personality

Choose Beautiful. Which one would you walk through?

The latest Dove Real Beauty campaign #ChooseBeautiful has come out and it is one that makes you think twice.

The video which you can see above shows two doors that women must walk through to get to their every day destination. One door is labeled Average and the other Beautiful. As you watch you see many women falter, enter through the door marked average and one lady turns around and walks in the other direction altogether.

The greatest impact that the short video had was that there was no one but themselves that had to choose which door they should walk through. In the resulting interviews you hear the women feeling bad about them selves and questioning why DID they walk through the Average door. Do they see themselves as average or is it how they believe they are perceived by the outside world.

I was fascinated with what was said and did my own little survey and asked a few ‘women’ I know which door they would choose – Average or Beautiful?

The 7 and 8 year old instantly said “of course I would walk through the beautiful door – I am beautiful and on the inside!”. Fantastic I thought, exactly the sentiment I would hope to hear.

Dove Choose Beautiful

The 19 year old said “ God I would walk through the Average door because I wouldn’t want anyone else to think I rate myself – especially if I was with one of my friends or if someone I knew saw me”. Hmmmm not so great as it appeared to be very peer dominant. When do you validate yourself for all the amazing traits you come with from the get go? At what age?

The 40 year old said “ I guess I would walk through the beautiful door now because with age comes wisdom and some wrinkles! I have a good heart and beauty always comes from the inside”. Wise words to me. Its ironic that realizing what is truly beautiful comes with age.

Dove Choose Beautiful

Which door would you joyfully push your mother, sister, best friend or aunt through instantly – without thinking twice? I think I know the answer.

Now which door would you confidently walk through?

 

 

 

Are You Camera Shy? Five Reasons Not to Be

Being involved with the Dove Camera Confidence campaign recently has helped me overcome my own camera shyness. People always thought it was strange that I was so camera shy  – I would always be the photographer to avoid actually being in pictures. Each time a group photo was to be taken I would stiffen up, freeze and manage to scrounge up the worst expression possible thinking that it would resemble something of a nonchalant smile – sound familiar?

According to the dove campaign 77% of women world-wide face the same issues I did. That’s a lot of us ladies!  My camera shy tendencies stemmed from female friends over the years commenting on how unattractive I looked in photos or how un-photogenic I was. Not many friends said this – but a couple definitely did – and it’s always those comments that stick with you for some reason – right?

I had one girlfriend take a photo of me – look at the back of the screen and make a disdainful face solely about me. I have had comments about how big my head seemed ( when in fact it was that my co-subjects head was extra small!!) and a girlfriend who constantly drew attention to how lean she looked in pictures as opposed to me. The list goes on – and it all resulted in varying degrees of camera shyness.

Here I am trying to get comfortable.

Here I am trying to get comfortable.

When people come to get their photos taken by me, I know what you have gone through – I understand that you may feel camera shy and I am there to help. Sessions with me are very relaxed as I have walked a mile in your shoes.

Well, now its about two miles. My camera anxieties all came to ahead when I had to be in the Dove Camera Confidence Video. Yes, actually in it (panic). Can you feel how I started to perspire? I even asked if we could have stick figures giving pointers and I would be the voice over person!

Can you see my jugular popping out?

Can you see my jugular popping out?

I had to get over my camera anxiety pretty quickly. First of all I wanted to help lots of people out there like me and secondly I was excited to get such a wonderful opportunity.

Our day in studio was a long one – twelve hours to be exact. I put on my game face and went into hair and make up before the shoot started. All glammed up with various outfits tried on we were ready to hit the camera. Celes and I had various lines each but boy was I nervous sometimes. When the camera was on me and I was delivering my lines – my heart was pounding so fast I was worried that the director could see my jugular vein popping out!  After twelve hours of filming my camera anxieties had flown out the door. My body ached from sitting on the couch but my camera confidence had finally been found!

We spent a lot of time on that couch!

We spent a lot of time on that couch!

You can see the results of the video here:

Goofing around with my camera.

Goofing around with my camera.

I had to photograph myself for this campaign - quite a challenge!

I had to photograph myself for this campaign – quite a challenge!

The whole crew who made the video happen. What a great bunch from the Dove Team to the director Julius Landau and the crew.

The whole crew who made the video happen. What a great bunch from the Dove Team to the director Julius Landau and the crew.

The final celebratory group shot!

The final celebratory group shot!

With this post I urge you to find your own camera confidence. Five reasons to have pictures of yourself :

  1. Fantastic moments will pass and you will not have a momento of it. The picture will not capture everything about a great experience but it will jog your memory so you can re-live the joy of it in years to come.
  2. You are who you are and there is no one else like you. Learn to love yourself. The angles of your face, the nose you inherited from your grandmother, the cheeks you got from your father and the colour of your eyes that are your mothers. You are  the result of a fantastic genetic mix of your history and there is no one else who looks just like you. That’s pretty cool.
  3.   You may think you are getting older and not want to take pictures of yourself but remember that each day everyone gets a little bit older and women grow into their looks. A face that has character and definition is one who has lived a little! Got laugh lines around your eyes – great! It shows that you have laughed and enjoyed yourself.  Mature faces are beautiful to look at.
  4. Worried about your body shape and a little tummy you may have – own it! You probably delivered a few beautiful children into this world and that soft spot is where they came from. It’s just a part of who you are and it’s OK.
  5. Most people in this world are looking for what is great about you. If you smile with joy and happiness your photos will be attractive and radiate energy from them because you are comfortable. It’s all about being confident.  Naysayers are usually people who are insecure themselves and they are few and far between – forget them. 98% of people out there are looking for what is great about you – show them!

