Up your Photography

Have you been asking yourself how those beautiful photos in 500px, Flickr and other photo sharing website is done? Why is it so perfect? I have to admit, I did asked myself about it many times. It’s even one of my driving force to better myself every time. Sometimes you’d wonder if you’ll ever reach that level of photography that is worthy of admiration.

One way to visually see your zones is to show the histogram of the image. It allows you to see the distribution of tones and channels in different zones.

Well, there’s two parts of achieving those type of photos, one is excellent photography and the other one is masters in photo editing. The same complexity and a combination of art that you can find in photography, photo editing is just as deep as it goes. Photo editing compliments photography. Continue reading “Up your Photography” »

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” »

Gear Matters

In this photo, we had to use a battery pack strobe since the location has no power outlet. Hi speed sync strobes will allow you to shoot at higher shutter speed which is helpful when shooting wide open apertures. (Nathalia Diorio)

Before you start the argument that skill is more important than gear, give me a chance to explain. I’ve been preaching it ever since that before you upgrade your equipments, you should upgrade yourself first. Find out if buying a new equipment will match your skills. Do you deserve it or you probably used the excuse that I’d be more inspired if I’m using a better gear.

My first digital camera lasted for three years before I added a new one. I even only had one lens, 50mm 1.4 back then. Oh I also had a dole out 28-105 lens. Basically, these are what I had for three years. Our brains are so creative that they can really find the most convincing reason to upgrade and often times, we all fall victim to it. Continue reading “Gear Matters” »

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” »

Endless Learning

When shooting in low light, it’s important to capture the ambient light to show the realistic feel of the scene. I then added strobes for the hair light and another one to fill the subject. The trick is to reduce the power of the strobe close to the ambient to capture both light. (LINX Lounge)

I always get a mix of inquiries from different photographers. There are those who are about to start doing photography, some are just thinking of doing it and there are those already into it. The questions range from too easy up to complicated ones. With all the different level of photographers I meet, I can’t even define how many levels there is. Continue reading “Endless Learning” »

Phottix Indra Hi Speed Sync

One of the limitation of a focal plane shutter, both used by mirrorless and DSLR, is that it can only allow shooting with strobe at 1/200 shutter speed and below. The maximum shutter speed that the camera can allow with strobe is called flash sync. Should you decide to shoot faster than the flash sync, you’ll see a block of line in your shot..

Well it’s quite easy to digest that as long as you’re below the flash sync, you’re safe. However, what if you want to shoot at faster shutter speed? What if you want to open up your aperture to create a shallow depth of field and increase the shutter to control the exposure while using strobe to fill in the light?

Perfect for shooting portraits. Beauty dish mounted on a Phottix Indra500 set on hi speed sync. 1/1600sec, f/1.8

Continue reading “Phottix Indra Hi Speed Sync” »

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?” »

Breaking Barriers

Photo taken using Fujifilm GFX 50s body, GX120mmF4 R WR lens by Jan Gonzales.

Last year, when Fujifilm announced their medium format mirrorless camera, I have to admit, I had no excitement at all. I know that it’s going to be great just like the other medium format cameras in the market today but I was also sure that it’s going to be out of reach in terms of price. However, I was wrong, Fujifilm always makes product with the consumers in mind.

First stop, size. During the launching of GFX 50s, I tried it and it feels like holding my Canon 5D. Size and weight is very similar except for the 1.7 times bigger sensor inside. It felt good in my big hands and easy access to camera settings with the straight-forward dials which Fujifilm is known for. Continue reading “Breaking Barriers” »

Finding the genre that fits you

Travel Photography is one genre that still captures my heart even if I think of a model subject to add to the composition. (Hermit’s Cove, Aloguinsan, Canon 5D, 17-40)

First of all, I would like to congratulate all the winners of Sinulog Photo Contest 2017. The effort, skill and talent all rolled together to emerge as winners out of the thousands of participants. Sinulog is always a spectacle that photographers cannot resist. I can only wish though, that we can be more disciplined next year.

Photography has a lot of genre for you to choose from when you’re a greenhorn. Sometimes there’s too much for you to try that you end up doing everything but hasn’t mastered one. Any photographer can easily get interested about anything about photography, especially if they see a work of a master photographer. Continue reading “Finding the genre that fits you” »