Greetings everyone. In this day and age, almost everyone from various walks of life owns a smartphone, owing largely to the benefits it has to offer, including but not limited to; cross-platform messaging apps such as WhatsApp Messenger,; social media such as Facebook, Instagram; video streaming apps such as Youtube, mobile internet browser and many more. There is so much computing power in a single device compared to the first computer introduced by IBM back in 1981, with computing power of 16kb. Even so, with that technology, NASA launched the very first Space Shuttle mission and launched 2 men to space. Therefore, just imagine, with so much power at your hand in a form of smartphone, what are you going to do about it?
Some might stick to use for basic usages, i.e. texting, calling, social media etc. I always believe that in each and everyone of us, there is an unlimited potentials, like diamond in the rough. Only those who brave it out and put considerable effort onto it will be able to reap the fruit. One of a good example is Balkizz Sulaiman. She is an entrepreneur, a fellow photographer specialised in product photography using smartphone as her main tool of trade and also an advertising coach. (Note: I also have wrote about smartphone photography here. Some of my photos captured using only iPhone 6 is also demonstrated here, though I love to use my Leica camera for all photography purposes, e.g. events, weddings, portraiture and outdoors).
I was honoured to be able to join her final workshop for 2018 at Miri Malay Association building, Sarawak today and started my whole new learnings on product photography that I never ventured before. Since I started this journey last year, I was not doing any product photography at all as I am doing street, events and wedding photography. In general, people’s photography. As I enter building, I empty my cup and open up for new learnings that Balkizz passionately taught us.
She started off with the story about herself, where she mentioned that before this she was working with an oil gas company until she realisation hits her. Specifically, at her cubicles, she was surrounded by senior peoples who work day in, and day out; doing the same thing over and over again until retirement. That actually woke her up, and she refused to do the things she has no passion at all about. On 2015, the worst year for oil and gas industry, where oil price hits the lower than $40/bbl by the end of the year. During that time also, many personnel were released from their jobs due. She saw this opportunity to leave, crossed the Rubicon and never looked back ever since.
She started with selling Jamu Tun Teja, but it was not flying high like she expected. Then, she realised something is not right. That is when she understands the power of photography to boost her sales. But, due to physical limitation, she cannot use a big camera like those of DSLRs and others, although she was using it when she starts photography. Therefore, she opts to use smartphone to create an appealing images. Smartphone photography is the best tool for these small business owners as it is the most versatile. She is determined to empower small business owners, particularly women who runs online business, because she understands their challenges to manage work, family as well as online business. Using smartphone is also for practicality as well since not all of these women owns a DSLR. In terms of learning curve, using smartphone camera is much easier to use compared to any other professional camera. She even went on to learn with professional Instagrammers and social media sifus.
During this workshop, which is also participated by a participant from Brunei, she also gave an awareness to the participants the basic stuff, including cleanliness of the smartphone camera lens, basics in smartphone camera operations, software/apps to use (in this course, we use Snapseed) and image composition rules. Finally, it is time for practical session, where the rules mentioned before are made to be broken.
I find it interesting as many of the participants has their own creative sides, that was demonstrated during the practical session. The practical session lasted for an hour, to which we end with Q&A and finally group photo. As a wrap, this workshop it highly recommended to everyone who wish to learn more about product photography at an affordable price, especially if you are a woman doing online business. Even though I am doing freelance photography, there is a lot of learnings that I made from the workshop with Balkizz today, where the most important one is, follow your passion. Do the things that you are passionate about. For married couples, please do support your spouse, especially if he or she has a dream that she wants to achieve. In a way, that will make your bond stronger, and in return, you will have a better relationship. We rise not by putting others down, but by raising others up. That’s how we achieve excellence.
That’s all for now. Have a good weekend with your family and friends. Remember, immortalise your memories.