Thursday, 31 January 2013

It's always the unexpected one.

Have you had that moment before? Where its always the unexpected ones that wins. I'm sure all of us have had that moment before. Here's one that happened recently (yesterday to be exact)  and it has something to do with the image below. What is it? This shot got the highest vote of the day and won the photo of the day award at Pixoto. Yeay me!! Well, its nothing big, its not like I won a Grammy or some big photography award but being a new kid on the block, this is quite encouraging. 

Retired by Nizam Muhamad - People Portraits of Men Stock Photos on PixotoI was actually hoping for one of my other uploads to be the one that receives the attentions from the voters. Its not that I think this one is not good, I love this shot but just didn't think this one is actually the better one. Lesson learned; just because you think its not a good shot, doesn't mean that everyone else will think the same. Our judgement on our own work can sometimes be clouded by the attachments that we have towards our work (our feelings and all). So its good to have opinions from other people as well =) Just "My Two Cents"

Thanks for reading. Follow me on Twitter ; @NizamMuhamad123

LIKE and SHARE! Follow too!
wedding couple picture before dramatic 


Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Adding Drama to Your Photos.

I have always been amazed on how you can turn a simple, flat looking photo into something very dramatic through editing. I'm still new in photography, I just bought my first DSLR few months back and I remember when I was just starting out, browsing some portraits on the web, I was really impressed at how some of the images looked. I really thought that that was straight out from the camera and if there were an editing involved, I thought it was just a little retouching. Little that I knew that it needed a fairly extensive editing work. After my first few hundred shots, I still couldn't figure out how in the blue heck do i get that look? I played with the settings, retouched and edited and still couldn't get it. Then I decided to go for a journey into the never ending world of "The World Wide Web" for a quest.

Here are two shots from one of my wedding jobs. These are straight out of the camera, with no editing. They look flat don't they?

wedding couple picture before dramatic editing

wedding couple picture before dramatic editing

These next set are after editing. Well these are my shot at the silver look + drama edit. See the differences.

wedding couple picture after dramatic editing

So how do we get that effect? Upon returning from my journey, after slaying a few dragons, had a fight with a dwarf, a witch tried to turn me into a Human Tom Yam and lost for 3 days in a mysterious jungle, this is what I've learned. One word; EXAGGERATION. This is how I got that look. Lift up the highlights, darken the shadows, smoothen the skin and even blur out the blurred. The result is as shown above and I personally like how the second image (The one on the bottom in the edited set) look!! Well, as fun as all these may sound, one thing we should always remember is; we should know when to stop. Not to over edit.

So where did I learn to edit like this? These 2 videos really helped. It doesn't tell exactly how to get that look but I know these are the methods used. I'm pretty sure of it because I used it.

Do try it out!! Enjoy =)

Thanks for reading. Follow me on Twitter ; @NizamMuhamad123

LIKE and SHARE! Follow too!
wedding couple picture before dramatic editing

Sunday, 27 January 2013

How writing helps you have better view on things. Part I

This posts title is currently the longest of all my posts. Well, lets hope it will stay that way. Long tittle aren't that attractive, yeah? So todays post, probably this has been talked about many times before by some other people but I want to talk about it anyway and I got a feeling that I'm going to talk about this more in the future so this will  be Part 1. Here goes... How does writing helps? Does it really help? Well, personally I think it does help. Writing down our thoughts and reading them actually helps us in seeing it in a different perspective. In my blog header, I mentioned that blogging helps me understand my thoughts by seeing it from a third person's view. Well, that's one perspective but what is seeing our thoughts in a third person's view? How does that help? So this will be the mumbling for this post. I'll try my best not to sound like a boring lecture about the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist. Do you know the differences? I don't either. Lets Google that after we finish reading this post.

Keep Calm and Blog meme

So seeing our thoughts in a third persons view. Lets say we're in a lecture; there will always be a talker and a listener, obvious enough. Guess who is the lecturer, its us! Now imagine we recorded that lecture. We bring  that recording back home and put it on our laptop and..... Viola! We see ourself, our lecture from a third persons view. Similar to writing, we are seeing our thoughts. We look the words we used, our sentence construction and the format of our explanation and from all that, we can see how deeply we understand a topic or even how much that we don't know (Or in my case; I realized how poor my vocabulary is). Its different with when we are actually saying it because when we do that, we tend to be a bit oblivious. When we talk, we don't listen to ourself. Instead we are busy focusing on our mind about pulling out that thoughts or expressing our feelings and there's always that feeling of wanting to be right the whole time. Hence how "do you even listen to yourself ?!!" came about. If we were to have that opportunity to look at ourself talking, I believe we would be embarrassed to ourself. Its like that feeling of sudden realization when we were reminiscing a funny moment from our past, we realized how amazingly stupid we were!! So instead, lets us have that realization now through writing.

