The Photographer's Learning Thread: Ask Me Anything

Discussion in 'Photographers' started by LeoCastillo, Feb 24, 2013.

  1. LeoCastillo

    LeoCastillo Maestro
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    Many of you know that I've been teaching Photography for a while. Heck, I got into PhilMUG because someone made a thread on my Photoworks classes!

    Anyway, I decided that I can go beyond my classes in teaching photography, so I'm making this thread a little experiment.

    Ask me anything... and let me see if I can help. Worst case, I'm sure there are others there who can share their knowledge too.

    Leo

    P.S. Just in case, my credentials. I've been shooting and teaching photography in 11 years. In addition, I've been a learning and development professional for longer than that. I've been published in a few magazines, but my work as an L&D professional is so much more lucrative, I shoot mostly for my personal work.
     
    #1 LeoCastillo, Feb 24, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2013
  2. macosx

    macosx Member

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    Are the micro four thirds as good as the DSLR?
     
  3. LeoCastillo

    LeoCastillo Maestro
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    That depends on what you mean by good.

    ALL cameras can take good photos. I have a few in my portfolio that were published despite being taken with a point and shoot camera.

    As an example, I've been taking a lot of P&S shots lately, using my Olympus TG-1.

    Here's some when I helped out Manny Librodo with his workshop late last year. Most of those shots are practically straight out of camera : Ultimate Boudoir | Leo Castillo Photography

    You'll see more of my underwater work on the same site, which surprise, was taken with a P&S camera.

    And it's not just me. The great Jun de Leon for example, had a wonderful photo exhibit using a Sony Ericsson cellphone. Terry Richadson, one of the top fashion photographers in the world, took photos for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition using a point and shoot camera.

    Having said that, if you want to work professionally, the market will react if you don't have a DSLR.
    I think Bench for example will raise an eyebrow if Jun De Leon comes in with a cellphone :)

    Leo
     
  4. jaijin

    jaijin Well-Known Member

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    Nice thread, Leo.

    I hope others would be able to pick up a lot from this guy. I've been to his classes, and no joke, I learned stuff I didn't know. He takes a whole different approach, and to best describe it is he will get you involved in creating a picture not in "auto" rather than teaching to how to use your camera.

    True story.
     
  5. Kenneth

    Kenneth Moderator

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    I'm really interested in trying landscape photography and looking into investing in some square filters. I'm looking at Lee starter kit which includes
    0.6 Graduated Neutral Density Hard
    ProGlass 0.6ND Standard Filter

    I know Lee is the top brand for filters, so this whole kit is going to cost almost 20k. Kinda steep I know.

    With just these two filters, for a beginner, is it going to be enough? Or should I add one or two more stop filters. Or am I going to run into problems when I go out on location? Let's assume for now I just want to capture a pretty sunset, nothing too technical yet.
    Or maybe anybody knows a cheaper but good alternative locally available?
    [​IMG]
     
  6. Everythinglou

    Everythinglou Member

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    Sir Leo what would you recommend 650d or 60d, I already have the 650d and I kinda like the grip of the 60d should I stay or should I upgrade? I use my DSLR for 50% video and 50% on stills,

    I am also planning to buy a 17-40mm L f/4 how will it perform on a crop sensor DSLR?
    thanks :D
     
  7. testdummy

    testdummy Active Member

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    ^ Same question as that of everythinglou. The difference is that I am presently using a 1000D and definitely would like to upgrade and change my camera. Which of the two would you recommend? I don't consider myself a newbie , more of an enthusiastic amateur :D. I have several lenses right now so I'm just getting the body.
     
  8. bisdak

    bisdak Well-Known Member

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    Leo's a Nikon guy, afaik. :) Or have you changed dSLRs, Leo? Been some time since we shot in GenSan, whoa, a decade ago?!

    For maybe 5 years, I survived with 2 350D Canons. I haven't heard any client complain. For better grip, maybe it's cheaper to just buy a battery grip instead of upgrading to a 60D? But I'm no video guy, so maybe I can't help. And I'm not as good as Leo. :) I upgraded to a 40D and the classic 5D only after my 350D died. I'm not into the habit of upgrading though, only when absolutely necessary.

