Wednesday, May 28, 2008

last day in the company

risk, opportunity, freedom, sadness, gladness, excitement, uncertainty, renewed motivation, aloneness, prospect of success, possibility of failure, financial instability, pressure, a camera phone?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

birthday party coverage

It was my first time to cover a children's party last May 24 and I would say it's not easier than covering weddings. In fact, I felt more pressure covering this event.

For one, the photo opportunities in a children's party is much less than in a wedding. In a wedding, the number of photos that I usually take range from 500-700 photos (total of 1000-1500 for 2 photographers), and that includes the preparation, entourage, ceremony, group shots and reception phases. In a birthday party, the only section of the event that can be a photo opportunity is the program. And all the other shots are of the people attending the event (candid and posed) and portraits of the celebrant with his/her parents.

Aside from the number of photo opportunities, the more candid approach needed in party photography introduces a little bit of difficulty for me. In weddings, although we sometimes employ the photo-journalistic style, we still provide instructions to the couple. Many of the shots that we take are posed and the environment is cleared/selected to have less distracting backgrounds. On the other hand, in a children's party, everything is out of our control. Children running around and parents distractingly in the background of most photos. The angle where we can take photos is also very limited.

And although we were able to take a sizable number of pictures (about 1000 total for 2 photographers), most of them ended up in the trash. How and why were we able take 1000 photos? I don't know how, but I know why. It's because of our fear not having enough photos and our philosophy in events photography: "the more entries you send, the more chances of winning."

To add to the photos that we already have, we also tried to convince the parents to have a photo session after the party so that we can take more appealing photos. And we were very lucky that they obliged. We even got the dad to ride a boat with his daughter while we were by the mini-lake taking pictures. Here's my friend in action (also to add some color to this boring post):

On the other hand, compared to wedding coverage, I like the "post event" work for this party. Since the package that they availed is raw photos only, I didn't have to create an album which, for my skill level in PhotoShop, takes a lot of time. The 2500 fee for birthday party coverage isn't such a bad deal. But, a certain part of me is saying that I should charge higher. A professional photographer once told my that I should be able to recover my equipment expenses from 20 clients. And that means, with my current equipment, that I should charge 4-5K per project. Maybe, next time, I'll charge 3K to get closer to that value. And when I'm that good already, maybe I can go higher. :)

Monday, May 19, 2008

it's my 23rd birthday!

@home, we had ginataang hipon, crispy pata, fruit salad and two! red ribbon cakes.
@"my pad": the girlfriend and I had Tia Maria's chicadillas and tacowings.
The girlfriend gave me a Giordano cargo pants that I like so much. It matches perfectly with my new chipipay sandals. I just wonder how much it costs.

I also bought a decent computer chair worth 3700 (photo to follow because it's still in Cavite). Ouch!!! Considering that my salary would be significantly lower in the coming months. But who cares, it's my birthday and I'd probably use it a lot because I'll be spending three times more time at home than when I was working at Canon. Which reminds me, I have two weeks to go before Freedom. I'm very excited!

Friday, May 16, 2008

jrm photography business card

Shown below is my JRM Photography business card. We're still looking for a printing firm that could provide high quality prints at a relatively affordable price. If you do know where we can find one, please leave a comment. Thanks!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

wakeboarding at lago de oro

There are times when you just have to let go. No matter how hard you want to hold on and keep on going, the circumstances just won't permit it. No, I'm not talking about breaking up with your boyfriend or girlfriend. I'm talking about our wakeboarding experience last Sunday at Lago de Oro. Here are some photos that will help you understand what I'm saying:

Lago de Oro is a recreational facility located 115 south west of Metro Manila on the shore of the South China Sea. It's main attraction is its cable ski park on a 4-hectare man made lake. Here's a map on how to get there.

The half-day wakeboarding ticket costs 900 Pesos. The morning session we availed was from 9:30 am to 1 pm. It is inclusive of the wakeboard/kneeboard and vest. But if you don't want to line-up a lot (which we actually did at the start when people were still energetic), you can bring your own equipment. But if you're the "die-hard" type, you'd probably be taking turns with less that 10 people at the last hour of the session, so don't feel so bad when you have to line-up a lot at the start.

Before starting the actual wakeboarding, the on-site instructor will provide instructions and tips to newbies. For starters, they recommend using the kneeboard first. But as it ends up, most of first-timers only become successful in the kneeboard (including myself). When they go to the next level (using the actual wakeboard), launching from the dock becomes an insurmountable and frustrating task. But I am quite happy that I was able to wakeboard for ~2-4 seconds. As for the kneeboard, I was able to circle the loop three times before my arms gave in and I had to let go intentionally.
Stretching and warming up is a must. This would probably reduce the amount of body pain you will have a day or two after the experience. Excited as we were to try out the sport, we did not perform stretching activities. And up to this day (that's 4 days after), a part of my back, upper abdominals and arm still hurts a bit. Wearing sunblock also helps. After the activity, you'll notice that your arms got a little bigger. And if you weren't wearing any sun block, you'll observe that your arms are quite darker than your torso and other parts covered by the vest.

