By Erick Lirios
‘Photography now is my passion and always will be a part of me and what I do in my life.’- Vanessa Aborot
How is photography a creative exercise? It is when the photographer puts together in a shot the necessary elements to actualize what is in the passionate heart and the creative mind. It takes some effort to put different bits and pieces together, all different, to come up with a new finished work, something that is complete and original.
Vanessa Bacolod Aborot began her photography journey four years ago and was guided by both professionals and amateurs. Since then, she has become much more at home behind the lens. As with most photographers, her dabbling in writing with light began as a way to pass the time but this hobby soon became something she couldn’t live without.
Pooja (Vanessa Aborot)
Belle and Irina (Vanessa Aborot)
Dasha (Vanessa Aborot)
Greta (Vanessa Aborot)
Exclusively Denim (Vanessa Aborot)
Sammy (Vanessa Aborot)
Insa (Vanessa Aborot)
Green Greta (Vanessa Aborot)
Claudia (Vanessa Aborot)
Cléo (Vanessa Aborot)
Dasha (Vanessa Aborot)
Natalia and Yulia (Vanessa Aborot)
Van is fascinated with the beauty of the face and the human form and this drew her very strongly toward portrait and fashion photography. Looking at some of her shots, you immediately get a sense of being attracted to her subjects. You can see how the photographer was able to zoom into a particular aspect, isolate what is truly attractive, and put it on clear display.
She takes inspiration from other photographers when conceptualizing shots and peeks at Pinterest and Tumblr. She spends a good amount of time looking at other people’s works so that she can learn from them. That’s surely the way to go and one learns quite fast that way, trying to figure out how one does a shoot to get a certain effect.
Putting together a shoot can take around one to two weeks depending on the complexity and involves putting a team together—the model, the designer or stylist, and the makeup artist. The choice of model is important since that usually makes or breaks a shoot. Fortunately enough, it’s the modeling agencies that contact her or the models themselves. It will be up to her to conceptualize the shoot and work with what the client needs in a shoot.
Specializing in portraits and fashion, she realizes that she needs to look at a person’s natural expression to get a hint of what other emotions may be possible. She also looks at the eyes, skin tone, and other aspects of the fact while always trying to see how the model can be best made to handle the concept. Each model is different (as is each client) and determining the ability to handle a concept is a crucial skill of the photographer.
How does she make sure she can really do her job well and relate with the model?
“The photographer’s mood is very important and I make sure I am easy to get along with. I ensure that all people in a shoot are comfortable working with me. Sometimes you don’t know the people you’re working with. You have to make sure they enjoy the photoshoot and don’t just see it as work. You also have to always be aware of your surroundings to use that effectively in your shoot.”
Van utilizes natural light or strobes depending on the effect she wants and prefers to utilize color in her shots. With fashion shots, that’s almost a no-brainer. “Viewers can see the makeup and the color of the clothes. You can play around and change the model’s skin tone or leave it as it is.”
A typical shoot for her will last around an hour or two unless there are details that need to be adjusted or compensated for and the whole process of conceptualizing all the way to execution can take a week or two.
“For each photo I take, I rely on my creativity and the valuable people that contribute to the ideas. The whole process from start to finish truly excites me. As a photographer I have been able to meet different people and make new friends and get some extra income out of it. Plus I enjoy seeing how the models, the makeup artist, and especially the clients like how the photos turn out,” shares Van.
For her, the people involved in the complete creative process are part of the experience. “I believe in a complete collaboration of photographer, model, makeup artist, and stylist all guided by creativity to create the best images possible.”
As hinted earlier, she hasn’t been long into this and has actually worked in the usual corporate setting. How are things now? Have the past few years changed the way she sees her prospects?
“Photography now is my passion and always will be a part of me and what I do in my life. I still look for regular work (since having returned to the Philippines after living in Singapore for 13 years) but though I would love to do this full time, time will tell how things go,” she concludes.