Friday 31 March 2017

Local Love | Photographer Aileen Choi

Aileen Choi photographed by Meghan Bustard
Vancouver has so many young talented photographers and everyday I practically discover someone new on Instagram. It was through instagram that I met Aileen Choi. When we first connected through Instagram, it was through her digital design account. It was only through us chatting that I learned Aileen was primarily a local wedding photographer. As I am a naturally curious person, I wasted no time in finding her photography account. 

Since photography is so diverse and extremely subjective, every photographer that I feature on Pink Tea Latte will have its own focus. Aileen has decided to give us some insight on being new to the industry as well as how her style has developed to what it is today. 

This past 2016 wedding season, Aileen was the second shooter for the highly acclaimed, practically an instagram celebrity, Rachel Barkman. It was Rachel's work that helped foster an interest in wedding photography for Aileen. It is difficult to miss the parallels between their pictures, as Rachel has been a mentor for Aileen. 

Aileen's interest in photography first proliferated in high school with her little point point and shoot. Gosh how many of you remember begging your parents for a small little digital camera because it was the cool thing to have! We had a moment of bonding as we reminisced about the good ol days before cell phone cameras became really good. 

After completing high school, Aileen enrolled at Emily Carr with photography as her major. During her four years at Emily Carr, Aileen discovered her photography style. After graduating this past spring, April 2016, Aileen began her professional career as a wedding photographer - Aileen Choi Photo ! Of course, Aileen has long traded in her point and shoot for two Canon 6D's and three prime lenses: 35 mm (wider frame for more range), 50 mm (a favourite amongst all photographers) and the 85 mm (closer focal length). 

I asked Aileen how she would describe her style:

"just trying to keep it real - haha, it's true though!"

Aileen's pictures are distinct and really do stand apart from the more backlit bright white photos. Her goal is to capture real people and real life. She achieves her images by keeping the colours solid and rich and not being afraid of keeping her blacks truly black. 

To achieve her signature style in her pictures, Aileen has shared some of the key aspects in her photos that has unintentionally formed her signature style:

Overcast or even a rainy day - Cameras do not see the world as our eyes do. A bright sunny day creates dark shadows and ultimately causing the picture to be over exposed. An overcast day is Aileen's ideal setting for a photoshoot as it makes for even lighting in pictures. Another advantage of shooting on an overcast day is that it gives skin an almost air brushed look - every girl likes to hear that!

Underexposing the picture - By lowering the exposure, the colours retain their richness making for a more vivid picture. It also helps bring out the detail in the background. 

Post production - Since the pictures are shot underexposed, a lot of detail can be lost; therefore, Aileen puts the shadows at 100% (lightning) which helps bring back all the lost detail. To keep the depth in her pictures, Aileen darkens the blacks creating a bigger contrast which helps the other colours pop. 

Point of focus - A good picture will show movement, a great picture will convey emotion and life. When Aileen is working with her clients, she always makes it a point to focus on the connection between the subjects. 

I love Aileen's pictures as they honestly embody everything Pacific West Coast! I adore the use of spruce and cedar trees as a background and her subjects often wearing lots of plaid and cute toques. Also, her shooting style is perfect for Vancouver as our Fall, Winter and the beginning of Spring can be quite grey with a lot of rainy wet days. 

"Of course, there are a million things that we wish we knew when we first start an unknown path, but I think the few things that stands out to me, and things that I have to constantly remind myself of is to be open minded and to always be willing to learn and evolve. It's easy to get comfortable in what you're doing at the moment, but it's important to get out of your comfort zone - that's when you improve." 

I am excited to see what the future holds for Aileen and her photography career. Aileen is still very young both in age and in her career as a photographer, so I would keep an eye on this young lady as she grows a photographer. I hope to be in front of her lens sometime this summer! 

Do check out Aileen's work either on or instagram @aileenchoiphoto .


All images, unless otherwise stated, were taken by Aileen Choi. 

Wednesday 29 March 2017

Geek Latte | Photography Exposure Triangle

1/250 ISO 640 f3.3
I am so excited to finally start publishing posts related to photography on Pink Tea Latte. For those of you who enjoy my other content, do not fret as photography is not going to take over my blog. As my images have increased in quality, I have been getting more and more photography related questions. I personally learned on the go and figured it out with a little bit of help from both google and a beginners DSLR course at Langara College. As I do not consider myself a professional, but more of a hobbyist, I will be interviewing local professional photographers who will be giving some more insight on the profession as well as some tips!

The current lineup includes:
•Aileen Choi @aileenchoiphoto
• Sara Brynn @sarahbrynncreative
• Kurtis Stewart @kurtisstewartphoto

Social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest have fostered a love of photography within my generation, or commonly referred to as the "millennials." More and more individuals are picking up photography as a hobby; however,  I am not going to lie, seeing someone using a fabulous piece of equipment on "Auto" really brings out the jealousy in me. It is like seeing someone driving a Lamborghini, but clearly they have no clue how to drive stick, so they are grinding those gears with every shift... GAH!

