What’s happening with you lately?
I have recently worked with our photography group’s anniversary in Cavite. It was quite successful and we have invited great photographers from the Metro and had a fashion shoot with our best models in an excellent location. It was a photographer’s heaven and I’m glad I was part of the planning.
What draws you into photography, specifically shooting portraits?
For me, it’s actually the people. I like capturing moments in the life of my subjects and making sure that they learn something along the process of making the photo. I love creating portraits and seeing their reaction to it. I enjoy stories of both the models and photographers and people I meet along the way.
Do you remember your first ever shoot?
Yes, it was with my cousin who dreams to be a model and that led to me shooting more. And I still remember my first ever shoot with a non-relative. That was very special.
How’s the photography scene over there in your perspective?
Photography in my area is quite challenging especially me being an events photographer. The competition is fierce and new photographers are delving into events more and more. Being that the profit is alluring, so I have to be on top of my game and never slack off. But it’s still great! I have met quite a lot of photographers that became my friends after I’ve worked with them.
What are your challenges being a photographer?
A lot. But I face them one at a time. Primarily funds on better gear, shoot costs etc. But I make the most of what I have. I believe that is what makes my photos special. I make them with minimal budget and simple gears. I love the challenge of making a good photo out of any available location and ambient light. Imagine if I have the means of having better gear and locations. That keeps me excited.
How does the environment you’re living in influence your photography?
It affects my moods and that influences the output I’m producing. Since I don’t have a lot. I work with what I have and anything readily available. It is also great that I have good photographer and model friends that I can tap into whenever they are free. The Philippine government does not support most of its talents and overlook photographers as artists that need help since it cannot help itself. So, we make groups locally through social media and we help each other in the craft that we love.
Do you have certain aesthetics or method of shooting?
I actually am not fond of technicalities. As long as the output is great it’s fine. I just shoot in RAW, use ambient light at any time of the day, make use of what is available at the location. No special methods or anything.
Describe how do your approach your work?
It starts with an idea, a photo, a movie or music that inspired me to create something. Then comes the planning, searching for the best model that fits the idea, preparing the dresses, props, the overall look, talking to people that will be involved in the shoot, setting a date that will be favorable to everyone and finding a good location.
At the day of the shoot, I make sure that they are all good and in the mood of creating something special. I mostly talk to my subjects, guiding them since I mostly work with non-professional models. Sharing them the idea so it comes across and understood by everyone from the makeup artist up to anyone assisting me. Then comes the fun part of shooting! I show my models the photos so they can see and adjust to make anything better and shoot some more. This makes it fun for them and produces better quality photos for me. I select the best photos, about four to five photos out of the lot and post them online where they can be viewed by everyone.
What’s your post-processing like?
It is quite simple, since I am only using Lightroom. But I need inspiration before doing anything and that takes a lot of time. I need to improve on this part but that’s how I do things. My mood sets what I produce creatively and hinders my ability to make quick edits. I am not satisfied by photos that do not have any part of me.
Do you have preferences for choosing subjects or models?
It depends on the shot I’m trying to achieve. Since most of my models are first-timers, I pick those that have potential in doing the looks and moods I am trying to portray. I prefer Asian looking models that have eyes that are sad, as most of my shoots are like that.
Any other works or photographers that you follow?
Do you value quality or quantity?
I value quality over quantity. That is the reason why I have trouble in producing more outputs. Every photo I make is a part of me. I leave something behind each photo, my mood, my story and a part of me. Most of my models/clients do not understand this and want their photo instantly. I only give them the best of what I can do at the moment.
In what ways that camera gears or cellphone apps matter to you in producing the work?
It’s not the gears that make a photo that is why I focus more on the skills rather than the actual gear. I use apps in my phone for my mobile photography and for putting them out on social media.
Do you earn enough as a photographer?
For now, it’s not enough since I have people to support and I need to earn more. But I believe it would be, after a time investing in different endeavors related to photography.
Who do you think are the audience of your work?
Mostly creatives and my friends. I would love to meet my few followers since the start of my photography journey.
How much you think people will value your work?
I love receiving compliments of my work and how it influences other artists and new portrait photographers. I think most, if not, all my clients were satisfied by my work at the current time when I did their wedding or special occasions and value them more. This fuels me to do better and keeps me hungry to learn more.
How do you cope in getting the attention through social media or word of mouth?
I have just recently learnt promoting my work in Instagram and being more active in social and photography sites.
Any music that you listen to lately? Books that you read? Movies that you just watched recently?
Anything that keeps you excited in the future?
Yes. I have plans for doing a high fashion shoot with a great stylist/designer. I need to improve my skills further and explore new things that push me forward as a photographer.
Any last words?
I would like everyone to support their favorite local photographers. A simple like, comment or share will do wonders for them. Message them privately and tell them how you like their work to keep them producing better photos. Dead artists don’t need the money.