Beauty Shot

Luara is an experienced model and can deliver hi fashion poses easily. This time shooting beauty, I noticed that it took her a while before she came to terms with her thoughts and emotions. She nailed it eventually, the professional that she is. (Model: Laura Herrmann, Makeup: Catherine Diala)

I’m always fascinated with beauty shots. Every time I find myself in Watsons or beauty products area in a department stores, I always end up staring at the different beauty ads. I try to analyse how the lights were set up and how the poses are done and most importantly, how the image is trying to connect and communicate. Continue reading “Beauty Shot” »

The Right Posing

The dreaded question. In all my seminar workshops all around the country, there’s always one participant that would ask me how to pose a model. I know somebody will ask at it at some point and it is just a matter of time that somebody will have the courage to ask. When the question is finally asked, I’m like a light bulb looking confident acknowledging the question.

In this shot, I gave the model a few suggestions for the pose which she then turned it into her own take of the concept. Aliya is one of the few models that I know who can throw you with stunning poses all day. (Aliya of Women’s Folio)

I would almost always start by saying that I totally understand where you’re coming from because I really do. I know the feeling and the pressure when the model would finally raise the question and ask what will be her posing. It’s the feeling you get when you’re taking the finals exam at school and you have no idea how to answer it. Continue reading “The Right Posing” »

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” »

Finding your light

Sri Lanka – Gone Fishing, Fujifilm XT-1, f/10, 1/8, ISO400 (Photo by: Arlene Donaire)

It’s always good to talk about photography over coffee. I had a chance to chat with Ms Arlene Donaire one afternoon and even after long hours of photography talk, it seems like the conversation keeps getting interesting. She asked to meet me in Harbour Square because of the chance to shoot the golden sunset of Manila Bay but we were lost of time with the never ending photography talk.

Indonesia – Zenphone, Mt Bromo spewing white smoke at sunrise (Photo by: Arlene Donaire)

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What’s holding you back

I saw a link in facebook that talks about photography and the topic was about what’s holding you back in your photography journey. It didn’t take a lot of thinking for me to jump into the article and find out myself what I’m lacking and maybe help it share to my students as well. Hoping that this article will free everyone from disappointment.

It’s always been a challenge for me to shoot close to fine arts type of fashion editorials. I love the photos but can’t seem to nail it. You just have to keep on doing it and continue to challenge yourself. (Model: Adriana Gots)

With a ton of excitement, I watched the video. After a minute of beating around the bush I decided to end the video and start the automated assessment, it turned out to be too general and definitely not something i was expecting. I decided to write about the topic instead and share my own experience in the ever complicated world of photography. Continue reading “What’s holding you back” »

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)

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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” »