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Zemotion's Photography FAQ 2009.

Journal Entry: Sun Feb 1, 2009, 5:59 AM

Hello~ This is an update from the 2007 version. (Wow it's been so long!)

I didn't want to overwrite the old ones because some of you may want to see how I progressed from the start. So I have dated each question and answer. ^^

It's a bit long, but I tried to be as detailed as possible~

What camera and lenses do you use? [1 Feb 2009]

1 Feb 2009: I use a Canon 1Ds Mark III now, and most frequently with 28-135mm.
For portraits 100mm prime and 70-200 2.8. For travel/landscapes 16-35 2.8L.

20 Sept 2007: i own a canon 350D and 5D. on 350d i use the kit lens 18-55mm the most. it's light, gives a good range, and i like it. :D i love the colours of my 350D over my 5D. i shot most of my earlier photos with that until about May 2007, and i still use it now, although more 5D because of better noise control and higher MP. On 5D I probably use the 50mm 1.4 the most, for low-light situations or not, 28-135mm comes in 2nd, unless I need to go in close or need a wider angle, I stick to 50mm when I can. Moving around gives me more room to play around rather than being stagnant in one spot.

some of the photos i've posted were taken with 1ds mark II or H2D or H3D... i can't tell you much about those as i don't use them very often. but once you've used a Hassleblad you don't really want to touch the canons anymore... ;_; i also have a rolleicord that i've only used twice, it's a lovely thing but i kept forgetting to wind the film...

Can you recommend me a camera? How much does it cost now? [Sept 2007]

20 Sept 2007: I don't do sales and generally ain't too interested in the specs/tech/gears.
Also, I think spamming every photographer on dA out there with this message is really kinda rude. Because for me, I'd only know the cameras I use after all, and if it's bad I'd probably have changed... so do your own research. There're lotsa review sites out there. I'm happy with my canon.

Did you study photography? Can you give me more info on photography schools, art schools, books and possible careers? [Sept 2007]

1 Feb 2009: I'm self taught. When I wanted to take photography I didn't know of any good courses/schools in my country.

For schools, academies, jobs in Singapore and Asia, I'm afraid I'm not able to advice much. Even though I do undertake some jobs, I'm usually contacted by clients directly, I don't immerse myself in the industry as much, or even pitch any projects at all, so my knowledge about all those things are pretty limited.

What lighting system do you use? [Sept 2007]

1 Feb 2009: Didn't change much from the previous, but in studio I'm using Profoto most of the time now.

20 Sept 2007: primarily just one film/hot light (mostly that or natural light. Sometimes a mix of natural and the hotlight can be good since natural light is cold in contrast to the yellow tone from the hotlights, it doesn't always work though, depends on what is essentially needed for the shoot). occasionally i also use 1 more for fill light.

sometime point of time, some shoots, i landed with strobes with basic reflectors. i like them, but no money. ;_;

so when i use the hotlight and need softer shadows i'll bounce it off walls or ceilings. =)

but if you ask for my recommendation among those that i've used before, i'd say if you can save up for it, get profoto lights. broncolor's likely out of most people's budgets :

How did you start? I don't have contacts for makeup artists, stylists, hair stylists, models, can you tell me where and how I can get them? [Sept 2007]

20 Sept 2007: Makeup/hair - I didn't have any of the above when I started either. I did all makeup and hair for my models by myself when I just started, before finding some friends to occasionally help out to lighten my load. I took a diploma in makeup actually, before that I didn't even have an idea of how to apply anything, the eyeshadow first, or foundation? Hahaha.

Styling - It was almost always done by myself since I directe my own shoots. I've bought a lot of things for styling purposes, if you want it to look good, then make an effort to find it. Sometimes I sew some stuff by myself too. I just want to bring up that I've had a fair share of people I found via the internet to work together, and they just disappear on the day of the set or come a few hours late or do an unwilling shitty job (so why waste everyone's time?). So I figured the only way to ensure that it's absolutely prepared is by doing it myself.

Models - I had no contacts so I asked my friends. And before you say, "But my friends are not as good looking!" (which is mean, and not all models are good looking to begin with btw), I think of it as my job as the photographer to make them beautiful.

