Model Portfolio: Lin
I owe Lin these images for quite some time now. She was introduced to me through a common friend, and decided to throw her in one of the groups regular test shoots in Penthouse Studios. If I remember this day correctly, several models were going through the factory line test shoot this day, and it almost drove me nuts. Hehehe.
- Make-up: Elle Ong
- Styling: Angeli Hular
- Model: Lin Zeng
Model Portfolio: Katie
Katie is that same 9GAG girl whom people thought was Margot Robbie. She happened to be a cosplayer and a fashion model in Europe. Quite the rare combination when she landed in Manila for a few months of work. I would be posting more of her cosplay images in another entry.
- Make-up: Margaux Reyes
- Styling: Raffy Tesoro
- Model: Katya Kosova (LVX Talent Management)
Model Portfolio: Lhea
Lhea is becoming one of my shoot regulars since this girl is such a trooper. Ever since this shoot, several netizens have either been suggesting or asking when she would have her own gravure title. It’s an interesting proposition, and might consider it some time in the future.
What started out as a test shoot just for fun, ended up being an editorial feature in a Guam-based magazine. If you want to see more of Lhea’s hot hot set, you can check out her IdolZone page here.
- Make-up: Jet Babas
- Styling: Hannah Kim (MIA)
- Model: Lhea Bernardino
Model Portfolio: Jinri (US)
For the third book, we were fortunate enough to continue our shoot in Los Angeles and San Diego (during Comic Con week). We made good use of the time shooting whatever we brought over. It’s not all the time when you can produce a gravure book out of the country you know. We worked with a very minimal crew, which basically consisted of me, Jinri and Pat going around town. Few times when Jinri had to do her own makeup for a shoot and styling chores were between the both of us. But that’s the charm of a gravure shoot to begin with. Having just you and the model gives alot more freedom of just spontaneously shooting minus the baggage of a bigger crew. In San Diego, we just put our bags underneath the pier and just shot away. One significant difference, the beach crowd did not care. Unlike Manila where the moment you whip out a camera (a DSLR at that), a small crowd would immediate gather behind just to gawk at whatever you were doing. In the US, either people mind your privacy or were indifferent. Having a small crew also left a small attention foot print.
Light is alot more constant in the northern hemisphere, and their summer sun lasts longer. Afternoon sunsets don’t happen until 7PM, which gave me more than ample time to have consistent looking images, without having to adjust drastically on-cam. The weather is more on dry heat so when the sun hits you hardly break a sweat but don’t realize the dehydration happening underneath. I never realized the tan and eventual sun burn until days after walking under the sun. I ended up with an ugly t-shirt tan.
The images made were just between me, Jinri and a camera. We had a reflector on-hand, but never got to use it. The light was that good as long as you have good working knowledge of where it places itself throughout the day. It’s also about utilizing natural reflectors, such as light bouncing against the sand, or a window back light. It was just awesome having this kind of light. Makes you want to shoot all day too.
- Make-up / Model: Jinri Park
- Swimwear: CESA, Wear Sundae
- Special Thanks: Pat Loika / Lovine Gopez
Model Portfolio: Angela
Now this took awhile before it got out of the post-production woodwork.
Angela had quite a good run with FHM Philippines, being a repeat favorite feature girl and even placing high in the 100 Sexiest despite her non-celebrity status. She never really took her modeling career seriously since she was bent on landing a job outside of the country. She did work overseas for quite awhile before making a brief come back in Manila. But that was just a breather for another adventure. She has since departed from the local scene for the medical profession in Europe, but for FHM’s avid readers she was one of the notable ones to leave a mark.
Before she left, I was able to grab her a for a quick studio session and worked off with the usual one-light beauty setups.
