Of Sinulog and Ms. Sara Black

Albert Pedrosa

Photo mania

LAST Sunday’s Sinulog was a blast. The weather was perfect.

I arrived at P. Del Rosario at around 6:30 in the morning with my bag packed with photographer’s stuff and of course rain gear. Everybody was expecting it to rain. But it did not. Instead, a warm morning light gazed upon the contingents as they prepare themselves for a day of street dancing. The entire day was well lit although it drizzled sometime in the afternoon, but it was just enough to cool down the heat. For the side street vendors, it was good business while in the photographer’s mind, it was low ISO.

As I walked along the route, I immediately took some snaps just to wake up my photographic senses and also to check my setting if they were set correctly. There were already a hand-full of photographers at that time. It was easy to spot one because of the red jersey that the organizers provided. Minutes later, there were photographers everywhere. We were like having our own mardi gras in the middle of the street. Many familiar faces were there and the first one I bumped into was grand prize winner, Alex Badayos with his famous aluminum ladder.

I’ve also passed by photographers from different photography clubs along the route.

Icky Salazar of Focal 7, Kenneth Sy of Images Camera Club, Paul Gotiong of Cebu Digital Photographer, Ben Shan of Photography Club of Cebu, Jon Ouano of f22 and students of GRP under f/GRP club were all there to capture the spectacle and the brilliant colors of Sinulog 2012. There is no doubt that this event is the grandest of all photo contest in Cebu, if not the entire nation.

Sara Black

Just before the grand parade, Friday January 13, Canon together with their brand ambassadors Sara Black, Jason Magbanua and our very own, Tony Despojo gave a short talk about photography particularly portrait, videography and photo journalism.

Canon’s Photo Skwela was created to extend support to photographers after they buy their cameras. Through their brand ambassadors, Canon offers free photography clinic to promote a better knowledge about photography and it’s different genre.

After the event, I was fortunate enough to have a short interview with Ms. Sara Black.

Before I could start asking my questions, she asked me to give her an honest assessment of her presentation. A celebrity photographer with all her accomplishments is asking how she did was very much impressive for me. Not a lot of people are open to learn and accept critics from someone else’s point of view.

Not very long in our interview, I learned how a “mahinhin” coupled with a charming

personality, was able to reach a respectable name in portrait and fashion photography industry in the Philippines. She has the wits and the inner strength to accomplish her


Sara earned her degree in “Communications Art” at Ateneo de Manila University. Her first job was studio assistant in a photography studio. She also modeled on the sides while working as an assistant. She later then opened her own studio and challenged the male dominated industry.

Since then, Sara has photographed countless high profile celebrities and models. She is also shooting for Cosmo, Mega, Philippine Tatler and the rest of the popular magazines. Last year, she was offered by Canon to be part of their prestigious brand ambassadors which she greatly accepted.

Here are the excerpts of my interview with Ms Sara Black:

Albert: Did you envision yourself to be a photographer?

Sara: No, I did not. In fact I didn’t really know what to do during my college days

Albert: Where did you learn photography?

Sara: I took up a photography subject as an elective during college.

Albert: I heard that you modeled on the side and chose to be a photographer later on.

Sara: I did. I wanted to become a photographer even before I modeled. Since I wanted to have my own studio, I modeled to generate enough money to put up my own business.

I could have borrowed money from my parents but opted to do it on my own.

Albert: How was it like during the first year of your studio?

Sara: It was difficult. There were many times when I didn’t know if the studio will even last. I did all the work. It was pure hard work and love of what you’re doing that kept me going. In my first first few years, I was either in front of my computer or behind the camera. You couldn’t see me anywhere else.

Albert: Do you edit your own photos?

Sara: As much as I can, otherwise I forward it to retouchers. I like retouching it myself if I have the time because editing is part of your style in photography.

Albert: Why Canon?

Sara: I have to admit, I’m a shifter. I didn’t use Canon before. There was a time when I was working with a fellow photographer when I experience using Canon for the first time. After that it was all Canon for me. I just like the tones of Canon.

Albert: Are you a fan of prime lens?

Sara: I wish I could shoot everything using prime but there are just projects that has to be shot with a tele lens.

Albert: How do you deal with Celebs when shooting them?

Sara: You have to be professional when dealing with them. You cannot just act as if they are one of your close friends. You have to put a line and maintain professionalism. Although there are times when you have to lighten up the mood especially if the model is still not used to photo sessions.

It was a great experience and inspiration to me having to chat with a self made and very successful photographer Ms. Sara Black. I would like to personally thank Joevi Luspo of Canon Cebu for granting me an interview with Sara.

Good luck to all photographers who submitted their entries to Sinulog Photo Contest 2012.

Keep on shooting everyone. If you’d like me to talk about certain topics, you may email me at photography@grp.ph


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