Bernard Lee is a talented lifestyle photographer and videographer based in Singapore. He has extensive experience shooting everything from commercial videos to private events, food and interiors. Bernard started his journey with photography and videography when he was just 25 and has since dedicated a lot of time and effort to perfecting his skills to a professional standard. He is now a well-known photographer and videographer in Singapore and has recently set up a studio with colleagues.
We interviewed Bernard to get to know him better and today we are sharing it with you!
When did you start working as a professional photographer?
I started out as a freelance photographer/videographer at just 25 years old. I used photography as a creative hobby during my university days. At the time, it was a great way to forget about the stresses of my studies and to focus on something more creative. There was something so calming about going out in the early morning to snap the many beauty spots of Singapore. As my portfolio and experience grew, I felt that I had more to give and decided to dedicate time to becoming a professional lifestyle photographer in Singapore within just a few years.
Do you have formal training? have you worked in a professional studio before?
No, like many photographers these days, most of my learning came from experimenting and watching videos on youtube. Through my many years of experience, I have learnt what works and have perfected my skills through trial and error. We recently opened our own studio and, together with my photographer friends, I continue to grow in skill through experience.
Which camera do you use for your photo or video shoots?
Although I have experience working with a variety of different camera models, currently I work with the Sony A7R3. I like this model as it has high resolution with high speed and fast autofocus capabilities. This model is the best I have personally seen. It allows me to deliver dynamic, well-focused Images even in moving scenes.
Which photographers influence your work?
I look up to many photographers here in Asia and around the world. At the moment, I am following Kyung 6 film, a Korean based lifestyle photographer. I take inspiration from his technique; the way he works with a gimbal and incorporates amazing transitions. I also follow Daniel Schiffer for inspiration on achieving amazing shots with minimal setups.
Which project are you most proud of? And why?
One of my favourite projects would be the shoot for Singtel Prepaid Card advertisement. We had the opportunity to capture the moment when a migrant worker could connect virtually to his family overseas. It was quite emotional, we could tell that the family was so happy to have been brought together once again after many years. The fact that we could capture the joy of the moment really made me appreciate the wonders of photography and has inspired me to continue to perfect my skills in order to capture more precious moments like this.
Which famous person would you like to do a photoshoot with?
If I could choose to do a photoshoot with any famous person, it would have to be an actor from the cast of The Running Man. It has been my favourite show for over 10 years now, so the idea of being able to meet a cast member and help them with their photography needs would be a dream come true for me!
What makes a great photo from your point of view?
To me, a great photo is one that brings out emotion, composition and rules of thirds. Lightings etc will definitely help in achieving that. When it comes to photography, I tend to lead with my heart and not my head. I will not approach my work with a technical agenda, but I will do what feels right to me at the time. Sometimes, simply being at the right place at the right time will create the best photographs.
Check out some of Bernard’s recent photography work below!
Is it challenging to earn a living in this business nowadays, if so why?
It is easy to survive as a freelancer, but it is harder to thrive as a studio business. The struggle for us as a studio is that we are unable to compete with the often much lower rates of freelancers. As a studio, we have to pay for the rental, employee fees and other overheads. However, we are able to provide a much more consistent and high-quality product than our freelancer competition. Once our clients see that, they are often happy to pay a slightly higher rate for a more consistent final product. We are lucky to have built a strong client base and hope to continue to do so with the help of sites such as Klaud9.
How do you think Online platforms such as Klaud9 have helped you in getting more work?
Klaud9 has helped us in terms of getting more clients and briefs. Klaud9 also help us to negotiate a fair rate directly with the clients. As a small agency, prospecting and qualifying new clients takes up a chunk of our time usually. With Klaud9, we simply need to reply to the projects with our rates and the rest will be taken care of. The team has been always upfront and transparent with us and our working relationship has always been great.
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