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” »

Sources of Inspiration

I took my inspiration from a piece of garment that I saw. I love the texture and color of the material and many times I attempted to use it and apply it in my concept, all failed. This time, I shared my idea to my stylist and this came out.

In one of my workshops for Canon, one attendee asked a question on how to keep on coming up with new ideas for fashion editorial shoot. It was a difficult question to answer but somebody asked me the same question last year and after that I really tried to put my head on it and try to map my sources of inspiration and how my thought process works. I came up with not only one but many sources. Continue reading “Sources of Inspiration” »

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’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” »

Problem Solving

I’ve been shooting fashion inspired photos for about 7 years already and not all of them came out well. One common thing though is I’m learning in each and every shoot I had, especially those ones that are frustratingly challenging. When it happens, nothing will be in place and no matter how you try to solve it, it will just get worse.

I recently had a chance to shoot Ms.Mara Smith, a Bisaya Black-American-Filipina standing 5 feet 10 inches tall. She was a natural in front of the camera. After preparing 6 lights, one was enough after all.

Continue reading “Problem Solving” »

Understanding Posing

Professional model Eva Mania poses in this set based on the concept we discussed. I made some few tweaks on the fly but we were more focused on bringing out the character that we wanted.

I still remember vividly when I had my first shoot, my major concern is posing. Even in the next coming shoots, it was always my weakness. Back then, I’d do a ton of research for the right posing and the different dos and don’ts. I try to do my best to imprint the image into my head so during shoot I can pull them out as needed.

Since I’m really not good in memorizing, I always end up dry and when the time comes that the model would ask for the dreaded question, “what should be my posing?”, it was like squeezing a drop of water out of a dry towel. The save reference poses to cellphone trick made a difference but I was slowly turning mechanical. Continue reading “Understanding Posing” »

Dynamic Range

A famous term in photography is backlight. Even a non photographer would know that shooting with the light coming from the back is undesirable. Whether shooting with the most expensive camera, backlight issues are known to mess up your shot. Unless if it’s intentional like silhouette, then you can get away with it.

Aerial photography is trending lately. The technology of drones has opened an opportunity to photographers in offering a different perspective. Respected photographer Dr. Erwin Lim has covered photography from underwater to land and air. (Photo by Dr. Erwin Lim)

We experience the same situation when the sun is low and beaming straight towards us, most likely we cannot see what is in front of us. Just the same as when an approaching car’s headlight is set to high. Our eyes cannot see the extent of brightness and low light at the same time.

This is the same dilemma when using a camera. What’s worse is the camera has a narrower range between bright and low light compared to human eyes. Often times, we can still see it when we look at the scene with bare eyes but the result comes out with flat shadows and shows no details. Continue reading “Dynamic Range” »

Photography Reborn

The rising and setting of the sun is always a fascinating experience. It’s always a special moment for photographers. (photo taken by: Nelo Marasigan-Manzo)

I have the tendency to influence a photography student to take fashion photography. It’s really not intentional. Maybe I’m just too deep in this passion of mine that all I see is coated with it and students are inspired with the overflowing appreciation of my kind of photographic genre.

When I’m asked when I started photography, my answer is always high school. Truth is, it was the time that it was introduced to me and that’s it. No love for the art just pure curiosity during those times. The experience of doing something with chemicals and images that appear out of the white photographic paper is just an awesome thing to witness.

I never planned to be a photographer. I never imagined that I’d be investing a lot of my time pursuing this passion. I never expected that an artist in me will be brought out of the open. My long term goal then was to climb the corporate ladder and become a successful executive. We can never be certain of what’s ahead. Continue reading “Photography Reborn” »

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” »