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” »

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” »

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?” »

Speedlight

I visited a camera store a few days ago and while waiting for my order, I checked out some items and of course their prices. Something you shouldn’t be doing if you don’t want your “I need this” syndrome to come out and start giving you the best excuse to buy the item.

I was surprised to see the Canon 600EX RT reaching the 30k mark. If you’re new to photography, this would be absurd. Flash investment is the same if not more expensive than entry level DSLR. How come there are those expensive flash or Speedlight and there are those that’s even less than 5k investment.

Unfortunately, not all flash are created equal. Some are actually dumb flash and there are the intelligent ones. You can buy a flash as low as P2,500 and create photos just like the expensive ones. You wonder if there’s something special in the properties of light used in the more expensive class over the cheap ones.

The image shows the difference between ambient lighting and fill in flash. Left photo is shot with ambient lighting. Right photo filled-in ?with dumb strobe and light modified using umbrella. Both photos shot with the same camera settings. f/2.8, 1/80, ISO500.

The image shows the difference between ambient lighting and fill in flash. Left photo is shot with ambient lighting. Right photo filled-in ?with dumb strobe and light modified using umbrella. Both photos shot with the same camera settings. f/2.8, 1/80, ISO500.

Continue reading “Speedlight” »

Three things about Photoshop

I’ve been using Photoshop for more than two decades now. I started with the version three sometime in the mid 90’s. We were so thrilled that we can change the color of the hair and remove unwanted elements in the photo. Surprisingly, the same basic editing function of Photoshop is still the core engine of the application after twenty five years.

Adjustment layers stacked up under the layers panel. You can individually adjust them anytime in your work sequence. All adjustment is temporary until you flatten the image. Credits: Ali Globin, Dexter Alazas' Ad Models.

Adjustment layers stacked up under the layers panel. You can individually adjust them anytime in your work sequence. All adjustment is temporary until you flatten the image. Credits: Ali Globin, Dexter Alazas’ Ad Models.

Here’s a few functions you might not know or have been using but failed to maximize its use. Here we go:

Curves – this is an adjustment tool that lets you edit the tones of an image. You can add as many nodes as you want in the line between highlight and shadows. From there you can increase or decrease the tone on every nodes.

Curves can also be used to edit tones based on color channel. If you’re working on an RGB file, you can individually edit the Red, Green and Blue channels to fit your desired color. I normally use this when editing skin tones. Continue reading “Three things about Photoshop” »

Homecoming Shoot and Light Meter

2-light setup. Main light grided large softbox camera right at f8, Fill light bounce light camera left at F4.

2-light setup. Main light grided large softbox camera right at f8, Fill light bounce light camera left at F4.

Recently, I was asked by the Department of Tourism of my hometown to shoot for the upcoming beauty contest which happens annually as part of the activities for the town fiesta.  It’s not as extravagant as Miss Cebu but the feeling of being able to contribute to your home town makes me proud constituent.

I brought in my team from makeup artist to stylist to ensure that we’re going to make beautiful photos for the candidates. I did not expect so much from the candidates and surprisingly, they were even updated with Asia’s Next Top Model than me. Surely, social networks are responsible for this. Continue reading “Homecoming Shoot and Light Meter” »

Inspired to Shoot

As I was editing the winning raw files in preparation for hi-­res printing of the recently concluded Sinulog Photo Contest, there was this one photo that really inspired me more about photography.

Photo by Leo Sibi, 6th Place Festival Queen, ?NEF f/3.5, 1/000 ISO2500

Photo by Leo Sibi, 6th Place Festival Queen, ?NEF f/3.5, 1/000 ISO2500

The Sinulog Foundation would normally forward the winning printed photos in their standard 5R format together with the raw files to their printing partner, GraphicStar. I’m normally called to finalize and edit raw files to ensure the optimum quality for hi­-res printing. I would normally expect that the raw file would differ from the printed version. Continue reading “Inspired to Shoot” »

Creative Food Photography

Recently, I did a one-on-one training shooting food. My student came all the way from Catbalogan Samar. Her sister plans to open a coffee shop and she’s designated to do the graphics and photography. Our objective is to produce not only menu type of shots but creative shots as well for posters and ad.

Creative Food Shots

Creative Food Shots

I’ve been shooting food for a while now. I like the idea of having total control of the light while taking your time perfecting every bit of details inside the frame. What I didn’t expect during the training is the fun we had working on the creative shots. It was my first time shooting food creatively. Continue reading “Creative Food Photography” »

Seeing More Than What Is There.

Shot taken from a camera phone

Shot taken from a camera phone.

AMONG the many students I have taught photography, there are those who just rise above the others. You’ll know it in their first few frames. It seems like their eyes were trained ahead to see things creatively.

When you encounter these types of students, all you have to do is help them technically on how to realize the picture they have in their imagination. Those struggling will have to deal with both the technical part and artistic part of photography.

Continue reading “Seeing More Than What Is There.” »

Skin Tone

Model: Cherry Maine Balagtas This type of skin is closer to european tone. Magenta is a bit more, less Red and Yellow based on the asian toning formula.

Model: Cherry Maine Balagtas
This type of skin is closer to european tone. Magenta is a bit more, less Red and Yellow based on the asian toning formula.

I GOT a call from one of my students regarding skin tone. He asked what is the right skin tone and how do you achieve it. I paused and tried to answer the question, but I can’t even think of where to start. Skin tone is one of the most critical parts of retouching. Continue reading “Skin Tone” »