What makes a great wedding photo? Is it the lighting? Or attractive subjects? Sebastian, the eye behind Loveinstills, believes the key is bringing back the romance.
Bringing romance back to wedding photography
Sebastian Teh’s travel itinerary this year alone includes Japan, New Zealand, Australia and spots all over Europe. It’s travel for business, yes – but it’s also scoping out the finest locales for photoshoots. Sebastian is also often in the company of people during the happiest days of their lives because his company, Loveinstills is in the business of wedding photography.
Business is good. Literally.
Sebastian may have had some difficult years finding his place in the local photography landscape but he’s been at it for over a decade now, having been featured in numerous magazines including the likes of Tatler and Singapore Brides.
To Sebastian, the pre-wedding photographing, the ‘gatecrash’ event and the wedding itself are moments to be captured, but also occasions where romance should flourish themselves. “It’s not just snapping away with the camera, it’s a holistic experience,” he says.
Sebastian says, “our main clients are the couple, so my aim is to bring back the romance into the wedding event itself, it’s not just a process, where they just pay this and pay that and then end up just married.”
He finds that making sure couples are taken care of, keeping the photography low-stress and easy, is key to a good mood during shoots. A good mood then leads to naturally good photography subjects.
It’s all in the detail, and that is how Sebastian value-adds to the experience. “My role is to educate clients, on what good photography is, the way it’s done, and how I can improve the overall experience,” he says.
“It’s a very personal thing, I meet up with the couple to discuss, acting as a pseudo wedding planner as well and leveraging on my experience of so many weddings past,” Sebastian says. Leveraging on such a wealth of experience, his goal is to make it smooth as possible, to do the coordination and troubleshooting, which frees up the couple to appreciate their own day just that little bit more.
Unfortunately, the photography landscape in Singapore is still in it’s infancy; Sebastian believes that lack of structure and government input leads to a negatively porous industry. “My personal feel is that photography is not being respected as a profession but is being treated as a weekend hobby,” he says. “For professional photographers, you don’t get the kind of recognition like a lawyer or doctor.” Low-entry level and lack of a governing body are his key arguments as to the low public sentiment. “Anybody can buy a camera, add on the suffix -photography, and call themselves a photographer,” Sebastian says.
Additionally, he refers to the local photography industry as “cutthroat”. Challenges lie in both the open nature of the landscape but also to pricing competitiveness. He says, “everyone slashes prices to make ends meet.”
“I never set my business up in terms of pricing, moreso on the quality of work,” he says.
Sebastian recalls that start-up costs were high, due to the nature of photography being very “equipment-based”. The process, he recalls, of getting it off the ground makes up the bulk of the difficult period. “There are no shortcuts because the only thing you can be judged on is your portfolio, which is your real finished product,” Sebastian says.
Sebastian says he’s lucky, with his past clients supporting him by word of mouth.
“Though there may be many late night and long hours sitting behind the desk editing photos and videos, I would say it has been a satisfying journey for me as I am able to use my talents to assist my client in creating a memorable day filled with bliss,” Sebastian says.