A page for the Make up Artists

Being a makeup artist is hard work. I am going to dedicate this page, to all the makeup artists that are right now trying to sort out their lively hood and career.

If you think all they do is just do simple make-ups and charge exorbitant fees, well, hopefully this page will give you some insight into their lives.

A makeup artist is like any paid professional. The good ones do literally take up lessons and classes costing up to few thousands and 6 months to 1.5 years of time to pick up the necessary skills.

You have to carry a few kgs bag containing your makeup tools and materials. I tried carrying one of these bags, trust me, its like doing a gym workout for most guys who are not into body building.

Those make-up materials that are in the bag are mostly branded names. Needless to say, they are no cheap, in fact, in order to secure the client’s confidence, often there are gems of premium brands in the bag. Whether its Shiseido, Bobbi Brown, Shu Uemura, Laura Mercier, or some other brands, its not free.

That is just the beginning. An array of eye lashes and tools for shaping the hair, are part and parcel of today’s MUA (make-up artist) arsenal. Clients do not want to listen to answers like “I only do the make-up for the face, i don’t do hair”. In today’s competitive world where almost everyone have a “package”, MUA’s need to be providing hair make over too.

Malaysia MUA

Joey Lim. One of the make-up artist that i have collaborated with and impressed with her dedication. http://www.facebook.com/JoeyLimMakeUpArtist

Often clients are always pushing down the service value of these MUA’s while they have no problem paying models double the amount. Some requests for eg, ROM in Putrajaya suggests that the MUA needs to wake up around 6 am and easily the session will consume 3-4 hours . Rates that are around RM 300 for a really good and professional make-over are often negotiated down. Some clueless clients even could offer RM 150 or less for the session.

Its pretty discouraging sometimes, when you trained so hard for your skills and work and clients compare you with some new MUA that is doing it for hobby and watched some youtube’s tutorial. Now Youtube’s is a great place for learning things, but often the pro’s have gone way further than practicing on their clients and is worth the fees.

Like any other full time job, the MUA the same cost of living to faced with at the end of the day. Petrol, phone bills, rent, food and those extras that would be useful for upgrading her skills. The best MUA’s are those who loved their jobs, love to make the next person the most beautiful person ever for their events or photography.

Now, if you meet a MUA and get to hear her story, try asking this question and be surprised. “Have you ever been injured while doing make-up?”. Chances are, some scars still exist as a result of steaming hot iron accident on a typical hair make over session.

If you are a photographer / event organiser, you know, having an MUA makes all the difference in the shoot. Not every model could makeup, and even if some could, they would not be able to do a theme specific makeup.

To the next wedding couple and love birds, if you going to have an album that you believe would be enjoyed and lasts “forever”, cutting cost on MUA is probably one of the worst decision to make next to choosing cheapo photographers. Photographers tends to shoot close ups as well and shoulder portraiture during your wedding or “cheong san leong”, a natural makeup should make the bride recognizable but yet highly elegant, not some painted skin edition.

Entaro Adun Executor.

4 Types of facebook friends

While facebook kinda promotes friendship in many ways, sometimes you have to filter out the kind of friends you want. When i first ventured into photography, i met a lot of new people that are different from business types of friends.

However as time goes by, it became obvious to me that some people do not deserves sincere friendship. While i am not looking for perfection in any relationships forged via facebook, i am often baffled by the kind of people that i met that could take things for granted so easily.

No matter what the medium is, real friends could be proven by time, where those who are looking only to promote themselves and nothing else would surface clearly. I do ask myself sometimes, is this a business or is this friendship. If its friendship, we should accept that person regardless of his/her flaws and limitations. In business, if there is no profit in the relationship, it ends. In friendship, we should love our friends and that includes being vocal about their situation if they are clearly on the wrong, morally.

