Welcome to the very beginning of my blog! Rather than have something random as my first post, I’ve decided that I’m going to copy and paste a post I made on my old website a few years ago. The below is a little history about my journey through photography. I’ve not altered anything at all as I’d like to keep it as a personal memento of my thoughts from sometime back in 2012. So if it sounds a bit off, that may be why 🙂 Enjoy!
“March 17, 2010” That is the date that I consider the start in my photography career. The date where you could say I figured out what I liked in shooting and my style of photography started. This was the date that my Cybersync wireless transmitters arrived. It was on this day that everything began. It was on this day that I took my first Strobist Styled picture (this picture below) which is now the style that I’ve personalized and made my own. Read the rest of this long post to find out more and to learn about my early days as a photographer.
March 17, 2010 – The Beginning
This picture above is THE FIRST ever off-camera “Strobist” style photo that I ever took and edited. I still remember that day. I was SOOO excited. My wireless triggers had just arrived in the mail early that afternoon and I was so excited I just had to take a picture of my new gear and posted it on facebook hahaha. Then when my cousins arrived from school late in the afternoon, I took them outside and we shot! And that shot above is one of the shots I took! I was soooo happy and amazed by how awesome off-camera lighting was. In retrospect, looking at that picture above, 2 years later, I’m actually pretty impressed by it. I think it’s a pretty decent shot still even though it was my first ever. I’d probably be happy to submit that picture to a client today 🙂
This picture below is the only gear I had to shoot with before (other than my newly acquired umbrellas I got the day before, not shown). So with not a lot, you can do so much! Back then, I was shooting with my dad’s Nikon D80 (Which I ended up pretty much owning since I used it all the time. But it’s all good, he eventually got and is still currently using a Sony NEX 5) and an SB600 speedlight. Today, I’m still using most of this equipment. My umbrellas and light stands have broke (I’ll go through half a dozen or so through out the year :S) but other than that, all these are still in my bag. The D80 I have with me as my backup just in case one of my primary cameras stop functioning. The Cybersyncs I still use for my studio photography shoots. And the SB600 is definitely still with me and actually my go-to-flash. I have it with me all the time still because it is light, small, and when I need it (Which is rare since I shoot completely manual) it is my only TTL flash since I don’t believe you really need more than one TTL flash.
And nowadays, it’s even easier to get into this style of photography. This gear above here costs in the hundreds. But today, you can get the same type of equipment for so much cheaper on eBay. For transmitters, get the Yong Nuo RF603. For the flash, get the Yong Nuo Speedlights. Both for less than $100 combined! And these are not just cheap stuff that barely works, it’s actual gear that I’m suggesting you guys start out with and use because I actually use these things today on Weddings and big events!
Getting the Hang of things
The next two pictures I took about 3 weeks after getting my new gear. They were both taken on the same day and I really really felt creative so I wanted to do out-of-the-ordinary type of shooting. This picture below was the first time I used a second off camera flash as my mom had an ex430 canon flash. So as you can see in the picture above, I got two cybersync receivers because I knew I’d be getting a second flash sometime soon but didn’t realize that my mom actually already had one that she didn’t ever use for her Canon G9. That flash is now no longer being used actively and is actually now part of a Photobooth which I made with my fellow wedding shooter, Zeeshan, for Brellow Productions.
After shooting the Yukata themed shoot (One of the pictures from that photoshoot is actually in my current portfolio still), I hung out with another good friend and we did a shot that I’d been wanting to do for a long time even before I learnt about strobing. It was actually awesome that it was raining because I was able to illuminate the droplets. So we balanced the flash inside the umbrella and had it point up into the umbrella which is why you see a bright spot at the top and why there is a big shadow in the middle. I then had my other flash on the ground and pointed at her back behind her in order to give her a bit of a pop. I only knew about subject backlighting at this point but it was with this shoot that I discovered that in order to show rain really well you can use the backlighting technique as well to show the individual drops better.
