Learning Life While Taking Pictures

Yes, I became one of the millions who all of a sudden became a photo snapping fool after discovering that I could actually use the camera on my iPhone that was within an arm’s reach 24 hours of the day. After learning some basic rules from my pro photographer buddy (Thanks Rene!), YouTube videos, and learning from some fine artists on Instagram and Flickr- I think I am actually gaining some skills on the art of capturing life. But that’s not what this post is entirely about. The bigger “picture” (Yes, pun intended) is about what I do with my life, how I can lead my family, and be a blessing to my friends, community, this world.

For the past 7 years of taking at least 1 photograph everyday, I realize that no matter how much technology is crammed in this pocketable and delightful device, the camera is still very limited when compared to dedicated cameras. I discovered from the limitations of a phone camera that it is more about what I do with what I have instead of focusing on what I lack. Isn’t that life? Ok, here are 3 of some of the lessons:


Photography Lesson #1
: Composition is crucial. I learned that the decisions about where the subject is positioned inside the rectangular frame and what stays in the frame and what does not need to makes a difference.

Life Lesson #1: How I compose my life is crucial. I need to be intentional and thoughtful of my priorities, relationships, and endeavors. I know it is easier said than done, but I need to live every day with vision. How do you compose your life each day? What are the subjects that you are focusing on? Are there things and people that do not have to be in the picture?

Photography Lesson #2: Lighting is everything. Great lighting usually results in great results. Poor lighting brings a lot of challenges.

Life Lesson #2: Lighting is everything with the decisions I make. Of course, most choices made in my waking moments are not a matter of life and death, but informed, thoughtful decisions usually have positive results. Doing some homework, getting insight from the sages in my life, and applying God’s Word are the best ways to bring light into my situations. Jesus made this claim, and I believe it, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). Do you believe Jesus can do that to the point of trust?  I think we can all agree that life’s best learnings are the ones when we say “Ah!” because the light bulb turned on a situation. So, what is the source of your light?

Photography Lesson #3: Edit with a purpose. Most photographs aren’t complete without an editing process. Enhancing or desaturating color, adjusting lighting, and even cropping something out are done to develop an aesthetically pleasing and engaging image. The great thing about digital editing a photo is that you can “undo” an edit you are not pleased with. Even after the photograph has been taken

Life Lesson #3: The things that we focus on are not going to be complete at first. There is always a process. Adjustments have to be made. Things may need to be cropped out. What and how I change the things in my life determine my results. I have been learning that less is more. How about you? Are you adjusting your attitude to get the right perspective? Are you ok with everything being a process? You may not be able to “undo” some decisions, but you can always change you.

Just recently another photographer friend gave me his dedicated camera with a lot more features and capabilities. Thanks Gilbert! However, the bigger picture (there I go again with the pun) is to do the best with what I have in my hands right now. Don’t wait for whatever upgrade or next big thing you are waiting for. Do the best with what you currently have. Remember, lighting is crucial, so get light. Be thoughtful with how you compose your life. Make changes with purpose even if it is just changing you. You may not get it right the first time. It’s a process. You will be glad you did. Your family will be glad you did. The world will be a better place.

Yes, I took the picture of that surfer on the beach with an iPhone.

When people do what they love to do

I sneaked in a little shot with my wife’s iPhone, but click on this link by Strictly Weddings to see this styled shoot in its full glory by a professional photographer. I love it when I get to see people doing and thriving in what they are passionate about, and this time I got a chance to see my wife, Shelley from Here Come The Blooms in action.

Shelley got the opportunity to do the flower design from Pam of Love.Anne.Joy | Design + Events , and Pam did an incredible and elegant job putting this together. Jeremy Chou Photography​ captured this gorgeous styled shoot with images that are timeless and beautiful.

I caught the last hours of this shoot. I saw people flow in their talents together, and I witnessed all of the pieces come together like an intricate puzzle. It’s truly a labor of love, which took a lot of labor, time, patience, coordination, and attention to all the details that turned this moment into a lovely-something that is now showcased by Strictly Weddings​.

I didn’t get to meet everyone besides Vivian Tran Makeup​ (Beautiful work Vivian!) but to all the talented vendors and agents who made this possible, I was floored and inspired by watching people do what they love to do.

So the question is, “What is it that you love to do?” What is your labor of love?

K! Magazine Feature

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I was featured by K! Magazine, and publication for those who minister to kids. My first feature in a print magazine, which I also shared here on Backspaces http://backspac.es/r/MdJcKpFeFy/swish

This shot was set up by a 3-year old boy. I was patrolling the hallway and strolled into the vicinity of this restroom in our children’s ministry (I work as a children’s pastor) when a couple of Early Childhood leaders asked for my assistance. All I needed to hear from one of them was, “You need to see this,” which alerted me to break out the iPhone out of my pocket. I came upon the scene inside the boys restroom and was excited to capture what had happened. So here’s the (enhanced with drama) story… Little Joel (3 years old) had been in the zone playing hoops in the classroom until he had the sudden revelation that had to go… badly. He did the pee-pee dance to prove his sincerity and urgency. The teacher was so convinced that she personally escorted him to the restroom with his basketball in hand. However, Joel had nowhere to place his orange sphere that made him so happy just minutes ago. But inside this tiled, dimly lit, and cold place called the boys restroom, there happened to be the perfect place to hold his prized object. Swish! Score!

I get a kick out of being featured for mobile photography. It truly is a passion that I “stumbled” into and am excited that viewers like some of the images that I share. Thanks again to K! Magazine for the feature on their Instagram page (A physical-paper page!) This is a great resource for anyone involved in children’s ministry, which you can check out at kidzmatter.com