Here i would just humorously categorize FB friends into 4 types:

A) The innocent


They have a lovable outward expression and physicality. Often quiet and seems calm despite all situations. Their timeline rarely contains any rage nor self rants. Its easy to make friends but the old advice “never judge a book by the cover” stays true here. While they could be the ones providing a good ear for listening, they rarely go a mile extra for their friends. Perhaps all those self reflection and quiet times are just spent mostly on themselves and no one else. On the other hand, some are just non vocal until u know them better 🙂

B) The Two faced


Its hard to know if these people are sincere in their friendships at all. Sometimes when things are needed, they will stick close, when things are no longer needed, they are as distance as ice. Often these people have their own plans and agenda that goes this way “Don’t waste my time unless you have something for me”.
On one hand they would appear to be joyous when you are successful on the other hand they are rarely true to this feeling. Enjoying instead on darker emotions like jealousy and believing the world runs on survival of the fittest.
These people often gets banned by their friends without them knowing why and they would themselves often ban others without giving a reason.

C) The Normals


These are socially healthy people that balance their lives between success, work and friendships. They are usually happy and consistent with their aims and goals. If you needed help, some would go the extra mile just for the sake of friendship. Even if they won’t, its mostly for good reasons and not because too much trouble.

D) The Saints


These friends often have an overview of the world. Loves looking at the deeper picture and talks a lot about plans. Some would participate in activities that involves helping animals, environment or some kind of personal crusade.
These people often are passionate in what they do and would be the kind of friends to look for. However, everyone is just humans so don’t expect a real saint.

Did i mention just 4 groups, the others are basically combination of these 4 types one way or the other.

Well, actually i am just taking the opportunity to share my cat photos here so i had to cook up an interesting article, so don’t take these types listed here too seriously! XD

Street photography : Ipoh

I visited Ipoh for a day yesterday, took the opportunity to use the Xvario for street shoots.

Ipoh is a beautiful city located in Perak, Malaysia. Urban legend has it that its a place where most of Malaysia’s beautiful ladies comes from, quoting various examples, eg Michelle Yeoh, Malaysia’s first bond girl.

The food in Ipoh is plentiful and comes in all kind of creative forms. What i mean by this is that the local in Ipoh tends to be very entrepreneurship when it comes to food.

Enjoy my set of street photography.

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Form Matters

A camera like Ricoh GR and XVario has a form that promotes street photography. I have been trying out various other cameras but i have never been motivated to capture images and be surprised by the results as i did with these cameras.

Why? I believe it boils down to something so simple and raw, its practically the trigger for motivation. It begins with “Form”

1. Size matters

You can shout and chant the whole day and read magnum contact books and dead photographer’s portfolios. But if you gonna hold a 70-200 zoom lens on your dlsr and walk up the street and shoot, you not going to succeed. Size matters. Holding on something big, is not going to give you the speed and flexibility to move right into a scene and shoot it. Street photography is about people and expression where you are almost at the same place, witnessing and participating. I love zoom shooting in mall photography, something i did as a kind of street photography when i am just too tired or motivated to walk outside. I get nice photos but nothing that i am really happy with.

If you gonna carry a 50-500 lens, you are better off joining the Olympics than doing street photography. The anticipation in street is not just one direction, it could be behind you or on your side, and to shoot discreetly and yet breath in the scene, size affects mobility and mobility affects results.

A camera that is of the correct size grants the bearer such joy, that its hard to describe. When news of friends and people moving away from DSLR to 4/3, Fuji’s and whatever else out there, i initially thought that its just a rush decision. Make no mistake about it, liberty and freedom is a feeling that many associate as criterias for happiness and when your camera gives you event a taste of that, its hard not to understand why they did it.

2. Camera Quality matters

Motivation begins when you feel inspired by something or a thought that you hold in your mind. Holding a lego camera, will not get you motivated unless your motivation is pre-planning to fail and yet not feel bad since you got a bad deal to begin with. Lets face it, carrying a plastic camera that feels like toys, does not contribute a single motivating trigger to you anymore than a B rated movie gonna get you high expectation. Expectation however matters. A camera that is build nicely, triggers all kinds of good thoughts and inspirational feeling when you carry it.

When i first had my M9, despite the reality that its a camera that is kinda “stupid” with all kinds of limitations, i did produce some photos that i am very happy with. Logically any camera today with a fast lens could easily out gun any Leica M shooters if the photographers are on the same level. Auto focus is just too stupid to be ignored. After i sold my M9, i got all kinds of cameras. They all could in theory, capture much better photos in various lighting conditions. I did have many keepers no doubt, but the joy of holding the camera just isn’t the same. M9 felt stupid due to the technological limitations and rangefinder, but the build and touch of the camera, inspires one to go out and shoot. I know one day, Leica will produce one that you won’t feel stupid and at the same time highly inspired by the build quality.

