Need pro photos in Chiang Mai? Loving Light Studios is amazing.
James De La Cloche creates truly kick ass photographs.
That's him, there, in the photograph above. He owns Loving Light Studios right here in Nimman, Chiang Mai, Thailand. He takes beautiful photos of people, properties and products - check out his portfolio here.
I realised that I could do with some professional photographs. So, I contacted James via Loving Light's Facebook page to ask if he would take some of me. This was a big deal - I'm really uncomfortable with being in front of a camera. The idea of being inside a professional photography studio terrified me, so of course I had to do it. I like doing (some) things that make me uncomfortable.
I was SO pleased with the photographs. Here's what happened.
James was awesome right from the initial correspondence. He was friendly, professional and had a great sense of humour. I told him that I tend to pull a stupid shark face in photographs, and that wasn't really the look I was after. He assured me that there would be no shark faces, and he'd love to shoot me (ha!). I warned him that I was rubbish in front of a camera. He said that he was particularly skilled at encouraging nervous subjects to chill out and relax. So, feeling reassured, we arranged a time and date for a 30 minute shoot. He'd take a bunch of photographs, and I'd get every one he took during the session, unedited, delivered via Dropbox. Then, I could choose ten for him to edit professionally.
Unbelievably, the cost for everything was only 1,500 baht.
I pulled up at Loving Light Studios in the happenin' Nimman area of Chiang Mai, next door to Drunken Noodle. Feeling nervous and excited, I took in the huge prints of James' beautiful work on display - a rock and roll bride and groom, a sultry sophisticated woman, a man leaning against a wall. James greeted me in the swish reception and we headed upstairs to the studio.
First, we spent a while chatting. I'm pretty sure this was to build rapport with me and help me to relax - it worked.
James is incredibly friendly, charming and full of love and joy.
He's undeniably passionate about photography, has a particular penchant for exploring colour and movement, and really loves soap (he makes his own). He's a British guy with a beautifully rich voice and French heritage, which explained the surname. As we spoke, I noticed that his photography equipment and computer were really impressive - a sleek Mac computer, expensive camera lenses and huge, professional studio lights.
Before long, it was time to stand in the glow of the studio lights in front of the white background. I was feeling awkward, to say the least. James asked me to share a favourite childhood memory with him, and took photographs of me while I spoke. Afterwards, he said that this was so he could explore my natural expressions.
I was feeling a little more used to the camera by this point, but still pretty nervous.
James asked me what my favourite music was. I guessed it was to get me in a fun, relaxed mood, so I decided I wanted to listen to Horrorpops - they're fantastic, and I love the band members' styles. It helped so much, but James still wasn't convinced that I felt 100% comfortable. So he turned on a fan and blasted it into my face. Aha!
The fan was the answer.
I have no idea whether it was the white noise, or that there was something else to focus on, or WHAT - but I immediately felt better and my photograph-face began to improve. James spoke to me, made me laugh, asked me to think about different things and even made silly noises (apparently I respond to humour like a small child at times, haha). He was fantastic, and I was feeling more and more comfortable by the minute.
Over the next 30 minutes, James took hundreds of photographs of me.
Laughing, staring, headbanging, dreaming of a handsome man, thinking about my family, imagining that the camera was my friend, mother, lover.
When the session was finished, we said goodbye. A day or so later, James uploaded every photograph he'd taken to Dropbox and asked me to choose ten to be professionally edited. Man, it was hard to choose ten! But I did, with the help of my mum, and a few days later he uploaded the edits. My personal preference is a cooler tone, so I re-edited a tiny bit - though my boyfriend thinks that James' colour choice is much better, haha. Here's a sample - unedited, edited by James, then re-edited by me. Click for a larger version!
I love these photos!
If you want pro photos taken by James too, send him a message via Facebook or his website. I hugely recommend him. 1500 baht get you 30 minutes in the studio with a bunch of photographs and 10 professional edits. 3500 baht gets you one hour in the studio or in a location of your choice, all the photographs from the day and 5 professionally edited shots. 6000 baht gets you all that plus pro hair and makeup before hand. Pretty sure this is what I want to try next!
After this session, I sent Recycle Creative James' way. JUST LOOK AT THIS PHOTO BELOW. Wow.