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.

My bestie gave me a gift recently that I thought was too generous. She called me randomly and said, “Hey, I know you really want to do that thing you keep talking about, and I’m calling to tell you that it would make me really happy to do it for you.”  My immediate response was, “WHAT? No way Jess!.”

It’s a funny thing sometimes, when someone wants to do something nice for you.  A common response is, “I don’t deserve this,” which I think is the silliest thing EVER.  It’s such a simple concept but the epidemic (that people don’t think they deserve something) is way too common.

Jess & I.  Christmas 2009.

There is one and only one thing you have to do to have goodness (and what you want!) in this world.

THINK THAT YOU DESERVE IT.

Now I’m not talking about take, take, take, take, and take.  Thinking that you deserve something sets the tone for just about everything in your life.  It’s a reflection of your self-love.  If you are “stuck” in an unhappy job or relationship, chances are you think you deserve it.  On the contrary, if you think you deserve the best, you won’t settle for anything less!

I love my friends and “giving” has always been easy.  I do things for them because I like to but what is equally as important, is that I am learning to allow them to do things for me without feeling guilt, because it’s not guilt – it’s love.  I deserve it and I’m thankful for great friends who do nice things for me!

Being able to give is easy, but mastering the ability to receive with LOVE and GRATITUDE opens up a whole new world.

People often ask:  How do I attract the love of my life?  Customers?  Happiness?  Excitement?  Goodness?

Easy.  Think that you deserve it.  From there your energy and actions will be in tune with attracting (and allowing!) EXACTLY what you think you deserve, and you deserve the best.

  • Kelsey - August 30, 2012 - 12:05 pm

    Serious LOVEEEEEEEEEEEEEE on for this post! Girl you are such a huge inspiration! Love your work, love your vibe and mad respect for the epic awesomeness you beam into the collective consciousness by doing what you love and leading by example. My heart is very happy after reading your words and looking at your beautiful images!! xoxoxo

  • Kathy Romero - August 30, 2012 - 12:26 pm

    Love this!!! Allow goodness in
    Your life. Don’t question it!

  • Jess - September 4, 2012 - 12:44 pm

    I love you, Cc. Thank you for accepting my gift with love and excitement! You absolutely deserve it… but you already knew that!! :)

 

I met Mike at a corporate retreat a few years ago.  He and his wife Peggy flew me out to Ohio to take some family photos.  His Great Aunt and Uncle were celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary so the entire family was getting together.

I asked if there was anything specific he was looking for.  He said “Nope, just capture what you see.”  THIS. IS. MY. DREAM. JOB.

May I present . . . the Wigh/Epner Family!

Uncle Jim & Aunt Fran in front of their home.

Chatting about the drunken festivities the evening before.

This is Mike. :)

Mike’s dad Paul kept trying to take pictures of me.  Not if I beat you to it!!!

Uncle Jim’s chair.

He was talking about farts.  Ha!

The basement workshop, where Uncle Jim spends a lot of time making crafts and doing other fun stuff.

Aunt Fran & Uncle Jim’s 70th Anniversary Party!  I still can’t get over it.

Their original wedding attire from 1942.  I won’t lie, I wanted to try the dress on!

The party was a great opportunity to see old friends.

During the slideshow.  I was in tears too!  70 years worth of memories.

Cake cutting. :)

Ron & Francy’s home, where the family usually congregates for festivities.

I love the dynamic of homes when the door is always unlocked, and there are always people coming and going.

Ron & Francy preparing some yummyness.

In the garden.  They’re favorite spot.

Uncle Jim watching a corn hole match.  This family takes corn hole VERY seriously.

Paul would bust out his accordion every opportunity he got!

Big smiles are hereditary in this family. :)

Sisters.  Can you tell? :)

I went to hang out at Carol’s home the next morning.  Someone came for a visit!

Lunch at Al’s Corner Restaurant.  Authentic Hungarian food.  SO GOOD.

Uncle Jim aka John G. Wigh, served in the army during Battle of the Bulge, WWII.  21st tank battalion, 1945.

This is what I think family pictures should be –  Timeless.  Real.  Capturing those in between moments.

The Wigh and Epners have already said that it’s ok for me to come back for Christmas.  Not to take pictures, but apparently I’m “in” with family now.  I can be like their adopted kid from China . . . except I’m from San Francisco.

If anyone else likes, I’d be happy to spend a couple days with YOUR family.  This is truly my dream job.

  • Marianne Bush - August 29, 2012 - 11:15 am

    What a wonderful collection, Christine. Made me smile too.

  • Marilyn Kovacs - August 29, 2012 - 12:47 pm

    Christine,
    Your pictures captured the family beautifully – I know you took more pictures than were shown on this website but this was truly amazing!

    Please come back for some hungarian sausage at Christmas time – we’d love to have you!

    Thanks for the memories!
    Marilyn Kovacs

  • Peggy Epner - August 29, 2012 - 3:21 pm

    Christine, these are really wonderful. It was so special having you there for this.

