Should I Concern on Personal Branding More?

Should I Concern on Personal Branding More?

Since I jump into photography in late of 2013, I watch many famous photographers YouTube channel and I found interesting things they do to their branding, I’ll give one of the examples, Matt Granger with “ThatNikonGuy” branding. If you watch his channel quite a while, then you’ll find this video that declares the branding is dead.

The question is, why would he do that? Even after the branding established and used anywhere including his community (forum) domain. I wonder why he is willing to take the risk to lose his audience by changing the brand? Well, I may experience his consideration today since I’m trying to do a kind of similar thing last year.

I bought few internet domains and focus on different content to serve difference audience. But what happens is that, if I’m the only one who maintains all of this domains, actually I couldn’t focus on any one of it. And I give more confusion to my audience about why suddenly I stop posting about my photography stuff because I posted on another channel for my photography audience.

At first, I thought it’s better to split my audience, i.e. those who are following my blog since 2008, they might know this blog as IT related stuff. But for those who know me since I’m doing photography as my hobby, and those who met me in photography session and discover my websites, they may expect my post related to photography stuff. I thought maybe it would be genius to split my audience to give them the convenience to follow my articles, and I was wrong …

It’s so difficult to maintain what I consider as a “corporate branding” (even though not a corporate yet :-)). I feel that I couldn’t manage all of those brands, and it’s better to focus on personal branding first. I think this is what Matt Granger is doing, instead of keeping his old brand as “ThatNikonGuy”, he is using his personal brand as “Matt Granger” because when the brand succeeds, that is his name. The name sticks to the person and the brand.

As part of 10th Years Anniversary of this blog, I would suspend my other branding and focus back on my personal branding. I would suspend my “Journey Performed” and “Candid of Strangers” project so I can focus on this blog or channel and to concentrate back my audience into one channel. If you’re my follower on that channel, I would slowly move all of those content to one of the section in this blog.

Wish me luck this year and hopefully, I can share more of my experience in the future through this channel.

Shoot With A7R and Helios 44m(-1)

Shoot With A7R and Helios 44m(-1)

Two years ago, I was accidentally bump into an antique camera store while doing street photography near Pasar Seni bus terminal in Kuala Lumpur (KL). The owner of the camera store is an old Chinese guy and by the moment we met, I have no issue at all with the guy, until … let me finished my story first. 🙂

Meanwhile, I was asking for the price of Helios 44m displayed in the window and he give me the price XXX RM for the lens. There were two copies of the lens that time, so he was asking which one do I want. So I pointed to one of them (since they both at the same price), and then he offer me to get the lens with original classic UV filter that comes with the lens but I need to top up for another XX RM.

I ask him that can he give me the filter for the same price (for free)? Here’s comes the funny part, he give me the filter and he took out the lens rear cap and then I like, what?! Wait a minute, why do you took the rear cap? He answered, so what do you want? do you want the rear cap or the filter? I feel that he’s a bit rude that time, so I told him that, let me get the initial offer, XXX RM for the lens (and all the cap) without UV filter. No more words, after transaction complete, I immediately get out of his store.

Anyway, the lens has been with me more that two years. I was using this lens with micro four thirds adapter for my Olympus E-M1 and when I switch from micro four thirds system to Fujifilm X-T1 I still keep the lens and I bought conversion adapter from X-Mount to M42. Fast forward to this week, I just received my conversion adapter for M42 to Sony E Mount, because I have switched (again) to A7R. (my first journey in digital full frame format).

A7R and Helios 44m

Yesterday, I was joined a photoshoot event in KL (although, it’s been long time I didn’t do this) to see how my A7R and this Helios 44m lens combined and I’m quite satisfied. Yes, I completely aware that the lens is a bit tricky to get really sharp focus on f/2 but you may consider that whoever buy this lens is not for sharpness, but it’s for artistic effect that this lens delivered.

I was blown-out, with the result from the event and give me more confident that this lens is really capable to produce interesting portrait image. The lens “bokeh” characteristic is interesting but for some people they might found it a little bit disturbing.

The lens is soft in the corner and not really sharp in the center, but minimal adjustment can be done in post processing to increase the sharpness. All image you see here is (minimum) edited using Capture One.

Is it swirly or simply disturbing? Well, the famous copy of this lens is Helios 44m-2 and mine is the first generation (without -2). But I’m lucky enough to test both of them (my colleague in the office bought the second generation) and I found out that the color rendering for the first generation is more saturated and the second generation is sharper. It’s a matter of taste but I prefer the first generation.

When I used the lens with micro four thirds body, it’s more difficult to get the swirly effect because crop factor (x2) of the sensor. Micro four thirds sensor could only accept light from the center of the lens, so the swirly effect from the side or corner of the lens not rendered. The good thing about that is, the image will look sharper because only the center of the lens that being used by crop sensor. The bad thing, no swirly bokeh because the corner is cropped.

I would recommend this to anyone that looking for “cheap” budget and artistic lens. In my case, the sharpness of the lens improve because the sensor megapixels in my camera is 36 MP, that is affecting the overall Perpetual-Mega Pixel of the lens.

