Gabriel Aiden — Local Photographer, Who?
by Wei Ying November 27, 2021
Let’s cut to the chase. Gabriel is just another local photographer.
He has what you could call a cookie-cutter photographer’s profile. Has a penchant for indie fashion? Check. Charismatic, dreamy, and incredibly likeable? Check, check and check. And of course, how can one forget the “typical” upload of pictures from a film camera onto one’s Instagram feed?
This short assessment of him has you classifying him as a hipster wannabe, thinking that you have him all figured out. I see you hating on him a little for it.
But might it stem from a place of jealousy? Find me someone that would not like to have the ability to capture captivating photos effortlessly. Plus, being a photographer makes a pretty good chick magnet. For those that do not own dogs, you might want to take notes.
As much as Gabriel might be painfully similar to other local photographers out there, he has so much to bring to the table, and we mean it.
So, here is the story of Gabriel, just another photographer in Singapore.
“1,200 events and 30 weddings.”
A shot from a wedding shoot done by Gabriel
At the young age of 14, when many of us were probably thinking about what to spend our red packet money on, Gabriel thought differently.
Instead, he saved all that cash, bought a somewhat faulty Canon 400D camera on Clubsnap, and started teaching himself the ways of photography. Eventually, he landed his first professional gig at 17 and has never looked back.
When there is passion and desire for creativity, the result is photographing 1200 events and 30 weddings over the last 10 years.
In a true hustler fashion, Gabriel was hungry for more.
As if his many photography gigs do not keep him busy enough, Gabriel wanted to pursue a career on the side that would provide him with more stability. Hence, he currently works at The Hustle. But get this, he is undergoing training to acquire his Advanced Certificate in Training and Assessment (ACTA) simultaneously to become a certified trainer.
Why? — “The human face is always intriguing to photograph.”
When asked why he does what he does, Gabriel’s almost immediate reply was confident and thought-provoking.
“I enjoy photographing people and faces because the human face is intriguing. There are so many different types of expressions that people are capable of showing.”
Portrait shot by Gabriel
“I look so awkward in this picture!” No doubt, many of us can relate to this exclamation, but have you ever asked yourself why is it that we had acted so very awkwardly?
Gabriel sheds some light on this and explains that portraits are collaborations between the photographer and the subject. Hence, the way one looks and behaves in front of the camera is dependent on how comfortable one is with the photographer.
So, here are some tips for aspiring photographers.
#1: Get comfortable.
Before photographing your subject, grab a coffee, a beer, or even a shot of tequila first!
Take your time and get to know one another. So when it is crunch time, you would no longer be a stranger to your subject. Thus, your subject can loosen up and be his most natural self in front of your lens.
Remember to grab a drink or two with your subject first!
#2: Think experience first, money second.
Whoever said family and friends are your everything, well they are right. If you are starting out, gaining experience and building your portfolio should be your main priority.
Be your family and friends’ favourite event photographer! Gather as much footage as possible to build your desired portfolio.
Gabriel started off photographing chalet parties for his friends at no charge at all, as he wanted to get rid of some social anxiety and gain more experience. You might not know this yet, but photographing strangers might be more nerve-racking than you think!
Family portrait by Gabriel
#3: Always be honest with yourself.
When in business, dissatisfied customers are bound to arise. If your clients demand a reshoot because they are unhappy with the results, ask yourself this before deciding your next course of action — “Will you pay the same amount of money if you were to receive the same work?” If your answer is,
Yes — Explain and rationalise with your clients, try to get them to see your point of view. As adults, kind words and compromises are your solutions to disagreements. Remember that they are not your enemy but a partner in your photography project.
No — If you have come to this conclusion, kudos to you for being honest with yourself! Honesty is an essential trait that all worthy photographers should possess.
How? — “Try to explore all genres of photography and you will find your niche.”
Perhaps you are at a juncture where you are still toying around with the idea of getting into a side hustle with photography or just getting into photography seriously. In this case, you certainly do not want to commit to buying a DSLR camera just yet, for they can be pretty costly.
Lucky for you, with a built-in camera or cameras (this is a thing now) on your smartphones, you can now snap quality pictures without even breaking a sweat!
Let’s be honest with ourselves here. Do you know all the functions that your phone’s cameras have to offer? Furthermore, are you equipped with the knowledge, skills, and techniques to start your mobile photography journey?
If the above is a little hazy for you, our mobile photography workshop would get you acquainted right away. With 10 years of experience, we hope that these tips sworn by Gabriel will guide you in paving your way into the photography industry be it for your main or side hustle.
Just remember that if you snooze, you lose. So, take control and start your journey now.
The Hustle SG is a one-stop platform that champions the side hustle culture while offering skills-based workshops as we believe that upskilling is necessary to remain relevant.