Sunday, May 27, 2012

Digital Photographer Philippines Anniversary Party!

The Digital Photographer Philippines, the best photography magazine here in the Philippines held its Anniversary Party at the Bonifacio High Street. The event was attended by so many photographers and photography enthusiasts alike. Young and old, im sure they had a great time. Its information overload actually but these knowledge is what i need to perfect my craft as a photographer. Im happy I have been a part of this wonderful event.Even though the weather is scorching hot, i dont mind the sweat, its all worth it. I would like to thank Ms. Rose for inviting me at the event. I arrived early at Boni High Street. As early as 7:45 AM. I anticipated the huge volume of people who will attend and luckily I did because when I arrived theres already a long line at the registration. After signing in, I immediately bought a DPP shirt! Not one, not two, but three different DPP shirt designs! I always wanted to have a DPP shirt. I even planned make one for myself. Coz of this event, I already have the authentic DPP shirt. And I  have it both in Black and White :) 
Right beside the Canon booth, there was a yellow mini cooper parked in front of the tent. I stayed there for a while then suddenly a gorgeous model arrived and started modelling beside the mini. I had the perfect point of view coz i was the first one at the scene. Boy, photographers flocked like mad crazy. Firing, shooting away.

I saw her actually when I was buying a cup of double vanilla latte at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf early that morning. I didnt knew she's modelling for the event. She's pretty and she has this glitters on back.. hmm.. hey.. i was at the line and i was just behind her ya know! My eyed just glanced at her..

They call this the "Group Hug" where all the participants gather along for a one big photo op. After two shots, I instantly went on top and took a photo of my own. What a view! I always wanted to have a photo like this when i saw it on DPP. Photography is shared by a lot of people and many embrace the beauty of photography and the beauty of this profession. If you love taking photos, you are welcome to join this one big group hug... well only by name, they didntt really hugged each other...

My first lecture was with Jo Avila. He is a pro photographer and he is one of the best food photographers in the business. I was so lucky to be at the front rows of this lecture. He held his lecture at the Mango Tree Bistro and they served three dishes. He showed us that food photography can be simple and being not to extravagant on gears. All you need is a kit lens, yes, a standard 18-55 f/4 lens will do. Its light, you can shoot close at the food, it can be sharp at a certain aperture (like f8) and you can achieve creamy bokeh at its widest. The best thing about the kit lens, its usually comes free with your camera. :)

Jo is using a Sekonic Flashmate L308 to measure his desired settings before taking the photo. He uses this device as a baseline, making it easier to set the right aperture and shutterspeed that you will use on your camera. Its an essential tool because it cuts work time in an istant! I need to buy one coz i chimp most of the time.Taking a lot of shots before I get the right exposure. These things are accurate. You can just oveexpose or underexpose from your baseline reading whichever you like. It also makes you look more.. professional looking according to Jo. :) He quoted "Dont underestimate the power of Porma.." 

Essentials when shooting food according to Jo Avila : 

  • choose the window. Natural light is always the best
  • Use P mode sometimes. 
  • Highlights and shadows are keys for a great photo. 
  • The ISO on the light meter should match the ISO of your camera
  • White Balance - Cloudy
  • Shoot in RAW
  • Transcend SD Cards has a data recovery software that you can download
  • Buy a small mirror for those reflections 
  • Some blue tac to hold the mirror

Now here's the secret! Jo told us that you dont really need to buy expensive gear to capture great food shots. You dont even need a soft box or even a tripod! All you need is an assistant, your flash and a remote trigger to fire it up and a sheet of bond paper. Yeah bond paper! It acts as a very useful diffuser that when you put it closely on top of the dish, the light envelopes the food once the strobe is fired. But the first thing you should do is never fire your strobe in front of the the camera (using the pop up flash is a mortal sin!). Put your strobes at the back, on the right or left but never at front. Putting the flash in front gives you a flat photo making it not interesting. Putting the light at the back gives you the highlights and the details making the food more enticing and delicious. Also, shoot a portion of the food , and as much as possible dont shoot the whole plate, or the table coz you are not selling the plate, the spoon, the fork.. you are selling the food and that should be the hero of the photo not anything else. Also, never shoot food top view.. (oops...i sometimes do that and probably not anymore).

