Posts in Personal
The Lim Family

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13

On 12.12.17, Uncle Paul and Aunty Caris celebrated 47 years of marriage! Loving, wise, gentle, kind, and humorous, both BLee and I are really blessed to have this couple, as our role models, and our pre-marriage (now marriage) counsellors.

Even though they usually spend 6-7 months out of the country (usually with their family in the UK), they have always been there for us. They have seen us at our worst, and celebrated each small tiny victory with us. They have also prayed over us, and for us. We also especially LOVE the fact that each time we dined at their place, Aunty Caris goes all out, and ensures that we've got at least a 3 course meal! Thank you for being such big blessings in our lives. xoxo

A Warrior's Story: Sharizan

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass
It's about learning to dance in the rain.
- Vivian Greene

"A single mother, fighting the biggest battle of her life."

Cancer.... it just creeps up on you, when you least expect it. It doesn't care if you are young or old; fat or thin; healthy or unhealthy. It doesn't care if you're white, brown, or yellow; rich or poor; good or bad... 

When I first read Sha's story through a friend's (Kimberly) dayre post, my heart instantly went out to her 4-year old. My first thought was... besides donating money, what else can I give? I reached out to Kim, who connected us ... and I had the honour of making memories for Sha and Aniq, her adorable son. 

For Sha, her journey began in April 2016. What she thought was pain, possibly caused by her pregnancy a few years earlier, was diagnosed by doctors as Stage 3 lung cancer. A surgery and bouts of chemotherapy later, she was given the all clear - NED (no evidence of disease).

6 months after, while at work, she suddenly collapsed and was taken into the hospital. Because she was a cancer survivor, doctors did a full scan. That was when they discovered that the cancer is back, this time with a vengeance.

"I was told that the cancer is not only back in my lungs, it has also metastasised to my brain. And when there is a relapse, the cancer is immediately classified as Stage 4," she told me softly.

What impressed me most about Sha ... She doesn't let the disease define her. She told her story without any anger or 'why me, why me'. Instead, what I sensed was her positivity, and her steely determination to overcome and survive this, for her son.

The relationship she has with Aniq, her 4-year-old little boy is also something so precious to photograph. "Aniq knows where my meds are, and he understands when I'm tired and need to rest. I'm very thankful for him." 

HOW YOU CAN HELP
Living with her parents, who are pensioners, Sha is the sole-breadwinner of her family. Her only hope of survival now is through monthly immunotherapy sessions, for at least 2 years. Unfortunately, these sessions are only available at private hospitals. This means, that they come with a heavy pricetag. With her insurance quota almost bursting, and a lack of funds, Sha chose to stop her sessions.

However, with her Give.Asia page set up by Kim, at the time of writing, enough funds have been raised for at least 2 immunotherapy sessions. If you can help, please continue to give and support. No matter how small the amount... a little bit goes a long way.

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HELP SHA BEAT THE BIG C
For every family portrait session in the months of September and October 2017, I'm giving RM200 into Sha's fund. So if you're looking at getting good family photos, while helping a little boy have his mother for longer... now is the best time :)

Celebrating Mothers: A Photography Special
 
 

'I like that!' A few months later, on my birthday, she remembered and gifted it to me. I was the happiest 6 year old with a gold ring of her own. That is the earliest recollection I have of my mummy. I still remember looking forward to every Chinese New Year, where it would appear from her safekeeping, and I would wear it proudly, showing it to anyone who said hello to me (I was a little bit of a showoff then..maybe now too!).

Mummy is the one we (with the exception of the baby in the family, my brother) are really afraid of. With dad being busy at work most of the time, she became the disciplinarian at home. I remembered vividly once when I was in primary school. She found out I told a lie, got so incensed that she immediately took the rotan. The next thing I knew, a game of chase around the large dining table at home ensued. I ran till the both of us were out of breath. Just when I thought I had evaded her... - to all children, if you have been naughty, please accept your punishment quickly. If you run, the punishment is a lot worse... I speak from experience.

As I grew up, moved out and got married, mummy became one of my closest friends. Problems with work, arguments with husband, falling out with friends - she always have good advice and I know she will always have my back. 

Whether she works full time or is a stay-at-home-mom, whether she has a helper or not, whether she has one, three, ten OR one kid on-the-way - mothers are cheerleaders when we feel down, they are the maids who wash and iron, sweep and mop, teachers who help with school work, doctors who worry and look after you when you are sick, and they also feed and cook! They wear so many hats!

In honour of the superwomen in our lives, from now till the end of May, Samantha Yong Photography celebrates MOTHERS! When you book in for a photography session for May 2016, you will receive a box of beautiful blooms (worth RM50), from the gorgeous people at Boxing Blooms, delivered to the special lady in your life! On top of that, everyone can get matchy matchy, with a set of 4 personalised family t-shirts (worth RM216) from blackmilkproject

Sessions are limited, head on to CONTACT ME, if you would like to book one in.


MORE GOODIES!