So when we write, other than understanding our thoughts more, writing also makes us understand the topic  more. As we write, we are not only "talking" but we are also, in a way, listening to ourself talking (writing). So that means we will always keep checking what we are writing, reconstruct our sentence as necessary as we keep trying to explain our topic in a proper manner. Explaining it with the right tones, flow and with the correct words to say it the way we want people to understand it. Just "My Two Cents"

Nizam Muhamad closed eyes while listening to music with a audio technica headphone

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Accepting That Your Photos Sucks!

Here I am, talking to myself again. Here goes..

Well to me at least, one of the hardest lesson I had to learn when I was starting out in photography is; accepting that my photos sucks! Especially the first thousand. Don't you think? Come on, our first thousand shots do sucks. They're not even worth saving into our hard drive and the hard part of knowing that they sucks is, you don't know why they sucks! That's a double whammy! Being new in photography, we are excited about our new camera, our lens and we finally can see what does all that photography jargons means and since now, we're a photographer (self proclaimed because now we own a DSLR), we can proudly use those jargons too. Then we just can't wait for that moment where we use it in a conversation and our listeners don't know what they mean. And then we proudly explain it using even more photography jargons that they wouldn't understand.

Now back to the topic, accepting that our photos sucks. Why is it hard? As a newbie, it's hard because its our first time catching a moment. We know we can never get that opportunity again. Once a moment is gone, its gone! Then we blew it by taking a bad shot of it. What happens next? Then we try to fix it, crop, adjust the exposure and the most famous newbie fixer is; we keep telling ourself that this its a good shot, its workable and not accepting that its just unusable (You do that? We all did, yeah? Well, i did). Especially if its a blur shot or you focuses wrong (eg: the wanted subject is not in focus). Like I said earlier, its hard for us to accept it and its not just because that the moment is gone but its also because we're afraid that we wont get another opportunity for a great moment again. Here's something I've learn from accepting my bad shots; the better we accept our bad shots, the better we learn on getting some great ones!! I believe this is true not just for newbies but for experienced photographers as well, just at a different scale.

So here I am reminding myself and sharing it with all of you that the better you get in photography, you'll see that its okay that you have a few bad shots. The better you get in photography, a lot more great moments will come to you. This is because you'll see more as you grow. There will be a lot of great composition ideas pouring in your head and you'll be able to predict a moment that is about to happen. The better you get, more great moments will come. Mistakes are also made by those people who have been in photography for years (They just don't do it as often as a new aspired photographer) and guess what? They do still have to go through the process of accepting that some of their photos sucks. Just "My Two Cents"

Friday, 18 January 2013

Don't Try To Be Better, Be Different

Chase Jarvis
Again, browsing and browsing looking for photography tutorials and tips. My findings? After a few videos and articles, I found this one tip that I find unique, not many people say it. Most tips out there focus more on the technical stuff and repetitions of all these rules in compositions like the Rule of Thirds, Rules of Odds, Leading Lines, Patterns. It's all over the net. Don't get me wrong, these are important. These are the basics that every photographer should understand well. Some explain it better than the other with better examples and a more interesting way of explaining but it's getting tiring. Now, what is that tip I was talking about? It's from this super cool photographer on the left. I hope you recognize him and I hope you are familiar with his work. His web

Travis Barker

As +Chase Jarvis say it, many times "Don't try to be better, be different." I find this is so true! This is especially true in the art world but this is also true to many other endevours. For example, lets zoom out a bit further from arts and what can we see? We can see that being success have a lot to do with, apart from hard working, is being different. This is how we differentiate our self from others. This is true in business, marketing and dictatorship. +Nirvana+Maralyn Monroe+Yunalis Mat Zara'ai, +Incubus+Rage Against The Machine+Wes Borland+Tom Morello: The Nightwatchman, +Travis Barker , +Michael Jackson+Apple Inc+Star Wars. What do they have in common? They do it differently. It don't have to be a lot but just enough that people notice it, recognize it as something unique that is you. Produce something that when people see something similar to it, your work will pop up in their head. Easier said than done, I know. Lets start by just be aspired to be different, shall we? That time when you found your niche, your own style, that time will come. I believe if we just keep producing, exploring and trying things, we'll get there. These work we did along the way, itself tells a story and they can be one of your masterpiece as well. Of course success do come from being better than someone else but the impact you can make from it, how long will it last? That will only last until someone  else does it better and what happens to you? You'll just fades away and no one remembers what you did. Don't that just sucks!! Lets break away from that, avoid being one of the norm. I believe everyone is unique, it's just about finding whats your niche.

