It seems like there is a whole new reality when you are looking at the world through a lens. Photographers are masters of playing with the light, the environment, and a subject to show people how can beauty can be interpreted in different ways.
In beauty and fashion photography, this ability to show the many faces of beauty works like an imperative. A model is more than just the garment, the hairdo, or the style that they are trying to sell. Each article of clothing or haircut or colour is a story that is waiting to be told — and it is the photographer’s job to unearth that story and relay it to millions of people.
Photographer Benedict Titan Salvacion is one such photographer. As a beauty and fashion photographer, he values a good working attitude and expects it, too, from his models. And it is this commendable work ethic that has allowed him to produce world-class work, one photo at a time.
Right now, however, we will be directing the lens towards him. Now that the spotlight is on him, we can dig deeper into his world and learn more about what being a photographer in the world’s biggest industry entails.
Your beauty and fashion photography is outstanding, what is that draws you to this type of photography?
For my works to be described by others as ‘outstanding; truly humbles me. It is a very generous word to use but I’ll take it anytime of the day. But truly I can;t have done it alone without the help of everyone in the team.
I really love people in every possible way. Ever since, I’ve always been intrigued with how culture plays a big role in expressing our different views on how we see things. That’s why I mostly end up talking to people who live in the streets to learn from them and somehow get a glimpse on how they see the world in their perspective. Hence this is where all the battle in life begins and ends.
I guess only in the genre of fashion is where I found my tools to be more free in expressing the stories of the people I interact with, to present and tell their failures and triumphs and seal it timelessly in every photo I take. In beauty and in fashion, there is an opportunity to get away from the prying eyes of critics, there isn’t much rules to follow so we can pretty much get away with anything. Which is good enough because I am bad with rules.
Beauty and fashion has given me solace and has allowed my visions to exist without boundaries in showing the different faces of life.
What are some of the main differences between fashion and shooting beauty: in preproduction, production and post-production?
There aren’t really many differences between the two genres of photography when it comes to pre-production and production as far as my shooting attitude goes. You can’t treat one less than the other for it, both requires everyone’s full focus for it to work. You don’t want your creations to end up just like any another set of photos you see on the net or magazines. I guess the goal is to let everyone who would see your work to stop for awhile and linger on it, to digest what they have just seen, and connect it to something in them. Only then can I say that we have produced a successful photo!
However, when it comes to post-production there is a big difference between the two. Although you always give both the same level of skill set, I think everyone would agree that beauty eats more time in post-production and a little bit more of skills than fashion.
I guess in fashion it is more of the creation of the designers that every photographer should emphasize, for it is the hero of the shoot; while with beauty it is more of the skill set of the make up artist that you have to highlight. But I am a firm believer that both genres work hand in hand. But really it is a case to case basis, there are some designers like International Designer Master Rocky Gathercole’s calibre, he always wants everything to be perfect from the model to his creation which makes it more challenging all the time.
What do you look for in a model when you are casting for beauty shoot?
Contrary to the popular belief that only those with perfect facial structures and the golden ratio are the ones who always get to end up in every photographer’s’ photos, it is not always the case, at least for me. ATTITUDE in front of the camera outweighs beautiful faces all the time. Projection and the ability to show emotions outweigh everything. But of course if you can have both worlds then you are in Utopia all the way. One of the models I lose interest in though, are those who give the same look over and over again, and hardly notices it at all. They are the ones I call stuck up models. I always try to avoid them although I have nothing against them but it just not in me to be enthusiastic about it.
How important is your working relationship with your make-up artist when shooting beauty?
Good working relationship means not being picky, it is imperative to have a strong connection with everyone on the set. Everyone plays a role in creating good photographs and there is no small part in the production, it will always be a collective effort. Although, you have to be open-minded all the time with the make-up artists you are working with because they might see something you failed to see that will make the photo/s look more interesting. Always remember that everyone’s goal in the set is to produce a high quality and beautiful creation so you have to have a good and strong relationship, and trust to everyone.
Lastly, I always love to work with people who share my vision, that is what I call heaven!
Do you recommend photographers to find make-up artists at a similar skill set level to collaborate with you when you are first starting out?
I am a strong proponent that everyone deserves a chance in improving their skills and talents. I have already worked with big names in the make-up industry both locally and internationally and it does really make a difference. But like anything else, everyone will experience good days and bad days. So never discount anyone’s ability all the time. For all you know a new kid on the block (both photographers and makeup artists) might give you the million dollar shot you have been waiting for. It boils down on how both of you would work on it, and the level of confidence you have with one another will truly show in the output. But always go for the people (both for the photographers and make-up artists) that will push you to your limits and take you out of the box and help you discover a new set of skills which you thought you never had.