Partially this condition is met in the Xvario. The camera immediately brings back the feeling i had with the M9 and minimizes on the stupidity part. The only “stupid” part i felt was the slow lens but given that i wanted to train on deep dof, this counters the thought. The Xvario, to me, is the real Digital Leica. Its far from perfect, a perfect one would be 24-70 mm 1.4 on a FF Leica but at the current situation, that is crazy thinking 😉

3. Inspiration matters

It begins when you hold the camera, up to the point when you shoot it. My nikon D4 performs flawlessly and was iron clad dependable. Inspired, hardly, but it does removes me from distraction of limitations since if D4 cant’ perform, its entirely the photographers fault . Ricoh GR is so light, u feel immediately like moving around and shoot. Xario feels so solid, you feel that every moment is special. D4, tells you, go do your job. Its not a bad thing if you are a full time photographer on duty, but for your own passion based projects , inspiration goes a long way.

No article should be complete without a photo to prove my point right? I have been fetching my daughter for more than 4 years to the school. I have used all kind of cameras trying to capture something i like, her silliness and laziness when waking up from the car, or just some expression. I got that with the Xvario.

The Three images


Today i have 3 images to share.


1) This image shows our police officers. For some reason, the main subjects appears to be slanted while the horizon clearly arent.

Casual stare

2. Leica shop in Starhill, KL, Malaysia.

This friendly assistant sold me a UV filter for my Xvario. 43mm is a rare diameter for a filter and this is the only place i could find one with an acceptable quality.

The shop

3. A very casual shot at MCD. Was waiting for a friend when bumped into this friend of mine. Took the opportunity to snap her photo. BG edited with a small amount of radial blur for drama.




2 days later .. the Xvario

So how does it feels like to shoot with a camera that offers f 3.5-6.4 tortoise lens?

At this point, i have not done any of my model projects yet, so i will reserve my utmost comments after one of those shoot.

For now i would say, its a liberating experience shooting with the Xvario. Here are my reasons :

1) Its like a compact camera. A high quality compact camera that is so small, i bought a small Canon bag to hold it.


This bag is so small and light to carry, i am beginning to feel my 4/3 system is heavy, despite having only 2 lens.

2. When you know in the back of your mind, the lens are awesome on this camera, each shot that you take, you somehow feel very confident that its gonna deliver.

Since its a “slow lens” shooting in broad daylight is no issue at all and i left it to maximum aperture (3.5 dial) and let the camera figure out the shutter.


3. The exposure and white balance….is almost magical. No kidding, i am using just 1 focusing point which i move around using the “delete/focus” long press and since aperture is 3.5 and not razor thin dof, i could just slightly reposition the camera after focusing. Exposure is just nice, during PP, they holds up very well. I remember the Joe guy in the promotional video of Leica Italy talking about this and making it sounds like a commercial stunt, but seriously, it works.


4. ISO 1600 is your friend. Coming from 2 extreme camera experience, my D4-high-iso-king and the Sigma-max-iso-200, i must say for practical use, the XVario iso 1600 is usable for handheld indoor shots.


Now, the price is still expensive in every sense and i learn a new word today, its called “WAF” – wife allowable factor, from this guy called “Axel”. Let me just warn you that if you look at his images, you might just make the plunge.


Enter the XVario

I really need a break from my routine types of shoot. Typically consisting of models and a big aperture camera and lens.

The idea of doing street photography and casual shots of people that are “non posed” have been tugging at my heart for a long time. Yeah, they would not garner as much likes and attention to my page in fb as much as pretty images of models would, but having seen really amazing street photos, i can’t deny that non-posed shots are nothing short of awesome.

Enter the Xvario

I have read many many reviews before i embark on this journey. What i did is basically sell of my perfectly working Nikon D4 and all the lens except my favourite one, the 24 mm 1.4 nikon. Why would anyone sell off such a perfectly working camera and get a Leica. Just a few articles back, i was criticizing the non-bokehlicious-shallow-dof camera a loser and now i am owning one.

