Following two successful seasons, Photo Face-Off is set to return for its third season starting September 8, Thursday at 9PM. Hosted by Kelly Latimer, the series is the first and largest photography reality competition TV series in Asia. Professional photographer Justin Mott returns to the show with an added role as judge, and takes on a new group of 13 Asian shutterbugs from Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam as they compete for top prize.
We got the chance to sit with Justin and talk about his stay in the Philippines and his passion, photography. We first asked him of his experiences in Cebu, where the finals of the second season of Photo Face-Off was shot.
Justin: Cebu was fantastic. I had a great time there. I even stayed a couple more days there with my girlfriend. We had a wonderful trip. We get to actually enjoy, I don’t get the chance to do that often. We stayed a few days. We got to enjoy the crystal clear blue waters and the interesting city. We had a great time filming there. In the finals in Cebu, we had the most interesting challenge we’ve ever had in Photo Face-Off, which is the underwater challenge. The pictures they produced were amazing.
We then asked Justin on how he juggles his role on the show as a competitor and a mentor for the amateur photographers.
Justin: That’s a great question. This season, now I judge the first 2 challenges then the champion of that country gets the chance go up against me. So I give them a lot of tips through my critiques so that they would understand my style and they sometimes use it against me. They’ll learn my tricks and learn from me and I’ll realize I should have kept my mouth shut because they’ll learn then they’ll beat me because it’s embarrassing when I lose. I’m a very competitive person and photography is my life, my passion, so it’s tricky because I want them to learn. But for me, teaching comes after the show. A lot of us stay in touch, a lot of us go to the Canon Photo Marathons together and we stay in touch on Facebook and on Instagram. The teaching starts more afterwards so I won’t give too much of any of my tips.
We also talked about how his passion had an impression on me and all the Filipinos that have interests in photography. It may not be my line of work but Justin’s show taught me some tricks to take a good photo.
Justin: When people tell me they learned something from watching the show, that makes me really happy. That’s all I want. Every episode, I want people to become better.
Lastly, we asked him what he loves about the Philippines and also some tips for people who want to follow their passion for photography.
Justin: What I love about the Philippines is my connection with the online community and their interest, passion, and hunger for photography. People want to learn, they’re not shy to ask questions, they seek me out and that’s what I want. That’s my #AskMott campaign is all about. Ask me a photo question and I’ll answer. I get a lot of my audience and people I interact with me and my website from the Philippines. I love that.
Justin Mott’s Photography Tips
1. “Shoot all your exposures on Manual. Manual gives you a lot more creative freedom, makes you understand your exposure. There’s a lot more you can do when you shoot on manual and you’re thinking a lot more. It’s tough, it’s hard to get used to, but shoot your camera to M and learn how to shoot them.”
2. “I think the most important thing is not give up your passion for photography. If it really is your passion, you make it work. You spend the time to make it work.”
3. “When I decided to be a photographer, it wasn’t a matter of if but when. I didn’t know what level I need to be at but I know I’ll make a living out of it.”
4. “One tip I love to give is to find your identity as a photographer. Find your style and what makes you distinct. You can learn from other photographers, have them as your influences but make it your own. Find your style and learn how to market that style if you want to become a professional. But really own your style of photography, come up with something new and unique, and keep pushing yourself.”