styling

Three tips on Photography and Styling

scanteak_canada_gastown-17.jpgI get many questions on photography and styling so I thought I will share some tips here along with photos from a recent shoot for Scanteak.

There is no greater joy than the moments on set where you get to be behind the camera, working with your hands and finishing a project with a feeling of great contentment.

Here they are: scanteak_purebread_gastown-5.jpg

1. Keep it simple, work on composition and utilize white space
I am guilty of over-preparing for every set even now but I am always surprised how a good space, ample planning and fresh beautiful props go a very long way. As Phil Hansen says ” “We need to first be limited in order to become limitless.” You don’t need a lot to create magic but it does take some practice and honing to create a refined look. Remember that imperfection is beautiful too.

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2. Choose your light carefully
Lighting, lighting, lighting! Photography is all about lighting. You can shoot the most wonderful set in bad light and it will be 😦
I love working with natural light, by a large window and preferably during a time when there is no direct sunlight hitting the subject. If I am shooting indoors I always ask  to turn off  certain lights as multiple light sources can distract and change the tone of your photos.

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A few my favourite creatives: @verdenius, @cafe_no_ma, MUJI and Azuma Makoto

3. Put together a mood/vision board
If you are an indecisive person like me (I can never decide on pho or sushi, too hard!), a good trick is sketch your concepts, put together a mood or vision board, print it and take it to the shoot. It’s very helpful having a visual guide on set and you also save time communicating to people(example: bring me a chair that looks like this!).

Other than that, planning, creating a shot list, getting inspiration and getting hands on practice is always a good thing. And of course, rules are meant to be broken so take these tips with a grain of salt and trust your gut. As the wonderful Rumi says:

Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.

scanteak_canada-6.jpgLeave any questions here and I’ll get back to you!

Photography, art direction and styling by me
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Blueberry arugula salad recipe and llamas

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The wonderful thing about growing up is having a lot of your childhood wishes come true, like photographing llamas or picking fresh berries on a blueberry farm.

I took the liberty of the weekend and drove out to the unknown territory of Maple Ridge, known for it’s fruit, vegetable farms and llamas.

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I have always wanted to photograph a llama. The small black one is only two days old.

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I’ve never seen a blueberry bush growing up in Asia and I’m proud to admit that I must have ingested a couple pounds of blueberries that day. It’s safe to say that you can never get enough of the good things and berries are one of them.

There is not better way to end a blueberry picking day than visiting llamas on a farm. The owners were so kind to show us around and I got to pet a few that were being trained. It was an extraordinary experience.

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Llama with a very attractive backside

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Llamas are like large fluffy dogs with very long necks

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Mama llama with baby llama. She was so protective I couldn’t get too close but this is one of my favourites.

Without further ado, here is the salad recipe with photos. Tastier when you pick the blueberries yourself.

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Blueberry Arugula Salad with Lemon Honey Dressing:

*Serves 4
SALAD:
5 ounces baby arugula
2 cups fresh blueberries
1 cup roasted almonds

1/2 cup crumbled feta

LEMON HONEY DRESSING:

3 tablespoons lemon juice (half a lemon)
squeeze of honey
4 tablespoons evo
sprinkle of salt & pepper
 
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You know you’re cool when you mix your salad in a beer bucket.

Directions:

  1. Whisk together dressing ingredients.
  2. Combine the arugula, blueberries and dressing  in a large bowl.
  3. When ready to serve, sprinkle almonds and feta on top

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*Serve with chilled sweet tea

I will leave you with my new favourite quote from Edward Abbey:

It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.”

Till next time.

Croissants, Photos and Farewell to Summer

Here are photos from a recent shoot with Bakery Sate– a little French bakery and cafe in the Vancouver.

They have the most heavenly selection of croissants. Butter, chocolate, almond, double baked almond, matcha, cheese..everything you can think of that goes with a croissant.

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I love going through the process of planning every shoot – set up, tear down, working for the right lighting and composition. It’s a thrill being able to come up with ideas and finding a way to make them come alive.

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It’s also immensely satisfying getting to eat your work after.

Can you believe that summer is already over?

Looking forward to the change in season, not too stoked about the Vancouver rain but am excited to work with the different array of moods and colours.

Hope everyone’s had a great summer.