The auto mode on your camera can be great if you do not know how to appropriately set the camera; however, it also means your camera decides all the settings for you. Unfortunately, our cameras are not very smart and are making their best guess as to what the ideal settings should be. Therefore, it is time to embrace your camera and really start using its full capacity especially if you own an amazing piece of equipment.

My prized possession is the Nikon D5500 DSLR which I primarily keep on "manual" as it allows me the most control over my camera's settings.  In this post, I am going to touch on the fundamentals of exposure or the exposure triad.

1/250 ISO 4000 f2.8

NOTE: The exposure rules remain the same across all camera brands/models, so do not fret if you do not have the exact same camera as me or use a Canon or Sony etc.

The exposure triad consists of:
1. Shutter Speed
2. Aperture/f-stop
3. ISO

Shutter Speed

Of all three, Shutter Speed is probably the simplest concept to understand. The faster your shutter speed, the shorter the time for light to enter your camera meaning darker images. A slower shutter speed allows a grater amount of time for light to enter your camera giving you a brighter image. However, a slow shutter speed will also make your camera more sensitive to hand shake making your pictures blurred.

Fast Shutter Speed = Less Light
Slow Shutter Speed = More Light, but also more susceptible to hand shake


If you look through your lens, you will see overlapping blades creating an opening. A larger f-stop (small aperture) means a smaller opening while a small f-stop (large aperture) results in a larger opening. Aperture is also related to depth of field. I will probably talk about depth of field in a different blogpost, but simply put, it is how much distance will be in focus. A large aperture (smaller f-stop number) gives you a shallow depth of field. 

I personally keep my f-stop at 2.8 and do not really change it often. Since I use a prime lens (50mm Nikkor lens), my f-stop does not need to change. With a zoom lens, the focal length can be changed, but each focal length has a different lowest aperture. 

Small f-stop = large aperture = large opening = shallow depth of field
Large f-stop = small aperture = small opening = greater depth of field

1/180 ISO160 f2.8


Before digital cameras became mainstream, ISO indicated how sensitive the roll of film would be to light. In digital cameras, ISO refers to the sensitivity of the image sensor. A lower ISO means your camera will be less sensitive to light and the image will have a finer grain. In darker settings, ISO is raised to increase the sensitivity to light; however, this also introduces "noise" making the picture look grainy. In dark settings, you have to increase the ISO otherwise, the picture will be too dark.

When it is a gorgeous sunny day, I keep my ISO at 100 (the lowest ISO) since there is a lot of light already. Only when there is not enough light such as being in the shade or it is an overcast day that I increase my ISO.

Higher ISO = increased sensitivity = brighter images, but also with more noise
Lower ISO = less sensitivity to light, but not necessarily darker images.

1/500 ISO 160 f2.8
Having a good understanding of Shutter Speed, Aperture and ISO will help you take pictures that are well exposed, but also give you more flexibility in choosing how you want your pictures to look. I personally like to over-expose my pictures because I like taking back-lit pictures.

Going back to the analogy of stick shift cars, whenever I have asked my friends how they know when to shift gears, they respond with, "you just know by the sound and feel of the motor." Haha basically an annoying response, but photography is also similar as the more you shoot, you begin to get a feel for what settings are needed when shooting in different situations. Do not feel discouraged, I have taken some really awful pictures and I still do! But you its the bad pictures that help you figure out how to take a good picture.

Keep an eye out for my first interview with Aileen Choi which will be going live on Friday, March 31, 2017. Aileen is going to talk about her style as well as still being very new to the industry. 


Monday 27 March 2017

Edible Obsessions | International Waffle Day!

WAFFLES! I love waffles; therefore, I was not about to miss the day which celebrates my favourite treat! There are some pretty amazing waffles available in Vancouver, but it would have felt like cheating if I did not spend the day at my favourite waffle bar, NERO. So on Saturday, March 25th, I dragged my friends with me to Nero's Seymour location.

I ordered my favourite from Nero, The Heaven. On a fluffy freshly baked Brussels waffle comes thinly sliced fresh strawberries, the most airy whip cream ever, a dusting of powdered sugar and a delicious house made strawberry mint sauce. Since I was feeling extra indulgent, I asked for orange slices on the side which I then artfully sprinkled over my waffle. 

What keeps me coming back to Nero is their focus on flavour and not the sugar. Their waffles are never overpoweringly sweet and sticky. Even the whip cream is unsweetened and you can taste that it is real cream and not the canned kind from the grocery store. 

The downside was learning my favourite waitress and friend will be returning back home to South Korea in two weeks time :( I always looked forward to seeing her at Nero, so I am going to miss seeing her run over to give me a big hug. 

If you prefer something a little more savoury, there are some really amazing savoury waffles in Vancouver too. Nero has a fabulous savoury menu, but for a complete list of restaurants and suggestions, check out the article I did for the Daily Hive! It is my first article for the Daily Hive and I am so excited to share it with you all! Especially since it is on waffles! 
7 places to get savoury waffles in Vancouver 

Where did you go for International waffle day? Let me know in the comments below as well if there is a waffle in Vancouver that you think I need to try!


