Words by: Kat Mayuga
Infographics by: Salie Agustin
Photos by: Eunick Nobe and Paulo Obia
The photography workshop started with a brief introduction. Professional photographer JB De Leon stood in front of the crowd of young, aspiring artists as he showed some of his work—which only made us more excited than we already were about the lessons he was about to share. The next hour was spent with him telling us his inspiring story, and giving tips on both the technical and business side of photography.
Here are five things we learned from him:
5. Maximize your equipment
When people see a photograph they like, many would ask about the model of the camera that was used and would quickly jump to the conclusion that it is expensive and top-of-the-line. Even JB De Leon hears that a lot, so he told us that it is not the camera—rather, it’s how you use it. We should know our gear like the back of our hand, master it, and test its limits. Make do with what you have and tap its full potential.
Let’s look at an example. Say there are two persons. One is an experienced photographer who knows every inch of his entry-level DSLR and the other one is a beginner who is still figuring out how to use the manual mode of a full-frame camera. Wanna bet on who will make the better output? My money is on the one using the cheaper camera.
4. Do your homework
Imagine you were asked to take pictures of your sister’s birthday party. You might think it’s simple, right? But upon arriving at the venue, you realized that there are no windows in the building and the lights are dim. After looking at the underexposed photos, you couldn’t help but blame yourself for not bringing the flash that you could have brought had you known in advance that the venue would be dark.
Being prepared is important in many things including photo shoots. Researching or even visiting the venue will allow you to have a vision of the output you want, find the best spots, or even warn you of the problems and limitations you may encounter with the place. Knowing your venue or subject well beforehand will save you a lot of trouble.
3. Surround yourself with people who will motivate you
People say that a wise person learns from the mistakes of others. True enough, a great way to be better at something is to get advice from someone who knows the ins and outs of the trade. Get mentored by an expert, apprentice for a pro, or even join organizations. You have to be surrounded by people who will give constructive criticisms on your work and will help you tap into your potential. Learn to maximize the most available resource that we have—people.
Applying for an internship program like the WIMternship is a great way to be surrounded by people who can help you.
2. Always think about tomorrow
If there’s one thing that JB kept on emphasizing during the workshop, it is this: without a vision, there is no provision. He said that if we want to become successful photographers, we have to pave the way in order to reach it. We have to know what kind of photographer we want to be and know what subjects we want to shoot. He repeatedly told us that planning is everything and that we should keep the future in mind whenever we make decisions. Everything that we do for it should have a purpose. Plan every detail and double check your steps because even the small things you do today may determine what tomorrow will bring.
1. “Are you an artist?”
Halfway through the workshop, JB mentioned that he was about to quit the arts, but his passion was renewed by these four words: “Are you an artist?” Ask yourself that. If your answer is a strong “yes”, good for you. Knowing what you want is one important step, but finding the strength to do it every day is a whole different matter. Yes, there may be days when doing what you love feels like a chore, but we can keep the motivation up by drawing inspiration from small things like movies, paintings, politics, and other things. Once you’re sure of one thing, set a vision and stick to it.
Find the little things that will motivate you to keep on going. Are you an artist? If yes, then claim it.
JB De Leon receiving his certificate of appreciation from WIM’s Rebecca Lee
Here are some of JB’s works:
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The workshop ended with our minds full of new, exciting things we had heard. JB did not only teach us the technical side of photography but the business side as well. His inspiring talk has touched our hearts and I’m sure we will be able to find his lessons useful in the days or maybe years to come.
Photography Workshop by JB De Leon