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” »

Creative Space

I started serious photography sometime 2010 and I started it in a studio. Although I took some landscape and a few outdoor shooting back then, still, my creative space is inside a studio. I guess you can say that my photography was born in a studio. There was a point in my photography journey that I feared shooting with ambient light.

Started shooting inside a studio again. One light setup. (GRP Studio – Malate)

Continue reading “Creative Space” »

Color Toning

Color grading is mostly used in editing movies. This is one way to set a mood and trance the audience into a different experience. If you’re a fan of the movie Matrix, you can obviously see the green in the mid tone and shadows in the entire movie. It was a bit exaggerated and weird but it works and it sets the mood and depth of every scene.

Apply grading or color toning in still photos is a lot more easier than in movies. You also get a lot of control on the tones when editing having more pixel quality than in movie frames. One way to completely flip your image from an ordinary looking photograph to something different and distinct is applying color toning.

n this photo, you can see that the skin color is a bit desaturated. Blue is added in shadows and yellow in highlights but applied very subtle. (Model: Christy of Stacy Model Management, Janice BeautyFairy for makeup)

Color toning is tricky and can ruin your image if done wrong but of course it really differs from the artist’s taste. In fact, Instagram is using color toning as filters to add a unique approach to your photos. The effect of the technique is surreal but applying just a pinch of toning can make the difference between an everyday looking photo to something interesting. Continue reading “Color Toning” »

Retouching

Almost five years ago, I took this shot. We were practicing beauty shot and until now I’m still connected to this shot. Still feels like yesterday. Model: Cherry Maine, HMUA: Joshua

Every time I start my lecture about fashion photography, I almost always get a question if my photos are edited. In the back of my head, this guy probably is in the midst of trying to get his photos to look like the ones in magazine and at some point, he wanted to know if he’s missing something.

I totally understand the question and where it’s coming from. I’ve been there and I can remember it vividly on how I always get frustrated to achieve a commercial grade or at least gallery level quality photo. The answer is yes, they are all edited. However, as much as you want it enhanced in editing, the quality of photography will always draw the limits. Continue reading “Retouching” »

Of Confidence and Imagination

Last weekend, I handled another fashion photography workshop at Philippine Center for Creative Imaging (PCCI). It was surprising to see photographers interested in this genre to come from different industries. One was an IT consultant who loves to shoot fashion on the side. There was one who owns a printing company and the other one owns a trading business.

Shot by one of the students. A lot is happening in the set. There’s lighting to pay attention to and of course working with the model at the same time.

I myself also came from the graphics industry for two decades of my career but decided to go full time shooting commercial and fashion. My students last weekend did not only come from different industries, they were also different in characters. We had one that completely mutes when shooting the model to the one that won’t stop talking in the set. Continue reading “Of Confidence and Imagination” »

Bulky DSLR

Sydney QVB, I was using the Fujifilm XE-1 18mm with APS-C sensor. It was small, compact and lightweight. Quality is at par with my DSLR.

Last week during the Camerahaus Photo Festival in BGC, I noticed that a lot of photographers are still in DSLR. I was expecting to see more mirrorless camera this time around. The same festival last year was dominated by DSLR users but with the trend going to the mirrorless side, it was surprising to see less of them. Continue reading “Bulky DSLR” »

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.

Continue reading “Best practice using Photoshop” »

Camera Phone

Photo taken using OPPO F1s Expert Mode, f/2, 1/5, ISO400, Snapseed (Camotes, Bukilat Cave)

Over the long weekend, we travelled to Camotes Island. It was my second time to visit the place. The first time was a commissioned travel to take photos of tourist destinations. I was travelling in full battle gear. My pack was around 15 kilos or even more since my tripod was like a tank. I totally love the scenic views of the island. Continue reading “Camera Phone” »

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” »

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” »