At the very end of the dark tunnel, there is light – a confession of a hobbyist turn professional photographer

Some people think poverty is a bitter situation, some see it as training in patience; some people think stability and comfort is fortune, some see the trap within. As my mentor Scott Robert said “when changes is a constant, embrace it.”

WARNING, VERY LONG BORING BLOG POST from Zabrina of JeZa!! Please excuse my terrible writing.

Today is the last day of my 9-6 day job, and I want to share some of my very random maybe deep thoughts with all of you. Today I kissed my system programming job good bye and starting our photography career full time starting Jan 1st. 2011.  As I packed up all my belonging from my desk and said good bye to all my colleagues whom I have been working alongside for eight years. I have many fond memories and made life long friends from this office. This was my very first job out of college and I have been working here for eight long years. I still remembered the day I was hired. My boss said to me why he wanted to interview me was not because all the accounting classes I’ve took, nor the degree I have from UC Davis, it was that he found my website on my resume portrayed great sense of humor which made me stand out from other applicants.  So, because my good senses of humor, helps me landed on this job of  “entry level analyst.”  So I started out entry level barely knowing how to make a label with MS Word, nor add/subtract in MS Excel…. but I worked hard and taught myself in some programming languages which allows me to swim my way to become a supervisor of a small team and designed internal office apps.  There are  satisfactions and some fulfillment feelings toward my job, but often times day in and day out, I feel like I was doing repetitive tasks. There are many moment wondering if is this what I will be doing for the rest of my life?


This was halloween 2005? I think. It was the best year in the office because I played an optometrist!!

This was Halloween 2005? I think. It was the best year in the office because I was pretending to be  an optometrist!!

During my days working 9-5, my only cure for routine boring office tasks was by looking at blogs online and I’ve stubbled across master photographer Scott Robert’s blog. I was thinking, WOW, who is this SCOTT ROBERT? He must be some BIG SHOT photographer since his students’ photos are phenomenal.  Without a doubt, after looking at Scott Robert‘s work on his blog and his website, every single photo on his website looked stunning and it is beyond words to describe how beautiful they were. There is something about Scott’s work making all his subject look extremely beautiful. I was looking at Scott’s  blog everyday during lunch hour, break hour, even after work. So I’ve became a stalker for Scott’s work.

One day, I read Scott’s blog on their journey of adopting Chloe and Phoebe from China. I watched his video of Scott’s wife Stacey receiving Phoebe for the very first time, and how much over-flowing love expressed toward their them as children of their own. To that point I knew this is the family whom I want to be looking up to. I was touched by Phoebe’s adoption story in so many levels that I couldn’t really explain why, tears were just running down on my face.  While watching that video, I thought if Chloe or Phoebe weren’t adopted by this family, what could happen to them? Could they be left abandon on street of some random village in China?!?!!  Thankfully, they are in good hands of loving parents of Scott and Stacey.  So reading Scott’s story which has nothing to do with photography really intrigued me into reading his blog even more faithfully, wondering what is the next inspiring story he has to share.

Scott later talked about above image he took with his Nikon Film Camera while playing Rock Paper Scissor with kids in an orphanage of China. This image was a profound moment in his photographic career because he realized his interaction with the human experience can create a powerful image. WOW, I was thinking….an amazing image is not merely back by his technical skills of the master, also back by his sensitivity to life  and to powerful experiences.  I was just sitting at my cube and thinking about what can I possibly do with my life? Can I live a life will have powerful stories I can tell my children like Scott Robert did?

On that powerful blog post, he concludes with the quote below and asked if anyone is interested going to China with him…….so, starting that point I was thinking I gotta do something with my bilingual skills and perhaps that was a special calling for me to help Scott so that we can do something great & amazing in China. So we’ve went to our VERY FIRST Scott Robert Workshop in Oct of 2009 in China, and our photography journey begins since.

October 2009 Workshop Held in Hong Kong

“Extraordinary images are the result of extraordinary living. Live life and begin to see your photography in a brand new way. ” – Scott Robert Lim

Since attending the first Scott Robert Workshop, along with Jeremy, JeZa photography was born.  Life has been drastically changed since Oct of 2009; thanks to loving clients that allow me to evolve from both being weekend warriors to depart our day job slowly.  After working about one year professionally in the wedding industry, as we wrapped up 2010 with our last wedding job on December 18th, we were emotional and heart-felt about how much we’ve grown in the craft of photography. In just one year, we’ve found our voices and true self of being photographers, and seeing the direction of where we’ll be going in the next 5 years. It all started from reading Scott Robert’s story. And
thanks to being part of the Scott Robert Community, that changed our lives.

