Another fine discovery through flickr and searching through some of the RAW interviewees favourite photos.
Tell us a little about yourself?
I am originally from Vancouver, BC, I spent my formative years in Manila, Philippines, and I have lived most of my life in Los Angeles. I currently live and have my studio in Orange County. I love anything that has to do with the arts – music, cuisine, visual arts, etc.
What made you get into photography?
Photography was my mom’s hobby and something I grew up around. She taught me the very basics of operating a manual 35mm camera and how to make a proper exposure. I was fascinated by the equipment; it was very sci-fi to me and I grew up in the Star Wars Generation, so I naturally took a liking to it. My mom also helped me foster a love for the arts in general, and I grew up drawing and painting and doing arts and crafts type stuff. I had always been artistically inclined from a very young age, I just never received formal training for any of it.
How did you get started?
As a career, I started being a photographer in 2003. I was going to school in Manila to become a doctor, and in the interim I was signed by Calcarries International Models Philippines. I enjoyed the dynamically creative environment of a fashion shoot, and really took to the fashion industry as a whole. When my mom passed away in 1999, I decided to go back to what I was truly passionate about — the arts. Having been exposed to the fashion industry as a model, it made sense to transition behind the camera. It also made it easier for me to build a book having already experienced the need to test shoot and work with modeling agencies and clients.
What sort of photography do you mainly do?
I shoot beauty, fashion and lifestyle photography for editorial, commercial and advertising clients. I am also beginning to shoot celebrity portraiture since I am based in Southern California.
What gear are you using?
I shoot with Canon gear mostly, unless a job calls for the use of medium format digital. My philosophy is to use whatever tools will get the job done properly.
Whats your favourite lens and why?
I own 3 lenses: a 50mm, 85mm and a 180mm macro. I have found that the 85mm is my workhorse, as it can double between shooting full length fashion and tighter beauty shots. I love the 180 macro for frame-filling face shots and shooting just the lip or just the eye. When I’m out on location, I rent the 35mm 1.4, which is such a great lens if you want to get a sense of environment.
How are you marketing yourself?
I am horrible at marketing myself and I have been fortunate enough to have had some great referrals from clients and artists I’ve worked with. I realize I need to be more proactive with selling my work, and social networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even running my own blog have definitely helped me get the word and the work out there. I don’t enjoy cold calling, so I send emails directly to potential clients. I have recently picked up a rep, and I look forward to this new partnership and what doors we can open together.
Whats your favourite photo you have taken?
it’s so hard to choose just one photograph, so I’ll include a photo of my favorite person to photograph, how about that?
Advice for new photographers looking to go pro?
Save your money. You will need it to fall back on when things are slow. Keep your overhead low and don’t purchase unnecessarily. Rent equipment when you can, and keep putting money aside for the rainy days.
Assist the photographers who are doing the work you want to be doing, even if it means working for free. I promise you it will pay off in the long run.
Be genuinely nice to everyone. You never know who will be on set, and no one wants to work with an asshole. Providing your clients with a comfortable, enjoyable shoot experience will get them coming back to hire you again. A lot of people don’t realize that we as photographers are service providers as well as artists. I like to make sure my clients and crew are taken care of.