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Choosing the Right Genre

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Text and photos by Albert Pedrosa

Recently, I conducted a fashion photography workshop for Philippine Center for Creative Imaging (PCCI). We got a good number of students and most of them are part of the diploma course where they are expected to attend many different discipline of photography. One of the most discussed topics was after attending all the courses, what genre of photography are you going to practice?

This is a common question you ask yourself when you’re just starting up in photography. In my many years of teaching photography, I get a lot of different reasons why students want to do photography. There are those who just thought about doing something new while others throw the reason that they have a camera in the house and nobody is using it.

    For the majority, they’ll tell you that it has been their life’s dream to become a photographer. One thing’s for sure, learning photography this time around is much easier than before. Choosing from the many genre though is still as hard as before. Sometimes, after trying out different genre in photography, you still cannot choose and seems like a part of your heart is connected to all the other genre you are shooting.

    I was exposed in photo journalism during my college years and spent some time shooting products when I was a graphic designer back then. When I started teaching basic photography, many of my students wanted to learn studio photography so I enrolled in a lighting class and without realizing it, I was introduced to a photographic genre that would change my life.

    Steve Jobs said that as with all matters of the heart, you’ll know it when you find it. Fashion photography has awaken another side of me. Seven years ago, I felt it and it’s still burning inside me until now. I do take landscape and other type of photos but not to the point that I have to go out of my way.

    In the longest time that I’m teaching photography, I have classified two types of photographer. One is the type who “captures the moment” while the other one “creates the moment.” You can be both but one type will always be dominant.

    The “capture the moment type” can perform better shooting scenes and moment as they happen. He is quick and fast to compose a shot while adjusting the exposure settings all at the same time. He is  good in photojournalism, street photography, events and weddings, sports, and more.

    The “creating the moment type” imagines it and will try to achieve the shot by creating it instead of waiting for it. He is a perfectionist and plans everything to the last details. He is the type who would enjoy shooting fashion, commercial, food, portraits, and the like.

    One of the greatest obstacles a photographer can face is not actually the difficulty of the genre but rejections. It will break you and creates a doubt about your capabilities. The doubt will linger and the only way for you to move on is to do better next time. Photography is a subjective art and no matter what you do, you deserve to have your  own interpretation of this art.

    Keep on shooting everyone!

    Albert Pedrosa is a Cebu-based commercial photographer who also teaches photography. He loves shooting beauty and fashion.

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