How To Make Alpaca Curry – A Tutorial

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The beautiful thing about art is that it connects you with creatives from all sorts of different backgrounds. The best thing about being an artist is having creative ideas and people to carry those ideas out with.

Today on the blog, we have jewellery and graphic designer Foe and dear, Fox and flourish and me (or rather – a deer, a fox and a hedgehog)

Creative people you know, whom when put together, are bound to make awesome things happen.

Enough said. You will need:

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Kastu Curry *2
Nori Sheet
Hard-boiled eggs *2
Bow Pasta
Toothpicks to assemble

*I used store bought curry from the ZAC・ZAC  Japanese Curry House because this post is about alpacas, not making curry. They also have great customer service and will kindly separate the ingredients, give you unsliced katsu and a thumbs up when you tell them you are making alpacas.

Instructions:

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Peel eggs and slice a thin oval from the side for the alpaca face and tail. Cut nori sheet for eyes, nose, mouth and assemble onto egg face with pincers/toothpicks.

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Create an alpaca shape with rice on plate. Be mindful of hungry studio animals.

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Assemble decorative ingredients onto your Alpaca and pour curry sauce around the rice.

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There you have it! Alpacas for everyone. It’s not everyday that you get to eat Alpacas for lunch.

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Many thanks to Katherine and Christina for sharing your beautiful studio and your brilliant minds.

Also, a shout out to Margo the dog for being the best dog model. Even though you didn’t get any alpacas.

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Simplicity is a cup of coffee

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“Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.”
-Gustave Flaubert

I’ve been organizing my archives and thought I’d share some photos from 2013 when I started photographing my daily cups of coffee.

The funny story is, it all started in Beijing, China on a white board, with very bad pollution and too much free time.

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Thank goodness that I lived close enough to the flower market back then and from my weekly trips began “The Coffee Project”. (Also, a shout out to Jelito De Leon for the inspiration behind “How I See My Coffee” It’s just lovely)

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I believe there is much beauty in simplicity, that we are given the perfect amount of everything- to create, to explore and to inspire.

Even if it’s as simple as rearranging pretty things on a board or scootering 10 miles in a foreign country to have coffee with a friend.

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Liberty Bakery + Orso Cafe, Vancouver. White wall are such a good incentive to check out new cafes

How will you see your next cup of coffee ?

ps- congrats Hanna, Emma and Rosalind on being selected for the giveaway from my last post!

How To Make Bear Toast- A Tutorial

There are times when life as a creative (or life in general) requires trying new things or breaking out of a tedious schedule. Times when you feel like you’re in a slum, and possibly can’t create work anymore.

The secret?
Bear Toast

Bear with me as I go through this list of reasons why:

1. They are irresistibly cute

2. Impress a friend, roommate, parent or neighbour. They are good for picnics too

3. A healthy snack (as long as you have self control and don’t eat spoonfuls of Nutella during the making)

4. Bound to get you out of any creative rut

Enough said.

You will need: how_to_make_bear_toast

slices of toast
banana
peanut butter, Nutella or frosting
blueberries (any type of berries)

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Start by slicing the bananas and cover toast with Nutella for blacks bears, peanut butter for brown bears (my fav).

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Position sliced bananas and blueberries for the eyes and nose. I’ve found that slicing the berry in half helps to keep the nose from rolling off. The blueberries also remind me of beagles in Fantastic Mr. Fox.

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Viola! You can experiment with different colours of frosting and berries too. Try white frosting for polar bears.

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Snap a photo with your favourite bear and enjoy. Now go make some bear toast.

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Behind the Scenes – A Shoot with Haejin Lee Ceramics

I thought I’d share some behind the scenes from a recent shoot with Haejin Lee– whom I had the wonderful pleasure to work with. After all, I am that girl who loves to creep other artists to learn more about their wonderful work.

From working with a translator to learn more about Korean Ceramics, studio visits, sourcing the right props and learning How to Make the most Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs (Thanks Martha).

Here are a few behind the scene snaps.

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Bo the studio dog + slicing the most perfect hard-boiled eggs

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Props (a real mess) + studio setup

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Our shoot – styled around ceramics and western tea time

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I’ve mentioned this before but it has been a great inspiration working with artists, their dedication and love for their craft is really admirable.

Stay tuned for more projects throughout the summer and of course, I can’t end without a photo from my trusty assistant Amelia.

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