Who is Melissa Lavadia?
Melissa Lavadia is one of my fellow member of the The Young Photographers Club of the Philippines also know as YoPho.
Melissa o mas kilala bilang Ysa, isa siya sa mga magagaling pagdating sa mga concept shoot, di naman sa madalas na pag-uusap pero once na nag-usap kami grabe overload ang mga bawat information na nasasagap ko mula sa kanya, minsan na rin kaming nagpalitan ng mga ilang concept idea, i most say, iba talaga siya mas detalyo ang idea niya compare sa akin.
Di ko napahahabain to, halika at kilalanin natin lalo kung sinu nga ba siya sa likod ng camera.
Location: Quezon City
Education: BS Architecture
Genre of your Photography: Fashion and Street/Architecture
Tell me about yourself that people dont't know:
I'm a huge sucker for period dramas and historical fiction.
What is your current state of mind before we continue with the interview?
How did you get started in photography?
I started in photography when my dad gave me a point & shoot camera. I wasn't satisfied with just taking family photos or barkada photos, I wanted to learn how to use a camera "properly," so to speak. So I saved up for a film SLR, to force myself to learn.
Did you go to school to study photography?
No, photography school is too expensive here in the Philippines. I read a lot of books, articles and I watch a lot of tutorial videos.
What camera did you use?
I'm currently using a Nikon D3000, a Nikon film SLR and a number of different toy cameras. Shooting film is awesome! :p
How would you characterize the style of your photography?
I can't say that I've developed a style that I can call my own, but I definitely love playing around with light and shadows. I like dramatic lighting a lot.
Can you share with us some recent images?
And what's the story behind it?
The series of 3 photographs were taken during a shoot for then-new pieces of "wearable art" by Leeroy New. This particular photo shoot has been one of my favorites because Leeroy was there to art direct. He had a really clear vision of how he wanted the photos to look but at the same time he still gave me enough room to be creative with how to light the subjects.
Who or what influenced you to become a photographer?
I have a somewhat short attention span and I easily forget things, I like capturing moments and making them last forever!
How did you become a photographer? And When did your career start as a professional photographer?
I don't really consider myself as a professional photographer. I can't support myself with just my photography alone and I have miles to go yet! But I have been apprenticing under someone for more than a year now. It's been a great experience so far, and I get to learn a lot of things I can't get from books.
How did you go about selling your first photograph?
I haven't sold one yet. I'm not sure that I want to either! Unless or course it is for a crazy amount that I can't begin to imagine someone would pay for a photograph.
What makes a good photographer in your opinion?
Consistency! Someone who can easily adjust to the situation and can make decisions on the fly.
Do You Have A Favorite Walk Around Lens...If So What Is It?
My 35mm prime! I love it!
Which one item of equipment would you say is the most important to you?
Apart from my camera, extra memory cards!
What is the most rewarding part of photography?
Shooting with film, developing it and seeing that there's actually a proper photo on a roll that I shot! In digital photography, if you make a mistake, there's instant feedback and you can adjust accordingly. But incorrect exposures on film sort of hurt.
What is your most embrassing experience as a photographer?
None, really. Probably just stumbling over a light stand. I hope nothing really embarassing ever happens to me.
How photography change your life?
I get to go to places I probably wouldn't go to, experience things I probably wouldn't have experienced and meet a lot of people and make new friends. It's also made me appreciate life more and look at things in a different and more positive way.
I know you been working with some of the famous and influencial people in the country but may I ask whom do you wish/dream to work with and Why?
I would have liked to have worked with Richard Avedon. He's one of my favorite photographers.
What tips can you give to someone aspiring to be a professional photographer?
KAYOD! There are no shortcuts to being a professional photographer. You can't just invest in the most expensive gear and expect to be famous the next day.
What are the best tools for a beginner to learn on (besides the camera)?
Books! Definitely books! And prime lenses.
What is your favourite recent image you have shot recently? Can you describe it’s creation in regards to location, lighting, composition, camera settings etc, also your thoughts when creating the image and what it means to you?
My recent favorite is of a model with "Faerie Dust" around her. I like it a lot because it's a pain to get the timing right when the dust is being thrown at the model while making it look good at the same time. It takes a lot of patience and repetition. It was shot at an open area with 600w studio strobes. ISO 100 for low noise, f/8.0 so that I have a wide depth of field and 1/125 sec so it's still slow enough to show a bit of motion blur.
What are the pros and cons of being a photographer? Please be specific.
Pros: You have the most awesome vacations photos.
Cons: None of them have you in it.
Haha! It's true!
I know you like traveling for shoot or even for chill-out, can tell me where is the best place to be to do some shoot? and why there?
I like travelling to places I haven't been to before or to places I haven't gone to in quite some time. There's always a sense of wonder in a place you haven't been to. It makes me more curious and more observant.
What goal are you working towards within your photography and when will you know you have reached it?
As long as I still have a smile on my face when I get up in the morning, then I believe there's nothing more I can ask for. :)
What photographic organizations do you belong to?
YoPho! The Young Photographers Club of the Philippines!
Name a photographer you would like to take a portrait of?
If I could turn back time, Richard Avedon. But since that isn't posible, Annie Leibovitz.
If you weren't a photographer or a multimedia artist, what would you want to be? Why?
How do you see yourself 20 or 30 yrs from now?
Still taking photos. :)
What legacy you will leave on?
Heavy naman! Haha! I hope I'll inspire people to do more than just take a picture, but to create photographs.
Any final mesage? Its your time to shine..
Photography isn't about that f/1.2 lens you've wanted since forever or that camera body that was just released. Photography is art. Go out of your way to learn new things and share what you have learned. Challenge yourself constantly. Read books, flip through magazines, go to a museum. Study paintings by the masters, read comic books, watch the sun set and stay up til the sun rises.