These Mondays of June

Since the 7th of this month, I’ve alloted Mondays to plan photoshoots. Not bands, but with models, and usually in a studio. The stars seem to be aligning this time, since I am learning new things here. For example:


Stylist/MUA: Nariese Giangan
Model: Gliter Villarin

Let’s start the story with Nariese. I met Nariese online, by means of us being followers of the band Paramita. We met a year or two ago, and did actually plan a shoot before, but that didn’t materialize. We kept in touch, and just at the start of this month, we started discussing the possibility of us getting together again and push through with a shoot, her doing the model’s makeup, assuming the stylist role, and myself as the photographer.

On previous shoots, I haven’t had anyone else to attend to the model’s makeup, clothes, etc., so this was a welcome change: those’re a couple of things I’m definitely glad to have someone take care of. Also, my work restdays this June fall on Sundays and Mondays, when band gigs are non-existent, and this would take my photographic fill.

So, it was set. We even had a model I asked about during Nariese’s grad party. That weekend though, the model was battling a trangkaso, so we had to get one on short notice. Nariese checked her Facebook contacts, while I continued doing my weekly groceries, when she texted me that she has a friend that promptly affirmed. Of course, her bragging that the model was part of our local version of that gameshow Deal or No Deal got my attention, that I had to get home sooner than expected.

The studio was at Jay’s again in QC, where I won’t be too ashamed to ask re lighting lessons and suggestions. I was supposed to go straight to the studio, but Gliter, Nariese’s friend/our model, was running late. Therefore, I did something that I’m not really fond of doing: introducing myself to strangers.

Two or so hours later after that meeting, I was stretching out in the first floor of the studio, while Nariese was doing Gliter’s makeup. This was something I had to get used to, I guess.

A few test shots, brief lighting lessons, and we were at it. We had music, a pro model, Nariese was with her arsenal of clothes and accessories, while I was struggling so hard not to shoot the model up close. Shooting wide has always been my habit, but fashion-y shoots like these do require the normal, non-wide perspective, where I had to place myself a few feet away.

Bam, photographer-friend and fellow Rangefinder Filipinas member, came to the studio and became my impromptu assistant. We had been discussing model-shooting before, as it was something very different from our current documentary/street photography orientation. Having him around made one thing clear: I really do need an assistant for shoots like these, and I’d be more than willing to switch roles next time.

Four sets of clothes, an after-shoot of everyone else in the studio, and Muriel (Gliter’s sister) eating almost a food container’s worth of Nariese’s pasta, and we were done. Our early afternoon arrival at the studio stretched to 10 PM, and I guess its safe to say we were collectively hungry, but also collectively satisfed, that we got what we came for.

As a first shoot, I can point out to a lot of things we could’ve done more efficiently, but it was a lesson-filled day, and we’re all hoping we’d do a lot better next time. Nariese and I succeeded, and though I guess we did feel a bit intimidated by Gliter, the output was justifiably good. Not groundbreaking by any stretch, but better than a lot of what I’ve been seeing online lately.

The model who got sick eventually got well, and we had her the next Monday, but that story would be for the next blog post.

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