Phnom Penh | The private photo tour that became a shoot

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Life in Phnom Penh is so full of surprises and twists that it’s often best to just go with the flow and see what can happen on a beautiful day in the Kingdom of Wonder -Cambodia. Below you can read about the private Photo Tour we did with Charley & Jiayu in Phnom Penh.

Phnom Penh motorbike man and woman

Your private photo shoot in Phnom Penh.

As a photographer, I am always observing people and trying to find the right connections and follow the dots between people in order to get you interesting pictures during the Cambodia Photo tours.

Your Private eye in Phnom Penh.

It’s now not even necessary that you have to take your own pictures during our photo tours, as this story will show.

We can be your personal photographer while you leisurely, romantic or playfully enjoy Phnom Penh. We can also visit the Angkor Wat temples and capture the highlights for you in a personal custom tailored program. This way you will remember your stay in Phnom Penh or Angkor Wat with a smile and have the pictures to prove it.

Phnom Penh street photography | Full day photo tour

We meet Charley and his charming partner Jiayu in the famous FCC bar and restaurant in Phnom Penh for a booked private tour. They were equipped with smartphones for our street photography tour.

They were both young and good looking. Together they are a smart duo. Charley is from Los Angeles and Jiayu is from mainland China, Beijing. We could say: love is in the air.

They arrived an hour late due to heavy traffic and their accommodation being far out of town. Phnom Penh can be very busy. We, therefore, recommend you to find a good place to stay around the city center.

Phnom Penh street photography | You decide what to do

We are hosting Photography tours in Cambodia some years now and have seen many different kinds of people and all levels of photographers. With Charley and Jiayu it became clear that making pictures was not their main objective. They just wanted to have a good day out with a local guide in an unknown place like Phnom Penh.

Both had it a bit hard to explain exactly what they expected, but it is our job to help and get things happening.

What Camera to use during a full day photo tour?

In fact, there is a substantial difference between shooting with a smartphone or a more pro level equipped level DSLR camera. In the end, the best camera is the one you carry with you. We will get back to this in a minute or two.

Phnom Penh photo tour | The real experience

Back to Charley and Jiayu and what happened next. We settled to visit for a mix between off-the-beaten-path locations and a few tourists highlights to start with.

We arrived first at Wat Phnom, the main temple location in Phnom Penh and one of the few places that resemble a park. There is not much space for parks; luckily the streets of Phnom Penh are lined with trees for shade and air.

Wat Phnom Temple Prayer

When I offered to take their first picture there I noticed through my lens that Jiayu had a dynamic flair and natural connection to the camera and was not posing anything close to a formal picture or with a forced smile.

Wat Phnom Temple Phnom Penh

She immediately moved well and experimented with a variety of daring poses and her boyfriend Charley was keeping to his brave pose of being Mr. Cool.

While both having Chinese roots we walked up to a separate Chinese shrine just one level below the Buddhist shrine in Wat Phnom, and they lit some incense and did a little prayer obviously familiar to the whole thing.

After this appropriate cultural start out of the day, we were ready for a great day in Phnom Penh.

Wat Phnom Temple | A tourist highlight

In the Khmer language, Wat means “temple” and Phnom “mountain”. Temple Mountain. When Siam invaded Angkor in the 16th century, the capital city of Cambodia was moved to Phnom Penh a hundred years later.

Penh was the name of a now-famous lady Penh who lived along the Mekong and found golden Buddha statues inside a hollow tree. In order to honor this, she ordered to build a hand made mountain temple as a home for the Buddha statues. The temple was called Wat Phnom and so Phnom Penh means "the hill of the lady Penh"

Turn a photo tour into a photo shoot in Phnom Penh

After the somewhat touristy but very relevant introduction to Phnom Penh, it was time for a reality check and we cruised with our hired tuk-tuk to the Orussey district. Psar (market)

Wat Phnom Temple Tuk Tuk

The markets are so alive, colorful and chaotic that after this we had some refreshments in a local coffeehouse. They proposed to go back to their hotel residence and do some more pictures there after lunch.

Phnom Penh local market

Obviously, this day was not going to be a regular Photo tour, they were more into each other instead of a photo tour. I, on the other hand, was more curious how this private photo tour would work out if we would make it a photo shoot with her being a true model and him a cool dude. Anything could happen.

Phnom Penh local market street food

A private hideaway in the suburban of Phnom Penh

Their hotel was located in one of the gated communities in a suburban of Phnom Penh. It was a real private hideaway. A huge western style villa with different rooms. Probably useful for people in business with fast access to the international airport but as a holiday or weekend hub to explore Phnom Penh city just too far away for entertainment or leisure visits.

The living room was appointed with good features and a large dining table, somewhat conventional Asian décor and wooden furniture in a club style.

Somehow this couple was able to enjoy a natural role-play together while having fun. Jiayu was adamant to be the strong woman and Charley the cool dude.

Phnom Penh photo shoot

We spend the rest of the afternoon at their well-hidden and beautiful decorated private residence hotel to shoot some spontaneous fun pictures you find here.

Phnom Penh photo shoot

For Charley and Jiayu this day was their way of connecting with each other in a playful way. Being freshly in love they enjoyed every moment in the role play and meanwhile they were getting a nice private photography album together.

For me, it was a good experience to adjust and see how I could keep my clients excited while having fun.

Phnom Penh photo shoot 1

After a few days, I sent a selection of the results to them. They loved the pictures so much that Charley and Jiayu ordered all the 155 images. A priceless reminder of their special time with us in Cambodia.

Phnom Penh photo shoot 2

What camera to use during a photo shoot?

The image quality of smartphones is amazing these days. In my opinion, it’s all about getting engaged and using your camera as an extension of your eyes.

After that, there is a whole list of other considerations, like composition, light, the right moment, precise focus, and use of background and background blur for example.

But also recognizing a good picture over mediocre ones. It really depends on the purpose of your images what’s best.

Jiayu portret photography

Iam Nikon We use Nikon cameras and lenses for our photo tours and private shootings. This series of images of Charley and Jiayu was captured with the Nikon Z6.

The Z6 is the newest Nikon mirrorless 24mp camera with the 24-70mm F4 lens. With a DSLR (digital-single-lens-reflex) camera you have more creative input, better control and higher image quality for reproduction in print.

Working with different lenses and lens angles is preferred for shooting portraits and close-ups. The wide-angle lens is great for landscapes and interiors.

During our photo tours, we will help you to make the most of your camera settings and provide priceless tips, hints, and instructions to make you a better photographer.

About Michael Klinkhamer | Cambodian Photo Tours

I’m Michael Klinkhamer and come from Amsterdam. Since 2013 I’m based in Phnom Penh and I am lucky to be a professional photographer and travel production manager my entire working career. I’m now living the dream and taking my shots in Asia. I publish my photography work in magazines, shoot for companies and produce photo reportage and photo exhibition. I also conduct photography tours from my hometown Phnom Penh in Cambodia.

Pickups and drop-offs are included from selected hotels and we can start at your favorite location either in and around your hotel or on a nice location in the city, spectacular rooftop bar, or another cool venue in town.

You are free to create your own personal travel stories and sightseeing theme or leave that all up to us.

Including, for example, the best available spots in or around your luxury hotel, resort and spa accommodations in Cambodia. We can take you to the real Cambodia and show you the way people live here and we can arrange an amazing day at the Angkor Wat temples.

We are The ONE in Cambodia.

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