‘It’s capturing the energy and the kaguluhan before the actual show. when everyone’s In action, and everyone’s taranta’ — Andrea Beldua
We pair off two of our favorite lenswomen
What’s your favorite subject to shoot? Mandy:
It would probably be my friends. For me, it’s still the person that makes the photo, not the fancy styling or the makeup.
Andrea: I think what I love doing best is shooting backstage during fashion shows. It’s everything combined: I love shooting people and clothes, and I love capturing moments. It’s the energy— capturing the energy and the
kaguluhan before the actual show. I love when they’re all changing and everyone’s in action and everyone’s taranta, and there are clothes and makeup strewn everywhere. It’s like a glimpse
talaga into how the industry really is. How would you describe your shooting style? Mandy: I don’t really know if I have a style yet, but a lot of
people have told me that they can tell my style from how I edit it, because it looks like it’s shot with film—something like that. But I’m still experimenting and seeing what works for me.
Andrea: I think my photos are mostly cinematic and filmic. Very moody. I think you can tell my photos were taken by a woman, it’s really my branding talaga. How can you tell if a photo was taken by a man or a woman? Andrea: When I look at a photo, I would be 90 percent correct when I say na alam ko na kuha ng babae o kuha ng lalaki. Lalo na when the model is a girl. Like, our idea of sexy is very organic in the way na it’s sensual. When a man directs a model’s pose, sometimes, I can tell talaga because he’ d make her move or sit differently. That’s not how she sits. That’s not how she places her fingers or her hands over her knee. Small things like that... Mas matigas ang kuha ng lalaki. How do you make women more comfortable in front of a camera, especially when she’s wearing something sexy?
Mandy: I would compliment her a lot. Usually, when I’m shooting models wearing bikinis, I’m gonna be in a bikini as well, so it’s not awkward, and also because I don’t want an ugly tan with a t-shirt on me! But yeah, if it’s indoor, and it’s for a bralette or something, I usually just keep checking on them. I’ll be like, ‘Are you okay? Is this okay? Do you want to cover up?’ Has a guy ever hit on you while you were shooting? Andrea: Yup. Happens all the time. If I’m attracted to the guy, like if he’s my model, I feel like sometimes it creates a certain
kind of tension that translates well in photos. But other times, it’s just, ‘Yo, this is weird man. Can we be professional about it?’
Mandy: For me, it’s more of the bystanders, the random people around, but no one who’s actually part of the team or something. So how was your experience during this shoot?
Mandy: Exciting. I’ve never had this kind of shoot where I was shooting another female photographer while she was shooting me. [To Andrea] Have you ever done this before?
Andrea: No, never. This is the first time. Mandy: It’s so fun!
Andrea: Kasi we get it eh. Like, we have a rapport. Like, we’re both photographers and we both kind of know how to move and how to direct each other.
Mandy: We kind of just know what the other person wants already. We just need to say something, and she’ll be like, ‘gotchu.’
Andrea: It’s so easy, and I wish we had more time!
Mandy: And it’s a nice experience when the model freaks out about the light just as much as you do. [laughs] How does it feel to be in front of the camera for a change? Andrea: Mandy’s always in front of the camera. [laughs] Mandy: It’s weird, but in a way, it’s a big learning experience. It’s a different kind of nervousness,
‘Usually, when I’m shooting models wearing bikinis, I’m gonna be In a bikini as well, so It’s not awkward — Mandy Martinez
I would say. Because when we’re shooting, we’re thinking about the shot, and when we’re modeling, we’re thinking about how we’re going to look. It’s weird, but I bring that awareness with me when I’m shooting other girls, so I can direct them better because I know what’s going on in their head since I’ve been in front before.
Andrea: I think it’s super fun, but also at the same time, I was worried that I would overdirect myself, like I would be super aware because I’m super anal about shit. I felt like I was going to be microdirecting, which I tend to do a lot when I ask other people to take photos of me. But when we got started, I was like, ‘You know what, I trust Mandy.’ Mandy: Aww! Andrea: I trust her. I was relaxed, and it felt really great to put that kind of trust in another artist’s hands, so I could let go in a way. Because I’m always so tense, like, I want to get it right, you know? I thought I was gonna be like that. I was worried. But I had so much fun!
Don’t stop taking photos.
“take lots of candids, [when] they’re relaxed and not posed. don’t just take it when they’re just posing. take it when they’re fixing their hair or their clothes, and show it to them every once in a while so they can pose properly… and then if they want jump shots or whatever, i-burst niyo so they’d have options.”
“I never take the grid off of from my camera because I use it a lot.”
Overexposed or underexposed?
“when you’re shooting outdoors, it would be better to turn it down a bit so when they edit it, they can save the highlights instead of it being overexposed. but if you want to save the details, of the sky for example, remember that a phone camera usually exposes the darkest part, so nabo-blow out yung highlights. that’s why the sky doesn’t appear blue—it’s white. this is why you should focus it first, if you’re on an iphone, just tap on the shadows, then after it’s focused, you can turn the exposure down. ”
Play with the light.
“the light makes a huge difference. for example, if she wants herself in front of this whole thing but she’s facing against the light, it’s not gonna be as good.”
Shoot from below.
“the phone camera has a wide angle lens, so whatever is at the sides [of the photo],
nagiging distorted siya, so humahaba siya. so you don’t want to go in too close because madi-distort
‘yung face. but if you want to take a whole body shot, take it from medyo underneath. Ilayo mo, and then tilt up so that the legs look longer. and then make sure her head is not hitting the top part [of the frame] or it’s going to be distorted. the angle should always be eye level, or from below so that they look taller.”
Stick To The basics
I guess when it comes to landscape photography, it’s best to stick to the basic photography rules, like the rule of thirds and the foreground, middle ground, background. that would make a good landscape photo.
don’t be afraid To zoom in… or zoom out
with travel photography, I either go super close, like I take details, or super far shots. I think with landscape photography, composition is so key.
have a point of interest
don’t just take a photo. It may either be a building, or maybe a person standing in the middle of the road. Just make it interesting.
find your light
take note of shadows…and know how to play with the light that is available. know how to make use of the available light and how to incorporate it into the story you want to tell.
Tell a Story
always have a story to tell and capture moments. those turn out to be usually the best ones. sometimes, there are fleeting moments—halimbawa, may dadaan na ibon sa gitna nang dalawang building. sakto, di ba? ‘yung mga ganoon eh. be aware, be observant, be alert.
places To visit
but I think for me, it’s new york, korea, and bangkok. Iba talaga ‘yung ilaw sa ibang bansa. they say when you’re in cambodia, the light is orange kasi mostly bricks ‘yung where the light bounces off. so that’s what I usually notice when I travel.