Happy snappy with my photography coach, Liew Tong Leng…

I had the happiest Boxing Day ever, spending the bulk of it taking pictures on my new camera with my talented photography teacher, Liew Tong Leng, who’s currently on Mediacorp TV’s on-going photography reality TV show “The Big Shot”.

We spent hours, taking photos from day till night, and I learnt so much from this very talented shutterbug. Here’s a little taste of some pictures that Liew has taken right here in Singapore… Do note that copyright belongs to him, so please do not misuse his IP:

Liew is an excellent teacher. I learnt so much from him! Back in film school, I did take a module in photography but Liew isn’t just technically sound, he truly has the eye and is so talented in photography, it impresses me how humble and patient he is really… the BFF & I really enjoyed our sessions with him.

Chatting about photography on our walk back to where we parked our cars after a full day out on the shoot, Liew shared that he learnt some insights from another award-winning photographer… Steve McCurry (one of my favorite photographers ever), who I’d blogged about a little while back…

You’ve seen works by Steve McCurry before. For instance, the iconic Afghan Girl in TIME magazine. So anyway. Liew was sharing with Pam & I that he was having dinner with Steve McCurry when he was in Singapore for his “Unguarded Moment” exhibition at ACM (which I so totally loved!) and they were talking. Liew reflected on he advice McCurry gave him and condensed it as such:

1) Know how to stand out from the rest, to be special in people’s eyes

2) When you do that, and your work is solid, you’ll win over people’s hearts

Liew gave current examples and instances on how he basically thought outside the box, doing alternative things during “The Big Shot” where other competing photographers did very nice and professional but rather typical pictures for the given themes, while he stood out because his pictures were refreshingly different so that impressed the judges.

Photography and magic aren’t too different afterall *grin* I know, I know, I’m a magic geek for seeing this relation but it is true! It’s also the reason why people like J C Sum (you know, the guy I work with) are where they are today.

He’s also wise enough to know when to let go of certain acts, like his beautiful floating table routine for instance – J C was the very first Singaporean to perform the stage magic act years ago but since many magicians started performing it here… some badly, some using pirated props… J C stopped doing it and worked with other illusions, besides creating his own 🙂

Back to photography. Besides all the technical stuff that can frazzle your nerves because of the aperture calculations and all, I was also reminded that it’s an art – so one has to be patient, act fast, look at things from all perspectives and when it calls for it, dare seize opportunities.

Anyway. ‘Magic Babe’ Ning is no Liew Tong Leng or Steve McCurry, but I was still quite pleased with what I went home with. Mind you, these pictures were taken using a compact point and shoot camera & no photoshop was used!

For the night shot, I used a camera tripod for the long exposure, and love the effect of the light reflection on the Singapore River 🙂 There’s more pictures, but you can see them on Facebook.

If you’d like to check out more of Liew’s spectacular pictures, sign up for his photography courses or book him to take beautiful pictures for you – find him at liewtl.multiply.com

I understand that he’s going to launch a brand new website for next year, so stay tuned for that 😉 Meanwhile, don’t forget to catch the last episode of Mediacorp TV’s “The Big Shot” next week… will Liew win the grand prize? I’m definitely rooting for him!!!!


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