A glowy warm sunset !

I first met Jessie and Tiong Lei in June for their casual Pre-wedding shoot in Fort Canning. We corresponded numerously via text prior to the shoot. And that is something I do with all my client to make sure I understand their preference correctly so I can plan the photoshoot to fulfil their desires as best as possible.

Jessie emphasised to me that they really hope to capture a golden sunset vibe in Fort Canning and so I planned our route to start at Clarke Quay and end at the peak of Fort Canning Park before the ephemeral sunset ends.

Golden sunset?

Pretty much everyone loves the golden hour and glowy sunsets - honestly who wouldn't?! They are so beautiful and out of this world. They are almost like a farewell gift from mother nature serenading us with a romantic "Adios" for the day and "see you tomorrow" !

The problem though, is a orange sunset is never guaranteed. Sometimes there isn't any at all. Other times, you just happen to be on the wrong side of the island and all you see is the blue skies getting darker. Which is why scouting the location beforehand is so helpful. Because you need to plan to be at the right place, at the right time to even stand a chance of capturing the glow.

Prepared Photographer

Which is what I did prior to the shoot. I scouted the location and the entire path to make sure I'm getting us to where we need to be in the most efficient way possible and hit the nice, scenic spots that are portrait friendly. As a client, you might not know the difference between a prepared photographer from an unprepared one. But I assure you if the photographer is prepared and knows exactly what to do and where to bring you, you will enjoy the photoshoot session a lot more.

And what does "Portrait friendly" mean you ask? It is exactly what it sounds like, spots that are not just beautiful but also works well for portrait photography. There are many places that look and feels great to be there but looks entirely uninspiring as a portrait backdrop. Or they can be logistically difficult to shoot human subjects ( overly tight space with no depth in the background to create the blurry bokeh background we like, no access to good natural light, moving traffic or ugly fences in the background etc ).

The only place that could see an orange sunset was at the very peak of Fort Canning on the grass patch beside the Fort Gate. Because even though the entire Fort Canning Park is in line with the direction of the sun setting, most of the park is shrouded by tall trees and very steep slopes with limited place for a person to stand.

Unfortunately for us, we missed the golden sunset despite our best effort and the glow is mostly added in in post.


Jessie busted out some sparklers after the sun went too low and we did the sparkler shots on the grass. It might seemed like getting the shot was easy but every decision was to composite these photographs were intentional and strategic. I made sure to start the sparklers before the sun went too low (blue hour) and positioned Jessie & Tiong Lei in pockets of light to illuminate as best as possible. I also made sure they placed the sparkers right in front of their face so it can light their face.

I soon realised some foreground was needed to make the shots more excited. So I proceeded to create my own foreground with 2 sparklers on my left hand and delegated my right hand to it's usual function of pressing the shutter.

Major props goes to Canon's mirrorless R6 for it's impeccable low-light performance and impressive eye auto-focus. Everything here was shot without any flash and despite some mistakes, the R6 manage to accurately focus Jessie and Tiong Lei's eyes without any help from me. While I'd love it more if I could better focus the camera with my left hand, I still think these pictures are great for what we had to work with!

These have got to be one of my most favourite photographs from 2022!

I had such an amazing time hanging out with Jessie & Tiong Lei and they were such a cute, friendly couple. I'm so honoured I have the opportunity to photograph their engagement/Pre-wedding session and I hope they like the pictures as much as I do!