My 2012 in Images

2012 has been both a good and a bad year for me in terms of photography work. Good because I believe that I have improved at least, acquired new gear, got heaps of books and learned new things. Bad because I wasn't able to shoot that much unlike 2011. 

Now that 2012 is coming to a close I would like to commemorate this one hell of a year by recollecting some of my favorite images that I have taken and the stories behind it.

Kath's Birthday Gig

I recently took photographs of my cousin Kath's birthday gig party at Headstock Bar in Marikina and I came across into one of the most biggest dilemmas a photographer has to face. Shooting the same exact thing again. For this shoot to be a bit different what I did is I went in close so that I could photograph half of the musician's body along with whatever there is.

And these are the resulting images:

Photography Inspiration: Helmut Newton

Lately I have been studying the works of classic photographers in my quest to improve and push my craft further. This time I'm featuring Helmut Newton which I consider to be one of my main sources of inspiration. Newton's provocative black and white photographs are often dubbed as innovative that he has become one of Vogue's mainstay photographers and acclaimed fashion photographers of his time.

I couldn't help but compare Araki and Newton since both share the same penchant of mostly shooting women subjects while infusing nudity and sex in their photographs, but both photographers differ in terms of how their subjects are portrayed in the photographs.

Of Posts and Plays

Last Sunday I headed out to join a tour around at some of the beautiful but forgotten places here in Manila. The itinerary was pretty long (we are supposed to go to Arroceros Park, Aduana and many more) but because of the inclement weather we just trimmed down the tour into two places. First was the Philippine Post Office or PhilPost and the other one was the Manila Metropolitan Theater both are situated in the Lawton area.

For this shoot I challenged myself not to use my trusty wide angle lens and explore the capabilities of my nifty-fifty. At first it was tough because I am accustomed to shooting the whole scene first rather than focusing on the intimate details specially when it comes to architectural details.

Photography Inspiration: Irving Penn

I just recently discovered the great Irving Penn while I was researching things for a blog post at work. I was actually taken aback after seeing the photograph of the Ballet Society and the image of Lisa Fonssagrives. His images are just so powerful and poetic that it feels like the eyes of the person in his photograph is looking right at your very essence. Most of his photographs are stripped off color and elaborate backgrounds which makes his work so direct and emotionally charged.

The Weekend Gig-Away

While most people I know either spent their 3 day weekend at home pampering themselves or on a trip out of town to escape the chaotic streets of Manila, I on the other hand went to see unsigned bands playing their hearts out offering the restless youth a music that speaks to them. It's awesome to see such dedicated people doing amazing things for music, most specially if you are living here in the Philippines were the mainstream music is mostly comprised of overly covered songs which are not even remotely good and neither it did justice to the original song.

Anyway, time to stop this drama and get this shit down.

Friday: Black Kath Productions' 1st Anniversary at Headstock Bar - My favorite production just celebrated it's first birthday and I wouldn't miss it out specially all the fun and good memories I had every time I attend a Black Kath gig.

Maybe Thursday

Of Lights and Sounds

Sorry for the late upload! I haven't been able to shoot that much since my last post because I have been focusing all my energies at work. 


So last October 20, I head out to Autonomy Music Bar for Black Kath Prod gig. I really missed shooting gigs like this one. I was doubtful if I will be able to get great shots since it was my first time in Autonomy Bar, I have no idea how the lights work, space and above all I haven't shot a thing prior to this gig.

Still Alive.


Hi! I haven't updated this blog for quite sometime now but don't worry! I'm still shooting though not as often as before since I'm busy with work and saving up every single penny that I can manage because I'm getting myself a Google Nexus 7 (which btw is still not yet available here in RP. WTF Google!) and a new computer  before the year ends (hopefully).

On other notes I have a new job and this is what I do, also I'm going to be a part-time teacher (I think haha) so I will be extremely busy to post new work and updates. If you happen to check my blog regularly you can check out my other blog. This is where I just dump my visual inspirations, random musings and some other shit whether or not its related with photography.

Photo above: I attended the 7th year of Pipho which was a butt-load of fun despite not being able to win any shizznit.

Peace and btw I'm sleepy as crap. Cheers!