Hmm, let me put it this way. The only way i can learn to appreciate deep DOF and embark on a new journey of photography, is to limit myself to a gear that does precisely this.

My sigma with the 18-35 art lens in currently in Japan undergoing perfect focus tuning and i have no idea when it is coming back. That leaves me with the superb Oly EP5 which my wife will be using in her trips and tours.

Now that you have read my complete my self-justification list ;-), that started my move towards the Xvario.

Why? Isn’t this the shit-sandwich camera that everyone been pissing at? Isn’t this the slow lens and overpriced camera?

Yes, this is the Xvario. From various reviews, Steve Huff, all the way to general mags, this camera won’t pass my 2nd glance on normal day. But what got my attention is this guy’s review :


Looking at his flickr set, he has Canon 5D MK III with 50 1.2 and all kinds of lens and works for ELLE publication in the middle east. His images are good, damm good. I asked myself why would such a person even buy a Xvario. That started me on reading up more reviews and dropping by the Avenue-K Leica store to check out the camera myself. I must say the price in Avenue-K is not in synch with the world, its expensive by nearly USD 500 compared to BHphoto, but i bought from them anyway, i guess its nice to see a local boutique shop here constantly supporting this brand.

I also bumped into this other guy’s review that seems to have access to all kinds of latest gadgetry :


..and yet he calls the Xvario, “I’m not even going to bother to write yet again about how good the IQ is, apart from mentioning it now. So I’ll go back to m4/3 and Fuji X for the next group of posts, since that is what people want it seems. And I’ll be continuing to use my ‘secret’ camera, but not writing about it much.”

As the moderator for Leica forum in Dpreview, i had a few chat with Rodriguezahr about the issues on the Xvario and was satisfied with it.

Here are the major shortcoming and how u overcome it :

1. The oversensitive 4way controller. 

Buy the case, its beautiful and adds grip and additional thickness to the side, enough to shield the right thumb from hitting the pads unnecessarily.

2. The slow focusing

Set to 1 point focusing. To move this point, long press on the “Delete/focus” button and use the 4way controller.

As for the aperture being small and hence a “slow lens”. Well, consider it this way,  how much would u pay for a Leica Elmar like prime for : 28mm, 35 mm, 50mm, 70mm? Did you know that the 50mm of Xvario performs near on par as the 50mm APO that cost USD 7350.00? Go figure.

I have not start shooting yet as today is my first day with the camera, just snapshots here and there with the family. Will be posting more as i put the camera thru its pace and undertake various photo projects and limit myself to only use this.

xvario, edited with silver efex pro ][

Street photography with Zoom

When i do street photography a year back, i was a strong advocate of shooting from the hip. I trained myself with the leica M9, 5 meter and zap. Nowadays there are crazy super street cameras such as the Ricoh GR that could do very discreet SP from 2 meter onwards using the same technique.

Well the thing is, in malaysia, its no longer a safe place to just walk around. So most photographers relocated themselves to either shoot in the malls or near big malls or some festive events such as Thaipusam. Its a sad situation really.

Seriously shooting in malls is kinda strange for street photography. But what is even stranger is shooting street photography with zoom lens. Ever since owning the 75 mm 1.8 on the Olympus Ep5, i am often amazed by the quality of this lens and coupled that with the image stability provided by the EP5, shooting bokehlicious photos and strong focus on subjects is a breeze.

My sigma sd15 camera and the 18-35 ART lens is now on route to Japan for fine tuning. Yeah despite tuning it myself using Allen screws and such, i find that i have not much confident that i am just missing a tweak or two.

So today i took the EP5 with the 75 mm and did the Mall’s Street photography. I know rite? Go ahead let the flame begins. But i do love the images taken. These are all edited using just IPad with no special apps.

A new snack in town, looks like curled Aunty Anne pretzels.

A couple enjoying BR. With the Zoom that was easily done across the other side.

A beautiful westerner at the mall, framing this was a split second decision.

Love this setup.

Just a casual pose near the Japanese section.