The right camera for you

I’ve done a lot of beauty shot before and it’s a very challenging situation. It can come out perfect or a disaster. There’s no middle ground. Barely a year in modeling, Elle from Canada was a natural in the set. I used One beauty dish on top and a soft box below. I also added a highlight coming from the back.

Lately, I’ve been working with my JPEG files. I normally shoot both RAW and JPEG at the same time. Sometimes when I like the JPEG file, I use it instead of the RAW. The way a camera makes a JPEG file is unique in every brand. It’s actually their secret sauce that differentiate them from the rest. Even the part when signals captured are converted by the sensor into an image, that’s a brand secret.

Camera manufacturer would make sure that they are consistent as they add more models of camera and as the technology advances, the consistency of the color and taste stays. Canon is a bit softer tone in both RAW and JPEG. Nikon on the other hand is more on clarity. In technical terms, it adds contrast to the mid tone and a bit contrasty overall. Continue reading “The right camera for you” »

Problem Solving

I’ve been shooting fashion inspired photos for about 7 years already and not all of them came out well. One common thing though is I’m learning in each and every shoot I had, especially those ones that are frustratingly challenging. When it happens, nothing will be in place and no matter how you try to solve it, it will just get worse.

I recently had a chance to shoot Ms.Mara Smith, a Bisaya Black-American-Filipina standing 5 feet 10 inches tall. She was a natural in front of the camera. After preparing 6 lights, one was enough after all.

Continue reading “Problem Solving” »

Leaving a gem behind

The photography industry fed by the camera manufacturer with the latest functionality and technology has been in this cycle ever since. Photographers would mostly want the latest gears in their hand whether it’s essential in their workflow or maybe the thinking that it can improve your shots.

I should know, I’m one of the zombie photographer who always want the latest tech in my hand. My shots did really improved but I don’t think the camera has anything to do with it. Maybe I was inspired to shoot better because it’s top of the line equipment but no, it was all me.

Since I normally shoot tethered in studio, the LCD disadvantage in 5D MkII is not an issue. Maybe a bit issue in focusing but it’s manageable. Other than that, everything works perfectly fine. (Model: Danielle Pires, MUA: Catherine Diala)

Continue reading “Leaving a gem behind” »

Models International

 

Hanna Weiser is Brazilian with German descent. Standing 5 feet and 10 inches tall, she is a freelance model. She loves to stay in the Philippines but she must keep moving to the next city.

In the past couple of weeks, right after I opened my studio in Manila, I offered to do some test shoot to foreign models just to start up the studio and to test my studio design if it will function as I designed it. Test shoot is actually a term used where models would do a portfolio shoot with the photographer with no fee and both party can use the images. Some would call it x-deal but internationally, it’s more known as test shoot. Continue reading “Models International” »

In between colors

When I’m in a studio, it is both frustrating and fulfilling at the same time. The pressure to create something artistic and visually appealing can be a frustrating situation but when you pull it through, the satisfaction and the feeling of fulfillment is just immeasurable. In my recent shoot, the idea of playing with gobo and color gel just came to me.

This is my first time to mix color gels lighting effect with gobo. A total of 4 lights was used to create this image.

My last experiment with color gel was way back 5 years ago. Nothing much with gobo though, mostly just to block the unwanted light. Gobo and gels is one of those techniques that will either work or not. There’s nothing in between. I takes a lot of experiments and understanding of how to create the effect. Continue reading “In between colors” »

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” »

Ecosystem

Shooting outdoors at shutter speed 1/800, possible using Phottix Indra500 high speed sync. It can go as high as 1/8000, no need to attach the ND filter to reduce the light. (Samiria Santana)

After 5 AC strobes, 3 battery pack strobes and 4 speedlights, 10 wireless triggers, only now that I realize how convenient it could have been if I invested on an ecosystem. All my devices would have worked together smoothly. If only I’ve know this when I was starting up, I could have saved myself from all the troubles.

Unfortunately, you wouldn’t know these things unless you experience it yourself. There’s a lot of things to goes through your mind when you’re starting up and most of them are associated with cost of equipments. You will always find branded equipments to be very expensive and the cheaper brands were very much capable. Continue reading “Ecosystem” »

Hassles in fashion photography

In the recent workshop that I conducted for PCCI in Makati, the students asked me why I chose fashion photography over the others. I told them that I like the pressure. The idea that I will almost always call it quits everytime fuels my passion to even play harder. Above all, it’s the satisfaction that I get producing artworks with style.

My challenge to my students during the fashion photography workshop was to shoot the subject in style and capturing the motion. It’s about finding ways to shoot it differently.

Behind every fashion photo you see is a mix of beauty and style. The problem that arises in and out of the set is as simple as missing memory card to one of the creatives decided not to show. There’s weather if you’re shooting outdoors and equipment failures here and there. But in the middle of chaos, a work of art is brewing. Continue reading “Hassles in fashion photography” »

Practice makes perfect

Rouge Model

Challenge accepted. Shooting with natural light since I had no lighting gears with me and shooting at a very tight emergency exit stairs. (Rouge Models International)

A modelling agency called me about shooting test shots for their open casting. I ask what type of photos they are after, they told they only need professionally done mug shots. I was also informed that the studio is quite small, just about 35 square meters white walls and ceiling. With all these info I gathered, I decided to bring my standard camera gadgets and a speedlight.

The first test shot went really well as I just bounced the mounted flash to the ceiling which gave me soft overhead light. The walls kept the shadows really minimal and made the regular mug shot some professional feel to it. The dilemma started when the international models came pouring in. Continue reading “Practice makes perfect” »

Drive Your Passion

Recently, I handled a fashion photography workshop at Philippine Center for Creative Imaging in Makati. I had apprehensions on speaking tagalog as I might slip into speaking visayan. It turned out to be more difficult because I have to speak english all the way having students from Japan and the Oman who came to the Philippines just to attend the workshop.

Spills from the recent workshop I handled. Playing with gels to get out of the norm. Model: Camille Sedar, PCCI.

I’m always intrigued about each and every student’s story on how they end up taking the workshop. This is the next level workshop after taking the basics. I always wondered how they decided to take fashion photography over the other courses. It was fun being with other passionate persons loving the same genre. Continue reading “Drive Your Passion” »