worse, if the fake model is always on the negative side of topics in hot discussions on forums, or has tons of nude images circulating on forums and websites, something is really wrong with this person. Stay away from such fake models or risk your reputation to be associated with such fake models.
Important Note: With the internet today, one can easily find out information about a person. Things like if the model owes loansharks $15,000.00,  if she is divorced & dumped her kids, if she got thrown out by landlords for not paying rent, or got fired job after jobs. Rule of thumb for budding models is to keep your personal blah blah blah away from the watchful eyes of the internet mob. 
Meme courtesy of AL Memes Singapore
– Portfolio – A model’s portfolio is like a menu card in a restaurant. The portfolio examples are supposed to be curated and the images carefully selected to best present the model in various examples so that clients can decide if she fits into their brand directions or designs. However fake models will use skin as a selling point, especially when she has lots of it (pun intended). Clients will not be impressed with a portfolio that is 95% images of implied nudes and worse, coming from a short & plump “model”. And worse, the photographers that had shot the portfolio (probably) are mostly amateurs with serious lighting and composition flaws. Such images kills the model instantly.
Important Note: I believed there is no need for me to share how to identify a proper portfolio of a model. However, if a so-call model can only present badly shot images with her cladding in nothing more than a panties, well, you know this model is NOT really capable of greater things. Stay away. 


– Track Records – 
As an additional point to the above, track records & other related achievements are equally important for a model as it helps in the credibility and a show of her potential as well as how active or popular she really is. A real budding model will actively participate in mainstream pageants, works with famous photographers, do lots of PR etc.
Important Note: If a so-call model does nothing more than ranting on her FB everyday about no money, who is free to accompany her, who can laon her money etc etc well – that is her Track Record. It’s like visiting a Doctor without a Medical Phd, ok you get the drift. 

Conclusion: While modelling is indeed a dream job for many, it is a profession that needs proper training, good mentorship, good PR skills and many more things like support from real photographers, clients and fellow models to get far. Sadly, many are trying their luck to take the short cut to success (if they ever make it) by stripping down to their panties or sometimes nothing at all, and hoping people will pay her to shoot her. Do your research and you will know how much reputable models charged especially for nude shoots. If you can have a fake model going around charging $180-$250 and willing to strip down to nothing, this is questionably dangerous isn’t it?

Here’s a summary in point form in helping you to identify a Fake Model.
– Below 1.7m height.(Usually at 1.56m.)
Common face & no Wow Factor. (Sometimes face looks like a truck had ran over).
Flabby but like to do Nudes shoots. (Probably that is the only thing she is good for)
Hard-selling herself and making herself available to everyone who can pay.
Tries to take a loan from you, or sell you supplements.
Post on her social media to hard-sell herself.
Uses painful-to-read English that is not easy to understand.
– Post live videos of her mumbling to herself.
– Bitch & complain about other models all the time.
– Her nudes photos are all-over men-only websites & forums.
– Her family & financial problems are discussed all over the internet.

So if you encounter such a fake model, my advice is – Run.

Good Luck Guys!




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