Nicholas was an IT Engineer in Singapore for over 10 years with Hewlett Packard until he decided to embark on a career in photography. In 6 years, he has established himself as one of the leading names in wedding photography and is reputed as the first Indian from Johor to be accredited as a Certified Master Photographer (LMPA) by the Master Photographers Association UK. Nicholas shares with The Iskandarian his journey and his tips and tricks for budding photographers.
When and how did you start your career in photography?
My career in photography started in 2012 while I was working in Singapore as an IT Engineer with Hewlett Packard. My photography journey started off as a hobby, just as most people, I was quite interested at that time to snap photos of flora and fauna and during that time, a friend approached me to capture their engagement photography and that’s how it all began.
Are you self-taught or did you receive any formal education?
I am self-taught but it’s fair to say that I learned a lot from Google and by watching a lot of YouTube videos as well (laughs)! I was also gifted to receive a lot of tips from a few notable photographers.
What drives you in your work?
To create a beautiful picture that will speak a thousand words and help etch a joyous lifelong memory.
Who are your biggest inspirations in this line of work?
Definitely Keda.Z and Johnson Wee. They have inspired me a lot and I have a mutual respect for them as fellow MPA Photographers. They are both world renown and ironically, they are both Johorians.
What is the turning point of your career?
I’ve been in the IT field for over 10 years and for me to quit my job in Singapore to embark on a career in photography is the biggest turning point in my life. The risk of leaving a stable income job in Singapore for a shot at being an entrepreneur was quite harrowing but with the support of my family, friends and clients, the journey has been very satisfying thus far. When I began receiving job orders 2 years ahead of the actual wedding, I knew it was time for me to dedicate all my efforts into photography.
What type of photography (wedding, commercial) do you specialise in and why that choice?
My main genre is wedding photography but I also take on commercial and corporate shoots. I work closely with my partner who does videos, and together we provide a one stop solution to our clients.
What is the highest accreditation you have earned throughout your years in the industry?
I’m a certified Master Photographer (LMPA) accredited by the Master Photographers Association (MPA) in UK. With over 60 years in the professional photography arena, the MPA prides itself in developing some of the industry’s leading photographers of today. The process of getting accredited by MPA is quite onerous whereby 20 of your best works is printed and presented to a panel of Master Photographer Judges appointed by MPA for detailed scrutiny and upon satisfying all the criteria, only then is the MPA accreditation is awarded. Moreover, not all submissions are given the accreditation.
Looking at the current market trends in photography, and with the latest innovation in mobile imaging (e.g: iPhone 7) do you think being professional photographers are a dying breed?
Well there are obvious limitations in taking a photo with your mobile phone in comparison to the output you’ll get from a DSLR camera. For example, with the DSLR, we get to use an array of lenses to capture the moments and although mobile phones do offer add-on lenses, it can never match the detailing given by a DSLR.
How do you market yourself?
Via social media, client recommendations and referrals. I have a good relationship with all my clients and the satisfaction they get from engaging my services is passed on by word of mouth and they indirectly become my marketers (laughs).
What are among the challenges you face as a photographer?
One of the biggest challenges we face as photographers is event attendees who get caught up in snapping pictures in their phones that they end up disrupting our work. Another big challenge I face is plagiarism of my creative output by other photographers. Most of my masterpieces are featured on Facebook and other sites and I’ve encountered moments when other photographers blatantly plagiarise my work!
Any pointers for upcoming aspiring photographers out there?
Good luck and remain dedicated. Every photographer starts off as an amateur and with that in mind, keep working on your style till it’s perfected.
We have some technical questions for you now. What is your current gear and do you use natural lighting or prefer a Creative Lighting System (CLS)?
I use a Nikon DSLR and I own a good selection of lenses ranging from the reputed 70-200 lens, a few prime lenses and a 24-70 lens. As for lighting, it would be ideal to use natural light but it’s more practical to use CLS. I prefer to have more control over my lighting so CLS works better for me.
Post editing or straight out of camera?
Both! But realistically speaking, post editing. To share a raw unedited image to a client requires the client to have an eye for photography which they usually don’t have so it is a safer bet to present post edited picture.
Are you available for hire at any part of the world?
Yes, I travel with my clients from time to time to for their photography needs, so yes! Even now I just got from back Indonesia after a pre wedding shoot (laughs).
What do you think of the photography scene in Johor?
It is always healthy to have a good rapport with fellow photographers. There’s obviously competition amongst us but as long as its healthy competition, it’s fine.
Do you give classes or lessons?
I have been thinking about it but currently, I don’t. However, I might introduce it in the near future.
What does Nicholas do when he is not busy snapping photos?
I travel around the world! I love travelling and it’s a wonderful way to scout for new locations especially for the next pre-wedding photo-shoot destination. So when I’m not snapping photos, I’m vacationing while sort of working (laughs).
How do our readers get in touch with you?
The fastest and most convenient way is to drop me a message via Facebook at www.facebook.com/NWorks4u