As prescribed by Paulina Constancia
From Holland we now go Down Under and meet Australian photographer Luisa Dingal Blanco and learn of her passion for telling love stories.
Name: Luisa Dingal Blanco
Name of Company: Luisa Dingal Blanco Photography
City/Country base: Sydney, Australia
DDoA: What was your first camera? Tell us the story behind it:
LDB: My first camera was a Canon 1000D and it came with a kit lens 18-55mm. This wasn’t a planned purchase. I just thought instead of wasting my money on shoes and clothing I would buy something to use as a hobby while vacationing overseas.
DDoA: Your camera now: Why this make/model?
LDB: Currently I shoot with 3 bodies.
2 x Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 20D (back up) body
Lenses I use on weddings and portraits: I only use the L series lenses
because they produce crisp and sharp images.
17-40mm f4 L
70-200mm f2.8 L USM II
50 mm f/1.2 L
100 mm Macro f2.8 IS USM
35 mm f1.4 L
DDoA: What would you recommend as a starter camera for somebody who wants to pursue photography as a hobby? as a profession?
LDB: Based on my experience, it is always best to invest more on the lenses than the body. But if money is no object, I would recommend the full frame sensors body and faster lenses which is mainly the L series lenses.
PHOTOGRAPHY: Passion & Profession
DDoA: What made you pursue a career in photography? Who/what inspired you to go into photography?
LDB: Photography came into my life at a later age. I bought my very first DSLR camera while overseas visiting my hometown of Cebu City in 2011. Although I took photography in high school, I never thought that I would make this as a career, but I’m glad I did. I bought a DSLR at first as a hobby. However, as I started taking photos of families and friends, I started enjoying it. Friends of friends started asking how much I would charge. That was when I knew I was doing something right.
DDoA: What was your profession before photography?
LDB: I was in the Medical field for many years. I used to work in a Pathology Firm as an educator.
DDoA: Was there a defining moment or a photo you took that made you realise that taking photos is what you want to do for the rest of your life?’
LDB: When I started photography I started it as a hobby. I started photographing landscapes with my entry level camera and the kit lens. But I needed more interaction with the subjects so I started asking friends to model for me. I did mostly family portraits and lifestyle sessions to build my portfolio. I fell in love with it, and knew that from then on I wanted to photograph people. A few months later, friends of friends would ask me how much I would charge for family sessions. I said to myself that I must be doing something right. One day, there was this couple that asked me to photograph their wedding, they knew that I had NO experience with weddings but they hired me anyway. That was my very first wedding job and the images I took ended up getting published nationally on a bridal magazine called Affordable Weddings in July 2013. I knew then that weddings was my niche.
DDoA: Do you have a favourite subject? What was your most unforgettable photo shoot/session?
LDB: Weddings are always my favourite session and let me tell you the reason why I specialize in it. It is a great honour to be part of my clients’ journey in life as a couple. The pretty dresses, gorgeous shoes, family, the party (an exciting moment for everyone), and of course, to me it’s always about the love story. I am such a hopeless romantic and I love documenting people’s love for each other.
DDoA: What is your definition of a good picture?
LDB: Composition plays a big part of every image but in my work it is all about the emotions. Because I shoot mostly documentary, organic and unposed style, emotions are the key to a great image. But to be able to attain that, your chemistry with the couple is important. That is why in every wedding consultation I always make sure I establish rapport with the couple because I believe this is the main key to taking great images.
DDoA: What are some of the advantages & disadvantages of photography as a profession?
LDB: Advantages: connecting with people and giving them images that can be passed on to future generations. Photography gives me the ability to travel, express myself, be my own boss and the captain of my ship. Disadvantages: I would say you are a one man band. You do everything. A lot of people think that all we do is taking photos when in fact it is only 12% of what we actually do. We do the marketing, post production, clients calls, advertising, social media updates, book keeping, wed design, web updates etc. I have to admit since I have been very busy lately, I have outsourced some of these tasks like the web updates and social media updates.
DDoA: What tips can you give to enthusiasts on taking photos of wedding photos?
LDB: Before taking a wedding assignment as a primary photographer you will need experience, and a lot of it. Remember that there is no do over in weddings and you are about to document the most important day in your clients’ journey as a couple. You cannot afford to miss important parts of the wedding such as the first kiss, cake cutting, exchange of rings etc. Second shooting is also the best way to build your portfolio as a wedding photographer. You can learn a lot from the primary photographer on what to expect in a wedding shoot. I do not recommend going solo if you haven’t second shot for a wedding as weddings are stressful. The timeline is unforgiving and you have to be a jack of all trades to take on this job. When I shoot weddings I have a lot in my bag that does not pertain to photography. I bring my sewing kit (in case the bride’s dress gets caught and torn), tissues, masking tape, hairspray. Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Of course my bride clients don’t expect me to do these things for them but I always go the extra mile for my clients, that’s a trademark of my practice. DDoA: How do you think photographers can influence the way people perceive the world?
LDB: Photographers have many ways of influencing the way people perceive the world. In my career as a wedding and family photographer, I work in a photo- journalistic style in which I document moments in the course of a day – 90% unposed. Capturing emotions in photography is one of the many ways we can influence people. When Super Typhoon Haiyan hit my homeland, the Philippines, there was an image that I saw circulated on my facebook feed. It was an image of a little boy with no shirt and his drenched pants barely clinging to his skinny body, pushing his homemade wooden push cart which carried all his personal belongings- which was not many. I could tell that the image was not manipulated by any means except for enhanced exposure. My heart dropped and I could not control my tears which were pouring down my cheeks. Mind you I was in Sydney, a thousand miles away from my hometown. I immediately rang my friends to see how they were and what I could do? That image alone made me want to help in any way possible despite being so far away. This is proof of how one image can be powerful enough to motivate people to action. DDoA: Do you think photographers are able to motivate people to make positive change in the world.
LDB: Absolutely. In my opinion, Documentary Photography is one of the best kinds of photography that influences people in a positive way. Like the photograph I talked about earlier, it prompted me to help voluntarily and with no hesitation. It made me ponder on the following: where are the parents of this child? Are they still alive or have they died? If they have died, where would this child go? What will he eat? How will he cope with his trauma? What if this was my son? The image made me reflect on my own life and empathise with this child and the rest of my fellow countrymen affected by the typhoon. Photography can indeed influence people to make positive change in the world. If used correctly, we photographers can make history. However, Documentary Photography is a genre I dare not pursue. It is a lot of work and commitment. I have so much respect for photojournalists, they are the world’s storytellers.
Publications: (all in Sydney, Australia)
Affordable Wedding Magazine July 2013, Wedding Guide Feb 2014, Express Advocate-Lifestyle Section Dec 2012 and Oct 2013
Listed by One Flare as one of the Top 10 photographers in Central Coast Gosford NSW for 2013 and 2014, as rated and voted by customers
See more of Luisa’s images: http://www.dingalblanco.com.au
Find her on Facebook: luisadingalblancophotographyandfilm
Contact Luisa: firstname.lastname@example.org
So do... as Luisa does – make a connection with your subject and communicate their story in images that can be passed on to future generations.