    The 17-40 was what was stuck mostly to my 350D. And it's the same 17-40 that's stuck to my 5D now. On a 1.6x cam, it's something like a 28-70 on a fullframe body, and thus a good walkaround lens. But since I'm more of a wideangle shooter (a mix of photojourn & documentary) than a paparazzi, I'm happy with the 17-40 on my 5D.
     
  9. LeoCastillo

    LeoCastillo Maestro
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    Lee is expensive! If you're just getting your feet wet, try some Cokin or HiTec filters. Those will do the job well and won't break the bank. I use filters myself for landscape and portraiture. The following shot needed stacked graduated ND filters + circular polariser to bring out the blue sky.

    [​IMG]

    (P.S. The shot above was straight out of camera. No photoshop)

    Here's a shot from behind the scenes. You can see my stacked filters there (I use Cokin).
    The complete kit I used with filter holder, CPL, and three grad filters was maybe about 4000.
    Not exactly cheap but a far cry from 20K.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    #9 LeoCastillo, Feb 25, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2013
  10. 650h2

    650h2 Active Member

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    Leo, how is the difference between the pro-sumer DSLRs and the Full-frame cameras, aside from the $$$. I have been into photography since the film media and thinking of going back into it as a not-too-physical hobby.
     
  11. LeoCastillo

    LeoCastillo Maestro
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    Ok here's my guide for choosing DSLRs...

    #1 - What do your friends use?

    Believe it or not, this is the most important criteria. If your friends use Nikon, then go Nikon. If your friends go Canon, go Canon. Same with Sony, Olympus, etc.

    The reason for this is you create a support system. You can ask for help, you can borrow gear like batteries or lenses, plus you get to be their support system too. If you're the lone non-Nikon/non-Canon in the group puro alaska makukuha mo :)

    #2 - Are you doing this professionally or as a hobby?

    If you're a hobbyist, forget about what people say is the "best lens" or the "best camera". It doesn't matter. ANY CAMERA will do if you're starting. If you have money buy a decent one, maybe something made in the last two years. Even the entry level camera made in the last two years is BETTER than what most Pros used 5 years ago.

    If you're thinking, "I'm a hobbyist, so I'll buy this superexpensive camera now so I can grow into it when I become pro later", I would not advise that. By the time you're good enough to be pro, NEW cameras would have come around, and the cheapest one may likely have more features than the one you have! This is the route of the "nagsisising" photographer. Avoid this route at all costs.

    So again, ANY of the entry level cameras will do, maybe go 1 step higher at MOST. You might be tempted kasi you still have money. Use that money instead to invest in a lens, invest in classes, maybe learn photoshop, get a better laptop or more hard drive, invest in time or travel to do shoots. That will give you better ROI or being a better photographer than getting the latest gear.

    #3 - Nahawakan mo na ba?

    When you buy cars, sure you look at the specs, but at the end of the day, you need to test drive it. Ride it, get a feel for it. Hiyang ba siya sa iyo?

    Too many times people buy cameras sight unseen. I suggest you look for a friend who has one and try it. If they're a good friend maybe they can let you hold it for a few days. Is it too small? Too big? I believe this is a major factor to consider when buying SLRS.

    #4 - Finally... the One Peso Rule

    The One Peso rule is copyright Leo Castillo. I created this rule and this is the best rule to live by when buying gear. Use it well :)

    Imagine that each click of your camera is one peso. When you buy that 120,000 peso camera, are you really going to take 120,000 shots? Or just 12,000? If thats the case ang mahal ng camera mo, 10 pesos per shot! And don't forget that 50,000 lens or that 20,000 speedlight. Will this new gear make you shoot more often?

    In fact, that's also my rule if "sulit" mo na gear mo. If you've only taken 500 shots, then you have not yet maximized your camera/lens/flash. Sulitin mo muna before you consider taking more gear.

    Another way to look at the one peso rule is that, will this earn you that much? Will buying this 50,000 lens make you earn at least 50,000? If yes, then you can say medyo sulit na siya.