Honestly, it’s VERY UNCOMFORTABLE to think about how many weddings and photo sessions I’ll have to shoot in order to make up for the salaries, health benefits, 401K from our comfortable day jobs. To add more stress, think those bills are still due at the end of the month regardless we have income or not.  I see a dark tunnel that requires me to endure a lot of training, trust & patience in order to walking thru this tunnel. And this journey of walking thru the tunnel is not easy, is stressful and unpredictable. But we know that through this journey will make us a stronger people and the end of the journey itself is a process of living an extraordinary life.

To end this post, I want to share with you this poem from a Louis Vuitton ad, a luxury brand silly me used to work really hard for $$ to buy their bags for…..(a status self-comforting act at the beginning of my 9-5 career).  Today I think this poem exceed any value of every LV trunk cases or bags. The poem is something so valuable yet priceless to me………..

“Life is a Journey” – Louis Vuitton


Where will life take you? What is a journey?
A journey is not a trip.
It’s not a vacation.It’s a process.
A discovery.It’s a process of self-discovery.
A journey brings us face to face with ourselves.
A journey shows us not only the world, but how we fit in it.
Does the person create the journey or does the journey create the person?
The journey is life itself.  Where will life take you?

So in 2011, our new journey begins……………..

PS 1. WE LOVE SCOTT ROBERT FAMILY! Scott, Stacey, Chloe, Phoebe and the COMMUNITY!!!! You all our lights guiding us thru the tunnel!!

PS 2. I still remember the 1st time Scott called me on the phone to talk about China workshop 2009, I was like a HUGE fan screaming Justin Bieber’s name!! WHAT A STALKER!?!?! YES I AM!

PS3. 2011 Scott Robert Photography School will even be better and I know it! It’s JeZa’s honor to be part of the process and witness the growth of Scott Robert Photography School. The BEST in Photography education resource – Photography, Inspiration, Discovery!!!

PS 4. To my real father, I’ve disobeyed your words of by going full time in Photography. I know even with your disapproval of me going full time, but deep down inside you really love me. Time will prove everything. I really miss you, MayE and Mom. Hope to reunion soon!

PS 5. To Junshien & Stephen, I can’t believe from me being your biggest fan on xanga to working along side with you guys today. It’s feel so surreal!!  It all started with you guys accepting my FRIEND request on FACEBOOK!!!!!!!!!  THANKS!!!

PS 6. To Tauran Woo, you are the BOMB! That’s all.

PS 7. Good Bye cubicle, hello beautiful!! My cube-mates and office colleagues, I’ll be back for LL! lol!

PS 8. If you are still here and read my entire boring post, please let me know by commenting below.

In the mean time, we are wonderful starving photographers up for hire too!! Contact us using the contact form above to get a quote for your photo session.

Be transformed by the renewal of your mind. Romans 12:2.
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Facebook comments:

  • dany - October 20, 2013 - 3:03 pm

    Hi Jeremie and Zandra,
    I read all this blog entry, and it confirms the impression I had while meeting you some time ago in Paris, you are above all wonderful peoples ! love you guys !!
    I saw where you start from and where you are now, really incredible progress, lots of work,good advice, thanks to Robert Scott and his community.

    I don’t know if I will succeed to make the jump as you did, but whatever the future will be … I will offer my friend ship

    Really happy to have meet you

  • Emily - April 9, 2013 - 11:24 am

    I am so much moved by the words you said, at the end of the journey itself is a process of living an extraordinary life. Yes, living an extraordinary life begins with the moment of finding yourself who you really want to be. Can’t wait to see you and your husband, fortunately there’s only two days left.

  • David - August 11, 2012 - 2:35 pm

    Hey Zabrina,

    Love the courage and self-realization. Life’s a journey and not everyone’s got the courage to evaluate and access what’s important to their lives. And lastly, to make that change takes a lot of trust, belief, and confidence.

    Good luck and hope you continued success.