  • Teri - August 29, 2012 - 10:25 pm

    I don’t even know them and I seriously got teary eyed, too

  • yam - September 2, 2012 - 11:49 pm

    i love it how you capture those moments very simple but interesting. i love your talent.i’m your no.1 fan here in palawan,philippines.

  • Grace - November 8, 2012 - 10:27 pm

    I would love for you to hang out with my friends and family and take beautiful photos for us too. You’d fit in with us – we’re mostly Korean, so we may look similar. 😉 Haha.

  • […] – Witnessing what it’s like to be married for 70 years.  70 years!!!!  I flew to Barberton, Ohio to photograph the 70th anniversary party of Jim and Fran Wigh.  They ended up making family albums using my photos for Christmas presents this year!  More pictures that I took of their family here. […]

If I could go back and tell the child version of myself one thing, it would be “Hey, there is NOTHING to be afraid of.”

As a kid, I was super shy.  Shyness is the fear of expressing oneself and the fear is that the attention may take the form of disapproval or criticism.  The fact that I was shy alone made me feel further embarrassed.

When I would go to Disneyland with my cousins, they would all go on Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion, and my mom would have to wait outside with me because I was too afraid.  And roller coasters?  Forget about it.  I didn’t ride roller coasters until I was 16.

I had a chance to snorkel at one of the most amazing places to snorkel when I was 7 – the Great Barrier Reef.  I dunked my head under the water for about 5 seconds and decided it was too scary – I might get salt water up my nose or even worse, a big shark might swim by.

Things really changed for me sometime during college.  I realized how shackled I felt and decided to live this beautiful gift called LIFE!  I went skydiving and have gone multiple times since (SO fun!).  I went scuba diving back at the same place I refused to snorkel 15 years prior.  I hopped on a plane to move to NYC after I graduated with no plans.  I started singing Karaoke like nobody’s business.  I went to the scariest of haunted houses – Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios (no laughing, that shit is scary!).

What I’ve learned? Fear is all in the mind.  Completely made up by YOU.  Sure the emotion comes up, but it is a waste of time to live your life according to it.

Nothing is scary unless you make it so.  Roller coasters don’t have to be scary; they can be fun-scary.  A scary movie might make you jump, but it’s not real.  A Great White shark might swim by as you’re scuba diving, but you have a better chance of winning the lottery than getting attacked by one.  Life is unpredictable but 99.9% of the things that you think might happen, never end up happening.

When you’re scared of something, it’s all more reason to do it.  Overcome that pointless thought.

An exercise:

1. List your fears.
2. Next to them, list what you think is going to happen that makes it so scary.
3. Ask yourself – Is it true?
4. Ask yourself – Is creating anxiety about it worth it?
5. Ask yourself – Is not taking action because of it worth it?

Hey everybody!  Here are the answers to last Friday’s Facebook Q&A.  There will be an open Q&A on Facebook every Friday.  Stay tuned for the time!

Hope everyone had a great weekend!  I had a great one and to top it off, I got some hazelnut ice cream yesterday at Pazzo Gelato.  Nom!

– Nick N.: How do you store/backup your photos?

I have a 2TB external hard drive and I also back up my photos to DropBox.  It’s important to have a copy of your files off-site.

– Manelle R: How did you start getting into charging people for your service?

I asked. :)

– Maisoue Y: What do you tend to prefer when shooting outdoors…Natural lighting or have lights? And why?

I prefer natural light because it’s softer and more organic.  I only use flash when it’s really dark.

– Amy M: How would you recommend advertising and establishing your business?

Besides a website, set up a blog, a Facebook account, a Twitter account, and an account with as many social media sites as you can.  Get reviews on Yelp.  When I first started I got a lot of work through Yelp.  I also offered my services on Craigslist.

The awesome thing about wedding photography is that you don’t have to spend a dime on advertising.  Word of mouth, blogging, and social media have been the best forms of advertising for me.  Photography is a very personal thing and people like referrals.

– Lam D.: Will you take an intern from norcal?

Are you planning to move to LA?  Shoot me an email!

– Sophia L: What does the photographer wear to a wedding?

Floor length white dress . . . with lots of beads!

All black or something that makes you blend in.  One time I wore a striped sweater that I thought was subtle, but later I saw the wedding video and it definitely was not!  Stick to solids.  I usually wear formal black pants and a black top.  Closed toe comfy shoes.  No sneakers.  If it’s really hot then I’ll wear a jumper or black dress with yoga shorts underneath (in case I need to climb on something).

-Marsha C.: Where did you get your logo stamp made at?

www.rubberstamps.net

– Claudia T.: What do you think about focus and recompose?

I think it’s a great trick but I rarely use it.  The only time is when my autofocus is having trouble focusing where I want it to!

– Jamie G.: What is your favorite attraction at Disneyland & California Adventure?  Why?

Disneyland – Pirates of the Caribbean.  Built in 1967 – It’s a classic!

California Adventure – Toy Story Midway Mania.  I am highly competitive when it comes to this game.  This ride isn’t fun, it’s SERIOUS.  Anyone want to play me? :)

– Makbule K.: What are the most common mistakes of a beginner photographer?

