Capture Emotion: An Interview with Wedding Photographer Andy Lim

Andy Lim got started in photography after leaving design college in 1992 and his work has since been published worldwide. Lim conducts PhotoGuru, which offers hands-on digital photography workshops from beginner to advanced levels. Lim is also an accomplished professional wedding photographer and his brand, Emotion in Pictures, attracts clients worldwide with his unique flavor of emotional wedding and portrait photography.

simple one-light portrait quickie

What is your photographic specialty and how did you become interested in it?

Lim: Wedding photography. While I was working as a creative director doing design and advertising, I started taking wedding pictures on a part-time basis. Eventually I went full-time in 2007 and never looked back.

using backlighting in a portrait for drama

How long have you been teaching and/or writing about photography and how would you describe your teaching/writing style?

Lim: I have been running photography workshops since 2006, focusing mainly on beginners because that’s the area with the biggest need. Now I also conduct lighting workshops for more advanced photographers. My teaching style is very practical because I believe that in order to learn photography you need to be hands-on. My eBook guides focus on helping readers understand the technical aspects first and then applying the knowledge in a typical shooting situation and illustrating my point with sample pictures and lighting diagrams.

creative usage of available light in a hotel

What is your single most depended on photographic item aside from your camera?

Lim: Apart from my cameras and lenses, I rely a lot on my Speedlights for quick on-location lighting. A Speedlight or two can create a noticeable difference in the mood and definition of the pictures. I’m not talking about exposure here, because generally beginners think of using a Speedlight or adding light only when there is not enough light. A Speedlight can also be used in bright daylight to change the mood of the picture.

mixing color temperatures in a portrait

What type of gear, new or old, are you most interested in experimenting with?

Lim: I typically do not experiment much with gear, simply because I need reliability and consistency in my work. I may try out different types of soft boxes, umbrellas and Speedlight brackets in my quest for the most practical tools to bring on-location.

atmospheric lighting created by dry ice and backlighting

Describe what prompted or inspired you to create your Hands-On Photography Guide and your Portrait Lighting and Recipes eBooks?

Lim: From my practical workshops I distilled the teaching methods and created my first eBook in 2011, the SimpleSLR Hands-On Photography Guide for beginners. It seemed like the natural way to go in order to reach a wider audience. A year later, I launched the Portrait Lighting Guide and the Portrait Recipes series to cater to more advanced photographers looking to improve their use of Speedlights for portraits and weddings.

using speedlights to selectively highlight parts of a scene

What are some additional resources that you recommend to others getting started in photography?

Lim: The internet is a rich source of information. I actually learned a lot by dissecting pictures taken by other photographers, taking note of how the light was placed, and why the photographer lit it that way.

taking advantage of ballroom spotlight and video light

There are a lot of little rules in photography, such as the Rule of Thirds and the Inverse Square Law. Describe a photography “rule” that you use the most or find most valuable.

Lim: It’s good to know the rules but I don’t let the rules restrict my thinking too much. One rule that I frequently use is: Check your LCD screen frequently (or laptop if you shoot tethered). It’s the most honest judge of how good your lighting setup was. In the process of shooting multiple scenes, we tend to change our settings frequently. Photographers make mistakes too and sometimes use the wrong setting. Affirm the results and continue shooting.

natural light beach portrait in malaysia

Anything new on the horizon that you are working on?

Lim: I am, in fact, putting in the finishing touches and getting ready to launch my new eBook guide, which will focus on lighting for multicultural wedding ceremonies and receptions. Stay tuned!


Alexandria Huff's photography and lighting tutorials can be found on 500px and her blog. See her lighting tutorials here. She is a Marketing Associate Manager at She learned about lighting and teaching while modeling for photographers such as Joe McNally and has since gone on to teach lighting workshops of her own in San Francisco. Before focusing on studio portraiture, she shot motorsports for X-Games, World Rally Cross, and Formula Drift. See her chiaroscuro-style painterly portraits on her website.

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