Model Portfolio: Bianca

I met Bianca through common friends a couple of years ago, and she's been a regular modelesque friend whom I'd shoot on a regular basis. She used to model in Barcelona, so you could see the girl has experience in posing. She has been quite the subject of my lighting experiments ever since. Good thing she's game enough to be the pretty guinea pig. Hehehe. 

It's quite hard to give a tutorial on this one since these were all shot with natural light. I only had 1-2 reflectors on hand when we did this shoot. But if there are any tips I could share from this:
  • Know the time of day you are shooting. The sun shifts (ain't that the truth), but being aware of it is another case especially if you're too engrossed in the shoot. It's not like your studio strobes where you could have your lights steady. Even though I did the same workflow for both images, the amount and quality of light is still apparent on the 2nd set, which I think is the better of the two. 

First Set. This was shot in the morning.
Revisted First Set. This was shot in the afternoon.
  • Hunting for diffused light. Now this is easier said than done, but you have to be observant in the location you're in. Find natural bounces and diffusion in the area that soften the light. White interiors, curtains, etc... are some tell tale areas where you could get soft light.
  • Hunting for harsh light. Now this for me is a double-edged sword. Either it's the best light source or the worst, depending on the direction it is hitting your model. Personal taste for me is having harsh light hitting from an angle behind the model, giving that backlit feel, and then counter-acting it with reflectors. It gives a good high light at the same time, when I blow it out (by measuring on the model), I get to wash out unwanted details in the back.
  • Get what you want and move on. As much as this is one of the most laid back shoots I had, you still have to be decisive to save everyone else the time. Natural light could only provide so much good lighting throughout the day, so making the best of it means deciding on the spot if the layout is working or not. When awesome light came into the first layout we did earlier in the day, I just had to compel Bianca to go back to her first outfit so that we could get better light for the shot. 

Strong light was coming from behind, so I used this to my advantage instead. This was one of the challenging layouts during this entire shoot.
White walls around the house acted as native reflectors and diffusers.

Cloudy skies? No problem. It actually acts as a natural scrim on hard sunlight, though at the expense of color temperature.

Because I am such a sucker for triptychs.


I would have to admit, I never really learned how to shoot with natural light until quite recently. It was a skill set I didn't cultivate since I worked alot with strobes. But natural light has good charm when harnessed correctly, and gives that candid feel. 

Production Credits:
  • Make-up: Jet Babas
  • Styling: Model's Own
  • Model: Bianca Mabanta


Canon Photo Marathon 2014 - National Leg

Some of my takes during the 9th Canon Photo Marathon. Went around the area early enough to take snaps of the displays and stuff before the competition started. 

This is my 4th time in attendance ever since becoming one of the Crusaders of Light, and it has just gotten bigger and bigger every year. Looking forward to 2015 - making it a decade for the event.

The view from the stage. It's a sea of red. I am proud to say, Canon is the only brand that can pull this off alone for its users. 

See you guys next year!


Inspiration and Connection

As part of my blog revival, I drudged up some draft entries and thought of finishing them.

We wanted to pay homage to particular pop-culture icons, based on popular images best representing them or perhaps from official art. 

There are lots of creative approaches to shooting cosplay, and there is a huge area for creative license and interpretation as most photographers have used. But then, by putting in these parameters based from an established piece, it trains the imagination to work in a sniper-like fashion. The art direction takes a familiar path, and from there you work on making the image a reality. Although it would be really difficult to nail down an exact copy of the original piece, familiarity should be there for people to make the connection almost instantaneously. That's how particular cosplay work becomes recognized.

One iconic scene for me was Minmay being hoisted up on the platform in front of SDF-1. This was right before she sang "Do You Remember Love", the movie's title as well. For me, this was the strongest part of the movie since the changed the outcome of the battle. 

Make-up: Jopie Sanchez
Styling: Hannah Kim
Art Direction: Allan Montayre / Jay Tablante
CG Imaging: Riot Inc.
Digital Imaging: Allan Montayre

There are so many Major Motoko cosplay shoots out there, but few have dared to do this, primarily because it doesn't involve a costume at all. But this image is the official art you would see on the DVD covers. We just had to try it. Good thing a long-time model friend of ours was game enough to pose. 