When you get better, with more finished images and a consistent reputation, people will find you to work together. In most countries models and networking websites are very useful too. Modelmayhem is probably the most used right now.

Who published your book? Where are you selling it? [1 Feb 2009]

1 Feb 2009: My book is self-published. From design, layout, art direction to printing and packing, I saw and worked through it all.

It's available online from here -

PageOne the Bookstore stocks the softcovers in their Hong Kong and Taiwan branches, Singapore's outlet at VivoCity has both the softcover and hardcover limited editions.

How long do you take to do post-processing/digital imagine for a photo? What is your workflow? [Sept 2007]

23 Jul 2010: Highly dependent on the quality of the image and size to work on. Usually 3-6hours per photo excluding the selection time, which is usually 2-4 hours each time, split down into a couple days, across weeks, but stretching into months isn't uncommon.

1 Feb 2009: On the first week I just run through some basic colour processing and pick out a batch I like enough by the thumbnails, and after a while (a few days, or weeks or months) I come back to them, refine and pick the final 1-4 that I will be able to use for my portfolio out from the hundred odd photos. If it was for a client, I generally do the same, but of course with a deadline, and the final selections are usually what I advice the clients on - but the decision is eventually theirs.

I usually have 200-300 photos per session, movement shots runs a lot more (400-600) because of the rehearsing and trials. it's a lot of fun though. :D

Sometimes when it's really hard to make my mind up on something I feel very strongly about, to push it a little closer to perfection, I spend a couple days to work on it: basics, colours, clean up, scrap, rework the colours/croppings all over again, scrap, stop, redo. until i get the best i'm happy with... it's really painful ~_~

How did you take/light this shot? Oh FINE I know you won't tell me, keep your secrets to yourself!!! You little proud, haughty, selfish ugly useless bitch! [Sept 2007]

20 Sept 2007: I get a dozen such questions a day and if I were to reply to each and everyone and follow up with further questions I won't be creating images. I mean like, really...

1 Feb 2009: So right, the answer -- experience, and trial and error.

I have bigger studios to work in now, it gives me more space for lights, but how to set something is still really up to personal aesthetics and studying light in other images to try take out what you like and recreate those portions and improvise to your own. I also shoot a lot in natural light (and I think it's a super beautiful light). :)

20 Sept 2007: I don't have sophisticated equipment and large studio working spaces, I shoot mostly in my bedroom or living room, the motto is make do make do and make do (you get used to it!). There aren't any secrets, it's just trying and trying and trying. Researching a lot reading a lot and seeing a lot. (and if you're not in Singapore, you likely have better/more interesting nature environment or cityscape to work with than I do, which is awesome)

Do you do requests? [Sept 2007]

May I draw/reference from your pictures? [Sept 2007]
Yes you may, so long as it is not for profit/commercial purposes and you agree that you give clear credit and link back to me. Read my Copyright Notice for the full details.

Anything to add? [Sept 2007]
Please read the descriptions in my artist comments? It's there for a reason. thank you XD

For a list of interviews and articles click here.

For those who had been requesting a website banner of mine, here:

Yay that's all, it's soooooo long, pardon my typos and grammar, I hope it's helpful! :hug:

Add a Comment:
molybdenum-studios Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2012  Student Photographer
It's good that you have handled everything with class. (; Keep up the good work!
matrela Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2010
Thanks for sharing, thats really strange in this new world!. by the way i am a fan, loved your work!
i will work harder to be at least 99% like you! jajajajajajaja
FrameOfButterflies Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2010  Professional Photographer
hi, i really really love all of your work!
and im one of your fans lol ^^

and this is my question:
which one do you like to do the most?
- better get a great shot without any editing.
- or get a nice shot then you do some magic with editing.
because as a beginner and lack of tools made me always depend on editing and i am really worried did i do the right thing or not?

thanks before....
ElisabethAnna Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2010  Professional Photographer
You really do inspire young photographers such as myself. I hope that I can someday make art as beautifully as you do :)
zhifeng Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2009
now you're using agency models right? are they expensive?
x-Champagne Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2009
Jingna, you are a complete inspiration. I just hope one day I will be as good as you. <3
xXinsaneKXx Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2009
finally can find this!! yeyyy hahahha! cool thanks for sharing! =)
carolla92 Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2009
Did it take you a long time just to get ready for the photoshoot?
Whenever I do basic makeup & hair (I do them all myself... :P) it takes about 2-4 hours to get ready. >< (& they still don't come out that great. Takes a great deal of bobby pins. TAT)
But I must say, the process is all pretty fun when the models or helpers are your friends! :D
The post process part seems to be the hardest part though. heh. xD