A few days later, our whole family went over to the states to go to the tulip fields. This shot below was my first “run and gun”, no lightstand, no umbrella setup. I had my family members just simply hold the flash for me. It was the first time I also “killed the sun” because it was so bright out so I had to use a high Fstop, full sync, and lowest ISO.
One Month Anniversary
This picture below is my one month picture. I took this pic on April 17 and so it has been one month at this point since I started off camera photography. Compared to today, I was so creative back then hahaha. I didn’t want to really take pictures of just people doing normal things and wearing normal clothes. I wanted them to be somewhere interesting and also wearing or doing something interesting. So this one month shoot ended up looking so good that I still use one of the pics from this shoot as part of my portfolio. So as you can see, I have 2 pics up on my portfolio in which the pics were taken when I was still a beginner. So NO EXCUSES saying you can’t shoot off camera style well because you’ve only been shooting for a so-and-so amount of time ^_^
First Baby Pic
(My Introduction to Newborn photography)
This pic was taken about four months into my photography style. This pic is important because it is not only a shoot of my first male cousin on my mom’s side, but also because this is the start of baby photography for me. Since then, I have done many newborn/baby pics and is something that I always enjoy doing because I love seeing the happy and loving faces the parents show even though they’re smudged with poo and dripping with pee (I don’t think I’ve had many shoots where the baby stays dry haha). This pic was also the first time I tried out my newly ordered 42″ umbrella as i’d only been using smaller ones at that point. At this point, I now also have a D700 and some new lenses
(My Introduction to Studio photography)
I got to know this dance trio after my sister’s debut. At this time, I had never used my newly bought backdrops yet (the above picture is just my cousin being held over a couch covered in black cloth). So, I asked these guys if they would be interested in doing a shoot and so we shot! They were my first real “studio” subjects and I got to really practice my skills on them. To this day, I’m still shooting with them on multiple projects from dance videos to portraits and they’ve become some of my very good friends ^_^ So because of them, I got introduced to the dance world and into studio portraits.
(My Introduction to news, sports, concerts, editorial, too many to name, etc.)
Tito Rey Fortaleza and his team at Reyfort Media Group is one of the most important reasons I am where I am today. My style of shooting is heavily influenced by the different shoots that I have done for Tito. I shoot video for the local Filipino newscast, Balitang Vancouver and I shoot photography for his various publications such as PNT, Showbiz Today, and Living Today Magazine. Shooting for him gave me the confidence to shoot and interact with people. It’s also helped hone my style. Because of the nature of his publications, a lot of my shooting has been very fast paced. So because of that, I’m able to easily shoot anything that requires speed. So because of Tito Rey, I’ve got experience shooting News, Sports, Portrait, and Concerts.
The VERY FIRST thing I did for tito was be the official photographer for Sarah Geronimo. My first job and I’m already shooting one of the most popular pop princesses of the Philippines. Not just shooting the concert, but following Tito around with all the shoots that related to her. From airport to concert. I was the only photographer that tito got to shoot everything.
It was amazing, especially since I had no experience shooting these kinds of things back then. I remember being soooo shy! I didn’t want to get in peoples way. I didn’t know anyone. I’d be at the back. But now, I don’t care if I annoy people. I’m the Official Photographer! I’ll be right in the middle of things hahhaha. Click the picture to jump to my blog post about this day 🙂
What was even more amazing was Tito Rey got me to come with him to be an official press photographer for the Pacquiao VS Margarito fight. That is probably one of the most amazing things I will ever get to shoot in my photography career. How many photographers can say that the were able to cover a Pacman fight? Keep in mind that I was only working with Tito Rey for about half a year at this point. But he still gave me this amazing opportunity. So I’m so thankful for him. This was the first and only time I ever shot with a HUGE Nikon 600mm Prime. It was super huge and heavy. Click on the picture for a very detailed blog post on all the days we covered the event as well as a picture of my holding the gigantic 600mm monster.
