tpvets_logo.jpg (2726 bytes)TOA PAYOH VETS

Date:   28 July, 2013  
Focus: Small animals - dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, turtles & rabbits
Continuing education in digital photography   
Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS
Date:   28 July, 2013 
Be Kind To Pets
Veterinary Education
Project 2010-0129

1043. The Fine Art of Digital Printing

Saturday July 27, 2013

I was at work in the drizzling morning on Saturday.  A lady wanted to consult me about her old Jack Russell who had difficulty breathing and the abdomen had started swelling for a few days.

"The dog is old, no point spending much money treating him," her 65-year-old father kept reiterating. I was quite irritated by his repetitions.

"You and I are old at over 60 years of age," I said to this man. "Does it mean that when we are sick, we should be put to sleep?"  That was the message he was transmitting to his daughter. 

His daughter said: "This dog has been with us for 10 years. I will not euthanase him just because he cannot breathe normally and is sick. My dad 's intentions are to save my money." 

To lower medical costs, I did not ask for X-ray of the chest and heart. A blood test and examination of the abdominal exudate would be done.

"Don't use sedation on this dog as he may die," I said to my assistant Naing as we muzzled this biting Jack Russell and held his four legs. He was much weaker since he had been panting probably for more than a week. I inserted a 19-G needle into his umbilical area and extracted around 1000 ml of blood-tinged fluid with 20-ml syringes. The abdominal swelling reduced considerably in size. Then I gave an injection to remove the excess fluid.

The dog stopped panting as the abdominal swelling was gone. He just looked much alert. "His abdominal swelling will return," I said to the owners. "He needs to be on heart medication for the rest of his life."

The dog peed at the waiting room and went home looking like a normal dog. He was given heart disease medications. By then, it was 12 noon and I had to rush to the Palm Room of the Singapore Flyer to attend a talk on digital printing by Stephen Loh. 

This was the 2nd old Jack Russell with ascites within a short period of time. Many veterinary events seem to occur in pairs recently. There were cost considerations for the first case too.

That dog seems to be normal after abdominocentesis as he did not have recurrences and is on oral chemotherapy. The owner WhatsApp his flat abdominal images to me recently. Both Jack Russells are much loved by the family members but the budget prevents me from more detailed lab tests like X-rays and follow through to come to a definitive diagnosis. 


How to print your photographs and sell them at $700 or more? It is not possible for most of the approximately 100 amateur photographers attending "The Art of Fine Printing" talk by Mr Stephen Loh of

Stephen is a professional wedding photographer and shares his experiences generously. He does around 40 weddings a year for clients who want more than just the mass wedding photographs and can pay for his services.

Here are some tips from him:
1. Always use RAW files. Hard drives are so cheap nowadays. He also uses tripod, light meter and lighting.

2. He uses Manual mode, except for focus.
3. He never uses Hue/Saturation which I used a lot as this affects the tonality of the images. For me, I use a lot.
4. He uses more Photoshop features than me e.g. dodging and burning.

5. He uses multi-layers and flattens them before presenting them to clients so as not to reveal his working steps which take a long time to develop. I guess it is like vets who don't reveal how they operate on difficult cases. 

Veterinary surgery is much less complicated and time-consuming than professional digital photography and photo-shopping, in my opinion. New software must be learnt. But both are skills to be mastered in a speedy, efficient and accurate manner. Take your time to do it but don't spend a lot of time because there are overheads to bear, unlike the situation for amateurs.

6. He calibrates his monitor which is a simple Dell monitor, not the expensive ones.  He uses luminous 90, not 130 for good results.

7. He saves in Adobe RGB files, not CYMK as Adobe RGB has a lesser gamut of colours. Therefore, less foul up when printed by the corporate owners. He prints his own wedding photographs rather than out-sourcing.

8. The Art of Selling Fine Prints to wedding clientele - make it an experience for clients rather than just giving them a CD. Examples of such marketing include the Japanese tea ceremony and selling of luxury handbags. Let the client sit down and have a drink or food before direct selling.  Spend some time with them viewing the prints. Clients who want cheap and good are usually corporations.

9. Perception of professionalism. Be presentable in dressing in tailor-made clothes. No necessity to wear branded suits. Vets ands staff may need to wear uniforms to project a professional image.

10. Niche marketing to the creative group who will refer others to him. He does some corporate work too but these are low cost quotation clients. He has international clientele to shoot wedding photos. For amateurs, it will be a tough business making a profit in mass wedding photography as there are too many competitors.
11. Resources. has much tips to offer according to Stephen.

The ink-jet print are now acceptable for international photo competition as they produce high quality prints. I doubt amateur photographers can afford the latest Canon printers if they don't print much.

It is important to attend talks by experienced photographers. This free talk was organised for ClubSNAP members limited to 100 on a Saturday afternoon. There appeared to be 100 present. Most participants were men. I am registered as a "dormant" member of ClubSNAP and got the email invitation the day before the talk!    

Updates will be on this webpage:

More info at: Dogs or Cats
To make an appointment: e-mail
tel: +65 9668-6469, 6254-3326

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