DISCLAIMER: This can be quite a lengthy post, so if you’re not interested in what the title even says, I don’t suggest you reading this to save your time.. Oh and all photos here are taken by me, but not necessarily the ones submitted in each category I place them under (only the second theme has the exact picture)… 🙂

On November 3rd, I attended the Canon Photomarathon X at Marina Bay Sands, signifying 10 years of running this event. Being the budding photographer I am, I felt this strong urge to participate in this event for the first time along with a couple other friends for the experience. Take note that the photos you are to see below are not what I submitted for each theme, apart from the second.

The doors of the expo hall opened at a really early timing of 7AM (takes commitment to get up so early and go all the way to MBS at such an hour!) and there was already a long queue waiting to get into the hall and collect their passes, shirts and goodie bags, while last minute attendees registered on the spot (most of which I assume missed their chance to get tees of their size as they had to wait for all those who have registered early online to be done with their collection). I must say the shirt was rather nice, although I regret the size I took. For an S size, it was certainly not small (or maybe I am just real short Dx). The goodie bag consisted of a magazine and a couple of vouchers. Nothing really fancy, but still a nice small gift, though it was obstructive for some during the stretch of the event, especially those who did not carry bag packs.

Basically, there were three themes given at different intervals of the day. For each theme, participants were given 3 hours to shoot AND submit. Now, one might think that 3 hours is no big deal to take one photo, but that’s where they would be wrong. Sure, I witnessed people submitting photos 30 minutes after the theme was announced, but at the exact deadline, the submission queue stretched to the end of a corner of MBS, it was crazy, but a quick process nonetheless!

The 3 themes are as follows: WONDER, HARMONY, & PLEASURE respectively.

The word WONDER itself is probably one of the most general words I would ever get for a photography assignment. It was so tough, and my mind was completely shut off. Maybe it was because it was far too early in the morning, but whatever the reason was, I failed to submit anything at the end of this theme because I didn’t take anything related to it.


The moment the theme HARMONY was announced, I instantly thought of music, colours, family/friends, and of course, racial harmony. I settled for music because the idea was stuck in my head, and my friends and I had to head to a music store because one of them wanted to shoot something there. To me, it was like an opportunity that I shouldn’t miss, so I went to take a few photos, and although I wasn’t completely satisfied with it, I submitted it anyway. Better to submit something than nothing.


The final theme PLEASURE was probably the easiest to think of ideas. In fact, the number of ideas I produced were much more than the other two themes, although this time, the ideas were more challenging and ambitious, in which most of the ideas could not even be considered because of the lack of props or models, but I still proceeded to shoot something for this theme to make up for the failure of the first theme! The photo I took for this theme was extremely last minute, and we rushed back to MBS just before it rained to submit for photos. For me, for this theme, the idea was definitely there, but how I wanted to do it was not, but what to do when there is bad weather and a rush for time, right? :/


I didn’t end up winning anything, of course, but (most of) the winning entries for each theme were rather impressive, although I feel that last year’s winning entries, which were shown on a board, were much better, as they looked more professionally shot! Nonetheless, the winning photos this year were really good, and I respect the judges’ decision on which photos best suit the themes…not as though I expected to win or anything, but I thought at least one of my friends would have a good chance though!

I’ll definitely take part in the next Canon Photomarathon if I have the time. It’s certainly a good experience and I learned a lot from this long event. The biggest lesson, for me, would be that sometimes, simplicity is the best option (judging from the winning photos). Some of the winning photos just left me in awe as I realized how simple their photos were but seemed to be so effective! I guess that sometimes big ideas may not work as you’d plan, or may not get the message you intend to spread passed on to the judges right. That said, some creativity and/or originality is important as well. Simplicity works, but it can be further enhanced if you think deeper into it. Oh, and speaking of enhancements, I also learned that it is good to have a camera with creative filters because in such competitions, you cannot edit your images by any means other than what your camera has, which was a complete downside for me because my DSLR model is OLD (doesn’t even have video format). Man, I really need to upgrade ASAP!

But yeah, to end off, I strongly recommend the Canon Photomarathon to all budding photographers out there. You’ll get to spend a lot of personal time with your camera, that I’m very sure of. Plus, who knows? You might learn a new thing or two…or three? 😉 There are certainly perks at this event, such as freebies for Canon users (ONLY US PROUD CANON USERS YO) for every theme submitted, Awfully Chocolate truffles, and you even get a chance to meet The Muttons, Rozz, Nat Ho, and so on! How cool is that man?!

Watch out for Canon Photomarathon again next year! You won’t wanna miss it! ^^

To check out the winning entries of this year and the past year(s), check out: