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Meet Vuong Vu of 1abpro Photography in Long Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Vuong Vu.

Vuong, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I never thought that I will be doing what I’m doing right now. I chose Photography because I thought it’s easy when I was going to school. I’m Vietnamese, came to America at 15 years old and English is my second language. When I was going to school, I chose the major based on the requirement of the projects (which one doesn’t require me to write an essay or doing speech in front of people) I will choose it. However, I didn’t really love photography when I was going to school because the first couple classes that I took were required me to learn how to (load 35mm films in to the reel, develop the films in the dark room…), That was really boring to me and I didn’t feel interested in the class at all so I dropped the class couple months after that. But since a friend of mine An Tran let me borrow a DSLR camera (CANON 20D) which he borrowed from a friend of his and let me play with it, that hooked me into the photography right away, Because I can see the photos that I took came out with a (BLUR BACKGROUND) and the objects were so clear and the colors so vibrant compared to any other point and shoot cameras back then that I used to have. And it’s was like a magic to me. Then we took the camera around the Mile SQUARE PARK to take photos of my friend to play around with the camera and every time we review the photos we both said “Man, it looks like magazine photos, the background was so blur”. Then he has to return his camera for his friend.

And I decided to get my Financial Aid to buy the exact camera and lens like what my friend let me borrowed and I bought a Canon 20d and 18-13mm lens. After I bought a camera An and I called each other out to test the camera to learn the camera techniques but we couldn’t go further than the AUTO setting because we don’t know what any of the numbers on the camera mean. An introduced me to one of his friend named Nhut Nguyen, he was a Wild Life Photographer and we tag along with him to learn the camera setting. He showed us how to make the background even more blur, how to freeze the actions, and how to do Panning Photography. After that day, all I was doing at home is making my girlfriend as a test object to practice all the techniques that Nhut taught me.

After a year of watching YOUTUBE videos, I started understanding the Shutter-speed, Aperture, and ISO setting. I practice with my girlfriend with many different photography techniques and posted it on Facebook. I had lot of compliments on my photos from my girlfriend’s friends and my friends. I felt very happy but after talking to them, I found out that they all like me at the beginning wondering “how to make the background BLUR”. Not the techniques that I was applying to the photos. After 2 years playing with the cameras, I started having friends’ relatives asking me to do their wedding photos. I start doing the first wedding in 2012 and after that I have 3 weddings in 2013. And the number of wedding started increasing. Until now I have about 100 wedding a year.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The biggest struggle for me at the first few years when doing weddings for Vietnamese community that they require me to have the photos of their guests to be printed at the same night of the reception. Back then there wasn’t dye sublimation printers that is portable and print quick for the guests to have it in an hour and I did not see any photographers come to the wedding with printers. So I had to plan with my assistant (my girlfriend) a night before to drive to Walgreen or Walmart nearest to the venue to use the one-hour-photo service then deliver at the end of the reception. Sometimes I have the problem with the files not readable at Walgreen/Walmart, sometimes I have a problem with the printers at Walgreen/Walmart was under maintenance. And sometimes my girlfriend gets stuck in the traffic when she driving back to the reception because of the DUI block road. Now, thanks to the growing of the photo booth business, I managed to have our printer set up at the venue and print instantly after each photo taken and hand them to the guests.

Please tell us about 1abpro Photography.
We specialize in wedding photography and we always learn the new camera, lighting techniques, fun poses to make our photos more interesting. Besides camera and lighting techniques, we also learn the trending Color-Grading in Lightroom and photoshop to make different types of clients happy (some love vibrant colors, some love black and white, some love film color look…) So we have to learn ALL and make the clients happy.

We aim for younger couples (19-28years old) who might not have the big budget for the wedding but they still want to have a memorable, creative, high quality album, so we make it possible for them. We sit down with our clients at the first meeting to help them with the budget planning, Itinerary planning, materials decision, photoshoot location decision so they don’t have to pay for what they don’t need.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My parents had to leave Vietnam to America and left 5 of our siblings in Vietnam. They tried to take us with them at the same time but the paperwork problem is 5 of our siblings couldn’t come with them at the same time. They wanted to come to America so that our future can be changed. They know that there will never be an opportunity for us to live in Vietnam because my dad was a South Vietnamese Soldier in Vietnam War and the Vietnam Government keep harassing our parent’s business since my dad came out of the prison. They decided to leave us in Vietnam to come to America so that they will have a chance to bring us to America. They have chosen the long way but the only way. Before they go, they keep telling us they left us so that they can give us a better future, that we can be whoever we want to be and do whatever we want to do. And I’m really thankful for what my parents sacrificed for us so we can be who we are today.

Pricing:

  • Our wedding package starts from $1900

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
1abpro Photography

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