Overall, the activity we had was fun. The 1500 pesos we spent including transpo from Manila and food was worth it. We will be coming back to Lago de Oro very soon.

Friday, May 9, 2008

dilemma over video camera for weddings

Our wedding photography sideline is gaining momentum. And we are now approaching the part where we buy a semi-professional to professional video camera. We've been saving for it from the start, that up to now, we almost actually get nothing from doing wedding photo and video coverage just to speed things up.

For the past 6 months, what we've been using is a consumer Panasonic camera I stripped from my mother's personal gadgets.

Panasonic NV-GS25GC

And now that we almost already have the funds to purchase our company video camera, the most difficult decision to make arises: Which camera do we buy?

We've been researching for quite sometime already and decided that the Canon XL2 is a nice camera. Unfortunately, due to financial constraints (the XL2 costs 260K PHP but our budget is just 50K-70K PHP), we have to look for a less expensive model.

Canon XL2 Video camera with WHITE Canon L lens

Extensive research narrowed down our choices to two cameras, each one having it's own advantages and disadvantages. If you do want to share some insight, please do so as we are in need of expert (and also non-expert) advice.

a. Panasonic AG-DVC20
- professional-looking
- better stability due to size and weight
- shoulder-mount
- may not be available locally (if you do know where we can buy this, please inform me)
- not suitable for confined spaces due to size
- may be tiring to carry for a long time

Panasonic AG-DVC20

b. Panasonic PV-GS400
- larger sensor (1/4.7" vs. 1/6")
- available at 12 months 0% interest installment at Abenson
- optical stabilization
- high-definition
- may look amateurish
- more prone to shaking to an untrained hand

Panasonic PV-GS400

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

my birthday wishlist that the girlfriend can afford

Since the girlfriend asked through comment in a previous post, I might as well list down items somebody with a salary of [R1 Confidential] can afford. In no particular order.

1. Jag pants straight cut (dunno the size)
2. Not-so-expensive sandals
3. Comfortable computer chair (with variable height)
4. Computer mouse (i think larger is better)
5. Shorts na parang ganito o ganito pero brown lang

Monday, May 5, 2008

birthday wishlist

In a couple of weeks, I'll be celebrating my 23rd birthday. I'm writing down this list not because I'm expecting someone to give me one of them. Instead, this list is more of a goal-setting for me for the next year -- a list of things that I WISH to be able to fund from hard-earned money before I turn 24. Essentially then, my birthday wish is to be able to find legal sources of income sufficient to fund the obtainment of these items.

3 days stay at one of the destinations on my travel list
1 week vacation overseas
a split-type air conditioner
the camera body, one of the lenses, and the flash on my dream photography kit
a second hand vehicle (preferably a van)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

my dream photography kit

I have been shooting weddings for a while already. But I might say that the equipment that I have been using is not yet the equipment a professional wedding photographer ought to have. Currently, here's what's on my bag:

Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT
Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM lens
Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens
Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 APO DG lens
Canon 430EX Speedlite

A lot of photography forums insist that a fast lens (aperfure <= f/2.8) is the way to go. They have higher quality and allows you to shoot in low light situations without using flash. Using these lenses in their maximum aperture also allows for more blurred backgrounds, leading to photos with more emphasis on the subject.

In flash photography, most forums that I've read also promote using indirect flash. One of the ways of doing this is by using bounce flash which I am already capable of doing using my 430EX. However, there are scenarios where bounce flash is not possible. This include scenarios when the ceiling is dark, the ceiling is too high or it is colorful. A flash with master capability such as the Canon 580EX used with a slave flash (such as 430EX) is an easy solution.

Unfortunately, due to financial constraints, I am not yet able to grab myself what I'd like to call "my dream photography kit" I derived from suggestions from forums that I've read. The kit consists of:

Canon EOS 40D/5D (preferably the 5D)
*Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM lens
if (40D) Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 lens
if (5D) Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS lens or Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L lens
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS lens
Canon 580EX Speedlite
*Canon 430EX Speedlite (or another 580EX would also be great)
*back-up body (can be my current Rebel XT)

Why 5D? A larger sensor creates a more blurred background, which I personally prefer in photographs.

I'd also like to have a sturdy ball-type monopod and a reflector.

Right now, I'm hoping that our wedding photography business will earn me enough money to buy my dream photography kit. Not that we're not already producing nice images, but these equipment will make us capable of producing even nicer images. :P