Yunalis Mat Zara'ai
In whatever that we do, what do we really want to achieve from it? Yes we made goals and we need to conquer that, we have objectives that we want to successfully complete but other than that, deep inside we want to be recognize by our work. We want to inspire others. We also want our work to have a lasting impact. Personally, I think there is no other way to do it better than to do something differently. How do we do that? Be different by looking at others as references and find your own style. Lets be ourself. Be you. And again, this may be hard, this takes time and a lot of trying things, a lot of doing mistakes. Be patience, it's a process. Once we found it, we're there and we've produced something that is unique to us; there's no other satisfaction that can compare to that. We can tell it when we've found it. We become obsess with it and ideas just come pouring in our head. Have you ever felt that? Once we found our own style than what's left is just showcasing it to the world and success and recognition will come knocking on our doorstep. Well I know, showcasing yourself is a different topic altogether but you have got to have that craft first, create an identity for that craft that's you. I'm saying this to myself and sharing it with all of you. "My Two Cents"

Thanks for reading. Follow me on Twitter ; @NizamMuhamad123

LIKE and SHARE! Follow too!


Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Simplicity in Your Craft

So here I am, browsing the world wide web looking for more lessons and tips in photography. After a few videos and articles, there's one thing that keep being said again and again. That is; simplify your craft. Why do most artists stress this so much? From my  point of view, most great artwork, may it be photography, music or short films, the ones that have simplicity in its appearance is a lot easier for people to interpret and understand. The simplicity in the arts makes it easier for it to be appreciated. Appreciation. If it's an art, it needs to be appreciated. What's an art if people don't know how to appreciate it? Simplify your craft so people won't need a degree in arts to understand what's going on in the picture. Let me say it again, simplicity and its simplicity in its appearance. The process to make it can be as complicated as a space satellite designed to orbit Jupiter but what matter is the result. Unfortunately, people will always judge you from the results you produce. Then only they will look at what you did to produce it.

The short film above to me is a great example. This video kept popping up in my head everytime when I'm thinking of simplicity in your craft. Most of you may have already watched this video, it's a very popular video. If you haven't, where have you been???!! The movie has a very deep story to it and lets just look at how they tell it. Beautifully told. It's a very simple way of story telling and it works perfectly with the story. It's a story of a long distance relationship in a complicated situation. That does sound like a complex story but again, it's the simplicity in the appearance. There's not much talking going on in the movie either. Love it!! Again this is just "My Two Cents". Enjoy the video.

Everytime when I watch this video, I just couldn't watch it until the end. I just don't have the heart for it. I think I've only watch it full twice. Couldn't do it..................................... and still just couldn't do it.

p/s: make sure to have tissue papers ready.

Thanks for reading. Follow me on Twitter ; @NizamMuhamad123

Monday, 14 January 2013

Beauty in Unity

Beauty is often times can only be seen from something visual like arts or nature. This is because those are the obvious ones and what I mean by obvious is; something that is easily understand or translated visually from a good photography or video work. It's all about how the creative mind would want to show it; from what perspective or in what form and how they are being presented. Personally, I always find beauty in arts if it shows something deeply related to us. Something that most of us know about, something as complicated as our feeling or a thought or even an opinion. May it be good or bad. Unfortunately, it's hard to see the beauty in all these until it is presented in a creative way and that has always been the challenge. Explaining something that is so deep and so complicated through visual representation.

What I want to bring from my ranting about beauty in art is; this video. It's a video about humanity, unity to be more specific and the beauty of it. What really amazed me is that, other than the deep story in this video but also the simplicity in how it is presented. Beauty in arts is not just about how it is presented but the beauty can also come from the story it brings. "My Two Cents"

Enjoy the video!!

Thanks for reading. Follow me on Twitter ; @NizamMuhamad123

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Learning & Opportunity

If you want to be the best, you have to learn from the best. True that! This applies to everything that you do; photography, arts, businesses, cooking and even if you just learning how to drive. And there's two ways to do that; read the prints they produce or work with them. Of course it's always better if you could actually work with them and get a hands on experience but not all of us have that opportunity. Finding an opportunity could be something very challenging. For some, they see this as a disadvantage. In a way that might be true so what do we do? We go to the next best thing. And that is; don't worry too much about what opportunity is brought in front of you because what really matter is; what you're doing with that opportunity. Always make best of what you have. Embrace that and you can create your own opportunity.

