Friday, April 15, 2011

My First Client Project

"I am just a hobbyist" that is what I tell my friends and other people I met when they ask me if I shoot professionally or if I am invited to shoot for an event of some sort or if someone ask me to shoot a portrait of them or someone they know. One line I usually say is "I am not skilled enough". My eyes were opened and a little boost of self esteem was awakened when a client (yes my first client), liked the photographs I shot for their group.

Sometime last week, someone sent me an email inviting me to be one of the photographers for their first ever outdoor group photo session for their organization. Because of the nature of their group and their cause, I immediately said yes, I was nervous. I was never asked to shoot anything by anyone specially a stranger to shoot anything outside my office spaces. This one, was what I consider my first client. I was excited.  The email was sent to me a few days before the group activity.

A day before the shoot, I met the client in a mall in Quezon city, giving me the heads up of proper decorum and setting proper expectations. We agreed and I left for work. The next day which was just a few hours afterwards, I left our office and tagged a friend along. We walked to Ayala Triangle and had a few sticks of cigarettes with both of us sipping hot chocolate while watching the light drizzle of rain along Ayala avenue outside McDonalds. I was already tinkering my camera, making sure I had the right settings in place for the weather condition. The client finally arrived and picked us up. A few minutes after, the drizzling stopped and the event proceeded. There were four photographers, me and a friend were two of them, the two were professionals, and one videographer.

I was armed with my trusty Canon 500D and my favorite 50mm F1.8 II lens. My lens was cheap, the cheapest among Canon's lineup of lenses, but it was my favorite (well, I only had two). The other three photographers had Nikon D90s and a D3000, one had a full frame Nikon DSLR, I forgot the model name but I think it was full frame with an 50mm F1.4 lens attached to it. I was blown away with the armory of lenses and SLR bodies as well as lights the other photographers have. The videographer was shooting video using a NIkon D90.

I did my shots with the usual style that I do, shooting close to the subject, getting into the action and looking at the geometry produced by human movements and their group formations. I wanted to capture the rawness of their movements and the subtleness of their emotions. I did not use any flash and my ISO was at a constant 100. I was switching between the AV and Manual modes of my camera, AV does the work, but light changes so fast due to the moving sky, so I quickly change to manual so I can further control the image that I wanted to produce. The weather was very cloudy with the occasional sunlight seeping through the clouds, it was that moment where the magic glow happens. When that little bit of soft sunlight touches the subject's skin giving them that truly amazing glow was a pleasure to shoot. My camera's aperture was at a constant 1.8 so I can isolate the subject very easily from the background, although I had difficulty selecting the focus that I want and my lens hunts quite a bit for the focus points due to erratic lighting changes, I had the results I wanted.

While shooting, I think I already tried a lot of shooting positions. I lied on the ground, knelt, ran because my lens doesn't have any zoom in or zoom out capabilities (disadvantage of using a prime lens) so I zoom on foot, I stood, and a whole lot of other positions. The left thigh of my jeans got torn because of kneeling and I was sweating like hell. In the end, everything was worth it, because I believe in this group's cause and purpose.  After all, this is what I wanted to do in the first place. Sharing my talent and vision with other people and using it to promote an advocacy I believe in.

For post processing I used Lightroom 1. Yes, the first version of the legendary software is all my Mac can use because of its low RAM requirement. My Mac is ancient, so I use softwares light enough to run on its old but very reliable hardware. Good thing I already spent a lot of hours during my previous rest days learning how to post-process photographs. I was not a believer of post-processing before, primarily because I don't own a software yet. Now that I have one, I greatly believe in the importance of post-processing.  It greatly enhances the photograph, but take note, that a great deal of essence and soul of a photograph is still from the composition.

I was very nervous and excited to submit the photographs to my client. When I finally gave the copies, I was anxiously waiting for my client's feedback of the photographs. Later on, a judgement was made. Two words struck me... "mind-blowing" and "awesome. Words which made me sport a smile, the whole day at the office. I can't wait until their next activity and until they invite me again to work for them. This was my first advocacy related work and I am looking forward for more advocacy projects in the future.

I'm very happy that my client is happy. I guess I've somewhat grown from being just a simple hobbyist,  I still like the term, and I will keep that way. A few more projects and more happy clients then I can consider myself a photographer, a Humanitarian Photographer. I am Canonista, corporate slave, hobbyist, advocate, blogger, humanitarian photographer.  


  1. Congrats, Canonista! I think it's about time you put your talents to (monetary) use. Hehehe.

  2. nice of you to share your talent with them kuya! congratulations! :)

  3. OMG! You were there?! I didn't realize we were in the presence of the Canonista! :-) Thank you for your great work and your support!

  4. @Papa Jay: Thank you. It would be great to earn a significant sum through my photography, however, I want to expose myself more to volunteer work, NGOs, and humanitarian missions, to help spread help and inspiration across classes and cultures. having more money is great, but it is not always about it.

    @Kalansay: Thanks!

    @Prince: Thank you, bro!

    @Nimmy: Thanks1 Thanks!

    @PinoyPoz: Yes I was there! You're very much welcome. Looking forward to be working for your group again.

  5. wow.. you know what.. I am inspired with your post now,... grabe.. I always wanted to do that.. sana makabili na ako ng DSLR ko.. then makapag shoot na rin.. sana matutunan ko na ang photography...