Huawei Philippines Photography Workshop goes to Davao

The first Photography Workshop ever held by Huawei Philippines was only last year following the official launch of the highly successful P9 series. One of their first stops was in Davao City, and thankfully I was one of the invited local bloggers to be part of the event together with my fellow Davao Bloggers Society members.

That first workshop brought me a ton of basic photography skills either using a regular camera or a camera-centric smartphone like the P9 or P9 Plus back then. Although my photos posted here on the blog or on my social media sites were not that great yet, it still has improved a lot since that first workshop. And then when I heard that Huawei Philippines was also planning on having another workshop for this year since the new P10 and P10 Plus flagship smartphones have been released and are offering even more enhanced photography features and upgrades, I did not think twice to attend.

This year's workshop was titled "Behind Portrait Photography" and it was held at the White House Fusion Cuisine and Wine Lounge Davao at Camella Northpoint along J.P. Laurel Avenue.

The program was kicked off with an opening remarks from Huawei Philippines' Marketing Director Ms. Corinne Bacani where she talked about the amazing features of the new P10 and P10 Plus (unboxing and hands-on links) smartphones which now equipped with the same yet upgraded Leica co-engineered dual rear camera. Fortunately, I was already able to have my hands on these two devices a couple of months back, and even though I had a limited time with them, I can definitely say that P10 and P10 Plus are just two of the most feature-packed photography-focused smartphones that we can purchase right now. Needless to say, I agreed with everything Ms. Bacani shared with everyone at the event about the phones.

One of the most interesting features of the Huawei P10 and P10 Plus is the Portrait Mode. And this particular feature was the main talk of the workshop, hence Behind Portrait Photography. A Huawei photography workshop is not complete without inviting a real professional photographer to give a talk.

This time we had Mr. Larry Monserate Piojo, a street and travel photographer. He has also worked with Huawei for the "100 Untold Stories" campaign where he used a P10 unit to capture portraits of different people from different walks of life. A few of those photos he took were personally shared by him at this workshop. And those were not just snaps of people, they all had real stories behind them or at least basic background information about the subjects.

Larry Monserate Piojo
Larry shared some helpful tips and tricks in telling stories through portraits. All throughout his talk he shared five things to remember when going out on the street and taking photos or portraits of people you meet. I will try to enumerate them below and explain each according to how I remember them, and hopefully I remember them correctly. : )

1. Build Confidence, show people you interact with that you know what you are doing. That you already set up everything in your mind what you're going to do. This might include the type of shots you would like to take, what kind of characters you want to capture, what camera settings you are going to pick, and many others.

2. Build Trust, he said one of the best practices in this type of photography is that you gain trust from the people you want to work with. A couple of ways of doing this are by talking to them before you take the photos such as briefly introducing yourself, by asking permission and/or by asking them some not-so-personal questions that may help you build your story behind the photo.

3. Respect and Dignify, this applies to all. The example he gave for this part was when Larry took a portrait of a Badjao woman, I believe she was a beggar, in streets of Manila. He wanted to capture the woman's character which was perfect at that time of the day in the city, but at the same time wanted to make sure that the output was not degrading for her but rather dignifying and uplifting without complete losing the character he was aiming for, which was a Badjao woman in the city, or something to that effect.

4. Don't be Afraid, Get Closer, or don't be shy, show confidence and get real close to your subject as much as possible or as much as required to achieve your desired shot.

5. Be Honest, tell your subject why you are taking the photos, who you are, and what you do. For example when he was working on the 100 Untold Stories, he told people that he would like to take portraits of them for this project that he was doing in collaboration with Huawei and some other basic details about it. You may also say that you are just taking photos for your personal collection, you know, just be honest. Don't tell people that you are a professional photographer, that you work for this company or that brand, when it fact is not.

He even added to don't be afraid or get discouraged by being turned down when you ask people to take photos of them, that's part of the experience. But if you ask nicely, most of the time they will say yes. Larry also shared that it is best if you show the photos you just captured to your subject, let them see it and don't just walk away right after shooting. Say "thank you" everytime, if you can. If you could also return to the same place and meet the same people, do it and try even giving them printed copies of their photos, this would be a lot more awesome. The smiles you will see on their faces will be rewarding. Don't forget to write your information in the small portion of the photos such as your name, website or contact details.

Those are just some of the things I remembered from this photography workshop, I may have missed some, but the overall talk by Larry Monserate Piojo was really encouraging especially to newbies in street photography or to those who just want to improve their skills in this category.

After the talk, I had to leave for work. But I was told that there was a photography contest for everybody using P10 units (which were lent to them) where everyone was asked to take portraits of people from within or outside the venue applying all the tips that Mr. Larry shared. The winner was awarded a Huawei P10 smartphone.
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