June 5, 2013

  • Experience and the Best Type of Friends to Have

    Junshien recently posted this status update on facebook:

    “I’ve been doing this for so many years, which makes me better than (insert name)!!!!”

    Whatever the industry, that’s pure nonsense. I know photographers who, within a year or two after they first picked up a camera, were creating mind-blowing work. And I know photographers who’ve been at this for more than a decade, and are still producing the same quality of work they did years ago.

    It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about programming or business or music or writing. If you’re new, don’t let others look down on you for it. Work your ass off and earn your place at the table. If you’re an old-timer, don’t get complacent, and never hide behind your “many years of experience”, because it alone doesn’t mean jack in the big scheme of things.

    RESULTS is the name of the game.

    - – - – - – - – -

    Bold and encouraging words. There have been times when clients did not book me after asking questions like “How old are you?”, “When did you graduate college?”, and “How many years have you been doing photography?”. People DO care about how long you’ve been in the industry and how many years of experience you have under your belt. I know I look young and I know I’m not a seasoned pro… but I show up at meetings my game face on and portfolio to back myself up.

    On the other hand, there is something to be said about experience. Yes, maybe “it alone doesn’t mean jack in the scheme of big things,” but it sure as hell has some weighty importance to it. Let’s face it – I have not shot hundreds of weddings like many of my friends in the industry and therefore haven’t been exposed to as many challenges as they have.

    And that is why I am SO grateful for my wedding photographer friends. It is energizing to be around them, converse with them, and learn from them. Junshien and Sarah came over to my place on Friday night and though it was just hanging out with friends, of course we talked about business. I always laugh and tease Junshien about how my one-year mentorship is up and how he can stop with all the serious business advice (for the record, I don’t want it to stop; he just gets very serious when he’s in the zone and I have to remind him to lighten up!). To be honest I have always had an attitude towards authority and to my surprise, this indeed carried over to my mentorship with him. I hate being told what to do. But I am obsessed with pleasing people. So when it comes to authority, my behavior falls somewhere between those two.

    Anyway, Junshien if you’re reading this, I do appreciate you shaking your finger at me and giving me stern looks about how to improve my business. Hahahaha.

    - – - – - – - – -

    Sarah slept over on Friday night because we were shooting a wedding in Yosemite the next day. She’s a Xangan too, but I never crossed paths with her until much later (after she had long stopped using it). We spent the entire weekend together and again, I am just incredibly happy and grateful and blessed to be surrounded by friends who have the same profession/lifestyle as I do. Not only that, they’ve been doing it for at least twice as long as I have… AND they’re kind enough to pass along some of the knowledge they’ve picked up on the way. Over the course of the fun-filled weekend we chatted about clientele, posing, pricing, customer service, and challenging yourself as an artist, to name a few.

    My advice to you, especially those who are just starting out as entrepreneurs: surround yourself with people who are more experienced than you. You will gain so much from it. I’m not saying to seek out others to use them, but rather to have a mindset of challenging and improving yourself to be a better person. And being humble enough to ask for help.

    Junshien and Sarah on our Hawaii birthday trip, August 2012.

    More to come on the wedding we shot on Saturday! :)

May 31, 2013

  • The Last Hurrah

    It seems as though my “Tribute to Xanga” post came a month too early. Haha.

    With the news of the impending doom of the site I’ve been reading and observing everyone’s reactions… a lot of anger, even more sadness, and plenty of reminiscing. It makes me happy in a bittersweet way to see the flourish of activity here. Call me sappy, but Xanga means a lot to me. I know that over the past few years I’ve made feeble attempts at a “comeback” – empty promises to blog daily, the way I used to. At least I tried, right? :P And this probably seems irrational but here I am, at the brink of Xanga’s death, wanting to try again.

    Writing here has always been a form of therapy for me, and God knows I need therapy (ask my boyfriend, I’m sure he would agree wholeheartedly. HAHA). Why not get back into the habit for the next six weeks, while Xanga is still here? On the off chance that Xanga is able to raise the money needed to save the site, I’ll continue. If all else fails, I will find another (less satisfying) outlet to blog.