The lecture with Jo Avila is lot of help for me since im really interested in food photography. I learned a lot from him and watching him work is amazing! "One shot, One Kill". He takes photos really good and he's fast! Experience is the key. When you know what you are doing, you will definitely do wonders. Thank you sir Jo for all the tips and tricks on food photography.

I never seen personally a 400-600 mm f/4 lens in my entire life and yesterday not only i saw one, i gave it a try as well! I went to the Nikon booth and and tried this 500,000 peso monster lens and it just gave me goosebumps! This is a photo of Ricky Ladia and Jigie Alejandrino way way far from the booth. What an awesome lens. Ricky and Jiggy had a lecture on  Portraits and how to use Strobes, wether it may be speedlights or studio lights all fired up by an amazing brand called Phottix. =) Hope someday, Phottix will sponsor my gear as well hehe. They just have this really amazing line of wireless triggers, studio strobes that other studio equipment. 

I cant help myself taking  a photo of the model's shoes. Those heels are sooo high! Isnt it hard walking on those?

Ricky demonstrated where the photographer should position the model. The photographer  should always consider where the shadows will land on her face. Shadows and highlights are very important in portraits. Well, in all aspects of photography i guess. The masters showed us how to do it and they are really good. 

After Ricky and Jiggie's lecture, I went to the Nikon tent to listen to Lito Sy. He's one of the best Wedding Photographers  here in Asia, and probably in the world! He won a lot of International Awards with his and tell you, he is definitely one of the best out there. His post processing skills are outstanding and its really inspiring to see someone as successful as Lito Sy. Travelling around the world doing workshops..doing photography as his first love and getting paid top dollar.. I saw a quote before that says, "If you dream of something that you wanted to be, you are already halfway there"So dream it, Have a goal. Who knows it may come true. 

Lito said, its important to focus on your subject and nothin else. Close your eyes, and open it, what do you instantly see. Where does your eyes lead you?? You should emphasize on that and mind the details and crop out the unnecessary things.

Meet Val Rodriguez. He is the chief photographer for Philippine Star. At the age of 60 plus, he has many awards under his belt. He is a Pultizer Awardee - the most prestigious award any photojournalist could ever have. He showed us how dangerous, how hard being a photojournalist. There are times, he only sees his family three times in a month and everytime he goes on location, he wouldnt know if he will ever come back alive. He's been to the frontlines in scarborough.., went to afghanistan...seen a lot of action. He is the official photographer of the late Ninoy Aquino.   He was also assigned as the official photographer of the late President Cory Aquino. He is also a National Geographic photographer and his photos grazed the covers of the popular magazine... He is also a photographer from Associated Press or simply AP. What a photography resume!

Val told stories of his work... his experiences and even his work flow at Philippine Star. Its a hectic job really. He told us, during film days, they have to develop their photos in a minute. They will get two rooms, one to sleep in, one to be converted into a dark room. Now, its much faster. With the technology now a days, in just seconds, he can submit his photos for editorial, wherever he may be. He is a devoted Canon user and he has the lenses that he needs. From the long ones to the wide ones. Same goes to his team of photographers at Philippine Star. The lecture kinda went emotional when he reminisced the Maguindanao Massacre. Few of his fellow photographers died in vain there..Saw the actual photos of the massacre and it was scary..Life of a photojournalist is always on the line. Thats why, you got to give them with such respect. Here, he is with fellow Canon ambassador Bong Donato.

