Double Happiness

On Sunday, I got the chance to photograph my friend's friend's wedding. I've never been to a wedding before, let along a traditional Chinese one so it was a whole new experience for me. The best part has got to be the door games, when the groom and his men try to get into the bride's house by completing challenges set up by the bridesmaids. Since the bride is my age, things got wild quite quickly (think: semi-nudity and lots of physical contact).Other than the door games, there were all kinds of delicious food, I think I ate 3 times before the actual reception -drools- I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.

It was my first time shooting a wedding and I never gave much thought to it before but oh boy is it exhausting to shoot from morning till night while lugging heavy equipment! I have a new found respect for wedding photographers.  I woke up at 5:00 am to get ready for the big day and I was assigned as the morning photographer (other photographers were joining us at night) so I wanted to capture everything single detail during the day time. I was really energetic for the first 5-6 hours and slowed down a bit till 4-5pm. By 7pm (when the ceremony was taking place), I was so tired that I ended up with a bunch of blurry photos and I had no more energy to dodge the army of relatives blocking my shots.

There were too many tea ceremonies in this day to count but I decided to post this picture because grandpa's outfit is pretty cool. Just look at all those medals! I have no idea what they're for but it's stylish~

The cute ring bearer putting the pillows back on the couch after the tea ceremony.

I was assigned to photograph the groom's side so while the boys get ready, I sneak a selfie while nobody's looking ;-P

Cheers to Jessica and Allan!

C'mon boys, there's another round of nasty concoctions! Drink up or we we'll have to freeze to death outside the bride's house!

It is customary for the bride's family to give the bride golden jewelry as part of her dowry. In Western culties, dowries are a thing of the past and often associated with having to "pay the groom's family for taking the bride". In Chinese tradition nowadays, it is more about providing the bride with the necessary material things to start her new life.

Of course you can't keep the ancestors out of the party!

All that food for the ancestors! What happens to all that food? Does it get thrown away? I'm not sure...

Hopefully one of my pictures will be framed *wishful thinking*

I'm trying to keep my blog suitable for all audiences but you can see what types of wild games they had.  Let's just hope that the number of cameras shielded the relatives' eyes.

The bouquet toss looked like the zookeeper throwing meat to hungry lionesses.

Ending the night with a dance and a kiss~

All in all, I feel blessed to be given the chance to photograph such an unique wedding. I learned so much and I made new friends. As a wedding photographer, you must be able to direct the bride and groom so that they strike the poses, be able to create a comfortable atmosphere for everyone around you and be invisible at times so you don't disturb the people around you. It was certainly hard for me to strike a good balance but I strive to improve every time.

All pictures are shot with a Canon Rebel T2i, Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6/ 30mm f1.4 and Canon 50mm f1.4. Thank you Niv and Lily for letting me borrow your equipment ^___^Y

Mixbook Review

Is it just me or are babies born with cameras strapped to their hands these days? Excuse the exaggeration but many of us grab our phones/cameras to take snaps of anything and everything. Facebook albums are uploaded by the million and once people have scrolled through an album, they forget about it. It's a shame that beautiful photos are forgotten like that so I decided to print a photo book as a gift to Monkey for our anniversary.  This isn't the first time I make a photo book but it is the first time that I'm using a photo printing website. Seeing all the pictures neatly organized in a book makes my inner OCD really happy. Scroll down for my review with pictures :-) 

Leather-bound cover with dust jacket

Front of dust jacket (Thanks Miss Adri for the photos ;-D)

Back of the dust jacket

The paper was perfect for writing little blurbs next to the photos.

Thanks Diane for the photos :-)

Close-up of print quality, pretty sharp and clear!

Source picture: I liked how vibrant all the photos were! 

Some pictures had colors that were a bit off, for example in this one, Monkey's face is very pink (his face is always pink in real life but it wasn't in the source photo). 

Source photo 

I know this one seems obvious but I thought it needed a bit of clarification. The picture quality depends on your original photo resolution. For example, the photos that were the best quality were usually ones that were taken during daytime with a low ISO and a large resolution. The photo above was taken during sunset with a high ISO and low resolution (small file size). The resulting quality of the print was grainier and blurrier than other photos. Even Monkey pointed it out. 

Source photo

Some photos looked even better in print than on the computer. Such as this one :-)

Source photo

I chose the website Mixbook because of its user-friendly interface and simple editing tools. It was ranked number 1 according to various review websites. In the past, I had tried different websites but I didn't like the fact that some of them required me to download their editing program or they had complicated programs. Mixbook was very easy to use and I didn't have to download anything (my pet-peeve because my computer is a slow dino). I really wanted a leather book because I think it looks very classy. I couldn't find reviews by customers that but I decided to take a chance because the price matched my budget (they have discount codes all the time). 

I bought the 8x6" Pocket Landscape Premium Leather with Dust Jacket Photo Book (39 pages). With their discount code, I got the book for 45$ (including 10$ shipping to Canada). 
I ordered my book on February 18th, it was shipped on the 20th and I received it on the 26th! I was so pleasantly surprised that I got my photo book within 4 business days!

My first impression of the book: it's pretty nice, the quality of the images is very good, some colors are off but not significantly. I was a bit disappointed by the fake leather cover because it wasn't as soft as I expected but hey you get what you pay for. They use an eco-friendly paper that has a satin finish. The best part about the paper is that I could write notes without having pen smudges everywhere. 

I think this Mixbook is great for printing out photo albums but due to the limited variety of covers, it might not be the best option for wedding photo albums for those who like to engrave their covers. I would definitely use their service again in the future because it's so easy to use and the quality is great!

What do you think? Have you tried Mixbook or do you prefer another photo printing site? 

Faking Spring

Trench coat: Asos (still available!)
Blouse: Madewell
Jeans: Levi's
Boots: Zara
Bag: Zipia

Hey guys, today we got a preview of Spring weather which caused me to get so excited that I abandoned my finance case assignment and frolicked outside wearing my new trench coat with some fake flowers in hand! It feels so refreshing to wear lighter clothes and don't even get me started on how nice it feels to breathe normally without icicles forming in your nostrils! 

I've been hunting for the perfect trench coat for a while and this one is perfect because of the color. It's a beautiful golden bronze color that looks pinkish in some light conditions. 

Niv's mom tailored the jacket to my height so it fits perfectly! This coat will be replacing my beloved beige Zara jacket that's too small for me now :- C 

So what was I doing walking around with fake flowers? I wanted to create some dreamy blurry effect.  I know it's a weird fantasy but I've always wanted to walk around with a bouquet of flowers à la European girls. Blame it on those pretty Pinterest photos. To be honest, I don't think I've ever seen anyone walking around casually with a bouquet of flowers except on valentine's day... 

I watched Forrest Gump with Monkey today. For some weird reason, I always thought Forrest was a dog... so when I told Monkey, he face-palmed so hard that I thought he was gonna leave a permanent hand print on his face! Since then, he's been trying to make me watch it every time we have nothing to do (which is all the time). I finally conceded to his nags and I CAN'T BELIEVE I DIDN'T WATCH IT EARLIER! It's such a good movie *screams*, Forrest was so endearing that I couldn't help but smile when he was happy and cry when he was sad. If you haven't watched it yet, you should definitely put it on your "to-watch list". I feel happier and lighter after watching this movie : )

Momma always said, "Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."