But being self taught?! THAT'S AMAZING!!! I always thought you had a few classes in photography.. :P

& Sorry for asking another question but...
Do you always have an idea of what you're going to do? Or do you sometimes run with the flow & instruct (poses) people then?

p.s. sorry this comment is so long. ><
heysunday Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2009
oh my God I'm a big fan of you..
may I ask you something?I want to replace my 18-55 kit with a better lense,and I still have no idea about what to buy.. --" What do you recommend? :P
angelmalus Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2009   Photographer
What is your favorite animal and why?

I guess this is a good one for most of starting photographers, How did you promote yourself to get jobs at the beginning?

XenoPhotography Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2009
spoken from a professional, i love you! :D
jarayac Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2009
I love what you do very good photos ... I love your way of working
jcmusic525 Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2009
i have never bought a photobook in my life until now, i just ordered your hardcover ltd edition. AWESOME WORK!!!
zemotion Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2009  Professional Photographer
:blushes: Thank you so much!
thekillerpotato Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2009
Cool book! :P
literarykiller Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2009   Photographer
you are the love of my life ^^
anothercrush Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2009
i love reading this time and again, although i always forget to comment. i love how real and true it is and how honest, its so inspiring. i learn so much. it honestly helps me cope with my film class right now because i have such an intimidating professor who keeps telling us what's right and wrong about a photograph, which is strange because sometimes what he says is wrong looks right to me. so relating it to this FAQ, i realize that there are so many ways to learn good photography more than just going to college (although i don't plan on dropping out of college, i'm just saying haha), and somehow, i get a little relieved reading this. XD
lililim Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2009
You made it sound so simple yet your works are so professional and wonderful.. and wow.. thanks a lot for sharing! :hug:

Btw, I really admire zemotion!
All the best to you! :heart:
meyrembulucek Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2009   Photographer

"I think it's only my job as the photographer to make them beautiful. "

I always thought that,i actually like when i shoot someone who s not that pretty,makes everything more interesting and fun because you just have to get 'that' angle that makes the person look beautiful. And i always make people look wayyyyy too different than they are in real life..
zemotion Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2009  Professional Photographer
Yeah~~~ :3
meyrembulucek Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2009   Photographer
35mil Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2009
Very good :clap:
Thanks for sharing :)
mrnacho Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2009
thank you very much, super helpful! you are a great artist,I hope you continue your work, you will be seeing me around^u^
LeLovelyZ Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2009   Photographer
Thank you for sharing.
BlackCarrionRose Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2009  Professional Photographer
I think that one of your best talents is your ability to work with what you've got and work in the situation given to you. :D
angelyuzu Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2009
Thanks a bunch for all this stuff.
It motivates me to work better and better and harder.
Music-Junky Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2009
thanks a lot for all of those advices and answers. You're the one who really pushed and inspired me to keep on trying photography, and made me want to become a professional.

your pictures are just so inspiring, emotional and.. just.. wow.:worship:

And the fact that you are only 20 now (same as me) but already so artistic, professional and well-known is just straight impressing, and even if sometimes it makes me depressed cause I feel like loosing time finishing my hotel degree ( yeah, I didn't know what I wanted to do 2 years ago, so I just went into a hotel management school -.-) it also makes me want to keep holding onto my dreams.

So thank you Zemotion.
Thank you for the motivation, for the inspiration and for all those beautiful things :hug:
Chosenbydestiny Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2009
I remember asking you before about your equipment, and I remember you having a 24-105L. Did you sell it? Hehe.
Xolaroid Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2009
thanks for taking the time to do all of this... again
1Ds Mark III. I was looking into that for later down the track. how is it?
bigcitydreams Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2009
Ah you're amazing and incredibly kind for doing this.
Thanks so much (:

It's so hard for me to convince my friends to model for me.
They haven't really seen my photos and I don't know how to persuade them. I'm just like .. model for me? Haha.
They just think I'm stupid. And crazy.
lessthanhumanz Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2009
You are truly a talented artist!
Ever since the day I saw your works on CS then after that to here, I am inspired to motivated to keep shooting no matter what. Thank you for taking your quality time to this FAQ, it means alot to me.

