Claudia’s Going to Uganda

It was in 2005 that I made a trip for 3-4 weeks to a tiny little country called Malawi in Africa.  When returning back to Canada, I knew I’d be making my way back there, someday.  Although there have been several opportunities that have come up since then (through Gift of Hope and World Vision, etc.), things just never panned out mainly due to scheduling.  Though disappointed each time, I held on to my belief that “what must be shall be” (good ol’ Shakespeare) or as good ol’ scripture says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”  I knew that when the time was right for me to go, a way would be made and finally 6 years since my feet landed on that continent, I am heading back.  What’s amazing is that Wilson is coming along too! :) I don’t have to ditch him to go pursue my dream hehe (I should state that my dream is to travel and use my photographic skills for social awareness.  Apologies if you thought photographing high-end snazzy weddings was my dream!! :))

Raising the Village is a non-profit organization focused on alleviating poverty through sustainable education solutions in rural and hard-to-reach places in Africa.  RTV was founded by a friend of mine from my old church in Mississauga so it’s a treat to be working alongside several people I know from a while back.  Not only does RTV have a wonderful vision and mission, but I love the fact that 100% of public donations to RTV go straight to the field (i.e. operational/admin costs are fundraised separately) so you know that every dollar you donate gets put to work.  The creative director for RTV is a close friend of mine whom I’ve been working on various projects with for the last what seems like 5+ years.  I love Jen’s vision, perfectionist ways and the whole collaborative vibe we have when working together.  One of the main reasons I agreed to shoot for RTV is the fact that I can work closely with Jen in shaping the imagery we bring back which will be used for marketing and branding.  I know that we will be coming back to Canada with some powerful images.  I’m so very excited :)

You may or may not know that through my own business initiatives, along with many people who read my ramblings on here, or keep up with my on Facebook or Twitter, we have raised US$5000 for charity: water in which 100% of that money goes to funding a water well for an entire community in Central African Republic — something that is still mind boggling to me and will get its own post once I have some more stats and visuals.  I’m so thankful to have people surrounding me who are thinking globally, and are being called into action through the recognition that we here in North America have SO very much.
Because our trip to Uganda in March is 100% voluntarily self-financed, we decided there was nothing to lose by trying to fundraise the amount of $8000 (between four of us going) for the heck of it and graciously accept any amount that was donated so that we could alleviate some of that personal debt.  Once again, it’s extremely humbling and mind boggling to see people give with such generosity and as of today, we are more than 50% in reaching our fundraising goal (there were a couple of cash donations).
Here’s a little silly intro video we put together so you can see who we are and what we’re doing there:

For even more information, you can check out our little donation site here if you want to learn more or if you feel like donating to our trip!  What’s cool is the site allows you to cash in on some really unique “Perks” which were generously donated by many local businesses and artists.  Due to the nature of some of the Perks, some of them may be very limited in numbers so be sure to pick the one you want quick!

I hope you guys are as excited about the trip as all four of us are! I invite you to join in the story as I post more and more Uganda-related stuff as preparations are kicking into high gear (we’re leaving on March 12th) from getting vaccines, the proper gear for the conditions in Uganda, fitness preparation, camera/technical gear, and hopefully a blog post here and there from the field … o_O highly infrequent I imagine, to my summary of the trip and of course, the fruits of our labour– the photographs.

Rock on :)

February 9, 2011 - 8:26 am ceci - :D

Konrad from FreshSox in Italy

Konrad. I love this guy.  He’s one of the hardest working and talented and genuinely NICE guys out there in the industry that I know.  Getting to know him on in Italy was even better.  I first briefly met him in 2009 at a Graydon Hall wedding and was stunned at the work him and his previous studio produced.  Soon after, we started to cross paths more often and I by the time I suggested him to Anna and Andrew, they knew they HAD to book him and did just that, only four days before their wedding!  Watching Konrad work solo in Italy for Carmen and Elton’s wedding was a treat because I got to see the gears work in his brain, see the shots he captured then see it all put together in the final piece!  One of the highlights of my entire trip to Italy was the afternoon that Konrad and I went for a long jog in Florence through the cobblestone streets in the rain and alongside the Duomo– incredible.  When Raising the Village asked me who I’d suggest to come along with me to Uganda to shoot cinema the first person I thought of and adamantly pushed for was Konrad based on his vision but also his humility and work ethic (after all you don’t want to be in Uganda for three weeks with someone lacking in any of those areas!).  I’m sad to say Konrad won’t be flying out to Uganda this year with us but I’m hopeful tha one day we’ll be able to work on some personal work together!!!