  • Hilary - April 18, 2012 - 3:37 pm

    HI!!!!! I finished reading your blog post. i think i will start to stalk you!!!!! I really want to meet with you if you are still in Paris :) you made me want to meet Scott Robert very much!!!!! I esp love his quotes….I think I am inspired by them everyday. I’m Hilary :)))))


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  • Timothy Hui - November 17, 2011 - 11:18 pm

    Great post Zabrina, very honest and self-reflecting. As one of the first photographers we’ve worked along-side with (when we were still doing weddings for free for our friends), you guys will always have a special place in our hearts. We love the Scott Roberts family, and am honored to be extended members.

    You guys have great stuff, and you will be successful! When you become a hot shot photographer like SR, don’t forget about us!

  • alex ho - November 16, 2011 - 3:39 pm

    great story and kudos for taking the leap!
    good luck!

  • […] All might Lord Jesus, all glory to Him!! We love because Jesus loves us first.  He placed certain people, certain tools, certain events happened in our lives to make things happen.  In events such as letting go of our stability, a house, two new cars & two 9-5 office jobs to achieve a higher meaning of this new career – to produce excellence in photography. Read the story of our journey. […]

  • Terri Dickerson - May 11, 2011 - 4:32 am

    Zabrina, If i can stop crying from reading your story I will finish my comment…:-))
    Your story touched me and has inspired me to struggle through any dark tunnel I travel in & out of because I am pursuing what I LOVE. And in the end happiness is what I call success! When I work on a photo that I love it’s a therapy session for me and the final result is a rewarding feeling of self worth. Thank you for sharing your story and it’s funny you said you were a stalker of Scott because that’s what Debbie were kidding about in the pic you took of us at Addison park while talking with him. And now I may have become a serial stalker of Zabrina & Jeremy too LOL!!!!! It was fun getting to know you guys last week!!!

  • Ryan Angel - March 1, 2011 - 12:57 pm

    Wow, what a story. It actually took me a day to come back to the other half of the story cause I just got caught up at work, but believe me at how bad I wanted to come back and finish the story. It was like watching a suspenseful movie and then all of a sudden the commercial comes on. Consider me your new stalker and hopefully one day I can inspire others just as how you have inspired me and many others!

  • brandon - February 8, 2011 - 10:49 am

    congrats to you and jeremy! you guys have the best job! take care and best wishes on your new journey.

  • Amos - January 23, 2011 - 4:45 pm

    While you found Scott through others, I found you guys through Scott and it was through CM Leung, I chance upon Scott. Well, we are miles apart as I am based in Singapore but your journey to photography got me inspired and I was reading your blog on the post you did when you left your full time job. Ironically, I am also a full time employee who found pleasure shooting part time. I believe…one day, we will meet…somewhere…somehow…its a small world when we share common interest and objectives. All the best to you and your hubby in your new asipration.

  • Aisha - January 2, 2011 - 12:48 pm

    Your story was very inspirational and I’d like to thank you for sharing it with the rest of us. I know it must not have been easy to write everything down and to decide to share it with the rest of the world. I wish you the best of luck in 2011–and the rest of your life. You have the right & positive attitude. Just keep following your heart. You are blessed to have found that thing that makes you happy to go to work everyday.

  • Joyce - January 2, 2011 - 12:14 am

    What an inspiring story!! God is going to do great things with you guys! Even without the security of a paycheck, we are secure in our Jehovah Jireh (our Provider). You and Jeremy are amazing! Look at how far you have come in just a short year. Isn’t it great to doing something you have passion for? Definitely more rewarding in the end. Looking forward to hearing about your successes at this time next year! =)

  • […] forward to all the babies to be born in 2011!! And congrats to our friend Zabrina who is starting a new adventure with her hubby […]

  • brent - December 30, 2010 - 4:07 pm

    for you to only now go full time and have already accomplished so much is amazing! You and Jeremy are going to kick butt in 2011!

  • Michelle Ng - December 30, 2010 - 10:38 am

    I’m rooting for you both! I know you two will do well, and I’m so proud of you both watching you grow ever since I met you back in April. Z and Jer, both of you are beautiful and fun loving people, I know all the clients will love you.

    Thank you both for helping me grow this year. I can’t wait to watch you two soar!

    Good luck, and always, let me know if you ever need anything. Come over when you’re ready to learn how to sew and start executing your own vision… we have TWO sewing machines and my MOM to help with making ANYTHING!! I love you both!

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