    A corollary of this is the 1000 peso rule. Imagine you best goddamit shots are worth P1000 each. Have you made 50 goddamit shots yet? If not then don't upgrade. Di mo pa nasulit gear mo.

    So ladies and gentlemen, that's my guide in buying DSLRs. Believe it or not, except for item #1 above, BRAND DOES NOT MATTER. Sure there are some small subtleties between the top 2 brands, but at the end of the day it doesn't matter much. There are many pros from all brands who can create wonderful photos regardless of brand. Some of them even switch brands (Manny Librodo recently switched from Nikon to Sony, Edwin Loyola recently switched from Canon to Nikon). Although I use Nikon, I have shot with Canon, Sony and Olympus.

    At the end of the day, it's your eye that matters. Good luck as you pursue your first camera.

    Leo
     
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  12. LeoCastillo

    LeoCastillo Maestro
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    Hey Bobby!! You're right, it's EXACTLY ten years ago! I still have my Kalilangan shirt. I'd love to drop by Gensan to shoot Kalilangan again if you'll invite me :)

    When you met me I was using a Fuji S2 Pro (Nikon mount). I've since changed to a D70 D200 and now my D600. Between that time I did a few shoots with Canon and I regularly do a class for Sony where I use the Alpha. Some of my portfolio shots were taken with the Alpha.


    Bobby loko anong not as good as Leo! Wala pa ding tatalo sa festival shots mo!

    Same as Bobby, I only upgrade when necessary. My S2 Pro was dying so I got a second hand D70. Got a D200 and used that for six years, until it died and forced me to buy my current one, a D600.

    Believe it or not, pros don't upgrade that often (unless may sponsor).

    Agree. At the end of the day gear should align to the photographer, not the other way around.

    Leo
     
  13. LeoCastillo

    LeoCastillo Maestro
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    What I've learned: FF is a nice to have, not a need to have. All the other items on my guide to DSLRs will apply to you.

    Let me know if there is something more specific that you need.

    Leo
     
  14. obet25

    obet25 Member

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    I like the one peso rule. haven't checked my photo exif lately.
    I think nasulit ko naman ang d90 ko. :)

    OT Btw, are you related to Mon Castillo? He's my mentor before when I was hooked in photography.
     
  15. LeoCastillo

    LeoCastillo Maestro
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    Interesting, no I have not met Mon Castillo. Not very often I find another Castillo photographer!

    Leo
     
  16. yammie

    yammie Member

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    which prime lens can you recommend for street/landscape photography?
     
  17. LeoCastillo

    LeoCastillo Maestro
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    50mm 1.8 lens. Why? It's cheap.

    You'll be surprised to know not a lot of street/landscape photographers use prime lenses.

    Landscape photographers usually use Ultra Wide lenses like 15-30 or 12-24.
    Street photographers usually use their kit lens! If they had money, they'd get something like a 18-200mm.

    The 50mm 1.8 is a nice lens to have around and it's so cheap it's worth getting whatever work you do.
    Some fashion photographers pay extra and get the 1.4, but that's nice to have not a need to have.

    Leo
     
  18. isaak

    isaak Active Member

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    Hi Leo, do you hold classes or know of any class, preferably on weekends and of reasonable rates? Thanks!
     
  19. bluboi

    bluboi Member

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    that 1 peso rule really resonates with me and it's also how I choose when to spend and what to spend. My 7D has seen at least 50k shots and I have no plans of buying a new one (well.. maybe an RX100) 'til it chokes on me. *knocks on wood*
     
  20. LeoCastillo

    LeoCastillo Maestro
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    Hi Isaak, FPPF teaches classes in Fort Santiago during weekends, and I believe Jo Avila has a weekend class as well. There are others like Parc Cruz and Jay Jallorina who teach specialized classes and it usually happens during weekends (Parc for Photoshop, Jay for Landscape/Cityscape).

    You can get more info on FPPF at www.photoworldmanila.com and Jo Avila's class on www.joavila.com. Parc and Jay usually market on Facebook, I believe they have some coming up soon.

    My own classes are usually weeknights, and reserve weekends for advanced classes. I'm toying around with create a special one day class that's perfect for beginners that will happen on weekends. Maybe in April or May.

    Leo
     

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