Christine Chang Photography Blog » Recent work, Photo Tips, & Random Rants by Christine Chang.

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  • Christine Chang

    Wedding Photographer. Adventurer. Ninja.

    Lover of brussels sprouts, chubby dogs, and theme parks.

    My interest in photography began in grade school. I would set up my "portrait studio” in the living room by hanging a bed sheet and shining house lamps toward it. Fast forward 20 years and today I am living my dream as a worldwide photographer based in Los Angeles.

    Here you will find some of my recent work along with adventures, personal growth, and other random banter.

One of my bestfriends Mark called the other day and said he’s coming to town.  He said, “I come in on Wednesday at 6:30pm.”  Whenever he comes to town he stays at my place, but this time I was feeling overwhelmed and didn’t feel like having anyone over.  This made me agitated.

Zen

I often go to Mark for advice because he is a great communicator and a relationship coach.  It’s interesting typing that out (great communicator + relationship coach) because it solidifies how crucial good communication is. Whenever I complain, the first thing he says is, “Have you told the person?” which is usually followed with a “Not yet.”  Then he says in a DUH tone, “Why don’t you just tell them?  How are they supposed to know what you need if you don’t say anything?”

Communication is love.

Sometimes I have a hard time communicating what I need out of fear.  Fear I’ll hurt someone’s feelings, fear of criticism, or fear of rejection.  My concern this time was I didn’t want Mark to think I was a shitty friend.  But I got over it, called him, and said, “Hey.  I’m in a place where I need space right now.  Can you stay somewhere else when you come?”

Immediately I felt relieved.  THAT’S ALL I HAD TO DO.

He said, “Sure.  Thanks for telling me.  Is everything ok?”  I said, “Yeah.  I’m just feeling particular about having my own space.”  And once again, as he always says (but this time referring to himself), “Thanks for telling me, otherwise I wouldn’t know what you need, and we’d have one of those shitty relationships where we can’t properly communicate!”

And there it was. Being a shitty friend would have been to NOT say anything.  If I didn’t say anything, I would have resented the poor guy when he came.  Getting mad at someone and blaming them for your unhappiness is unfair when you don’t do your job of telling them how you’re feeling.  It doesn’t serve you, and it doesn’t serve the other person.

Me & Mark. This photo makes me laugh because it shows exactly why we are friends and not lovers.  Zero physical chemistry.

I had a conversation with someone about communicating the other day and she said, “But whenever I try to tell someone something like that, they get all mad and defensive…”

Two thoughts about that:

1.  I’ve learned how you say something, the WORDS YOU CHOOSE, make all the difference.  Take responsibility for how you feel instead of blaming the other person. When Mark told me he was coming, my first thought was – Ugh, I’m busy and I don’t like when people assume they can stay at my place.  All victim and blame.  So I took a deep breath and took responsibility.  “Hey, I feel like I need space right now.”  What a world of difference it makes in how someone receives it!

2.  The truth is you can never control what anyone’s reaction will be.  For me, I surround myself with people who are conscious, empathetic, and don’t take things personally, and if they do, they communicate it well.  They’ll say something along the lines of, “I’m so bummed you can’t make it to my birthday dinner!” versus “I can’t believe you’re not going to come. That is so messed up.”

I’m writing this post because it’s getting easier for me to tell people when things bother me, and it makes me want to do my happy dance.  It’s liberating, and a huge confidence booster.

Being honest, taking responsibility, and having the courage to communicate what you need – It’s the only kind of relationship I choose to have in my life, and I’m thankful for the people who give it to me.

  • Lydia - April 15, 2015 - 10:18 am

    Thank you for this post. This is exactly what I’m in need of right now. Learning to consciously choose to have a good relationship and do right by the other person (and myself) by having the courage to communicate what I need. Thank you as always for sharing!

Ina + Tee

Hotel Costa Verde

Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

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Ina, aka Irena Ong, is an amazing stationary designer, not to mention my graphic designer who I love to bits!  I knew the invitations to her wedding would be off the heezy.

