Entrepreneur

From Hobby To Shutterbug In Demand - How One Man's Shot At Fame Paid Off Multifolds

“In order for our photos not to be stagnant, the only way is to personalise each clients’ to what they want.”

Since its inception in 2010, the Multifolds photography studio has already clinched multiple awards by Blissful Brides, The Wedding Bureau and been a recipient of the Singapore Outstanding Enterprise award.

Today, Multifolds’ annual revenue now runs close to 6 figures, and even has its own Instagram titled The People of Multifolds.

Image Credit: @Multifolds Instagram

The brand is a perfect example of how one man’s passion for that perfect shot has paid off.

His name is Melvin Lau, and this is how he did it.

Photos Before Multifolds

Photography has always been a hobby for Melvin, harking back to his time in Nanyang Poly. Aside from a diploma in mobile programming, he also studied Multimedia Infocomm and Technology.

“I remember there was one module on Photoshop which I found intriguing. After that, I started self-teaching on how to edit my own photos.”

During that period, the camera started to become a prominent fixture in his life.

Lovescapade / Image Credit: Multifolds

At Sentosa volleyball sessions, he could either be found on the court… or standing alongside snapping shots of his friends playing and socialising.

“I often went to Chinatown and other areas to snap portraits of strangers. I guess I was quite drawn to people.”

A couple from the Philippines saw his works on Flickr and engaged him for a couple shoot.

“Back then, I didn’t know how to charge or shoot! But it was unforgettable because it was one of my first assignments before Multifolds.”

“Come to think of it, back then, I was already shooting couples in a spontaneous way instead of in classic poses.”

Lovescapade / Image Credit: Multifolds

Multifolds, A Lazy Decision That Got Him Going

“There wasn’t a definite decision like, ok, this is it, I’m just gonna do this full time. In all honestly, I was actually quite lazy in filling up the application for University!”

But it was a habit that meshed well with his enterprising mind, so when his popularity took off after a friend’s wedding photoshoot, it sparked the idea of a business.

Malvin Lau / Image credit: Artisan Prints

“Since young, I always thought, why not try a business first? If it fails, at least I’m still young. But soon after, Multifolds really took off and I knew there was no turning back.”

However, his parents weren’t supportive of the venture initially, as it could be a “really unstable job”.

“Back then, being a wedding photographer was unknown and niche – they didn’t think there would be a market for it, let alone in starting out a new brand.”

Instead of losing his motivation, the lack of parental support instead became a motivating factor. It was a way for him to show “his parents he had done well in his chosen path. That unconventional routes to success do exist after all.”

Indeed, Melvin does admit that first 2 years were a tough climb.

“We were trying to make ends meet while creating brand awareness amongst the masses.”

Despite what you might perceive of the brand, they do not specialise in just wedding photography.

A colleagues’ pre-wedding shoot / Image Credit: Johnathan Chua

“We want to reach out to the younger generation of students too, so that they can grow along with us, from their graduation all the way to their wedding.”

In fact, Melvin has already help document the important life events for 2 couples – sometimes he describes as “quite the feat”.

Coining Lovescapade

Pre-wedding shoots, or ‘Lovescapade’, was first christened by a couple who wanted to engage Melvin as their wedding photographer.

What started out a standard shoot quickly became a exchange between them, as Melvin listened to their backstory and designed a unique shoot just for them.

The shoot took place in the backdrop of a Junior College and quickly went viral, even finding its way onto The Straits Times.

Image Credit: Multifolds Photography Facebook

At that point of time, Melvin was already inspired by wedding photography.

“The emotions, warmth, and history of the people involved are all captured within the lenses,” he had shared.

Capturing a genuinely spontaneous moment requires a fun and creative environment, says the Multifolds ideology.

“Most photographers strive to create that perfect picture, [but] very few recognise the essence of a picture lies in capturing the spontaneity of that perfect moment.”

Today, this added client value has also become their competitive advantage.

“In order for our photos not to be stagnant, the only way is to personalise each clients’ photos.”

“The only way to be competitive is to carve out your own niche,” Melvin reflects.

Shooting For The Stars

“Be confident and persistent,” Melvin muses as he ponders on the importance of being unique.

“Dare to dream, dare to be different. Every business has its troubles; if someone throws a stone at you, take it and create a spark. If this year is difficult for you, do something different. Dare to take risks.”

Featured Image Credit: Melvin Lau of Multifolds

 

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