Hiring a photographer for your wedding is so much more than looking at the portfolio. We decided to interview our Creative Director and Lead Photographer, Benny Ong to find out more about his photography style! Oh and for those who have known him for years...do you know he's the sentimental type? Read on to find out more.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
I am a more sentimental kind of person and this is probably one main reason why I ended up in the wedding industry. I would say my love for the wedding industry is greater than photography. However, photography is the way I express how I see the world, love and wedding.
How long have you been a photographer?
I have been doing photography since I was in polytechnic. I would say approximately 10 years. From Film and Lomography to digital photography, I would say I found my passion in people photography. For the past 6 years, I have been into wedding photography.
How would you describe your photography style?
As much as possible, I will try to express how I perceive the couples are in terms of their dynamics and love. I like to stay a distance away, I like the moments to be in the way it is and I like to capture the essence of it. I would say a non-intrusive and ‘moment’ photography style.
How many weddings do you cover per year?
It is very hard to justify how many weddings we cover year on year. For the past few years, I have significantly tried to cut-down because I want to focus on each wedding more and get more personal with our wedding couples, get to know more about the couple and their love story. By doing so, it helps us to better cover their entire wedding journey. For these reasons, we came up with our exclusive product ‘anecdote by truetolove’.
What type of cameras equipment do you use?
I used to be on Canon, recently I switched to Nikon and particularly D750 purely because of its functionality as I am not someone who chase after high specifications when buying a camera. I strong believe in focusing on creativity and not just on your equipment. It is small in size so that I can remain hidden and subtle during weddings.
What gives you ideas and inspires to create awesome imagery?
One of my close friends ever told me that in order for me to improve on my photography skills; I should look beyond photography and focus on the art of it. However, my take was to focus on love instead of art. For example during weddings when we hear the pastor or father speaks about the meaning of love and urge me to capture how it is like for each couple to be in their wedding, their similarities and differences. In short, it is to explore into other forms of arts and most importantly to understand love in a deeper level.
How do you constantly educate yourself to take better photos?
Updating the technics is important. But I think practicing is the key. You just have to put yourself at your 100% at every wedding. Only when you push yourself to capture unique shots and challenge yourself to discover new skills and strength in photography.
How many photos do you average take per wedding?
We took a lot and it can go up to 1000s as I really snap non-stop. Because of my style of photography, I need to capture all moments and avoid all blinking to feature the previous moments. Moments are never planned. Therefore we need to be always ready to capture when these moments happen. But it is safe to say that we deliver 400-500 photos for each wedding.
How do you make the bride and groom, bridal party etc feel relaxed in front of your camera?
The key is to don’t treat them as a subject. This is our strength at truetolove and this is why people come back to us. We treat every couple as friends; we take time to mingle and get to know everyone. On wedding day, we do not just appear at the venue and start taking photos. We will take time to chat with couple, understand them better. Usually by 1 hour into the wedding, couples would be quite comfortable with us and thus show their true self in front of our cameras.
What do you feel is the most challenging thing about photographing weddings?
The challenge is to gain trust from the couple. We cannot always be showing them in the middle of the wedding the photos that we just took. During the wedding, at times we may be close or far away from the couple. We really need their trust in us that we will definitely capture all the key moments of their big day.
What do you think of the wedding photography industry at the moment and where do you see it in 5 years time?
To me wedding photography has grown, due to technology advancement and the mass production of cameras, everyone is able to afford a camera as compared to when I first started doing photography. A lot of people have stepped into wedding photography as it is an avenue to practice photography and get pocket money. To me, this is a wrong progression to the photography industry. Not many people entered the industry due to the love for the wedding industry and to celebrate love, knowing the importance of your role as a wedding photographer. Personally, I do weddings photography because I love weddings and photography is a way for me to express this love.
In 5 years time, with Instagram getting popular and everyone is getting more and more educated in how to shoot a good photo and doing basic editing, it is no longer about producing good works and capturing moments. I would see it as a experiential feelings; whether the couple can trust you to be at their wedding, whether you can surprise the couple with shots of moments that they can never think of. It will be beyond photography and quality as they are will become a norm.
A wedding photographer who inspires you?
A few photographers inspired me, but I will narrow down to the two main photographers. Sam Hurd from USA who constantly pushes the boundaries by shooting through mediums to capture reflections and lights to create more perspective but yet kept the meaning behind the moments. Another photographer who inspired me is my mentor from my early years into wedding photography, Brian Ho from The Galeria. I like the calmness of the shoot. I like how stayed with film photography. He focuses on not to create but to capture true moments.