What do you consider your biggest challenge to date in your journey as a photographer?
One of the biggest challenges anyone could have in this industry is to land a spot and be noticed as you share your vision with everyone. With all those big names and good photographers out there, it truly is a dog eat dog world. But everyone has to start somewhere, for others to believe in you one must believe in him/herself first. But there is no bigger challenge, like any artist would say if I ever could claim to be one, than getting a consistent avenue of income. It does take some time to get revenue flowing, so you just have to be patient and learn how to sacrifice things until the tides turn in your favor. Guess Bound for Style can give a brother some love and hook me up for commercial projects? 🙂
What made you consider to joining Bound for Style?
I already met CEO Peter Bujis, together with Gemree Mangilit who is acting as his Marketing Manager and all around troubleshooting dude prior to joining Bound for Style. They were very welcoming and generous in sharing their visions for Bound for Style. I got so excited when I heard their stories and views. Right then, I believed that through their platform, I can widen my audience both locally and internationally while they market some of my works. Their drive to make it work for all those who joins them and shares their passion is contagious. I have seen and signed up on their user friendly website and saw different photographers around the world with high calibre artistry being marketed by Bound for Style. I felt proud to be one of the photographers to be invited to share my works on their site, being side by side with those top notched photographers. I told myself I must be doing something good to be invited by the man himself. Bound for Style is very promising in many levels and shares many of our visions as photographers. On top of that, only quality photos make it to their platform, which makes it more of an exclusive site. Who wouldn’t be proud to be part of their team, the only way for them is up!
What benefits do you think Bound for Style provides beauty photographers out there?
Oops I might have over answered the previous question. Like what I said, they have a worldwide audience and continuously growing with their hardwork and efforts, plus they have a passion to succeed. They just started forming as a team, but considering the amount of their audience and traffic to their site, it is truly impressive! Photographers will have the means to introduce their works globally while Bound for Style markets them through their Facebook page, IG, and so on…
What are you working on right now? What is your ultimate dream concept in photography?
I am working on the cover of an international magazine, Maganda Magazine, for their October and November issue, and editorial stuff for a local based magazine in the Philippines. My ultimate dream concept is a movie-like set where everything is created from the ground up. Wearing high-end creations of Master Rocky Gathercole, Resty Lagare, Furnone Amato, Michael Cinco, and the likes of Elinchrom Philippines lighting it. With the crème de la crème in the industry of make-up and set designs, and top it with high end models, that will give justice to everything! I have yet to see it, so maybe this can be a collaboration with Bound for Style? 🙂
Is there any advice you would share with aspiring hair and beauty photographers?
Real talk? There are no secrets and shortcuts to this field. You will sweat with blood and it will test your patience even you have nothing left. Inch by inch you will fight for your place but that’s the beauty and bad side of it, because depending on how you deal with the work, it will certainly bring out the worst and best in you. Hardwork is the key to everything, and prayers if ever you believe in it. Conceptualize shoots which are yet to be seen and then make it happen. Develop your own style in photography and people will appreciate the things you are working on. Continue to learn the craft even if think you have already saturated your understanding about it, try to understand that knowledge is endless! Develop your relationship with other people and all the people you worked with, because they are the same people who will connect you with the world. Do not ever belittle any people around you because there are no small nor big roles in every team! Lastly, always remember that you are only as good as your last photograph. It is imperative to always stay humble. Because like anything in this world everything will fade and all that will remain is how you lived your career and the true friendships you made!
How does it feel to be invited as one of the judges in Ireland’s Next Top Model this December?
When I heard the news, it felt like a dream at first then I felt excited and surprised at the same time. I asked the event manager, my friend from House of Maiya Ms. Capone, why me? She told me she believes that will I will go a long way with my photography career and that she wants to open the doors of opportunities for me! Those words humbled me for I know it’s not only my work she’s seeing but the collective efforts of everyone who I was privileged enough to work with. I know I am only a representative of our talented countrymen. Hopefully, I can bring pride to my country by being one of the judges amongst International personalities.
Building a good working relationship with everyone in the beauty and fashion industry that does not happen overnight. It takes showing that your talents and abilities to stamp your place in the most lucrative and fast-paced field. With Benedict Titan Salvacion, he was able to garner respect and create strong connections from the most talented models and artists because he learnt to be patient. He took his time learning the ropes and showing that he’s got the eye and the technical skills to produce photos that perfectly encapsulates beauty and the many ways it can be seen through the lens.