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They were having a private moment in the hallway.  From what I could read, they were thanking each other for their wedding gifts (a pocket watch for him, a Tiffany’s ring for her).  I love watching couples interact when no one else is around.

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You know a couple has been together a long time when you ask them to jump and they jump like this.  Mirrors.

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Was photographing the first dance and this little guy dropped in to say hi.  My second shooter got this photo because I would not go anywhere near it.

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I usually don’t post a lot of reception photos (sweaty dance pics, anyone?), but I will share a couple from Ina + Tee’s wedding because I always love the party vibe at destination weddings!

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Congrats Ina + Tee!

  • irena ong - April 6, 2015 - 10:41 am

    CC, words can’t even begin to describe what you managed to capture from our special day. I get emotional all over again when I look at the pictures. You somehow managed to capture every moment and emotion so vividly. I am so honored and blessed to know you and work with you! Pura Vida!

  • Nicole - April 6, 2015 - 10:59 am

    im teary just looking at how beautiful these shots are! =..)

  • Michael woodard - April 7, 2015 - 3:39 pm

    Great Pics!!! I’m so proud to be a part of there Union.

  • Charlie Walkrich - April 7, 2015 - 6:54 pm

    It’s always good to have a 2nd shooter, especially if you’re afraid of spiders! :) Great work! Indeed, every single detail was captured. I loved the image quality and the colors.

  • Jessica - April 8, 2015 - 12:50 pm

    Happiness oozes from these pics! Congrats to Irena and Tee! Awesome shots, cc :)

I was at a birthday party in Silverlake.  There was a guy with his station wagon parked in the driveway – he was a friend of the host.  The trunk of his car was full of things he was giving away, mostly artwork.

I picked up a kid’s painting and smiled at it.  I love kid paintings.

KidsPainting

“Can I have this one?”

“Sure.”

“What’s the story behind it?”

He hesitates, then chuckles.  “Now you’re making me feel like an asshole.  My niece made it for me years ago.”

I laughed. “Well I like it. I’ll take it.”

I saw him looking at the width of my shoulders.  He said, “Hold on, I might have something else for you.”  He went to the front seat of his car and got out a coat.

“Do you like it?  I think it’ll fit you.”

“Yeah I like it!”

I tried it on.  It hugged my body perfectly and I felt like a little Russian doll.

“Thanks!  I’ll take it.”

Later that afternoon, as we sung Happy Birthday to the host, I saw the guy across the room.  We locked eyes for a couple seconds.

LordoftheRings

The next couple weeks I thought about him a few times.  He was the kind of guy I dreamt of when I was younger – an artistic man who looked like he jumped straight out of Lord Of The Rings.

I remember loving that trilogy when it first came out 15 years ago.  While all the girls were swooning over Orlando Bloom as Legolas, I was infatuated with Viggo Mortensen as the King.  This guy was equivalent to the King.  MY King.  And I would be his Queen. ;)

My girlfriend invited me to a Christmas carol event the following weekend.  I chose to wear my new coat.  It felt appropriate for a Christmassy event.

As we watched the choir kids sing I reached into my pocket.  There was something wrapped in a piece of tissue.  I looked at it confused.  It was like when Kate Winslet looks at the Statue of Liberty at the end of Titanic and found the diamond necklace, except in this tissue was a piece of Rose Quartz.  For those who aren’t into the stone thing, Rose Quartz is the stone of cultivating love.

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A couple weeks later I was at my dining table flipping through Tinder.  Swipe left, swipe left, swipe left.  I stopped.  OMG.  This is the guy from the party!  I looked through his photos to make sure.  Yep, it’s him.  I swiped right.

It’s a match!, the App told me.

A few minutes later he sent a message.  It was an extremely thoughtful message that showed he looked through all my photos and took time to notice the little things.  I also adored his use of emojis.