Last but not least, big thanks to Harris Daniel for your invitation to the event. Thank you Thalia (sorry I don’t have her profile link) for talent and Kartini Ishak for make up artist. Feel free to ask me on comment form below if you have any question regarding my experience in using A7R and Helios 44m. Thank you guys and see you soon …

Candid Photography (Etiquette)

Candid Photography (Etiquette)

One of “genre” in photography (if there’s such thing as a genre) that I really like is “Candid Street Environmental Portraiture” :-). Not the conceptual candid, but real candid. We often hear people ask us to join an event they called “hunting”, but actually it’s a conceptual. Doing candid photography feels like you’re really “hunting” for good moment, interesting character, on the street. We don’t concept the shot, these are real people, this is exactly what they’re wearing that moment, that was their actual expression and that is what they do in that particular time.

Power Ranger Kids Area Volunteer

As you can see in previous photo, I didn’t put the Power Ranger background at the background, neither put that white board (props) near the subject. When I saw her, she completely separate from the crowd which is mostly kids. Another example in the next photo, I think everyone will agree that she’s very interesting character in that event, she’s attracting visitor to buy Power Ranger merchandise.

Power Ranger Toys Sales Girl
But is it allowed to took candid photo? What about the etiquette? I’m going to explain my perception and please don’t use this as your final approval to do this thing 🙂 , you still need to confirm with your local law and culture.

  • You Don’t Need to Ask for The Person’s Permission
    It won’t be a candid shot if you ask for the person’s permission, but however if you’re selling the photo, or use the photo for commercial reason, then you’ll need to ask for their permission.
  • What If I Get Caught When Taking Person’s Photo?
    Usually I pretend to shot in general, not only the subject. After taking photo of the subject, I’m taking another photo for the surrounding. But, if they approach you and ask you to delete the photo, then you must do it.
  • Is There Any Basic Rule I Need to Follow?
    I’m not sure, but my rule is: “I need to take good photo of the subject so when they found out their photo uploaded online, they will be grateful instead of complain”, “Never ever humiliate the subject”, “Work and take shot in the name of art, not freaky paparazzi, but good paparazzi”, “Measure the consequence, what if I publish their photo online?”

Well, that is some of my personal etiquette in doing candid photography. If you have any further question or have more tips on how you do this, please comment below and like this page on Facebook if you want to follow my updates in the future.

Photographer, Street Photographer, Portraiture?

Photographer, Street Photographer, Portraiture?

Since I started my photography using my first DSLR in 2013, I never confident to be called as photographer or put photographer label with my name. The reason is because, I don’t want to go any further in my photography.

I prefer to be referred as someone who love to take photos, and I’m doing photography as one of my hobby. It’s a quick escape from my main profession as a Software Engineer. Yet, until now, I’m not thinking to go any further and doing professional photographer thing. 🙂

After doing photography for a while, I thought I found my interest in photography, which is Street Photography. I join a lot of street photographer group and then I realize that I didn’t take photograph as what they did and posted in the group. I didn’t enjoy what they are posting on the group and so happen when I post my photo, only few of them like it.

That leaves me a question am I different or really bad on this ….

George Town, Penang

George Town, Penang

What about portraiture? Ah, yes! Everyone holding first camera really obsessed with the word “BOKEH”. I did a lot of portraiture in my first year with my DSLR and guess what, it’s a portrait of person with blurry, creamy bokeh background. I’m quite happy that time because I can produce the bokeh that they always keep talking about …

Concept Portraiture

Concept Portraiture

So after more than two years in photography, what is really photography for me? I’m doing photography for “documenting special moment or event in my life” and sharing with others.

Fanaticism is Annoying

Fanaticism is Annoying

When we said that we love music, does it means that we only love specific genre of the music or all kind of music? For me, I love all kind of music and I’ve never been a fanatic fans of any music performer or singer out there.

When they release the music or song that I like, then I like them. If I don’t like it, then I don’t listen to it. It’s good that these days we have iTunes and Spotify, because we don’t need to buy the whole albums and we don’t need to spend money on the track that we don’t listen.

I was a fanatic fans to Linux and Open Source Technology. It’s true, I really like all about them and I hate Apple and Microsoft. Yes, that was me before I finally realize that when I said that I love Information Technology (IT), Computer Science, Software Engineering, I can’t say I only love specific technology or a platform. But I need to learn and familiar with all of them.

When I started my hobby in photography in 2013, I bought my first camera and start to shoot everything. I really love taking pictures and I really love photography. I started to join a lot of photographers community and there are plenty of them in Kuala Lumpur.

I like those groups who never talk about the gears. They just post their photos, share the techniques/settings and they conduct a lot of events and exhibitions as what photographers community should do. While in the other hand, there’s few groups who are really like (read: show off) about what gears they are using to take their photos.

Now I literally, hate SONY camera “fanatic fans” as I hate Apple fanboy (I use MacBook Pro by the way but I’m not their fanboy). SONY is a great camera manufacture and they are really advanced in imaging sensors industry for long time ago.

I don’t hate their products, I hate their fanatic fans 🙂

To me, Photography is far beyond the gears it self as for Software Engineering is not about how we learn to use computer or about the computer itself. I love those field because there are creative process behind it. We actually create something by writing software and creating photos.

Don’t be an annoying fans … please?!