Thursday 16 March 2017

Latte Moment | Pink Tea Latte is TWO!

I am so excited that Pink Tea Latte has hit the two year mark! So much has happened in this past year, some good, some bad, and a whole lot of adventures. Just taking a glance back on the year, Pink Tea Latte has grown a tremendous amount and in the process, I have undergone a huge transformation too! Thank you for taking the few minutes of your busy daily lives to read Pink Tea Latte as well as checking out my instagram. 

In celebration of Pink Tea Latte's second birthday, here is a list of a few exciting highlights from the past year:

Coach Pre-Spring 2017
I literally cried when the courier dropped off a box with shipping label addressed from Coach Handbags. I was in such disbelief because Pink Tea Latte is still a baby to me so I was astonished to learn that Coach PR considered me to be a part of the launch of their Dinky bag. A definite highlight of my year and I hope to work with Coach again soon!

Photo Shoot with Sara Brynn Creative Co
Another first this year was my photoshoot with the lovely Sara Brynn! She is absolutely wonderful behind the lens and made my first photoshoot experience amazing. Sara made me feel beautiful and so we set up a second one which turned out to be a ridiculously cold morning. Despite the frigid temperatures, Sara brought a lot of energy to the shoot making it a fun morning. 

Photography Course
Pink Tea Latte has kept my writing skills sharp, but also fostered a love for photography in me. I purchased my Nikon D5500 over a year ago, but I felt google and youtube alone were not giving me the structure to learn and improve my photography skills. I ended up enrolling and completing the DSLR Basics course at Langara College and in those three months, my photos improved ten-fold. I also picked up skills in Lightroom which is now my primary photo program.

Planning My First Event - My 23rd Birthday!
I have started to develop an interest in planning events as I love floral arrangements, delicious pastries and finding the perfect accent pieces to pull together the decor. What better time than to plan my own 23rd Birthday Brunch Bash! I had some stunning floral arrangements done up by the ladies at Garden Party Flowers and did not have one, but two birthday cakes from two different amazing bakeries. Lastly, gorgeous wood rounds from Pacific Design Labs to tie in with the rustic decor at Belgard Kitchen. 

Attending the Beta 5 Ice Cream Socials
Visiting Beta 5 on Saturdays for the Ice Cream Socials has become somewhat of a tradition for me and my friend. Together, we managed to devour 9 of the 15 sundae flavours from their 2016 summer Ice Cream Socials. However, the Harry Potter sundae will always be the one that got away! I will literally camp out overnight to get one if Beta 5 decides to do the Harry Potter sundae again. 

Attending the Disney Fireworks Display
Disney is my childhood, my life and my future. When I heard the Disney Imagineers were flying in from Walt Disney Florida to put on a Disney Fireworks show at English Bay, I made it my priority to attend the show at all costs. It was probably the most magical night of Summer 2016 and only makes me yearn to visit the Disney Theme Parks even more! 

I am so ecstatic for the exciting adventures that await in the year ahead for Pink Tea Latte. I already have some exciting posts in the works! A few more days and I will be revealing one of the exciting series that I have been working on. 

I also would love to do a casual meet-up at a local Vancouver cafe. I want to know if there is any interest, so leave me a comment below or comment on my Instagram picture. I really would love to meet some of you in person, so if there is even a hint of interest, I will organize something for the coming weekend. 

Where to find some of the goodies in my pictures:
Noms by Mon - Chiffon Cake Layered with Fresh Strawberries and Chantilly Creme
Garden Party Flowers - Two arrangements. One tall, one small featuring a variety of fresh roses, peonies and greens.
Pacific Design Lab - Wood rounds


Tuesday 14 March 2017

Local Love | Celebrating Pi Day with the Pie Shoppe

Happy Pi Day everyone! For those of you who are confused, Pi day is the celebration of the mathematical constant pi which is 3.14... a non-repeating number. Therefore, every March 14th, is the best excuse ever to indulge in scrumptious fruity or custardy pies! 

I headed over this morning to the Pie Shoppe on Powell street to catch the magnificent sister duo, Stephanie and Andy French. I caught them busy packaging their delicious pies for a huge last minute 100 pie order! Despite being up all night preparing and baking pies, Stephanie was so sweet and amazing. Gosh, if I was up the entire night filling a 100 pie order, I would be exhausted and frankly a little cranky, so I admire Stephanie's customer service. 

I decided to be good and not get an entire pie for myself, only a slice. I went with a fruit pie of theirs, a apple and nectarine pie topped with a delicious nutty crumble. There was also a hint of alcohol in the fruit filling, but the name of the local distillery escapes my name. 

Next time, I want to try one of their cream and custard pies, particularly their Matcha Custard Pie! You know I love some good matcha; therefore, I must try a slice of that pie at the soonest date possible. 

Let me know in the comments below what slice of pie you had to celebrate Pi Day!