    Here I am smiling like no one is looking for a change. Thank you Dove for helping me find my own camera confidence.

    Here I am smiling like no one is looking for a change. Thank you Dove for helping me find my own camera confidence.

Don’t shy away from the camera any more – as time passes it is our photo collection that will mark great moments in our lives and enable you to re-live wonderful occasions. Like I have said before – I’m looking for all the many things that are beautiful about you when I shoot. By the time I am finished hopefully you will be able to see them too!

Suasti Lye Portrait and Lifestyle Photographer: I am Dove’s Featured Photographer and Camera Confidence Expert: Any Questions .. Ask Away…

Over December I was honoured to work with Dove on their Camera Confidence Campaign. “When did you stop feeling beautiful in front of the camera?” You may have heard this line via the Dove commercial that launched earlier this year.

As a woman and a photographer I have always been fascinated with Dove’s approach to women’s beauty. When their REAL Beauty campaign first came out I sat up and took notice. It was so refreshing to my eyes to see real and happy women in a marketing campaign.

Below are one of the many images that Dove used to showcase the wide variety of shapes and forms that all women come in. Magnificent, petite, curvy and gorgeous.  Real beauty showcased! I loved it!

Dove-Real-Beauty-Campaign 

As my career in photography moved into the commercial realm I always maintained time for photo shoots of real women. I can seen the beauty and the potential in the everyday woman on the street. Many women don’t realise that that all the models we see  and gaze longingly at in magazines have all been meddled with, airbrushed and had hundreds of pictures taken of them until we find one that is just the right fit.

When Dove’s Camera Confidence Campaign came out I sat bolt upright and watched – saying YES YES YES – to myself – this is the message that I am trying to convey to all my subjects and to people – that real natural beauty is something to be treasured and to be proud of. I watched the campaign with delight and urged women to look up – look at the camera – because I can see that you are beautiful.

To my honour Dove asked me to be their photographer and the featured expert on camera confidence for a workshop they were holding.  I would work alongside Celestine Chua  of Personal Excellence– a life coach and personal development blogger.  Dove wanted us to help women who were the most camera shy to come forward, participate and transform themselves. Women whose lives were rushing by without documentation of all the high points and celebrations because of their camera anxiety.

Through this door - ten women's lives were changed.

Through this door – ten women’s lives were changed.

We worked closely with the Dove team and selected ten women whose stories resonated with us all. I was so excited; this campaign marked a milestone for me in that my photography was going to show real people just how attractive they were. I have had countless people leave the front of my lens  filled with new confidence and their head held high because they finally had an image of themselves that captured their true spirit. Dove had now given me the chance to do the same for these ten women.

Everyone really got to know each other during the workshop.

Everyone really got to know each other during the workshop.

I am very proud to say that the workshop and photoshoot were a success with each of our ten participants shedding their camera shyness and embracing their real beauty.

There was lots of laughter and a few tears.

There was lots of laughter and a few tears.

Each woman I got to know had a story to share about how and why they were camera shy. You can read their stories on the Dove site.  Each story was something that I could identify with and with Celestina’s workshop I was able to photograph them in a way where they felt safe and joyful- letting their real self show. The photoshoot was so much fun! Each lady worked it for me and utilized the tips that I shared with them. All were great at taking direction  and the best part was that they smiled for me with a true sense of joy.

The Camera Confidence Photoshoot was a lot of fun with all of the ten ladies showing us their gorgeous smiles and personalities.

The Camera Confidence Photoshoot was a lot of fun with all of the ten ladies showing us their gorgeous smiles and personalities.

The ladies who participated in the Dove Camera Confidence workshop took this new found confidence away with them and some wrote and told me that it had been a life changing experience.

I love every bit of camera confidence that these ladies discovered . From L to R Qiao'E, Conne and Adeline.

I love every bit of camera confidence that these ladies discovered . From L to R Qiao’E, Connie and Adeline.

Look at them glow. Camera Confident and ready. From Left to Right - Wei Yin, Kiran and Pauline

Look at them glow. Camera Confident and ready. From Left to Right – Wei Yin, Kiran and Pauline

I am currently featured on Dove’s Facebook page and if you have any questions on posing or tips on how to overcome your camera anxieties, you can write in to me here and I will personally answer any questions you may have. Looking great in a photo is within everyone’s grasp. It’s true that having a skilled professional makes for a great photo but confidence is the key!  Maybe you just need me to see how beautiful YOU are ….

