Photographing a photographer is amongst the most nerve-wracking experiences ever. I hope I did you good by you, Claudia. To my dear friend and her beloved, a sneak peek on the day of your 10th anniversary. Congratulations!
I was so honored to photograph a beautiful portrait reflecting 50 years of wedded bliss, via the recent wedding anniversary of Art + Liz. I swear, their eyes just lit up at the sight of one another. Really, I feel truly blessed to be witness to this enduring kind of love. Happy Anniversary, Art and Liz!
And here they are, with their lovely family.
About four years ago, I stopped getting carded. I was devastated. My whole life I had passed for 18-ish and suddenly and without warning, the general public deemed my looks old enough to buy liquor and watch an R rated movie. Before you act on that urge to throw something hard my way — I know I shouldn’t complain. I’m approaching my 40s (believe it or not) and thanks to my youthful Asian genes, I’ve taken my age and how I look for granted. Growing up geeky and awkward, I never felt comfortable in front of a mirror. In fact, I avoided it as much as possible. And my daily beauty routine consisted of washing my face and pulling my hair back in a ponytail. Quick and easy! Lip gloss, MAYBE.
How can this be, you ask? That I not care about looks? As an aspiring artist, I do enjoy aesthetics and symmetry but beauty in people is something I’ve tried to avoid putting a judgement call on. The most beautiful person may have the ugliest insides and that is just not appealing to me. Beauty is personal and arbitrary.
But I digress.
So, I’m getting old(er) and I realize that I do need to start taking care of myself. And well, do some maintenance work. I’m not talking botox. So when my friend and make-up artist extraordinaire Joey Cheung of JBeautique offered a make-up lesson, I jumped at the chance. Why? #1 I hadn’t seen her in months and I missed her so #2 Every 30+ year old should know how to put on foundation properly #3 I totally missed out on the giggly high-school makeover experience and this was my chance!
Bucket list, check!
Joey inspecting my make-up kit: a hodge-podge of Mac, Bare Escentuals, Dior Addict and Mary Kay, with some Smashbox thrown in.
I arrived at Chung Li’s photography studio (Thanks for letting us raid your space, btw, Chung!) with a big old bag of cosmetics in hand. I had amassed a small collection of make-up from various sources. First thing that Joey did was go through my make-up. A quick evaluation of my brushes and products was enough for her to figure out a few quick looks that I needed for a clean, polished everyday face. Joey was super patient with me, giving me concise instructions. She started each lesson off by demonstrating on the left side of my face. Then, she handed me the brush and product so I could do it on myself on the right side. It was pretty cool to see it all come together. By the end of the lesson, I was a prettier version of myself – ready for the world.
(Above): My view of Joey. Isn’t she gorgeous sans make-up? Love her Chinese porcelain skin! Envy!
The basic steps of my 8-minute make-up face. All accomplished with products I already owned, except for the secret weapon, the Sonia Kashuk sponge ($9 at Target).
What I learned:
1. You “push” the product (eye shadow, blush, foundation) in. I tended to kind dust and swirl it around, until most of it landed on the edges of my eye lids, or worse, my blouse. Opps!
2. Blend, blend, blend. And when in doubt? Blend.
3. My complexion is olive toned, with a greenish underbase. Being a master at photoshop, I knew exactly what Joey meant when she wanted me to warm it up. She chose a great palette of warm tones that would compliment my skin tone. Who knew?
4. Each brush had a specific purpose. Knowing which brush to use for which purpose was kinda crucial. Again, who knew? I probably didn’t care enough in the past! I was happy using that grimy sponge applicator that came with the kits.
5. Eyebrow grooming is important! Eyebrows frame the face and bring attention to the eyes. Just do it, already.
The mandatory before-after shot. Absolutely no photoshop. You can still see my big-ass forehead vain. We aim for reality!
Our day of beauty was capped off by lunch at BJs and a quick trip to Sephora to buy some essentials missing from my make-up arsenal. Who knew girly-girl stuff could be so much fun? Thank you again Joey for an awesome day and for allowing the pretty side of me to rise to the surface! MWAH.
Shopping Indulgence! I purchased a really good moisturizer, three new nail polish shades for summer, a bronzer palette and natural eye shadow palette from Two-Faced.
Joey Cheung of JBeautique offers make-up lessons and workshops in and around the San Francisco Bay Area. Call her directly for more information. JBeautique services include bridal, boudoir or special occasion hair and make-up.
Grand premiere —- (drumroll please)…I’m really happy to share my first multimedia Beloved piece.
A little back story: I photographed and interviewed Tony and Arthur back in February, without so much as gameplan. It was my first time to interview a couple I photographed on video and on tape. Initially, I had this idea of putting together a promotional video piece about my work with Beloved photography, but instead, what I rediscovered was my desire for stories. I soaked in every single bit of their interview and just got lost in their personal journey of finding each other. Interviewing my clients beforehand is fundamental to the Beloved photography technique but I had never recorded audio before. And to be honest, its my favorite part of the process because it gives me license to dig in deeper. In the past, my job was limited to capturing their love through imagery. However, with multimedia – the challenge for me is to weave their story using their own words plus my images.
The process of shooting/editing/producing this piece was deeply personal.
One of my favorite quotes of all time is from The Little Prince. “It is only with one’s heart that one can see clearly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.”.
Please watch this piece with your heart.
If there’s one thing I love photographing more than a couple in love, it is a couple who loves to laugh! Kevin and Caroline are one such fun-loving couple. I met them a few months back, when they booked me to shoot their September wedding at the San Francisco Fairmont Hotel. Their love story was hilarious from start to finish. They met a fundraising event held at a bar – combining their two loves for charity and alcohol. Perfect timing + serendipity = instant sparks.
From the moment I met them, I knew they were my kind of people. Caroline is bubbly and talks a mile a minute. Kevin is reserved but witty and slightly sarcastic. They perfectly compliment each other and I can already envision their future full of love and laughs. And I’m *really* looking forward to shooting their wedding in the fall!