He asked, “Is there anything else I should know about you?”

I smiled as I typed. “Yes. We’ve met before.”

There was a pause.  He said, “Did I give you a rad coat???”

“Yes!!!”

“I THOUGHT that was you!”

Our conversation continued and eventually we met up at one of his art shows.SausageNArtFor a few months we got to know each other and dated.  It was magical.  The more I got to know him, the more I realized that this was indeed the guy I dreamt about.  We had a wonderful time together.

On our second date I asked him why things didn’t work out with his last girlfriend whom he was with for a long time.  He said she decided she wanted a family and he wasn’t ready for it.  She ended up meeting someone else who wanted the same thing and started a new life.  I thought that was a very courageous move on her part – to let go of something you’ve built for 5 years (and someone you love) to make space for what your heart truly desires.

RoseQuartz

Things didn’t work out between me and the dreamy artist, as I will refer to him.  We were always great at communicating where we were at, and a few months in it came apparent that timing was off.  We lovingly agreed to remain friends.

The other morning I looked at the piece of Rose Quartz I had kept that was in the pocket of that coat (which I safely assume belonged to his ex-girlfriend).  I never told him about it.  It had been sitting on the shelf in my bathroom.

I brush my teeth and think back at how it came to me.

It was as if everything in the universe conspired, as if she made the special delivery – a gift being a piece of Rose Quartz that was hidden in the pocket of the coat, delivered to me so perfectly through him that one afternoon.

Still brushing my teeth, I reach for the stone and gave it a squeeze.  It reminds me to stay courageous and I feel it – I am well on my way~

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  • Ruby - April 1, 2015 - 10:54 am

    Hi Christine,

    This is such a beautiful piece. It’s so crazy how everything was aligned.
    I love how optimistic you are!

    Best of luck with everything! :)

  • Fayne - April 1, 2015 - 2:28 pm

    I thought I was reading a love story (well, partly it is), but the ending has a deeper meaning. The rose quartz brought you a message and you pass it along to me.

    I guess this entry in your blog is a special delivery from the universe telling me to have the courage to dive into what I love and leave the things that doesn’t make me happy. Particularly my full time job which I feel frustrated. For the longest time, I’m thinking of quitting and settle (for the mean time) to my part time job which is editing and lay outing wedding and engagement photo albums. I am the happiest when I edit couples’ photos. I love seeing happy people and to contribute to their happiness, I think is what makes me love the job more.

    Thank you Christine. ^-^

  • Keri Martin - April 4, 2015 - 1:58 pm

    This post is so beautiful. It made me feel all types of feels! Your posts are so wise and positive and an absolute pleasure to see and read. Bless your heart Christine :) Thank you!!

  • The girlfriend at the Christmas Carol event - April 8, 2015 - 12:56 pm

    Beautiful story. Beautiful perception of life. I love you, T.

Teresa & Mahyar are the kind of couple you want to put in your pocket and bring with you everywhere.  The first time they came over for their consultation I asked if they wanted something to drink.  I said, “I have water, coconut water, or beer.”  They didn’t hesitate and chose beer.  That’s when I knew we would be instant BFFs.

They picked UC Irvine to do their engagement session because that’s where they met (10 years ago!).  They knew the campus would be perfect for a photoshoot with tons of different architecture, texture, and of course, amazing light. :)

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Home of the Anteaters.

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Let it pour.

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They both said they miss school.  I definitely DO NOT.  The thought of finals … ack!!

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We were taking romantic photos with a lovely duck couple swimming in the fountain, when two male bully ducks flew in and tried to steal the female!  It was a really aggressive fight – like a duck gang bang!

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Looking forward to their Chinese/Persian wedding this summer!

  • Yogesh - March 26, 2015 - 10:25 pm

    Christine, I liked this set of photos. Unlike many other photographers in the domain, your work gives a sense of casualness and the fun part of a shoot. Looks like the picture were just taken without even letting the couple notice. Keep up the work!

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