We've seen it in movies, people have wrote about it; in books and articles and history have shown it. Rappers have talk about it in their music, most of them have even lived it. What am i talking about? People raising to success and they start from the very bottom with nothing more than determination and a goal in mind. In movies, superhero movies, they adopt that same story; Batman, Captain America, Superman and my all time favorite superhero, Ironman!! =) Ok, using superheroes from movies as examples may not be very relevant (and also immature) and may be a bit extreme but what I really want to point out is what they have in common and that is; what did they do with that opportunity brought in front of them. All of these heroes had reached to that point or started there, where they were so low, trapped and so hopeless that it seems like there's no hope. Then what happen? The moment an opportunity fell in front of them, no matter how small or how impossible it seems like that they would succeed, they kept their perseverance. They do what they had to and just kept going regardless of what obstacles came upon them. They were determined to make a different. It's what you do that matters!!


Now here's a plus, it's much more entertaining for most of us to watch these movies than reading an article or a documentary. =P

So back to learning. You can actually learn from both The Best and the "not so" The Best. It is as important to learn from those underdogs as it is to learn from the very best. Just learning what the top peoples are doing without knowing what the people at the bottom should've done or doing wrong, you can't really appreciate what you are getting. You wont really understand those knowledge you've learned. Learn from mistakes. Not just yours but mistakes from others as well. Opportunity is second. As an example; you are a photographer and  to your fortune, you got that amazing opportunity to work with an amazing artist but if you don't know how to appreciate that, you're not learning as much. Learning how to appreciate is important too, may be the most important thing in learning. "My Two Cents"

Thanks for reading. Follow me on Twitter @NizamMuhamad123

Sunday, 6 January 2013

The first of "My Two Cents"

Hi, I'm Nizam Muhamad and the picture you see above; that's me. That is probably the coolest photo of me that I have currently hence it being the photo chosen for this first blog =P. For those who can already guess what this post might be about, a round of applause to you. Bravo!! Yup, it will be about me. This is probably the most boring and obvious choice for a first post but I'm doing it anyway. All of us have been practicing writing about our self in school haven't we? It's the title your English teacher would give during the first class in school. Every year! *Sigh* Now, before I start ranting about myself, I'll let you know currently I have and Blog for dummies ready on another tab. FYI, this is my first time writing a blog so here goes...

I'm from Malaysia, born and raised in Selangor. I'm a Muslim, a son, a brother and.............. SINGLE!! (at the moment, at least) and also a photographer. I LOVE ARTS. Have always love arts, any kinds and in any forms but the art form that I am currently involve in; yup, it's photography and photo-manipulation.  I shoot weddings, mostly. I have a FB fan page so check it out =) Nizam Muhamad Photography. I'm still new and currently (as of the date this blog is posted) the page is still under construction. I will post my work here as well so do follow me for that.Well, some of you may start thinking that I'm blogging to help promote my page. I wont lie to you, that's ONE of the reasons BUT the main reason is; blogging helps me keep my head straight. Why? It helps you see yourself thinking. You know what's going on in your head, seeing it from a third person's view. It's Totally Rad, you should try it. We definitely going to talk about blogging more on my later posts. This post is about ME.

UniKL MIAT Hangar
MIAT, Dengkil.
I'm a graduate from UniKL MIAT with a Bachelor in Aircraft Engineering Technology. It's a small university in a small "Cowboy Town" (as we'd like to call it) in Dengkil. If you look at the google map picture above; it's in the middle of nowhere!! It's one of those places where aliens decides to crash their UFOs. Have you ever heard a UFO crashes in a city?? NO!! Not even in movies. And the picture on top of it, is a snapshot of the hangar that they have. During my study there, that huge hot oven is where I did most of my practical training and it is freaking hot but it was totally FUN! It was worth the sweat. The bachelors program was a 4 years program and I just graduated a few months back but unfortunately, I am still unemployed. Getting a job is a lot harder than I thought. So what am I doing now? Other than applying for jobs here and there, I'm doing freelance photography. To be honest, I was surprise about how much I got drawn into the photography world. I believe the reason for that is that photography has a bigger community as to compared to what I did before; photo illustrations. I guess from this post you can tell what my future blog is gong to be about. Of course one of it is photography, I believe I will also talk about what I learn in the process of my exploring this photography world, not just photography. I will talk about what I learn from life experience as well as doing photography does open up your eyes and mind a bit more. After framing for thousands of picture through your camera, it makes you look at the things around you a bit more differently, with a bit more detail.

I think this post is long enough, I will make this posts short and sweet. So that's it for my fist blog =) I'll share more about myself and what's going on in my head more, later on. A too long blog posts are boring, don't you think? I will be retouching my blog too from time to time. Well, this has been "My 2 Cents".

Nizam Muhamad.