Zemotion ya the best! :thumbsup:
LittleLolli Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2009
ive shot my brother in singapore at a department store just before the time its closed :D
those photos are craps tho i was so bad lol
but i think singapore aint a bad place to take photo at all :D

love ur works btw :)
Kaeljia Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2009  Professional Photographer
I've liked your work from day one, and had no idea that you were doing all the work yourself. :gallery: :w00t: :worship: I am impressed, and in awe. Keep up the wonderful work.
micheleyong Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2009
you have definitely come a long long looooong way!
impulsives Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2009
"Models - I had no contacts so I asked my friends. And before you say, "But my friends are not as good looking!" as mine (which is mean, and not all models are good looking to begin with btw), I think it's only my job as the photographer to make them beautiful."

Who can say that his/her friends are not beautiful? From the moment you love someone he/she is beautiful, in your point of view! All my friends are beautiful, even the ugly ones ^^ Just because I love them, it means that they have something beautiful in theirselves!

And I also think that it's up to the photographer to make the world look beautiful, cause there's always something beautiful, anywhere you are and anywhere you look.

(I must have made a hundred english mistakes in that message but who cares ^^)

I also want to say that you are doing an amazing work =) I wish I'll be as good as you someday ;)
AushrineMarija Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2009  Professional Photographer
Your story seems to go similar as mine is going now. I have started very similary- my friends are my models, I am stylings, do make-uo, etc. A year of "playing" with all taht stuff gave me a prise- one photostudio noticed me and invited to caloborate with them..I am not going to get best proposals on the first day but I feel I am moving to my target point and will achieve what I am seeking. It's was really awsome to read your FAQ, I am happy I can read such story. Keep on going!
the-box-ghost Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
I see my comment from 2007. And it is of course amusing to read. It's nice to see what you do use and "how you do it", but I honestly in someways like to keep it a mystery! That way I feel inspired to make amazing photographs!
You do amazing work! :clap: It makes me smile, moves and motivates me. I am aspiring to be as good as you some day. Don't work too hard! :XD:
absence-is-steel Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2009   Photographer
Everywhere I go people say to get profoto, and I want to so badly! But I already have a lighting kit =(. Ah well, when the money comes in...

But thank you! :hug:
PMSilva Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
You have a wonderful work... and it is an inspiration to me.
All your photos i love-it... so thanks for sharing your worderful work that is an inspiration to all photographers... :clap:
angeldeity Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2009
Wow, this is really inspiring.. I'm gonna read this from time to time..hehe
eskimoblueboy Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you for sharing all this. Wonderful and helpful information!
dalexa Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2009
i would love to buy your book but i would love even more to have one delivered by hand and signed. =P

maybe we could meet one day in london perhaps... plane trips from portugal-london-portugal are quite cheap and i could meet you there somewhere.

buzz me when you're going there for some shoot (if possible) and i'll be delightful to drop by.
dianemarlen Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2009
God, I loved to draw one of your pictures but I would need a higher solution >.<

Anyway the faq is very interesting, I was looking for a good camera ^^ Now I know one ^^
marcoTJ Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2009   General Artist
thanks :)
ahmadhafiz Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2009   Digital Artist
U make Singapore proud! :)
Xolaroid Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2008
I am so glad you have taken the time to do this...or had taken the time, since it was a few months ago. either way, it is so very helpful, and inspiring to have these questions answered.. I would love to feature it in my journal one day...

oh and "how did you take/light this shot? oh FINE you won't reply me, keep your secrets to yourself!!! you proud, haughty, selfish little ugly useless bitch!"

people really say that about you?
misericordia Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2008
I was very surprised to find out you used a 350D in some shots! Because I use a 350D and my shots never turn out as good as yours! Maybe I just suck. =(

How did you get into the photography business though? That's my question to you. =)
oh-noh Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2008
Is it acceptable to use some of your gallery images for a website template mockup, as long as there is full credit given?

Wanted to ask, before I tried anything. ^^;
zemotion Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2008  Professional Photographer
No, sorry my images are not to be used for layouts or any other manipulation or works.
oh-noh Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2008
Thanks anyway!
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