Finding who you are

I rented a studio in Manila for this shot. The concept that I had in mind was dark and unfortunately, the studio has no gray backdrop. I decided to use the black curtain and remove a few to put on the riser platform. These are just few hiccups you’ll encounter during shoots.

Last weekend during the Macys Camera Anniversary event I found myself with the greats. I had the chance to get up close and personal with Canon’s LIght Crusader Edwin Martinez and strobist Ricky Ladia. Seeing them talk about their work and the different techniques they use when shooting only proves how much expertise they have gain mastering their craft. Continue reading “Finding who you are” »

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” »

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” »

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” »

Hassles in fashion photography

In the recent workshop that I conducted for PCCI in Makati, the students asked me why I chose fashion photography over the others. I told them that I like the pressure. The idea that I will almost always call it quits everytime fuels my passion to even play harder. Above all, it’s the satisfaction that I get producing artworks with style.

My challenge to my students during the fashion photography workshop was to shoot the subject in style and capturing the motion. It’s about finding ways to shoot it differently.

Behind every fashion photo you see is a mix of beauty and style. The problem that arises in and out of the set is as simple as missing memory card to one of the creatives decided not to show. There’s weather if you’re shooting outdoors and equipment failures here and there. But in the middle of chaos, a work of art is brewing. Continue reading “Hassles in fashion photography” »

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” »

Thought Process

I’m occasionally asked about my thought process when shooting. I would hear the same question when watching photography video tutorial. When I was just starting up, that’s what I always ask every time I meet somebody I look up to. When learning photography the photos are output of the photographer’s creative process. Continue reading “Thought Process” »

Practice makes perfect

Rouge Model

Challenge accepted. Shooting with natural light since I had no lighting gears with me and shooting at a very tight emergency exit stairs. (Rouge Models International)

A modelling agency called me about shooting test shots for their open casting. I ask what type of photos they are after, they told they only need professionally done mug shots. I was also informed that the studio is quite small, just about 35 square meters white walls and ceiling. With all these info I gathered, I decided to bring my standard camera gadgets and a speedlight.

The first test shot went really well as I just bounced the mounted flash to the ceiling which gave me soft overhead light. The walls kept the shadows really minimal and made the regular mug shot some professional feel to it. The dilemma started when the international models came pouring in. Continue reading “Practice makes perfect” »

Drive Your Passion

Recently, I handled a fashion photography workshop at Philippine Center for Creative Imaging in Makati. I had apprehensions on speaking tagalog as I might slip into speaking visayan. It turned out to be more difficult because I have to speak english all the way having students from Japan and the Oman who came to the Philippines just to attend the workshop.

Spills from the recent workshop I handled. Playing with gels to get out of the norm. Model: Camille Sedar, PCCI.

I’m always intrigued about each and every student’s story on how they end up taking the workshop. This is the next level workshop after taking the basics. I always wondered how they decided to take fashion photography over the other courses. It was fun being with other passionate persons loving the same genre. Continue reading “Drive Your Passion” »