    There is something mysteriously comforting about writing on Xanga. It’s a sense of security I can’t get from any other blogging platform out there. I can be openly honest about my thoughts and feelings, my fears and proudest moments… and say things that I can’t even tell my friends in real life. It’s the magic of writing in a diary.

    I absolutely love blogging and I do so little of it these days. But here I am again, and I’ll be here until the end. :)

May 1, 2013

  • Babyface

    Garrick: I walked into my coworkers patients room
    And the patient is this old Filipino lady
    me: was she naked
    Garrick: And she smiles and laughs and then pointed at me
    Garrick: And said ohh handsome man
    Garrick: Looks like a baby!
    Garrick: Hahhahahah
    me: post that on fb

    *insert unrelated picture of us*
    He owns a photo booth company. It’s awesome. I’m hiring them so I can offer photo booth services to my clients. #winning

    So far I’ve participated in two test runs for the photo booth and it really is great – superb quality, sleek design, and customizable borders. Check them out! :)

    blankbooth hat


April 10, 2013

  • A Tribute to Xanga

    Xanga truly changed my life. I can say that with absolute awe and certainty.

    I think I owe it to myself (and Xanga) to keep writing here. :)

    This weekend I attended youngvan‘s bachelorette party and it was a blast!!!* While being there and meeting all her friends from high school, college, work, etc., of course the subject of Xanga came up since that’s how we had met. The general response is one of surprise and disbelief, but at least meeting online friends is more common nowadays… and it’s nice that I wasn’t the ONLY online friend there haha.

    Aside from life-long friendships like Van’s, Xanga has been a major influence in my career and love life. When I first became passionate about photography (during my last year of college), it never really occurred to me that you could make a living out of it. At least, I didn’t think it was a plausible option for me. That’s when my friend Pablo subscribed me to a list of his favorite Xanga photographers and I was thus introduced to many of my photographer friends, including junshien and canon20d.

    Subscribing to Junshien’s Xanga opened up a world of possibilities for me. Reading about his life and job made me aspire to do the same, and long story short… he eventually became my mentor in wedding photography. And here I am today. :)

    As for my love life! I met gerkshinobi on Xanga about five years ago. It is still unknown how we found each other/who subscribed to who first, but it was definitely photography (go figure) that developed our friendship (haha, pun unintended). We started dating this fall and it has just been wonderful. He is everything I could ever ask for in a boyfriend – creative, adventurous, loving, understanding, patient, smart, hardworking, affectionate… seriously, the list goes on and on. And the man loves to TRAVEL!!!!! Major bonus points for that alone. So far we’ve been to Vancouver, Tokyo, and up and down the California coast together. I’m sure there will be many more trips to come – if I’m diligent about updating then you’ll find lots of food photos here.

    Here we are at DisneySea in Tokyo! :D

    So yeah. Thanks Xanga, I owe you one. <3

    *I brought along my camera as the unofficial photographer of the event and she posted pics… check them out on her page :)

November 6, 2012

  • Dating

    Tonight at dinner my parents told me that my younger brother and his girlfriend broke up. :( They were together for three years. She’s a sweet girl and I totally thought they were going to stay together… but who knows, it may not be the end. I mean, I can’t even count how many times Ryan and I broke up before it actually happened for real…

    Mom: He even took down the pictures of them in his room the last time he was home. Speaking of which… Fern, when are you going to take down those pictures?
    Me: Haha. I don’t know.
    Dad: She doesn’t have to.
    Mom: No, she should. So, Fern… are there any… interests?
    Me: Hahahahah
    Dad: (teasing) Like.. romantic interests?
    Me: Uhhh… yeah. A lot of guys interested in me.
    Mom: Any dates?
    Me: Yeah.
    Mom: (her Malaysian slang comes out) Got second date or not??!
    Me: Hahahaha
    Mom: Are they Christian???
    Me: Hahahaha. Uhhhh… some.
    Mom: It’s not funny. I’m serious.
    Dad: (laughing) Anyone from church??
    Me: NO!!!!

