When it comes to me being in the church for any occasion whatsoever, I could be at least one of three things: a photographer, a musician (yes, I'm not kidding here), or a simple parishioner. Recently in one of Tagaytay's chapels, The Chapel on The Hill, I was the second. So I didn't really bring much of my camera gear there, save for one body, one lens, and one flash. Of course, I'd still expect to find something or someone nice there, so I brought along all of my batteries, just to be on the safe side. I glad though that I prepped up some of my gear (along with my wedding songs and lyrics), since I almost forgot how marvelous the place is, and how beautiful my good friend and choirmate Jazz is, who was also with me.
Since I only brought one lens, namely the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8II lens, taking shots of the scenery's not exactly ideal, if not easy enough. But I was expecting Jazz to be at her prettiest on that day, so I concentrated on portraiture photography, and simply took some casual shots of her just to spend the time while waiting for the bride and groom (among others) to arrive.
Unfortunately, despite the beautiful interior of the chapel, the walls and ceiling are mostly painted dark brown, so bounce flash wasn't exactly ideal; the dark paint would simply absorb much of the light from the flash, not to mention that any resulting bounced light would be deep brown in color. But there are lots of greeneries there, and the outside walls and ceiling were painted white (or at least some of them, but it's enough), so I decided to simply take shots of her then and there.
This image here is one of those perfect examples as to why I considered a 70-200mm. lens as a primary lens for Portrait photography; the background simply melts away when used at a far focal length and wide open. I'll have to admit though, that this photo wasn't sharp enough due to camera shake. But I find the photo so effective, that I'm willing to overlook that flaw and present it here as it is.
Speaking of which, what exactly makes a photo "effective", or what kind of photo would normally leave a lasting impression to the viewer? Well, many factors are involved here, most of them highly relative or subjective; it really depends on the viewer of the photo itself.
In portrait photography though, there are some things that I particularly look for in my shots.
First of all, the photo has to be sharp. Dead sharp. I love sharp. And when I see some blur on the subject, I think twice about it before I initiate some processing, or uploading for that matter.
Next, the background has to be pleasing and inconspicuous, or at least the background shouldn't take the viewer's attention away from the subject. That's why I love good bokeh in a photo, and one of the reasons why my first lens pick is usually the 70-200mm.
Here's an example of what I'm talking about:
But of course, this is only half of the recipe for a good portrait, since half of it also depends on the subject or model. It is always a welcoming sight for me to see people who are very confident and comfortable with themselves, especially if they are so willing to pose in front of the camera.
Jazz is one of those people, as we can see in this shot, which also happens to be my favorite for the day:
This is actually a somewhat stolen shot, as she only found out then that I already brought out the camera during the reception (my original role then was a musician, remember? ^_^), and that it was already trained towards her direction. ;)
So there you have em, a little story about my trip to Tagaytay, not really as a photographer, but as a wedding singer...
...and a guy that simply enjoyed his time and company with a much valued friend. ;)