(My Introduction to Wedding video/photography)
Zeeshan, of Brellow Productions, is the reason that I got into wedding Photography/Videography. Without him, I would probably not even touch this realm of photography. He’s an awesome friend and good guy to shoot with. He totally trusts me too. My FIRST time EVER shooting a wedding, he leaves me to lead the team all bymyself as he does another wedding down in Texas (He’s bigtime now. Does Weddings worldwide! Hire him!). But yeah, I was able to get out of my comfort zone shooting these things.
I love shooting weddings and I love the pictures that I get to edit at the end of it even more. I especially love the blog posts I get to post after where I can show all the awesome events that happened throughout the day haha. Click the picture to see a sample of my weddings pics 🙂
(My Introduction to Fashion photography)
I never thought about shooting fashion until a long time buddy asked me to take photos for him. He had previously just won the Telio Competition at Montreal Fashion week and needed some pictures of some of his work to show to the media. So I shot my first fashion shoot. Since then, I’ve worked with him on multiple projects and through him, have been able to work with professional models, makeup artists, hair stylists, etc. Definitely one of the things I intend to really concentrate on in the future. Check out the new website that he just launched at EarlLuigi.com
Okay, so you might be wondering at this point what I mean by “my style” when I refer to my photography. Simply put, my style of photography is off camera lighting. That means that my flash or strobe or any source of light I use is positioned somewhere else other than mounted on my camera. My style is derived from the Strobist style of shooting. The reason I shoot the way I shoot and the way I learnt to shoot this way is because of THE strobist man himself, David Hobby. Check him out on his Strobist Blog to learn to shoot just like him.
Another Inspiration of mine, and where my editing style is heavily influenced, is Joey Lawrence. You probably have never heard his name, but you’ve definitely seen his work. You know those posters and ads for the original Twilight movie? Those were done by him. Most amazing thing other than his photography? He’s a year younger than me and he started his pro photography career when he was still in Highschool. Check out his blog as well.
Ok, so how does my style look exactly? I keep getting asked this question so a few months ago, I did a shoot with a friend, Mrs. Pacific Northwest, Lineth Hizon to show people.
So as you can see, the style on the left is a very soft and dreamy style. This is natural/ambient light photography where all you need is your camera and you can achieve this look. My style, the off camera lighting style, on the right side, is very sharp and pops out more. It’s definitely not the sentimental, soft look. You need lighting in order to do these kinds of shots.
So which style to people prefer? For this shoot, most people preferred the picture on the left. And I agree (this pic is another portfolio pic). The more natural style just fits the scenario and subject better. So even though I consider my style more like the pic on the right, I will shoot whatever is most appropriate for the scene. Like for weddings. I’ll shoot both ways because I want the sentimental shots during the ceremony but then I’ll mix things up during the formals.
So there you have it. It’s been 2 years and I’m very very active in my photography career. 2 years ago, I didn’t know anyone. I had no contacts. I didn’t even know if I’d be able to shoot anything other than friends and family. Now, I shoot weddings, fashion, portraits, newborn, editorial, news, and the list goes on and on. I’ve done everything from being a press photographer at a Pacquiao match to taking pics of my cousins’s newborns.
My list of equipment has grown quite a lot as well hahaha. Here’s a pic of my equipment from last summer. This is just what I take to weddings. You should see my complete list of gear now! And yes, I use every bit of it! That’s how I get all my different shots 🙂
So yup. I love photography. I plan to do this for the rest of my life and I’m actually going to start doing video again. I’m a film graduate from the Art Institutes of Vancouver but I never got to really do much video stuff until recently. However, this summer when I move back to Vancouver (since I currently live in Ottawa for school) I’ll be doing a whole bunch of video work. 2011 was my year of discovery for Photography. This year will be my year of discovery for video as well as improving on my photography. So subscribe to my facebook fan page to know when I’m uploading new stuff!
I’m nowhere near as good as I want to be yet, but I’m slowly getting there. One day, I want to be able to look at my pictures and be satisfied that they are the best that I’ll ever be able to take. That day may never come, but I still strive for it. Thank you all for your support you’ve given me these last few years. I am very grateful. Bye for now ^_^