In the meantime, the thing that holds us together is weddings.  Check it out here or watch the video below and be amazed.

February 7, 2011 - 9:11 pm jeinfa - making me miss florence A LOT. Duomo was incredible and so is Konrad! man, i'm gonna be so amateur in Uganda :S

February 7, 2011 - 10:40 am ceci - Amazing!

2010 in Italy!

Hey guys! I’m back from Cayo Largo where I spent a week pretty much doing nothing but relaxing on the whitest beaches I’ve seen so far.  Ok nothing, but also a lot of beach volleyball, tanning, eating, sleeping, and making new friends.  Taking our mopeds off roading was pretty interesting too ;) Based on most people’s reactions of me, I gather that I’ve returned perhaps a bit too tanned? Oh well, it should lighten quite soon and I will once again be pastey white.

Last year in May, Joee Wong invited me out to Italy to help second shoot a stunning wedding in Florence with him.  He recently posted up a little slideshow teaser so I thought I’d share it with you all!! It’s flash so make sure you’re on a flash-enabled browser :)


February 5, 2011 - 12:20 pm Daniela - I have to share this link with my peeps! Amazing

maya and her sponge-iness

Maya’s at that age where she absorbs in everything!  She’s so attentive and picking up on all the things you say.  She was watching Haley and Sierra in the backyard and I told her, “Haley’s going poo.” And for the rest of the day Maya kept saying, “Poo” HAHA  At 2:25 you’ll be able to see that in action… :) In the beginning she’s saying “No no no to the dogs anytime they looked at her hehe
The video is a bit Cantonese-heavy so I’ll have to do another where she shows off her Polish skills too!  At

Here’s a little breakdown if you’re not familiar with Cantonese:

0:24; 2:14 – Yut, yee, sam = One, two, three
0:28 – My brother is asking her how she plays the piano
0:32 – Pai pai choh = Sit in a row (and we taught her to play hand games when sitting)
1:22 – Mao mao = Cat
1:33 – My dad is asking where each family member is. “Hai doe” = Right here.
2:53 – My mom asked her where here eyes are… haha fail.

February 3, 2011 - 12:14 am Joee Wong - OMG, so adorable. Brings back memories of my kids at that stage. She's grown up sooo fast ! WOW !

January 24, 2011 - 10:21 am steph - Aw, Claudia, she's adorable! Props! (favourite part) :)

January 24, 2011 - 10:12 am ceci - bwahaha... I like your mom's reaction to the fail. lol

leah + julian :: creative

If you haven’t read my Off Season :: Part 3 yet, then please do so in order to get a deeper insight to the context of this shoot.

Leah and Julian are friends with one of my absolute favourite couples of all time.  For this shoot I could have hired some models or even mixed and matched some of my good looking friends together to pull off this shoot however I really wanted to photograph Leah and Julian specifically for a few reasons.  First, they’re smokin’! Woo woo.  The second is they’re actually married and sooo in love :) It really made me want to photograph this for them.  And the third (and most important reasons) is because Leah and Julian are so cool to hang out with and on a shoot where there’s so many things going on and so many things that could go wrong, I wanted to make sure that I’d be in good company if all else failed.  I couldn’t imagine anyone else there that day shooting and I’m so thankful Leah and Julian let me photograph them.  Thank you guys so much :)

My goal for this shoot was to come up with some really creative editorial-style images.  Clean and and chic, mixed in with a little Claud flava but with no real game plan besides that.  Now, some would freak out, needing to story board, brain storm or sketch out some ideas ahead of time but I tend to work better when I’m thrown into the fire :D  I enjoy spontaneity (fancy word for random) and letting the environment or situation dictate what and how I shoot sometimes.  Point in case: I had no idea what the space we were gonna shoot really looked like except through some really vague online photos haha!  I basically showed up that day with a seven person crew and hoped it wasn’t gonna be an epic fail knew I was gonna make it work.  It’s not for everyone but it will most definitely keep you sharp and on your toes (and produce a lot of perspiration in the process).  I brought most of the standard portrait/fashion light modifers including a 5ft octabox, beauty dish and some other odds and ends for backup/options.  Steve Carty’s words still haunt me today with his one light philosophy so most of everything shot for this project was with one light source with the exception of needing some sort of rim light for separation or cool factor.