Vogue's 120th Anniversary Photo Shoot

Vogue, the most influential and most sought after fashion magazine is going to celebrate its 120th year on September and the best way to celebrate its 120th years is to do a massive photo shoot features some of the most influential people like Florence Welch, Rooney Mara and Jennifer Lawrence to name a few. While the list is filled with A-listers in their respective industries it is inspiring (and pressuring) to know that all of them are all under 45 years old! Norman Jean Roy was the man behind the lens in this editorial shoot who is also a top dog in the fashion industry.

Here are some of the photos:

Raf Simons
Sarah Burton, Christopher Bailey & Stella McCartney
Peter Copping & Erdem Moraliogu
Ricardo Tisci & Rooney Mara
Phoebe Philo
Jennifer Lawrence
You can view all the photos with a detailed description about the people in the photo here.

After seeing all the photographs I was naturally psyched to see the BTS video and Vogue was good enough to post one on their Youtube channel.

So what do you think? I'd love to hear what you guys have to say so hit the comment and let's discuss.
(Source: Vogue)

Victoria Secret's Unretouched Photographs

This recent set of images of VS Angel Doutzen Kroes that was released by mistake in the Victoria's Secret website for a upcoming September catalog has rekindled the age old discussion of real beauty and heavy photo retouching. In my opinion these images are good to go and to be honest its refreshing to see raw commercial photographs of women and most specially the models of Victoria's Secret in a raw and unedited photograph.

Maybe I'm just lazy or this photographs are really good to go after tweaking the exposure on the skin just a bit and cloning away some of the blemishes. What do you guys think? I'd love to hear what you have in mind so bring those comments in. 

(Sources: FstoppersJezebel)

Photography Inspiration: Patrick Demarchelier

I have been following Patrick Demarchelier's work since I first saw his photographs in a back issue of Vogue July 2011. I really love his work because the his images are always stunning and clean to the very last detail. After doing my bit of research I was awed to learn that he was able to worked with the great Henri Cartier-Bresson as well as Terry Gilbert while he was building up his career. With a client list that comprises some of the biggest names in the fashion industry, Patrick Demarchelier is one hell of a fashion photographer

Simon Bruty & Martin Schoeller Photographs the Olympic Hopefuls

Its Olympic season again and people from across the globe are glued to whatever device they can get a hold onto to get updates from the 2012 London Olympics. Some are lucky (most Londoners are) to be able to watch and see the action in the flesh as they cheer for their countrymen to succeed. Press photographers are lucky as well apart from going to London while totting a humble lens to a behemoth 500mm clicking away, capturing the scenes of the Olympics they also are the first to see the and capture the passion and determination of the participants. Whilst ordinary photographers like me are still dreaming of photographing the different sporting events at London.

In line of the Olympics I found some really interesting, if not outstanding editorial photographs of the hopeful athletes competing for the gold. First off is Martin Schoeller's shoot for Time Magazine, ESPN Magazine and Women's Health.

Gabby Douglas on the cover of Time Magazine

Ryan Lochte on the cover of Time Magazine

Lolo Jones for Time Magazine

Oksana Masters for ESPN Magazine

Allyson Felix
Another photogorapher who did a stunning set is Simon Bruty who photographed such superb images for Getty Images and Sports Illustrated. From Tunisia to Yemen Simon Burty photographed these athletes despite the of what is currently happening to their countries. I learned about this beautiful set while watching CNN's The Brief with Jimmy Clancy just this morning and I was really glad that I caught it because it was really inspiring not only to the athletes but also to us photographers who are striving hard to produce such beautiful images.

(Sources & Credits: | Getty Images | Trendland)

Give your photos that Lo-fi look with Adjustment Layers

Ever since the rise of Lomography (lomo for short) and Instagram, the people's love for photography has gone through the roof. Back then, people are strapped with toy cameras clicking happily while finishing a roll of expired film. Images produced by these nifty toy cameras loaded with expired film are often over exposed, vivid, lo-fi and dreamy which made the photo more interesting.

