Instantly.sg is a company specialising in custom photo & video installations for events & brands. We speak to the company’s founder and director Ewan Sou on the journey of Instantly.sg so far, and the role that Canon has played in his business.
I started this company back in 2014, when I saw an opportunity for Instagram photos to be printed out instantly, and on the spot at events. That led to our very first service, a Live Instagram Printing service. As the business grew, I eventually launched the company full-time, and we rolled out different event photography solutions along the way.
I wouldn’t consider Instantly.sg a photography company; we’re more of a technology company. The backbone of what we do is technology, and we provide custom solutions through our innovative approach to meeting our customer’s needs.
As a matter of fact, we have event companies coming to us with ideas or specific requirements for their clients, and we customise and build a solution from scratch.
With our focus on innovation, we have been amongst the first to develop concept booths, such as our Dubsmash video booth, 2-in-1 Boomerang photo booth and the latest 360 time-stop photo booth – comprising all Canon cameras.
The 360 time-stop photo booth is actually the first in Singapore! We made use of 30 Canon EOS 1300 DSLR cameras placed around the subjects in a 360 manner. We then set up our software to trigger all 30 cameras at the same time, and then stitch the frames together.
The effect you get from this is similar to what you see in the Matrix’s bullet time effect. It’s really cool! The response so far has been really good and people are amazed that we can do such things with Canon DSLR cameras.
There are many factors, but one reason we like using Canon is that the Canon software API is well documented, and allows customization. We can write codes and programs to operate the cameras according to our needs – its robustness and flexibility is something we really like.
Another key reason is Canon’s reliability. As an events solution provider, we don’t have any margin for error – our equipment must work, all the time! I’m pleased to say that Canon cameras have never failed us before.
We have zero complaints; the cameras are not only reliable, but very user friendly, and works perfectly out of the box.
It simply is the best choice for us.
Instantly.sg is actually not the first business I’ve started! I’ve had my share of ups and downs as with different businesses.
The thing about entrepreneurship is that it is really tough. Especially at the start, there were months where I wondered if I could even sustain my personal expenses. Being a one-man show initially, I was also working 18-hour days, which certainly took a toll physically. Thankfully, I had tremendous support from my family; my wife and my parents.
One of the most fulfilling things so far is seeing the team grow – we now have a team of five full-timers. One of our key areas for growth has always been product development and R&D which we constantly innovate and try to come out with new services to capture people’s attention and get them excited. Over the years we have also taken on bigger-name clients, giving us opportunities to position ourselves in the market.
I feel that you should start young. I started my business back in my university days. In a sense your opportunity cost and overall risk is lower when you have less commitments – it’ll not be as easy once you settle down and have a family.
In my opinion, the best way to learn is to get your hands dirty and fully immerse yourself in the journey. Inadvertently, you’d make mistakes, make the wrong choices, but I am learning something new every day. I would even go as far as to say, even if Instantly.sg fails and closes down one day, all of the experiences I’ve picked up would have been useful.
Lastly – if you have an idea for a business, don’t procrastinate and stop at the planning stage. You have to “just do it” at some point. Once you start doing, things will start falling into place and you will have a sense of how to move forward and adjust.
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