Sherlyn Chew and Sigma 70-200mm HSM macro



Well as promise here is my entry explaining the background about this photo. One of my frequent models that I work with.

This shoot was called because her home village was being promoted as a tourist location in Penang, Malaysia.

** Note: I grab all this information from their website.

Some information about my village:
Today, Penang in 21st century, we have the Clan Jetties in Weld Quay that have physically survived, however, their social-cultural mechanisms have long been reconstituted. Among the remaining jetties, only the Chew Jetty continues to have any clan-related activity – the once a year annual worship of its Temple Deity and “Tee Kong” (God of Heaven or Sky-God ). The event take place on the 9th of Chinese New Year (Lunar Calendar) annually. This distinctive and grand event attracts throngs of people to Chew Jetty to enjoy lion dance and , dragon dances.. On that day, resident place the worship food on the long altar table for praying.


Chew Jetty, an old Chinese waterfront settlement, is the largest and most lively jetty at the end of Gat Lebuh Armenian. The Chews originated from the south-eastern coast of China – from Tung Aun District, Xiu Liu She Village, Quan Zhou Prefecture of Fujian Provice. They were maritime clan communities in China. Thus when they emigrated, they also built homes for themselves at the waterfront. The Chew Jetty settlement is the biggest of the lot, having grown from about 10 families back in the 20s to over 1,500 residents today.
Source: http://www.mychewjetty.com/

That pretty much sums up all about her home village. For those who may want to visit this location to do some photo shoot, I recommend going early in the morning as the sunrises up which gives wonderful lighting for the whole village so no need flash unless you really know what you are doing.

Also you can see the many people going about their daily routine, the fishermen going out to see as well as hauling back their catches. As mentioned this village still maintains the many cultural events they brought to Malaysia from China which can be very good opportunity for some great shots though you need to time your visit there just as the events take place.

The shot above was taken using my sigma 70-200mm f2.8 which a pretty good third party lens given its price to feature ratio when compared to Nikon’s as well as Canon’s own version. It has the speed of AF-S/USM which makes it pretty fast while the solid build shows it can take a beating. I’ll do a review about it once I fully understand how to use this baby!

That picture was taken with the subject facing slightly away from the sun at about 45 to 50 degree so as to create the soft shadows. There is another obvious reason why I did this, so that the subject could open her eyes up fully. When taking portraits of people, the eyes are the most important thing. Also if possible try to use an angle that creates good catchlight to her eyes.

You could probably add the catch like in Post but lets get it right from the minute you click the shutter and only use Post to bring it out and not artificially add it in. Also when taking such photos, always focus on the eyes only when close up, but you’re quite a distance away, just focus on the face should be enough. I’ve made mistakes where I even tried to focus on the eyes when I was so far that even maximum zoom focal length was able to get the whole body in the shot, this lead to a lot of frustrating shots.

Here is an example of what I mean, this was taken very far away at 200mm, when dealing with such situation, just focusing on the body or just the head is enough, don’t bother trying to get any closer just for the eye cause at this distance, it doesn’t matter if you have catchlight or not.

Also another thing about this shot is another mistake I made, the boat at the back. So learn here on how something in the background no matter how blurred out it is from Bokeh can really ruin a shot.

Here is another picture I felt turn out quite well. First the light is shining from behind her hair, and enough light is bouncing from behind me (no flash here as it would not give me the level of light diffusion I would need for this shot) just to light up her face. Though there is something you can learn here from this picture especially when you need ideas on model’s expression, its call “Pouting”.

“Pouting” , I notice a lot of models in magazines are always pouting, I think this work well because it helps give clear lines on the jaw which gives shape to the face.


Finally here is a classical example of using the “S” curve shape for human figures. I thought I give a shot at it. But sadly I again made a few mistakes on this photo namely

  1. I should have include more of her, the zinc roof behind I should not have included into the shot, so note next time when going for “legless” shots, to include everything except legs.
  2. Second I should have had her tuck her hands into her short pockets or at least have her hang her thumbs from them. Instead of just tangling them with no where to rest. It would have really help the shot.

Though this is not to say the shot sucks, the “S” curve trick here is good because it shows off her feminine figure along (this is why this pose is use very often in magazine and by catwalk fashion models).

So there you have it, a short review of some of the shot I really like and what worked for them and what didn’t. This is generally I think I feel I’ll be doing for these “photo reviews”.

Pleasant Dreams…..
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