Some of the stuff I shot was kind of pre-visualized in my head the moment I saw the space or an outfit.  A lot of it was just playing around, seeing if anything became of the experimenting.

I had such a wonderful crew on this shoot who really lived up to my expectations of producing a creative shoot.  While organizing this, many of them emailed me with concerns of colors and themes and this and that.  It was probably frustrating to hear, “Oh just do whatever. I want you to do your thing and together we’ll create something amazing I’m sure. I trust ya.” but in the end, everyone pulled through, as I knew they would :)

Justin Wong:  Thank you for your patience.  I know I can have a scatter-brain and be extremely random at times but you seem to be able to keep up :)  I appreciate the fact that you’re very tall and can adjust things without me having to climb a ladder.  Your attentiveness and eagerness always inspires me to keep humble and keep on striving for perfection.
Rhia Amio: Thank you for your company and your talent. Thank you for giving up sleep on a Saturday when it’s not even the wedding season.  If you didn’t hold the reflectors and light stands then the photos would have sucked :)
Makeba Lindsay: Thank you for the times you’d break out in song while listening to my very outdated playlist.  I can always count on you to keep the energy up and vibe going.  I can’t believe how random our connections are but I’m glad life re-connected us for this project again!
Amarsana Gendunova: Thank you for your attention to detail and putting so much effort into styling Leah.  Her outfits were gorgeous and brought the shoot to a whole new level.  You’ll always be the only Asian person I know whose family goes back generations in Russia and whose great grandma lived to 111 years old!

Thanks to Garrison Bespoke for the stunning custom made suits fitted for Julian.  Dang, a suit can totally take a man from handsome to WOWZAAAA.
Thanks to Le Germain Boutique Hotel in Toronto for allowing us to shoot in their two-storey appartment suit which was by far the most gansta thing I’ve ever shot in (or been in).
Don’t forget to check out Julian’s bar, Blondie’s if you’re ever in the Queen West area!


January 19, 2011 - 5:03 pm roshel - i'm actually mad. i'm mad because there aren't more!! this shoot is definitely of the heezy.

January 18, 2011 - 9:36 pm Karla - WOW! :o

January 18, 2011 - 9:16 am Celine - frick! these are amazing! can I swear here? I love the all of them, but the 6th pic is so dreamy.

January 17, 2011 - 10:36 pm domico + ray - amazing!

January 17, 2011 - 10:22 pm Adrienne - Simply stunning!

January 17, 2011 - 10:06 pm Deb - WOW. Keep achieving. I enjoy witnessing :)

January 17, 2011 - 9:24 pm Joy Wakefield - epic :)

January 17, 2011 - 9:24 pm Julius Prilianto - Stunning photos!!

January 17, 2011 - 9:06 pm Christa - I don't even know what word to use to express how "wow" these photos are. Can I have another one on one? I want to know your ways...you're so freakin' ahhh-may-zing!!!! Seriously! :)

January 17, 2011 - 9:03 pm jeinfa - love the socks.

January 17, 2011 - 8:57 pm Candice Wong - holy cow, those pics are amaaaazing!!!

January 17, 2011 - 8:57 pm Dave Cheng - Wow.

January 17, 2011 - 8:56 pm Helen L. - wooooo. hot!

Off Season :: Part 3

Hey everyone! I told ya I’d be able to fit in Part 3 during this season! hehe I had to actually wait until I practiced what I preached before I preached it, that’s all.
So after having some well deserved down time and some understandable distance from my camera and all things photography, I’ll start to naturally get an itch to start shooting again.  One of the things I do during my off season is make the time to photograph personal work.  Theoretically, personal work should be something you’re doing throughout the year as a continual thing but…… yeah …. the truth is I usually don’t have nearly as much time as I’d like.  SO, I really make it a point to go out and shoot for the heck of it, or shoot stuff that I’ve been wanting to all year.  Shooting personal work does a couple of big things for me.