- Make-up: Jet Babas
- Styling: Hannah Kim (MIA)
- Model: Angela Remulla
Model Portfolio: Natalia
This shoot was quite a sudden arrangement since Natalia was just here for a week. She was introduced to me from a common contact in the industry. It was great she was down for a folio shoot in a short notice. Did a medley of my bread and butter one-light formations in the studio, mainly working on changes in light direction. The gray background gradient was something of a recent favorite…getting various tapered versions of them just by playing between the distances of model, light and background. The modifier I used is just your run-of-mill beauty dish. I propped up my white cloth background for the back-lit series and bounced the light back with two 4×8 feet styroboards. My last setup with using a ring flash, on a bare reflector. Good thing Natalia was trooper and didn’t really complain about the rings around the eyes after this set. This light is notorious for leaving models dazed for a few minutes after the layout.
As for post production, I’m such a sucker for grain and making the image look raw. Thanks to the now-free Nik Collection from Google.
- Make-up / Hair: Jet Babas
- Styling: Hannah Kim (MIA) / Model’s Own
- Model: Natalia LaLonde
Model Portfolio: Margrette
Margrette is was referred by another model I shot for FHM (Lena) a couple of months ago. She quickly jumped on the next available shoot schedule. Again, just working with good old natural light and a pair of reflectors since it was a bit over cast during this shoot.
Now that the Nik Collection is now free from Google, we can tinker around with various “film like” effects without having to experiment so much with just native Photoshop. Funny how social media posts and images nowadays strive to look analog in the age of digital photography. In my humble opinion, film would always have that softness and gradation of colors no ordinary digital camera could achieve. Of course if you’re armed with a Phase One or Hasselblad, then that’s a totally different story.
Though the light spreads in an overcast weather, the downside to that is color temperature. It not as flattering on the skin tones. So I had to bump the color grading to the warmer tones to compensate.
- Make-up: Micah Osorio
- Styling: Hannah Kim (MIA) / Model’s Own
- Model: Margrette delos Santos
Model Portfolio: Holly
I always make it a point to get to work with Holly whenever she’s in Manila. It was APEC week when she got in town, so most of the work is disrupted. Took this chance to shoot her over several days that week. Never to shy away from camera, Holly is one of the most comfortable models to work with. Nary batting an eyelash on wardrobe and poses as long as she can physically do them.
For this shoot, we went all the way out to QC to Fat Cat Studios all because of the wooden slat floor and furniture. I was toying around with a one-harsh-light setup, something reminiscent to how British editorial shoots were done or plainly put, “the on-cam flash party look.” The challenge with this particular one-light setup is positioning. You’d need to adjust the light more often as she shifts poses, to get that same throw on her face. Personally, I always like preserving the light falling on the model’s face. More often than not, people would gravitate to the face more then the body follows afterwards, hence my emphasis. I used styrofoam reflectors on certain shots to compensate for the stronger shadows whenever the light is placed far off to the side.
P.S. In this age of bad traffic traveling to QC was already quite a field trip.
- Make-up: Paoie Minerales
- Hair: Ara Fernando
- Styling: Hannah Kim
- Model: Holly Wolf
Model Portfolio: Jennifer
Jennifer is an HK-based Vietnamese-Canadian model who finds her way to Manila every now and then. So when’s she in town, I make sure we get a session together in the studio.
Where you’re shooting is as important as the lights and modifiers you’re using. I only used one light all throughout the entire shoot, had a second change of modifiers, but how the light bounced against the ceiling, walls, floor etc… contributed on the overall look of the final shot.
Bear in mind that no single lighting formation would yield the same result. Hence, replicating the exact look and feel (no matter how futile), also entails having to do it in the same location as well. For me, these personal projects are complete one-offs. I can approximate the lighting positions again, but there’s always that particular sweet spot during the shoot when light hits your model, producing that unique look reserved just for the session. Though my Asian-fusion concept series did yield a close-enough replication, you would still notice the lighting differences between the models.
This is has been part of the studio series I’ve been doing.. and it seems like I’m about to hit a creative threshold soon. A couple of more sessions with strobes, and then you’d find me doing a bit more natural light again.
- Make-up: Carissa Medved
- Styling: Model’s Own
- Model: Jennifer Nguyen