Learn From Test Shoot

In this photo, I’m trying to shoot Stephanie with a look that I haven’t seen from her previous shots. It’s a challenge for both the model and me plus it’s our first time working together. I learned a lot creatively from this shoot. (model: Stephanie Fontanel of Stacy’s Model Management)

I can still remember vividly the first few test shoots I did. It was horrible and embarrassing when thinking about it now. But when you try to look back at your beginnings, it will also shows how much you’ve progressed. We call it fun shoot back then, I didn’t really know the terminology used in the industry. It was only in the later part while working with wider players involved in the industry that I was corrected.

Test shoot is the best way for you to learn in a lot of ways. It is a complete learning experience that cannot be learned through workshops or youtube university. The idea is to simulate the shooting experience so when the actual commissioned job rolls in, you can handle the problems like a pro. Continue reading “Learn From Test Shoot” »

Photography Journey

Here’s one of my first captures back 2011. We were shooting outdoor with off camera speedlights. (Model: Shing Villarias)

Recently I attended a wedding of a colleague in Sacred Heart church and after the ceremony as I congratulated the newly wed, the couple told me that the priest told them that one of your ninongs is a really good photographer. He told them that he reads my article in SunStar Weekend.

In another situation, I was doing a training for a power plant in San Fernando. After I finished the seminar and about to leave the compound, the guard called my attention and asked me if I’m the same guy who writes about photography in SunStar. I said yes, are you a photographer? He said, no I just find it very interesting and asked if he can get a selfie with me.

I’ve had more amusing and inspiring experiences since I started writing about my journey in photography exactly six years now. I am no professional writer, often, I would just cross my fingers and hope my editors will iron out most of the wrinkles in my articles. I just genuinely write with my thoughts and ideas and hope to share my growing knowledge of photography. Continue reading “Photography Journey” »

Welcome To The Cloud

It’s in the cloud. If ever you returned back in time and you start talking about data found in the cloud, people would probably look up and wonder if you’re crazy or just plain stupid. Who would ever thought that we are now in the cloud technology. All electronic device and even business models and softwares are all directed to the cloud technology.

The new Lightroom CC is an independent application that you can install in your desktop. It is linked through the cloud which you can access from any mobile device.

Recently, Adobe decided to up their game with their involvement in cloud technology. They have been in this direction for the last three years when they decided to shift to Creative Cloud and now a major update with Lightroom. There’s now two Lightroom versions, one is the Classic Lightroom and the other one is Lightroom CC.

The Classic is the same old reliable and powerful software for photographers working on their desktops. The newly introduced LR CC is for the on the go photographer who wants access to his files anytime through any mobile device connected to the web. The application works exactly the same whether in desktop or in your mobile device. Continue reading “Welcome To The Cloud” »

Retouching

Few weeks ago I did my first class on high end retouching at Philippine Center for Creative Imaging. It’s a very challenging course that tests your patience and wakes up the obsessive compulsive nature in you. I’ve been using Photoshop since the mid 90’s and most of the tools used in the course are the same old tools found in the early versions of Photoshop.

In this photo, I was trying to retain the texture of the skin. In my experience shooting different races, European seems to have finer skin texture than South Americans who has more defined skin pores. Retaining skin texture makes the image more real and relatable.

There’s really no secret workflow when doing high end retouching, it’s just a matter of patience and utmost attention to details. A work of art takes time to finish. A proper retouching for me would take about two hours. Sometimes it takes longer especially if I can’t get into a zone. When you’re out of the zone, the details just seem to be homologous. Continue reading “Retouching” »

Pixel Dimension

More than megapixels and digital image, photography is still an art and no amount of technology will replace the eye of a photographer. Master photographer and Fujifilm ambassador Rommel Bundalian captured this timeless scene in Leon, Iloilo using a medium format Fujifilm 50s.

When you started learning about photography you probably asked what is the pixel dimension or megapixel of your camera. Of course, the assumption is always the more pixels the better the camera. It’s quite obvious that camera in cellphone is mostly promoted to have more pixel thus better quality images.

While it’s true that pixel dimension adds to the quality of the image, it’s is just a part of how an image is measured in quality. There’s also how big the sensor and how much noise can it avoid even in low light condition. There’s dynamic range that can really kill the quality of the image. All these considerations is part of how the quality of an image is assessed. Continue reading “Pixel Dimension” »

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” »

Rookie Mistake

Photo by Reginal de Guia. Last week I asked Reginald to talk to me about his love for landscape and using filters shooting it. After a short talk over coffee, I learned so much. Will share it in my coming articles.

Photo by Reginal de Guia. Last week I asked Reginald to talk to me about his love for landscape and using filters shooting it. After a short talk over coffee, I learned so much. Will share it in my coming articles.

I can probably say that in my current state as a photographer, I have charged a fee in exchange for my service and my client trusts my ability to deliver relative to their expectation. I’m a professional photographer, but despite of all my long experiences, I’m not exempted to mistakes just like any other rookie out there.

In one of my commercial shoot, I was surprise to see the settings of my camera at ISO1600. There’s nothing wrong using high ISO especially if your camera is capable of shooting better ISO or if your intention is to shoot it at high ISO. But if you were unaware of your settings, that’s where the problem comes. It only means that you were not checking your settings before you took the shot.

Sometimes when you’re too dependent on the LCD display and you just wait and see what you’ve got so you can adjust accordingly, it only means that you’ve become reactive to the situation rather than being proactive and be on top of it. You tend to miss the moment when you react to the situation. Moments that could have been the shot you’re after. Continue reading “Rookie Mistake” »

Sensor Size and Dynamic Range

Recently, Fujifilm released their version of a medium format mirrorless camera. I very much agree that indeed, the camera is definitely better than any full frame camera. Just the same as Hasselblad and Phase One who has been in the medium format industry for the longest time, bigger sensor is always better.

What makes a bigger sensor better is the ability to collect more light in a surface plane. The more light collected, the more data you get out of a single shot. Do we need all the data collected or how can we take advantage of the available data? It’s quite surprising that not all the data will be displayed.

On my way to Camotes Island, I saw this pack of dolphins swimming gracefully and synchronised towards the boat. Shooting with a full frame sensor and 70-300 lens.

On my way to Camotes Island, I saw this pack of dolphins swimming gracefully and synchronised towards the boat. Shooting with a full frame sensor and 70-300 lens.

Our monitor cannot display all the available data due to limitation and this also applies to print. Even if the monitor can display it, our eyes is not capable of seeing more than 16.8 million colors. A normal 14-bit file can capture 4.39 trillion colors. Then you would wonder where would I use all the extra data that I get when using bigger sensor? Continue reading “Sensor Size and Dynamic Range” »

Post Processing Internally and Externally

I understand that editing your photo has been an argument even back in the days of Ansel Adams when Photoshop did not even exist. Some editing comes to the point of reconstructing the image that the art of photography is exploited. Advertising images has been criticized about false advertising due to mis-representation of their product using too much Photoshop.

I carry a small point and shoot camera with me when travelling so I can take quick snaps along the way. Shooting raw using canon G11(small sensor), 1/60, 5.6, ISO 100. Edited in Adobe Camera Raw.

I carry a small point and shoot camera with me when travelling so I can take quick snaps along the way. Shooting raw using canon G11(small sensor), 1/60, 5.6, ISO 100. Edited in Adobe Camera Raw.

While it’s sad to know all about the negative effect of photo editing, it also has it’s highs. Photo editing allows you to correct and enhance your image and fills in the camera’s limitation. By putting photography first and polishing it after with editing, you’re keeping the art. Continue reading “Post Processing Internally and Externally” »