Keynotes from Val's Lecture :
  • One Situation - three kinds of shots 
    • Establishing Shot (usually the original situation shot)
    • Medium Shot (cropped usually)
    • Detail Shot (zoomed in, detail enriched)
  • Back-up your photos always. Play with the backed up photos not the original. 
  • Photojournalist literally sleep with their cameras
  • They should always have a photo of every event. No excuse. 
  • Never say 1,2,3 when taking photos...instead say " Cheese!!" or "Kabayo!!" then hold ur breath for 2 seconds then shoot. 
  • The best professor is yourself. Experience is a great teacher.

The much awaited Carwash babes is starting! After Sir Val's lecture, i headed instantly to the mob of photographers at the middle of the street. Carwash babes is on going. My point of view sucks that literally i have to climb a truck to get decent photos of the girls but failed.. :( Look at that crowd! 

I just have to get close..I went down and joined the crowd. Live View is much of a great use right at this moment. 

Its Crazy! I love this photo! Lot of details, stories that the photo is telling. You can see the car, the girl, the mob of photographers at the background and an L lens on the foreground. You can just feel the intensity.

After the carwash babes, I head on to the Canon tent once again. Pro Fashion photographer Raymond Isaac showed us his work and gave us tips on fashion photography. He said, a photographer must do the exact opposite of the other photographers do. Thinking out of the box.. Read a lot. Imagine a lot. Be creative. Dont be afraid to ask questions. Theres money shooting male models...

Raymond brought along Jinri Park as his model for the lecture. He said its important to have this connection with the model. Talk to her.. make her comfortable. He also said that, models are not psychics, they dont read minds.. so as a photographer, make them do what you want., what pose or where the model should position herself

Ask nicely. Be polite.  Dont be rude. Dont ever say "You dont look good at this... at that dress" but instead tell them " I FEEL., this one is much better.." If the model has her/his own opinion, respect it.

Never hold the model as much as possible. But if you must, never hold the model's hand. Its kinda akward. Hold her wrist instead. Dont hold her back as well. Raymond never holds the camera when he positions the model. He leaves it on the table for a while then once the model is ready, thats the time he picks up the camera and shoot.

Hearing these tips from Raymond is really a treat for all the budding fashion photographers out there. Raymond Isaac is a great artist. A visionaire. He does wonders with his camera..Again with experience and practice, those are the keys in becoming a good photographer. Thanks to Jinri Park for posing for all of us.

Abby is around the area as well. She had a make-up shoot with maffi who is studiying make-up school in Burgos Circle. After class, they went to Boni High Street and wow.. My girl Abby looks really gorgeous! Nice job with the make up Maf! They went along with Noel, Maf's boyfriend and we had dinner at Aria.

Meanwhile at the Nikon Tent, Manny Librodo shared some tips in capturing his awesome portraits. I went to the Nikon booth once again and used the 600mm f/4 lens. That lens is just outstanding... its so  sharp even at high ISO (ISO 1100). 

Bumped in with Edge of Light Photographers Xander Angeles and Niko Villegas with his ladylove Kate.  Thanks to Spam for taking the photo.  

Xander and Niko had their lecture near the Phottix booth. They shared how they got into the business. How to become a really good fashion photographer. The importance of doing things you love and make the most out of it. These guys do photography almost everyday. They value their work so much. Xander said, you should believe with what you can do. If you are good, believe in yourself. Market yourself.

Before i end my super long blog, i just want to share this photo of the Nikon D4. This is like, holding a dream...its in the palm of your hands...but then again its a dream, if you wake up its gone. I want that camera someday..or.. the Nikon D800. Hopefully someday i can have one of those without disappearing. 

I learned a lot today. But one thing seems to be the common denominator among these masters of photography, they dreamed to be  a master. They dreamed to be the best. They practiced, worked hard and shoot everyday until they perfected the craft just like riding a bike. I pray someday i can be one of them. Not only to be as good as them, but also to become a great photographer who can affect change from my photographs. Congratulations DPP! I really had a great time. Happy Anniversary!

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