    - – - – - – - – - – - – - –

    Dad: Have you ever seen your mom jog?
    Me: No.
    Dad: That’s how she got me. She asked me to go out for a jog. HAHAHA
    Mom: Because I knew you were into athletics!
    Dad: …… We never jogged a single step!!!! Little did I know that she had it all planned out. There were a lot of romantic walks though. *smiling at my mom*

    Oh parents.

September 30, 2012

  • Marriage, Babies, and Freedom

    Me: I’d want to wait at least 2-3 years to have kids (after getting married).
    Alessandra: But what if you don’t get married until you’re 35?
    Me: *horrified silence*
    Alessandra: I hope you don’t feel sorry for me if I get married at that age.


September 28, 2012

September 27, 2012

  • My First Threading Experience

    Van: Wanna try threading?
    Me: Ummm.. does it hurt?
    Van: It’s like.. a rubber band snapping against your skin. Kind of. I don’t know how to describe it.
    Me: I don’t know…
    Van: I’ll just do one row and then you can decide, ok?
    Me: Okay…

    Me: OW!!!! That hurts!!!
    Van: … Fern. I didn’t do anything yet.


    My pain tolerance is so low. lol.

September 22, 2012

May 10, 2012

  • Lost and Found

    me and chyna

    The past month or so has been a slap in the face to get my life together and get organized. I always find it funny that the first thing people say when walking into my office is “You’re so organized!!” I assure them that this is not the case but they don’t believe me. Well, here’s proof:

    Strike 1: Lost my personal debit card. I knew the last place I used it and checked on it frequently to see if anyone else had picked it up, but there was no activity for weeks. Which meant it had to be SOMEWHERE around, right?? That piece of plastic is the only card I use for personal expenses so it was inconvenient not having it around for a long period of time. (On second thought… I’m glad it reduced my spending. Haha.) Important, but replaceable.

    Strike 2: The Necklace. My mother’s friend in Malaysia handcrafted this fern shaped necklace, not specifically for me, but once I saw it I had to have it. Soon after losing my debit card I discovered that this pendant had gone missing as well. To my dismay I realized that the outer pockets of my camera bag have flaps that don’t seal shut when you close them… I found the chain in my bag, but no pendant. It was devastating. Replaceable only by going back to Malaysia and telling the artist that I lost it.

    Strike 3: A photographer’s worst nightmare. I misplaced a 16 GB memory card with not one, but TWO weddings on it. AND on top of that I had filmed a personal project on that card. I searched everywhere, then checked the same places again… and again… and again. Fortunately the weddings were shot for two other photographers, but still!!! They pay me to take those photos. And I use them for my own portfolio. Given the new knowledge of my unreliable camera bag pockets, the memory card could be ANYWHERE… a restaurant, a shop, on the street… anywhere I might have set down my bag. Irreplaceable.

    STRIKE 4: As if three strikes wasn’t enough to have me in panic mode. My mom wakes me up at 6:30 am to tell me that my beloved Chyna is missing. My dad had opened a side door to the backyard to get some fresh air, then closed the door without realizing that our cat had snuck out. She was left outside overnight with no way of getting back into the house and nowhere to be found in the morning.

    Let me tell you… I have had Chyna for ten years and I LOVE her. I adore her. She is like my child. My stomach was sick thinking of the wild animals roaming around that could attack her… with a bell around her neck and no survival skills. She is very, very timid. In the ten years that we’ve had her, there has not been a single incident of biting or scratching us. Which is why I could not bear the thought of her going up against a raccoon or coyote. Irreplaceable and exponentially more valuable than a memory card could ever be.

    Throughout this series of unfortunate events, I prayed to God. That things would show up, that the photographers would understand, that He would protect my baby while she was lost in the wilderness (we live on a hill so we are surrounded by hills and wildlife). I constantly wondered what He was trying to teach me.. what He wanted to say to me. It was more than just getting organized, though that’s part of my problem.

    One by one, weeks and weeks later, the missing items turned up. I found the debit card in a coat pocket. A friend texted me and said that he had found a necklace in his apartment. While cleaning out my closet, I was ECSTATIC to find the memory card underneath a pile of clothes. And after hours of combing through every bush and tree in our neighborhood, we found Chyna. :)

    I believe God was telling me to trust in Him. He’ll take care of the little things… and the big things too. Praise God!!!!