If portraiture bores you, try doing it at night {portraiture | CCD}

malaysia top portrait photographer

Just wanted to quickly share two images i just took tonight.

If you feel that portraiture are beginning to bore you and you have been doing way too many portraits, try doing it at night.

Its a totally different level and playing field at night and the resulting images often brings a long lost smile to that photography kid hiding inside.

All images below are taken with Nikon CCD sensor camera at F1.4.  As to which camera it is, you will have to dig around my blogs to find out, i have been very vocal about how underrated this camera is, i bought three of them just so i have some assurance of its continuity.


malaysia top portrait photographer

malaysia top portrait photographer


The model is Amanda CME, also known as Mak3upQueen, you can find her on facebook and if you happened to be in Malaysia, do engage her makeup services for your model photoshooting.




What camera is a hybrid between film and digital? {gallery}

There was a story about this guy who went to Nepal in search for peace and simplicity. The guy have half his lifetime focusing on his career and building a corporate life that he soon got tired of it all, gave away bulk of his money, sold his house and took a one way ticket to Nepal.

As the story goes, after 7 years in Nepal, he came to a conclusion. Peace and simplicity isn’t found in Nepal or anywhere else,  he could pursue the same objective of living a simple life back in an apartment in Amsterdam. Nepal and its basic lifestyles and people gave him a chance to know himself better.

sigma camera best portraits photographer portraiture
the search, processed from raw file

I started off photography on a peculiar camera, the sigma dp2. From there i went all the way to nikon D4, Leica M9, A7R, Canon 6D and a lot more gears that i am more shameful to bring up than to boast about. Did i improve? Nope. My improvement came from lots of practice, 2 workshops that i attended on portraiture and film photography.

Yup, like the story of that man, film gave me time to discover myself. Now after one full year on film, i decided to find two cameras that have the same inconveniences of film but a digital unlike any other. I call them the “twins”. The very thought of owning these two cameras and carrying them around with me tickles me somewhat, it is like cowboys in the older days where the top gunner would carry two guns on each side of his belt.

sigma low iso shooting night quattro sdh dp1x
single exposure, processed from raw file

These two twins are the Sigma DP1x and Sigma DP2x, fix lens, APSC cameras with a strange, weird sensor.

Let me just provide a note of warning here. Do not follow me on this path, haha, no kidding, i would go so far as to say that shooting film is much easier than using these two cameras.

But i have come to a point whereby limited gears don’t really trouble me much. These two cameras main selling point is its Foveon sensor, it’s what i would call, an anomaly sensor that produces results between a film and a digital.

At 4.7 megapixel, its even smaller than my regular film lab’s output. I wouldn’t have come to this mindset of accepting such low-res results if it wasn’t for my one year film pilgrimage, it reinforces what i already knew about megapixels and what we really need in our image sharing and even printing.

sigma dp1x dp2x dp2m quattro portraits
unedited, jpg from dp1x

The image above is unedited jpg straight from the camera’s raw file. Man, it already feel so film like even without going thru VSCO.

Here is another sample.

sigma dp1x sdh portraiture
dp1x jpg out of the camera

The uncertainty that these “twins” presents, the dog slow auto-focus and the availability of a crappy manual focus are just so similar with the film cameras that i use. Instead of labs, i have to wrestle with Sigma Photo Pro, an obscure software that can process the raw files or extract the jpg as shown above. It’s a bit like waiting for the lab results.

I am not giving up on film, don’t get me wrong here. It’s amazing that the DP2x 41mm focal length is so much like my favourite Olympus 35UC’s 42mm focal length. The DP1x’s 28mm would cater for wide angle shot.

Note : I wouldn’t recommend Sigma cameras to anyone, personally I felt Sigma is a company that continuously betrays its camera users with experimental, unproven and stupid decisions. If you google up the reviews of their new cameras e.g. One such review, those are plainly evident.
I have lost this camera. This camera has been stolen on 27th January 2016 near VCR cafe, Kuala lumpur malaysia, together with a hood and AML-1 lens and 2 wasabi backup batteries.
– Update : 24th jan 2017.

What do you think of these images? Drop me a line or two in the comments below.

Penang beach {portraiture}

penang best portrait photographer

One of the unexpected nice location for photoshoot in Penang is this small opening at Babylon restaurant .

I have always strived for taking portraits that are natural with an element of candid feel to it. With the wind on my side and a close and happy model at the scene, the right recipe for a beautiful album that presents itself.

penang outdoor best portraits 35mm
True smiles, a rarity among portraits

Eilein Pang have collaborated with me for over a year now for her albums and her popularity and freelance jobs have grown too. Often we would chat about some local issues that are faced by the freelancers and the individuals that we could draw inspirations from.

She has never doubted my  constant preference to try new ideas on different mediums and gears. When I pursued film for the skin tones and organic feel she was pretty patient with the waiting period that her generation have never experienced before.

35mm penang best outdoor photography
penang best 35mm portraits marcus

I will be visiting this place again if I visit Penang. Curious as to how the light would be at sunrise.  I hope you enjoyed these short series of images.

Why you need a 1.4 lens for portraiture


The 1.4. Its a magical aperture for portraits. Traditionally folks wants to use 85mm for potraits, but in reality, ANY lens can be used for portraits. In this set that i am sharing, i am using the voigthlander 40 1.4. Its a cheap lens by any standard, you can find used around USD 300 and sometimes less.