When I first started, the mistakes I made were based on a lack of technical skill.  Know how to use your camera and be comfortable using it 100%.  Also, communicate well with your clients.  Make sure they know what’s on your mind and vice versa.

– Makbule K.: How do you add your logo to the photos?

I use a plug-in for Adobe LightRoom called Mogrify.  You can also easily add borders to your photos with this program.  It’s awesome!

– Aysha G.: What tips do you have for nailing focus?

I use autofocus 99% of the time.  Choose your focus point and your camera does the work.  I only use manual when the autofocus is having trouble focusing (maybe 1% of the time).

– Lori T.: If you could only photograph one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be??

My muse Caroline.  She’s vibrant, loves life, and I love her (my camera loves her too)!

– Shyrell T.: It’s been very hard to get the right photos from the 50mm. Do you have any secrets to share to nail great portraits with this lens?

I don’t think there is such thing as a “right” photo!  It could be possible that the 50 is not the ideal lens for you.  Everyone is different.  I have some photographer friends who prefer the 24-70mm or 85mm for a portrait lens.  Try renting those and see what you think!

– Olivia T.: Do you or have you ever been ‘starstruck’ when shooting celebrities?!

Not when photographing them.  I have been starstruck though…by Neil Patrick Harris (love him!), Keanu Reeves, and Jeremy Piven.  It’s always when you randomly bump into them!

– Steven A.: How did you develop a reputation for your wedding photography? As in like word of mouth or advertisements or location maybe?

It took some time.  Word of mouth snowballed after a couple years, and things really started to get going when I began blogging.

– Lily L.: Any tips for communication with your client?

Be yourself.  I know it sounds so cliché but few people do it when they conduct their business.  My mom advises me to never swear when I do anything related to work but honestly (sorry mom), it’s likely that I’ll drop an f-bomb here and there.  It’s me and I don’t want to pretend to be someone else in order to attract others.  If you are authentic, you will attract the clients that you want.  Life will be good for all.  For those who don’t like what you like to offer, let them think what they want to think.  They aren’t your clients! :)

– Eliza C.: I noticed your photo style tends to lend more towards the lighter side (such as cold tones). I was wondering why colder tones?

In recent years I have added more yellow because I like the feel of a warm photo.  It really depends on the particular photo.  I wouldn’t make a picture of snow have warmer tones.  There is not much technicality behind it (for me) and I don’t have a specific reason as to why I edit the photos the way I do.  I do whatever feels right.

On a side note, my computer screen is calibrated using the Spyder 3.  It’s important for people who work with graphics to calibrate their screen so that the color they see on the screen is the true color that will be printed.  Computer companies tend to set the default screen color with much more blue, so if my pictures are being viewed on a screen that has not been calibrated, chances are they look more blue.

If you are a working photographer, make sure to calibrate your screen!  Otherwise your clients might get a fun surprise when they go to print their photos.

– Chris N.: Do you use preset actions when editing? If so, which ones?

There are two presets that I occasionally use from Jules Bianchi – vintage bright and vintage dull, both which have been adjusted to suit my style.

If you purchase presets, make sure to adjust them so that they fit your style!  Everyone shoots differently so the same preset will look different on different photos.

– Deirdre G.: What equipment/programs/knowledge do you recommend obtaining before launching a lifestyle, wedding/event photography business?

Equipment: You can have any type of camera!  There are some people who are paid to shoot wedding with their iPhones!  When I first started I used the Canon Rebel with a 50mm1.8 lens.  Whatever gear you have, I just suggest having back up.  A lot of photographers have only one camera body.  What if it stops working and you are in the middle of a job?  Save up for a second body before getting that next lens.

Programs: Adobe LightRoom makes editing large quantities of photos much easier.  I don’t know what I would do without it!

Knowledge: Know how to use your camera. That is first and foremost.  One time I second shot for an event photographer and he said too many of my photos were blurry.  I lacked skill and didn’t feel completely comfortable using my camera!

Get experience second shooting.  That is the best way to learn and get acclimated to shooting weddings and events.  A lot of unpredictable things can happen and you have to learn to adapt, fast!

  • Olivia T - August 28, 2012 - 5:39 pm

    Thanks so much for answering my question! I am so happy I found your Facebook page, I find it very inspiring!

When I don’t have my SLR with me, I enjoy using my iPhone to take pictures.  Here are some from my trip to the Dominican Republic last week.

Turquoise water, white sand.  Heaven.

Supa star.  Don’t worry, I put him back into the water quickly!

Catamaran-ing.

Little did we know that we signed up for a booze cruise!

Nom.

Circular rainbow aka Solar Halo!

Macao Beach.

Friendliest cat I’ve ever met.

Dogs always look so comfy.  They know how to live.

Yummy.

Maria cooking some oxtail soup.

I should have slept here.  I got destroyed by the mosquitos!

Colors.

Horseback Riding.

All photos edited with the Camera+ App.  Except the first one.  That one is Instagram.

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