Psst... if you haven't heard, one of my favourite vendors - the talented peeps at blackmilkproject is running an instagram giveaway! Join in the fun for some awesome personalised goodies + a free session with yours truly! Contest ends 30 April 2016.

The beautiful Iking-Azmi children are wearing tops from the blackmilkproject's  food truck collection .

The beautiful Iking-Azmi children are wearing tops from the blackmilkproject's food truck collection.

My Family: 2016 Portraits - Getting everyone camera-ready

For where your treasure is
there your heart will be also.
- Luke 12:34

The year of the Monkey is an especially special one, as it is the year my awesome daddy turns the big 60! The family man who is funny and finds most joy in ensuring our family has the best in life; the man who prays and spends every night doing Quiet Time with us, when we were little kids. He is living such a very full life!

This is also the year, the youngest in our family, my brother, takes his first flight out of the nest, heading to pursue his degree at the University of Queensland.

So to celebrate, dad requested that we did a proper family portrait session on the first morning of the Lunar New Year.

Photographing your family and getting everybody in order was no easy task! Instead of beginning at 8am (like I wanted to, cause the sun hits directly into 80% of our garden), we only began our session a full hour later.

With that being said, out of the many photos I've taken over the last year, these images (taken in that tiny shaded patch) are definitely my favourites.

I also know now how my clients feel, while prepping for a session. And I truly appreciate them for making an effort to get ready for the camera, and get to the venue on time. If you are planning for a session, here are some tips to help you.

1) Plan your outfits in advance
It's a good idea to sort out your outfit choices at least the day before the session. That way you have ample time to make adjustments in colour. You wouldn't want to arrive at the session venue, only to discover the little boy in fire-engine red, and dad in neon green. You may not need everyone to wear the exact same shade, but choose complementary colours, and clothes which are comfy and easy to move around in.

For parents with little children and babies, it is good to bring a change of clothes (just in case).

2) Get well-rested and energised
The best time to have photos taken is from 7.30am to 9.30am in the mornings and late evenings from 5pm-7pm. My sessions are usually structured within these time frames. I find that children are at their best and most affable in the morning - when it's breezy and there are less mosquitoes. It is important to sleep early the night before and set your alarm, to ensure enough prep time is allocated, before the session. With enough sleep and a little food, the little ones (and big ones too) will definitely be a lot happier.

3) Plan an activity which you enjoy doing
One of the things I enjoy most is photographing families at their most natural. You can think of an activity you like doing together, like reading, kicking a ball, having a lego-building competition, or even playing boardgames or chase. For my family, we love spending time with each other, drinking coffee and laughing at the antics of the 3 family cats. 

Looking at the camera is not entirely necessary. Sure, we will have a few of those, but most of the time, I want to photograph the love connection and what makes your family unique. That happens in the unscripted moments.

The most important thing is to have fun together! Don't be afraid to let your normal beautiful self shine through.

2015: A Year of Thanksgiving

2015 has been a year filled with so many moments, lots of laughter, and so much love. When the year first started, I was just recuperating (from my first EVER surgery!). All I had written down was this:

I knew I wanted to move from weddings into photographing families. But apart from wanting to revamp my very dated website, launch a new logo, and possibly set up a social media presence, I had absolutely no clue on how and where I'm going to get my clients! 

Sure I've photographed weddings (together with the awesome team from MTP) for the last couple of years, and have been asked to photograph the occasional family portrait for family and friends (thanks Ben & Jan!) , but to strike out on my own, was and still is, something very scary. Finally, after long talks  (too many to count) with my husband, and a whole lot of emails and skype conversations with my best friend, Kim (the dangerlam) - who was also the awesome illustrator behind my logo and portrait - the revamp of my site was launched on April 26.  And on July 1, I staked my presence on facebook

Throughout this year, I've had so many doubts - if my photos were good enough, if I would have clients outside my friends circle, if people are actually willing to pay me for photos - if so how much? When I wasn't working at my full-time job, minutes and hours were spent thinking about how to get myself out there. There were just so many things to do, so little time... and I didn't know where to start. Just when I thought I was making good progress, something sets me back, and throws me for a loop. I've lost count of the many times when I just messaged friends (out of the blue, especially for some I've not spoken to in decades), to ask if they would like to have portraits taken. #ihadtogrowathickskin. And I'm so thankful for those who took me on, and others who encouraged me.

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Looking back on 2015, I've celebrated love together with 70 different families, and have had the opportunity to travel three times to Australia (Perth & Melbourne) and once to Singapore, to do what I love - photography! Who knew that God had such big plans for me? He took my 5 small 'loaves' of goals, and turned them into so much more. For this, I'm immensely thankful, and I cannot wait to see what's going to happen in 2016! My cup overflows. 

To all my clients - new and old, who have entrusted me to share in and capture your love; to the ones who've just been so encouraging, you've no idea how those little messages and whatsapp conversations mean to me. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU and have an amazeball 2016!

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