With a 1.4 lens you can take low light using ISO around 400. The image above and the rest are done in a Starbucks cafe and you know how dim those lights are? Thats what a 1.4 lens can do for you. If you ever need those beautiful rendering of bokeh lights and portraits of your friends during ur night coffee time or when you just want to be alone in the cafe and think through your work. Grab a 1.4 lens. Its more therapeutic than coffee itself.



This set is unique because i shot these at night and right after a rain fall. Those lights you see surrounding Ramona here is magnified by the cold weather and humidity as well as reflection from wet surfaces.

I used the 40 mm 1.4 lens on the Leica ME. Love those CCD colors. But fret not, you could get good results using any camera of your choice, but the key point here is to use a lens that goes below the f1.8. The problem with today’s images is that there are just TOO many of them flooding the internet. The need to differentiate your images starts from the very choice you make from ur gears selection. A 1.4 lens is definitely higher in “rarity” than a 1.8 lens that most amateurs starts out with.

There you have it. My short answer to the title of this post, via images. Hope you enjoyed them and do leave me some comments 🙂


Redefining today’s Photographer, living in the Internet Era


They used to be one of the main form of transportation. These decorated bicycles you see here. You can still find them today, in Melaka, as a tourist attraction transportation. For RM 5 or 10, the peddlers will happily transport you from one spot to the other tourist spots, all within just a distance of 1-2 km away.

Things changed. I am not sure if the word photographers would even be a relevant career or work today. I for one, was never a full time photographer, its my hobby, my passion and my key to meet new people from diverse background and walks of life.

The low entry cost to enter photography by owning a DSLRs, smaller cameras that produces sufficient image quality and the dream that anyone can be a photographer is basically, killing the industry itself.

Owning a studio no longer seems like a practical thing to do, often existing owners of studios are hanging on to whatever contracts that was awarded to them. Lose the contract and you lose the studio. The inflow of jobs by common people walking into a studio has diminished so much that the pattern is similar to how much people do print out their photos nowadays.


Walking around in Jonker’s street, Melaka, i came across a few antique shops and vintage cafe’s. Often its not hard to spot a typewriter lying around for sale. A typewriter…what happened to this glorious literature producing tool that gave us some of the best classics ever.

A typical photographer is like a typewriter. Its glorious days are long gone. But its not the end, a new form of “photographers” now emerge from the scene. The typewriter was replaced by the pcs, notebooks and ipads of today. The new “photographer” similarly have to undergo the same changes. Taking photos alone, is no longer enough nor relevant.

Photographers are a dying breed. Infected and hurt by their own peers in a constant low-balling each other game. There is no way out except re-entering a different field, where photography is just a tag not a field.


I find inspiration looking at the works of Prosophos, Ming Thein and Carl Rytterfalk and Steve Huff. Carl , to the lost of the community have since moved on to other career and no longer publish anything on Sigma images which i love to see.

What does these 4 photographers have in common? They are not just photographers. They are actually Content Creators, focusing on photography. The photographer of today are content creators, blogging their opinion and experience as they navigate thru the gazillon distractions that others are drowned in. Their audience are the world. Locals are just not “big” enough.

Some content creators like Steve Huffs, leverages on his years of experience, cowboy attitude and imbued with Leica fans, writes interesting comparison and reviews. His blogs and articles contains his frank opinion while adding a dash of courtesy in case the user would buy something from the affiliate links.

Ming Thein, a genius in his age and time, produces technically perfect images and his articles gives the reader the impression its taken right out of the Smithsonian academy.

Prosophos captures emotionally charged portraits of his family and people and is always driven by the GAS influence, which readers gets to participate in the joy of discovery and the frustration of moving away from a supported brand.

I am an outdoor portrait content creator. Often voicing out opinions where nobody is asking for it , caring for people whom does not deserve any and being in a love/hate relationship with Leica. Having my background in technical Software development, i embraces technology and shun dated practices. B&W, not a fan. Film cameras, no way.

Sorry about the digression. I can’t view myself as a photographer anymore than Istagram is a picture service. The Internet has changed everything.

Photos with feelings vs Fashion shoot

Personally i have always preferred photos the enacts emotions of peace, serenity and love rather than fashion and glamour.
I called these images “emoref” meaning photos that convey reflective emotions. Fashion is pretty much like its actual counterpart in the real world, often
shifting from one end to the other and whose heavy makeup hides the true beauty of the model.
I believe many years from now, these emoref images would still convey the same emotion as it would long after folks in the images are old and moved to another stage of life.

These are images taken at Bukit Tinggi, Pahang, Malaysia. Its a remote tourist spot that features french like village.
I hope u enjoy these images as much as i made them. Model name is Joyce Low.











My theory on the Rules of third

My theory on the Rules of third

I’m gonna keep this very short. Its a thought that have gone thru my mind several times and i might as well share it out here.
Why does the rules of third works?
I believe its simple because we will identify faces automatically and we look for the “eyes” as the location on the face, which happens to be 2/3 up there.

In short, regardless of a scene or object being shot at, the eyes feel more natural looking at things located 2/3 of the picture. If you put a face in a picture, regardless of where it is, our eyes will hunt for it. In the absence of such face, the picture as an overview, is a face.

Sounds like twilight zone isn’t it? well u heard it first here. Now keep shooting.

60 mm 2.8 for superb portraiture

Well, now that dpreview published a test on 58 1.4 of the new nikon lens, may i bring your attention to a lens that is also “specialty” in some ways and with character.

This was shot at 2.8 with 2 flash setup SB900 and SB910. Model is Miss Kim Goh, a top 10 finalist for Miss Universe Malaysia 2013. The commercial texts are just for illustration.