DoveCameraConfidenceSuastiLyePhotography

Stay tuned for more behind the scenes pictures and a post about the video filmed. It was my turn to be in front of the camera and work on my own camera confidence!

A Yummy Plain Vanilla Housewarming

This past weekend I was delighted to attend the Housewarming of Plain Vanilla Bakery in Tiong Bahru. The event was cosy, warm and laid back just like Vanessa Kenchington herself who owns this charming bakery.

PlainVanilla3

Going back in time, many of you know that I photographed Vanessa for a Hello Honey shoot and this is how I met her. She is one busy lady so we only had a small window of time in which to do the shoot. I admit that I do feel nervous at times turning up to a complete stranger’s home to photograph them. Who wouldn’t be right? There are so many things at play when I shoot. I have to consider the light, the location, small details and most importantly the subject.

So there I was climbing the stairs to Vanessa’s home (noisily hoisting up my camera bag behind me) wondering about my subject. Was she in the mood to be photographed, how had her day been going, and so on and so forth. Well, my fears were happily flung out the window (or the second floor balcony) when she opened the door and this complete stranger greeted me so warmly.

PlainVanilla11

Vanessa showed me around her beautiful apartment and we got talking – really talking about life, love, work and doing something you are passionate about. Vanessa is a trained lawyer and left a career in law behind to pursue her dreams of offering people the simple things in life by way of Plain Vanilla Bakery.  It was such a refreshing and open conversation and she spoke from the heart.

PlainVanilla7

I photographed her while we chatted and time flew! Before I knew it my hour was up as the hard working Vanessa had to make an emergency cupcake delivery.

PlainVanilla12-CupcakeInspiration

I saw her again this past weekend at the official housewarming of Plain Vanilla. It was aptly named a housewarming as there were children running around, homemade lemonade, big communal tables and a true feeling of community.

Each person was made to feel welcome and I could see how Vanessa’s hard work had translated into this beautiful space. The cupcakes on offer at the bakery are delicious and homely with a price that lets you enjoy the simple things in life without a care – the way it should be!

PlainVanilla10

I know how hard this amazing lady has worked and as you can see from my photos she has done it all while still being true to herself  and keeping a beautiful smile on her face. Hard work pays off and Vanessa’s laid back personality and friendliness comes across in Plain Vanilla Bakery as a whole. I had a blast.

Show Us Your Personality Please

The Honeycombers in Singapore is an online destination that tells you what is happening all around the island. They cover openings of new restaurants to fabulous new brands arriving and even quirky little stores you didn’t know existed. It is also an online directory so whenever you are in a bind you can simply look things up on the site. You can discover everything great in Singapore at http://www.thehoneycombers.com after you check out the fab team below.

After moving to Singapore from Manhattan I was at a loss as to where to find things on my new little island. I longed for something like The Honeycombers and BAM, one day, everything just collided perfectly. I found them and they found me! It was a match.  The photography gods were listening and I now have a team I love working with in conjunction with my own brand.

The Honeycombers have just launched a newly renovated site and with that came new team photos. We shot it against a nice grey wall at Chris’, the founder and owner’s house. I really love this grey wall. It has such character. But I digress, I wanted to show the team’s character – not just the wall’s!

The aim was to showcase everyone’s personality and that it was a fun team. Doing ‘work’ on this team involves a lot of laughter and it is part of what makes The Honeycombers the way it is. I wanted to capture the spirit of each team member, the semi-formal and the goofy sides of their personalities.

The shoot was fast as we are comfortable with each other and, here, you get to see the final product. Team Honeycombers, show us your personalities please.

Chris - our fun, fearless, fabulous leader

Chris – our fun, fearless, fabulous leader

Mel - our marvelous senior editor who is the bomb diggity of writers

Mel – our marvelous senior editor who is the bomb diggity of writers

Tina - our awesome relationship manager

Tina – our awesome relationship manager

Rachel - our super talented graphics guru

Rachel – our super talented graphics guru

All Kinds of Happy

Smart Happy

Smart Happy

 

People have different facial expressions when expressing happiness. Sometimes you are just plain happy, sometimes overjoyed and then there is the simply delighted kind of happy.

If you think about someone close to you I bet you can, very specifically, identify different versions of this fabulous emotion. They may be calm and quiet when reading the Sunday paper or deliriously happy because they landed the job and / or slam-dunked a basketball for the first time.

During this shoot I wanted to show all kinds of happy. This lovely lady was full of energy with a very warm persona. She was delightful, joyous, cheeky, fun, quirky, smart and outgoing.

Her images were created so she can use different shots across all forms of social media. Sometimes you need to show you are just plain happy and then there are other times you want to show you are overjoyed. It depends on your platform.

I wish I had a picture of myself after this shoot because then you would have been able to see my ‘delighted’ face. I was so happy to have met and photographed this fabulous girl.

Eat your heart out social media, this girl has got all your platforms covered.

Cheeky Happy

Cheeky Happy

Just Happy

Just Happy

All Kinds of Happy

All Kinds of Happy