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Welcome Back, Nightlife Singapore!

“It’s been a while mate? We will make sure it was worth the wait.” Not sure if this sounds familiar to you but these were the exact words in a commercial on travelling to New Zealand. I know this post is two months late but just wanted to share a bit about the easing of Covid’19 measures in Singapore and we are now seeing an influx of visitors again. Nightlife is officially back in business on 19th April 2022 in Singapore! Finally, restaurants/bistros could serve alcohol late into the night and establishments such as clubs finally got their DJs spinning again after more than two years of hiatus!

Of course, this opened a big revenue stream for photographers like me as I used to shoot quite a bit of night life D&Ds and Events. Two days before the easing of measures, I started getting calls from old clients and friends in the industry. I wanted to zoom on a particular job I did immediately a day after Singapore allowed clubs opening, I was called to do a 3-day cover of their 1st year anniversary. It’s been a while since I last shot in clubs after the pandemic hit, I was both excited and careful to be honest. There wasn’t a lot of information as to the restrictions of photography in club, mask wearing, safe distancing, etc. It was a trial and error and I needed to make sure that I deliver! As mentioned in a previous blog post, club photography is one of the most difficult genres in my opinion. The fast movement of people and the various activities that were going on were aplenty and all in difficult lighting condition. Not for a long time, I actually did a little bit of homework planning some of the shots I had wanted to achieve and some ‘money shots’ which I felt were essential for this assignment.

The day came, I did my equipment check and make sure I have ample redundancy in all my gear before leaving. This was essential as club photography is late into the night, it would be extremely difficult to get any supplies such as batteries or other similar items as most of the shops would be closed. Upon arrival, the owner showed me around the club and what were some of the areas to take note and the program flow. To my surprise, they were going to have a lion dance! Wow! A lion dance in a club in the heart of the CBD area. What a first! At the same time, this is going to be a long night I thought to myself. Interestingly when the segment came, it was not just a lion dance – it was like opening ceremony of sort and many unexpected situations came. Imagine the crowd in a club and I had to fight for space and positions with the guest on top of the loud music. To top it off, they brought in an extremely long 10-men dragon! This dragon was to go around every corner of the club giving its blessing. It was pretty chaotic but all that was in my mind were the ‘money shots’ which I needed to get in this mayhem.

- Opening Ceremony (Lion Dance)

Overall, I was glad that the guests were cordial and friendly - they just wanted to have fun and relax after so long. It was refreshing and exciting to be back in my game. In fact, a lot of good memories came back as I hear some of the old songs that were being played and how it had everyone dancing to it no matter young or old. This club had a good mixture of both more mature and younger crowd and somewhat catered slightly more to exclusive kind of feel, yet it had that vibrant vibe as it was their anniversary celebrations at the same time. To give a rough gauge, I took more than a thousand shots over the 3-day celebrations and trimmed it down to 400+ shots for delivery. It is always a huge satisfaction when your clients’ feedback that they were incredibly pleased with your shots, and I am glad to be able to deliver after not shooting club photography for so long.

On an ending note, club photography is extremely tiring, and it kills your chronological clock. I mean, I don’t usually sleep early but to be working at such odd hours for three consecutive days drained me. Nevertheless, I must say I’ve had a pleasant time shooting and I did enjoy myself, making new friends along the way. Lastly, a huge respect to all my photographer peers who specializes in nightlife photography!

Cheers, Jay.C

- Enjoyable moments


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