Best practice using Photoshop

In my many workshops in the creative industry and that includes photography, it is very common to know that some Photoshop users are still using the application like it’s the 90’s. They are using the current version but the approach and practice is way back couple of decades ago.

Somehow, our source of learning is from a colleague who learned it from a senior colleague who also learned it from another one. That’s how an old practice travelled through time and up until now is being practiced. Although, Youtube tutorial has introduced newer approach, some of the tutorial are using it the wrong way.

Edited this image using Adobe Camera Raw for global color adjustments and more intensive editing in Photoshop.

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Finding who you are

I rented a studio in Manila for this shot. The concept that I had in mind was dark and unfortunately, the studio has no gray backdrop. I decided to use the black curtain and remove a few to put on the riser platform. These are just few hiccups you’ll encounter during shoots.

Last weekend during the Macys Camera Anniversary event I found myself with the greats. I had the chance to get up close and personal with Canon’s LIght Crusader Edwin Martinez and strobist Ricky Ladia. Seeing them talk about their work and the different techniques they use when shooting only proves how much expertise they have gain mastering their craft. Continue reading “Finding who you are” »

Understanding Posing

Professional model Eva Mania poses in this set based on the concept we discussed. I made some few tweaks on the fly but we were more focused on bringing out the character that we wanted.

I still remember vividly when I had my first shoot, my major concern is posing. Even in the next coming shoots, it was always my weakness. Back then, I’d do a ton of research for the right posing and the different dos and don’ts. I try to do my best to imprint the image into my head so during shoot I can pull them out as needed.

Since I’m really not good in memorizing, I always end up dry and when the time comes that the model would ask for the dreaded question, “what should be my posing?”, it was like squeezing a drop of water out of a dry towel. The save reference poses to cellphone trick made a difference but I was slowly turning mechanical. Continue reading “Understanding Posing” »

Dynamic Range

A famous term in photography is backlight. Even a non photographer would know that shooting with the light coming from the back is undesirable. Whether shooting with the most expensive camera, backlight issues are known to mess up your shot. Unless if it’s intentional like silhouette, then you can get away with it.

Aerial photography is trending lately. The technology of drones has opened an opportunity to photographers in offering a different perspective. Respected photographer Dr. Erwin Lim has covered photography from underwater to land and air. (Photo by Dr. Erwin Lim)

We experience the same situation when the sun is low and beaming straight towards us, most likely we cannot see what is in front of us. Just the same as when an approaching car’s headlight is set to high. Our eyes cannot see the extent of brightness and low light at the same time.

This is the same dilemma when using a camera. What’s worse is the camera has a narrower range between bright and low light compared to human eyes. Often times, we can still see it when we look at the scene with bare eyes but the result comes out with flat shadows and shows no details. Continue reading “Dynamic Range” »

Thought Process

I’m occasionally asked about my thought process when shooting. I would hear the same question when watching photography video tutorial. When I was just starting up, that’s what I always ask every time I meet somebody I look up to. When learning photography the photos are output of the photographer’s creative process. Continue reading “Thought Process” »

Monitor Calibration

Few weeks ago, I was reading a thread about a photographer crowdsourcing on how to match his prints against his monitor. He positioned his photo side by side his monitor to show just how much injustice there is to the imagery. He also said that it looks perfect in the monitor only to find out it looked terrible in print and to other monitors.

This is a typical scenario that many photographers experience. This is a situation that you cannot be saved by crossing your fingers, hoping it won’t happen when doing commissioned shoots. Fortunately, no need for rocket science to figure this out. Just a plain understanding and a particular device called monitor calibrator.

Even mobile devices can now be calibrated. The operating system for both Android and iOS accepts ICC profile to be loaded to the video card so color can be consistent up to mobile devices.

Given the different monitor calibrators available in the market today, there’s more than one procedures to follow. What’s important though is the processes involved. You need to understand it more than following the step by step procedure. Continue reading “Monitor Calibration” »

What lens to buy?

I always have a difficult time answering to photographers who asks me what lens to buy. Not that I don’t want to help, it’s just that the answer need a more serious sit down and discussion to ge explain it right. Lenses are specialized based on your specific needs. That is the major advantage of having a replaceable lens camera.

17-40mm is the go to lens when it comes to landscape but in this shot, I used a 14mm lens. It offers a different perspective with just enough distortion. It’s a very interesting lens for landscape.

The rule when buying lens is that quality and durability will always speak its price. There are variables that needs to be considered, focal length and aperture. There’s also the zoom and prime lenses. Here’s a list of lenses and their usage based on a 35mm sensor. Continue reading “What lens to buy?” »

Fashion Photography

Last week, I attended the Christmas party of Philippine Center for Creative Imaging (PCCI). Officially it was also my introduction as one of the faculty member teaching Fashion Photography. There I’ve met icons in Photography like Mike Floro, Rommel Bundalian, Jijo De Guzman to name a few.

We didn’t utter anything photography that night but it only shows that these photography heavy weights is already in the level that they don’t have to prove anything anymore. To be with the greats, makes you feel one of them as well but I know for sure that there’s so much to prove in my end than theirs.

Organic. In one of my conversations with Eva, we tried to define the type of photographs I take and she told me it looks organic. Model: Eva Mania.

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Tethered Shooting

When shooting tethered, you get to see your work in a bigger display and will help you see more things that you can improve in your set.

When shooting tethered, you get to see your work in a bigger display and will help you see more things that you can improve in your set.

I had a unique scenario few years back with a client who wants to see the shots while we were shooting. It was on outdoor shoot so we had to connect my camera through its USB port to my enclosed laptop and use Lightroom’s tethering feature. It was a solution at that time but we encountered some concerns along the way.

Yes, the client was happy even if the shots were coming in slow. There’s about 5 seconds delay and I have to shoot it with a good interval between shots so the transfer of data, given the fact that we were shooting raw, wouldn’t be that overwhelming. The connection between the computer and camera somehow keeps on disconnecting.

This is something that I have to deal with every time we need to shoot tethered. I know that I must have done something wrong or a setting that needs to be set since those that I see in youtube are working perfectly fine. Continue reading “Tethered Shooting” »

Just Relax

I always witness a photographer or art director, maybe the agency rep tell the model to relax. This also happens in any type of shoot whether shooting couples for prenup or a teenager for her pre debut pictures. “Relax lang” is what I always hear hoping the subject would loosen up and project a more ideal result.

Unfortunately, asking the subject to relax never results in a more confident subject. It’s not a magic word that changes the state of mind. I wish it would but it won’t. We encounter this a lot during shoot when subjects would just freeze in the set and you’d wish that they’d relax and show more confidence.

First time in front of a camera, Danny Romero told me that he doesn't know how to pose. I told him "you don't have to, let me worry about that". After a short pep talk, he was in the zone and did really well.

First time in front of a camera, Danny Romero told me that he doesn’t know how to pose. I told him “you don’t have to, let me worry about that”. After a short pep talk, he was in the zone and did really well.

Continue reading “Just Relax” »