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Many of us learn along in life about this particular activity that we take interest in. We discover we are quite good at it and pursue to better ourselves in that interest. We self-study, read up and ask people who may have more experience in that certain field. LSC features in this article its official photographer Ms. Peachie Ciudadano, who happens to be also the official photographer of the Supreme Court of the Philippines. Her story is one which will be an inspiration to those who just loves what she does and eventually is now reaping the rewards of years of hard work fueled by passion.
1. It starts with an initial interest
I am just an ordinary and simple photographer. Ever since, I have always loved photography but did not take it seriously at the start. When there would be events in the office or among relatives, I would volunteer because I simply enjoyed taking pictures.
2. Then comes that Aha moment
It was until one day when I was walking along Roxas Blvd with my camera that I saw this very beautiful sunset and immediately fell in love with it. I tried to capture that moment with my camera. I was so amazed with how my shot turned out and found it looking like a pro has taken it. I exclaimed! Wow! I got a lucky shot.
3. Curiosity and self-study
From then on, I started searching the internet about photography. I really got curious that is why I continued learning about the craft. I learned a lot of things like ISO, shutter speed, aperture, etc. And whenever I wanted to learn about something, I would look it up in Google, Facebook, or You Tube and I would not stop until I end up more knowledgeable about the subject. I would also bring my camera with me and tinker on it and got to know how I could work with it everyday.
4. Practice makes perfect
Everyday, I would bring my camera along and whenever there is a good view, I will take a shot of it and I really enjoyed clicking on my shutter. I would go to Roxas Boulevard everyday since it is just a 5-minute-walk away from our office at the Supreme Court in Padre Faura. So that’s when I practiced taking shots of perfect sunsets.
5. Trying on different styles
My favorite has become landscape photography. Landscape photographs typically capture the presence of nature but can also focus on man-made features or disturbances of landscapes. It is such a wonderful feeling to see the beauty of nature especially that of the mountains and the seas. I would always be ready to shoot at anything that to me looked beautiful. But I wanted to grow and not stop learning. I am a believer in the adage that practice makes perfect. What also worked to my advantage was that I am fond of traveling and going out of town or out of the country with friends which presented me every now and then with new beautiful views.
“Life is like a landscape. You live in the midst of it but can describe it only from the vantage point of distance.” -Charles Lindbergh
I also tried street photography, which is photography for chance encounters and unmediated incidents in public places. Street photography is very broad and a little more challenging but it was always rewarding to see the different scenes of the reality of everyday life. I would look at and feature in my photos the facial expressions of people and their reactions to various stimulus. I try to look for the unique, creative angles that would show human emotions at various real-life situations.
“A good snapshot keeps a moment from running away.” -Eudora Welty
I also tried food photography. It was always exciting to hear the appreciation of those who look at my photos whenever they would say that the photographed food looks enticingly delicious. With food photography, you have to work on the presentation of the food. You need to know how to take shots at the best angle to show a very sumptuous meal.
“The whole point of taking pictures is so that you don’t have to explain things with words.”- Elliot Erwitt
I also tried portrait photography, which is the taking of shots of a person or group of people and tries to capture the personality of a subject by using effective lighting, backdrops, and poses.
“For me the subject of the picture is always more important than the picture”-Diane Arbus
6. Upgrading and leveling up
I realized I was taking the craft seriously when I started buying the gadgets. I upgraded to a DSLR camera. I attended celebrity-studded events and friends started noticing this talent that they started inviting me to their family events like weddings, baptism, reunions and birthdays. I didn’t actually imagine it would be an extra source of income for me and I am happy that a lot of clients are loving my works and even referring me to their other friends as well. I realized I have come a long way since I started as I am now trying to save up for my own small studio at home.
7. Networking and learning from the experts
I know there is a lot more to learn so I do not hesitate to ask the experts. I want to know more about this hobby so I continue to seek the help of those great photography friends whom I can learn different styles and techniques from. I joined big photography events like Andres Tamayo Sr, Golf Tournament at Wackwack Golf and Country Club, Mandaluyong in order to gain exposure and I try to network with the photography greats so I could learn from them.
8. Validating improvement by joining contests
I just realized one day that I am already joining photo contests and luckily winning awards every now and then. Here are some of the fruits of that hard labor.
One of the most treasured among my awards so far was CNN’s citation for my shot taken at Aroma Beach, Naic Cavite.
9. Lessons learned
The most beautiful life lesson I learned from photography is being patient with everything and to always enjoy what you love doing. Its really tiring sometimes but you get rewarded by seing the smile of satisfaction on your clients’ faces. The happiest moment for me is also meeting people from all walks of life and finding real friends in the process.
10. Advise to aspiring photographers
You should love your clients foremost and always give your best so they become comfortable working with you. For those who are just starting, don’t ever stop clicking. Learn to wait and think of how to better improve your craft. Continue to be an inspiration to those who are just starting with photography and don’t forget to enjoy every moment of it.
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you’ll find it.” -Steve Jobs
I would like to thank all my friends who supported me and mentors who taught me to be good at this craft. Special mention to my relatives and family who encouraged me and tolerated me when I was still starting.