The first thing is that I get back to basics of creativity and making art.  I’ve been involved in the arts my entire life from a rich background in music to a diverse practice in the visual arts.  I also have hidden performing arts talents but only special people will get to see that side of me hehe :X  Personal projects allow me to do whatever the heck I want because there’s no one necessarily commissioning me to shoot a certain way or get a certain shot.  I’m essentially the producer of the shoot so it really allows the freedom to make something truly reflective of my artistic-ness.
The second thing is certainly tied into being creative.  By shooting for myself or producing more personal work, I get to exercise a different part of my brain.  A part that is not confined to someone’s wedding itinerary or photographing wedding images.  My personal work tends to be a bit more stylized and produced so I’m forced to think outside my usual “Saturday wedding” box.  It’s great because the things I learn from my personal work always can be applied to my wedding work and stuff I learn from weddings can always apply to my personal work! It’s a happy marriage :)

Personal work to every photographer or artist is different.  For Chase Jarvis, it’s flying in helicopters over New Zealand for his fine art landscape series.  JoeyL it’s going to Kenya to photograph indigenous cultures.  For Jeremy Cowart it’s a continual portrait series in Haiti.  For me, it’s going back to my editorial roots and creating art that’s heavily influenced by current culture.  I like clean, slick and chic imagery which can’t always happen on someone’s wedding day for many reasons.  I’ll be doing a full post on a personal shoot I just shot on Saturday later on once my life settles down a bit (so much going on right now!) so in the meantime, enjoy a little preview and also a photograph of Sierra and Haley in the snow :) It goes to show that personal work doesn’t have to mean going over the top or or shooting something overly complicated.  It just means shooting stuff that you want to shoot :)

Don’t forget to check out Part 1 and 2 of the Off Season FAQ series!


January 16, 2011 - 11:54 am celine - wow! the couple look stunning! and sierra and haley are adorable as always

January 19, 2011 - 5:13 pm leah + julian :: creative » claudia hung weddings | blog - [...] you haven’t read my Off Season :: Part 3 yet, then please do so in order to get a deeper insight to the context of this [...]

elizabeth + lucas :: wedding

Welcome 2011!  Wouldn’t be a wedding with a crapload of snow to ring us into the 2011 wedding season on Saturday eh (as predicted in their engagement session post)?
I’m SOOOOO thankful that I decided to drive Wilson’s Ridgeline truck because the 4-wheel drive along with being so high off the ground allowed us to avoid hidden curbs, have better visability and park in places that other cars couldn’t park due to the amount of snow, woohoo!!  Even though the day was a bit delayed on all ends because of the horrible driving conditions in the morning and afternoon, Liz and Lucas stayed on track and didn’t let anything put a damper into their day :)  They all stopped for a beer and a snow fight in the city so you can tell how stressed they were :)  Along with being behind schedule and it being a very chilly day, my brain was on overdrive trying to weigh out options for us to make sure people were still comfortable but I was also doing my job and getting the needed shots.  We didn’t get the usual 2 hours outside as we would in the summer and that’s why I’m glad we had the POW to supplement for that.  As well, Liz and Lucas’ wedding kickstarted my new Portraits in Black (POB? haha) of just the bride and groom.

The POWs were incredibly sucessful as Liz and Lucas have a lively group of friends and family.  It was a HUGE group though and by the end of the session, I was wiped.  I’m thankful that Chris and Heidi took the reigns for the remainder of the night while I was finally able to go use the washroom for the first time all day at 8pm (omg!), sit down, drink some water and get some food into my system.  I couldn’t think of a more memorable way to kick off the year with such a wonderful, beautiful couple and a couple of interesting surprises that were thrown into the mix!  Enjoy.


Off Season :: Part Two

Hey everyone!

This is part two of four of my Off Season FAQ.  My part one was posted uh, last season then I procrastinated and forgot to continue haha! At the speed I’m going, I’ll be done this four part answer in 2012.

Actually, before I reassess gear, the very first thing I do is take a break.  Relax.  My real life, verbal answer to the question, “What do you do during your off season” is literally, “Nothing.”  By the time my season actually winds down you can imagine it was a compact whirlwind of events and pressures that preceded and yes, Take a Break is an intentional and conscious thing on my check list.  Since I love what I do and have borderline work-a-holic tendencies, if I don’t make intentional time to stop working I’ll just keep on happily working.

Taking a Break includes a bunch of things like walking away from all work that is not urgent (nothing usually is anyway), putting my camera down, calling people up whom I haven’t seen or talk to all summer, get my social life back in order, spend time with family, take a long walk with the dogs, go watch a movie with Wilson– essentially all the things that unfortunately had to take a back seat during the busy season.  I tend to be “wedding-ed out” by the time my season wraps anyway so it’s quite easy for me to turn that switch off.