A sample of a photograph a lomo camera produces.
Fast forward to 2010 the phenomenal app Instagram was launched. People got hooked with it, because not only you are able to share images in the internet with your iPhone (recently available for Android) and gain followers you are also able to customize your photograph through the use of filters. The effect is somewhat similar to a Polaroid and Kodak's Instamatic. This makes your ordinary vignettes of mundane objects look cool and interesting.

A Instagram image
Photographers too has adopted the use of creative filters to give their photographs more oomph. They do this in Adobe Photoshop. While there are heaps of plugins and actions that will instantly give your photograph that lo-fi look, the problem is the limited pool of choices you can make and more often than not the look that you desire is not in there.

If you are already familiar with cross-processing then this is piece of cake for you. Now for those of you who are new or just have heard the term cross-processing for the first time then you better check this out. Our primary tool in this tutorial is the Adjustment layers which is available in CS3 to CS6 so no matter what version you are using you'll be able to follow the steps that I'm going to share to you.

Here's the before and after of the image. Alright let's do this!

1. Let's start off with a unprocessed jpeg photo in RGB format.

2. Next we duplicate the layers, CTRL+J for Windows and Command+J for Mac. This is just to make sure that we will not make any changes to the original layer despite using adjustment layers.

3. Now the magic begins. Go to adjustment layers, If you don't see it just go to Windows > Adjustments. Good? Alright, now click Exposure (encircled in red) 

3.1. Now we are going tweak the Exposure layer. Since most lo-fi effects have a bit of that washed up look we'll tweak the Offset just a little bit. This will give the photo a slightly washed up look.

4. Next, click Curves in the adjustment layer.

4.1. While in Curves we have to select the individual color channels and tweak it there. For now we will not dabble with formulas in adjusting the curves. This is purely up to you on how you want your final image to be.

4.2. Now go to the red channel. Just to be safe what you can do first is make a bit of an "S" curve either a inverted "S" or a regular "S" it is up to you so experiment. In my case I want the reds in the image to be a bit reddish and leaning a bit towards purple. So this is what I did:

Not much of an S shape eh :)
4.3. Next up is the green channel. Same thing but instead of doing an S shape I did more of a lump. Now you'll notice that after you tweak the curves in the green channel the color of the whole image change from purple-ish to a dull greenish tint. 

This is because all the information in color channels are stacked together I'll explain further next time since this topic requires more research.

4.4. Lastly we'll go for the blue channel same principle just tweak the curves till you get what you wanted. Here's mine:

I did a inverted S for this one to bring back some of the purple tint and lessen the yellow a bit.

5. Before we finish this tutorial I wanted to bring back some of the lost contrast so I've decided to use levels you can do this either pressing CTRL+L (Windows)/Command+L (Mac) or just use the levels in Adjustment layers which I prefer since you can go back to levels again and again without ruining the image.

Save to jpeg and you are done!

So there you go! With the help of adjustment layers you can turn any ordinary looking photographs to cool lo-fi photos.


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About Me

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Patrick Jude M. Ilagan born June 24, 1990 is a graphic designer, photographer and content specialist based in Manila, Philippines. Patrick is a graduate of University of Santo Tomas wherein he earned his degree in Fine Arts major in Advertising.

After graduating he worked as a graphic designer and art director for on Gadgets Magazine under Great Minds Media Inc. which is a publishing company based in Quezon City, Philippines in 2011 until 2012. He then moved to Web Providers Dev. Pro as a content writer which later on became Digital Room Inc. (Philippines) wherein he became a digital marketing specialist. In the same year he moved to Web Providers Dev. Pro he also part-timed as an instructor for a local college based in Makati, Philippines wherein he taught graphic design.

Patrick wrote and made downloadable content for You the Designer which is a graphic design lifestyle blog in 2012 until early 2014 with artist Kerby Rosanes. In mid-2014 He shifted his efforts and co-founded photography lifestyle and inspiration blog named You the Photographer with George Nacpil. He is currently the blog's editor.

Patrick often refers to himself as a pixel craftsman since he is mostly working with a computer. Patrick mostly uses Adobe Illustrator, InDesign and Lightroom for his work.

When not working Patrick immerses himself in TV shows, movies, books and games. He is also a fan of underground live music shows, food fairs, art exhibits and roaming around museums.