Make-up: Leo Posadas
Styling: Hannah Kim
Costume Production: Badj Genato
Art Direction: Noah Valdez
CG Imaging (New York City): 429 Studios
Digital Imaging: Mooo Digital Production / 429 Studios (New York City)
Model: Carla Abellana

Art Germ (Stanley Lau) is a popular comic book illustrator based in Singapore. He's head of Imaginary Friends, an illustration studio doing work for Capcom, Marvel, DC, Microsoft, and various commercial gigs. He makes pin-ups of various characters, and this piece he did of Phoenix was quite phenomenal. 

Make-up: Ara Fernando
Styling: Hannah Kim
Costume Production: Badj Galias-Genato
Art Direction: Gelo Lico
Production Design: Raffy Tesoro
Digital Imaging: Ghani Madueno
Model: Lindsey Joy


Make-up: Ten Franco
Hair: Charlie Manapat
Styling: Hannah Kim
Costume Production: Badj Genato
Production Designer: Raffy Tesoro
Art Direction: Javey Villones
Digital Imaging: Ghani Madueno
Model: Rhian Ramos

I am a huge fan of Jim Lee, and I always believed he was one of the reasons Marvel had a resurgence of popularity in the 90s. I collected the Marvel cards, and his artwork was all over the place.


Make-up: Kris Bacani
Styling: Raffy Tesoro
Costume Production: Badj Genato
Art Direction / Final Artwork: Angelo Lico
CG Artwork: Genald Tungol
Model: Alodia Gosiengfiao 

I have been an avid player of Final Fantasy since FF III (or VI, if you're in Japan) and as the graphics got better on every iteration, it made quite a jump by the time it reached FF-X -- complete with a voice cast. On a interesting note, we even found an Al Bhed font to use.  


One Light Glamour: A Basic Lighting Tutorial

It's been awhile since I last posted on this blog. Been caught up with work over the past months, and not to mention working on Geekology 2.0. I did squeeze in some model test shoots in between work. To keep things simple, I only used one light for all chances I got lately.

Though not as complicated as lighting setups used in advertising, it does offer "play time" in terms of emotions, poses and more interaction with the model. 

Having one light shouldn't be a limiting factor in doing beauty and glamour shoots. More often than not, most of the stunning beauty / glamour shoots we get inspiration from were done with one light. One of the key factor is position. This is determined by the light's height and degree of tilt towards the model, and its placement around the model relative to a circle. The other is texture, depending on what kind of accessory you put on that lone light you have. This is either a harsh or soft light, and everything in between. 

When working with one light source, it doesn't mean that it is the only piece of equipment you are limited to. You could still get a "fill" light and "highlight" with the creative use of reflectors to boost or temper down the texture of attachment you used on that light source. 

All the setups were based on the key light position of the Paramount Setup with some creative license of placing it behind the camera.

For the first two samples, I used a Mola beauty dish placed in a boom and hoisted high, but directly behind me. It was higher than the model, and slightly tilted down for that downward shadow cast. To temper down the shadow, I had styrofoam as a reflector placed under the model directly angled to the ceiling. 

The next four had a small strip box and square soft box respectively. Since a soft box provided a more diffused throw, the shadows were softer. 

Both sets utilized the same gray background, but you can change its shade by placing the model closer or farther away from it, and letting the lone key light under expose as you wish. 

Production Credits:

  • Make-up: Ara Fernando / Jet Babas
  • Styling: Model's Own / Raffy Tesoro
  • Models: Chelsea Robato / Karen Lima / Giulia Vaz


Emma Frost: A Concept Revisit

There are some characters that deserve revisits on a regular basis. 

Our first Emma Frost shoot was one of my favorites. It was a shot which hardly had any post production on it and relied pretty much on photography. Everything was shot on-location and the props were all provided. But as we amassed more shoots, Emma was a character which we felt needed to be revisited and added into the upcoming book. We had to shoot something new. 

Elements from the 1st costume were still applicable in the new shoot, which also shaved down some of the cost in producing it. Props from other shoots were also reused into the scene (e.g. candelabras, curtains, and wooden wall). We also thought of paying homage to another Jim Lee Marvel card piece. Of course, we still wanted to inject some personal touch into the final look and feel of the image. 

And so, here's the latest Emma in a larger size for your convenient perusal.

Make-up: Ara Fernando
Styling: Hannah Kim
Costume Production: Badj Galias-Genato
Art Direction: Gelo Lico
Production Design: Raffy Tesoro
Digital Imaging: Ghani Madueno
Model: Lindsey Joy

Special thanks to Lightroom Corp. and Benro (Philippines)