I know that this little tidbit isn’t super enlightening or anything new but I feel it’s equally important as any of the more “strategic” things I do for my business.  Actually I think it’s the most important thing because my business starts with me.  If I’m physically, mentally and/or creatively drained then I’m not going to be much use to my business anyway.
Once I’ve had a good period of time away from all things wedding photography related, I ease back into it with no real sense of urgency.  Just chipping away at each task at a time and thinking about the season to come.

Hope that helps! Stay tuned for part three.  Yes, I’ll be posted this year.  I promise.


January 10, 2011 - 10:07 am Leeann Marie - I do the same thing, although I start to get antsy at times. I have to keep reminding myself that this may be the only time all year that I really get to relax. It's hard to put it down sometimes..

haley + sierra :: formal sitting

These pictures depict Haley and Sierra so accurately.  Haley is mainly happy-go-lucky and doesn’t like to be poked or prodded.  She does not enjoy challenges or doing new things including getting onto a coffee table for a formal portrait.  She was the dog who hid under my dad’s legs when the cat swatted her on the head from the couch.  Since she was a puppy she’s had two faces: Crazy/Rabit Dog or Sleepy/Scared.  Er, I guess she’s the latter in the photo hehe  Sierra is always alert, attentive and waiting for a command.  She enjoys news experiences and challenges, including allowing me to lift her onto a stool and sit there patiently.  Sierra is part Lab and part Border Collie which explains her smart-ness and eagerness.   We adopted her from Ohio a couple years ago and she’s like my black shadow, following me everywhere I go which can be annoying at times but also quite a pleasant thing when Wilson is working his night shifts.

Testing out some new gear and techniques for 2011.
Gonna rock…


January 3, 2011 - 7:46 pm celine - I love Sierra's black on black. And Haley has true puppy dog eyes here!

January 3, 2011 - 7:35 pm Christa - Awwwwwwwwww..............love :)

January 2, 2011 - 7:40 am stacey - Oh you can see their personalities! Gorgeous dogs and images.

Goodbye 2010

Sorry for the lack of updates guys but I’m trying to enjoy my downtime by not being glued to the computer :)  For more frequent ramblings and stuff happening in my life, feel free to follow me on Twitter or add me on Facebook!

This wraps up a memorable year for me, and I’m not just saying that.  Wilson and I celebrated our wedding ceremony with friends and family in Dominican, I got to travel to Italy with Joee for an out of this world fairytale wedding, traveled to Jamaica for another get away and then to Peru for some hiking fun.  The weddings I shot this year were all the types of weddings I wanted to shoot and looked forward to shooting.  When I was a younger photographer, I’d have to take on some commissions that I wasn’t fully passionate about due to a bunch of reasons but I’m happy to say that these days I’m only accepting commissions that I want to be shooting.  2010 brought such wonderful couples and unique weddings that every Saturday it’d feel so new and fresh instead of the common “been there, done that” feeling.  As a bonus, working with people you sincerely like and get along with is a super cherry on the top.  I had a hardworking and eager team this year and I’m truly proud of where all of them are headed.
2010 was a year where I was recognized by many publications and/or industry leaders whom I’ve respected since I started in the business almost 9 years ago.  Making the top 25 Wedding Photographers in Canada, winning PDN’s highly coveted Best Wedding Portrait, having the honour of shooting my signature Portraits on White for Wedding Bells magazine’s 25th Anniversary party, Catherine from The Wedding Co. giving me props for the Portraits on White, and finally getting a wedding published in Style Me Pretty.

In 2010, I said goodbye to an old friend.

I am SO looking forward to 2011! I have a bunch of trips lined up which will include Uganda, Chicago, China and Hong Kong as well as a handful of non-wedding projects that I am really excited about because I get to exercise a different part of my brain and basically revisit my roots in photography.  Of course, in the world of weddings I’ve got my superb couples for 2011 along with a proceed from every wedding going to charity: water.  Gonna rock 2011 out, baby!

Wishing everyone reading a wonderful 2011 ahead :)  God bless!


January 2, 2011 - 11:34 pm Simon - It was definitely a pleasure to work with you! Good times! All the best you, Wilson, and the dogs! :)

January 1, 2011 - 4:17 pm Christa - God Bless & Happy New Year :)