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” »

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” »

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)

Continue reading “Finding your light” »

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” »

Leaving a gem behind

The photography industry fed by the camera manufacturer with the latest functionality and technology has been in this cycle ever since. Photographers would mostly want the latest gears in their hand whether it’s essential in their workflow or maybe the thinking that it can improve your shots.

I should know, I’m one of the zombie photographer who always want the latest tech in my hand. My shots did really improved but I don’t think the camera has anything to do with it. Maybe I was inspired to shoot better because it’s top of the line equipment but no, it was all me.

Since I normally shoot tethered in studio, the LCD disadvantage in 5D MkII is not an issue. Maybe a bit issue in focusing but it’s manageable. Other than that, everything works perfectly fine. (Model: Danielle Pires, MUA: Catherine Diala)

Continue reading “Leaving a gem behind” »

In between colors

When I’m in a studio, it is both frustrating and fulfilling at the same time. The pressure to create something artistic and visually appealing can be a frustrating situation but when you pull it through, the satisfaction and the feeling of fulfillment is just immeasurable. In my recent shoot, the idea of playing with gobo and color gel just came to me.

This is my first time to mix color gels lighting effect with gobo. A total of 4 lights was used to create this image.

My last experiment with color gel was way back 5 years ago. Nothing much with gobo though, mostly just to block the unwanted light. Gobo and gels is one of those techniques that will either work or not. There’s nothing in between. I takes a lot of experiments and understanding of how to create the effect. Continue reading “In between colors” »

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” »