We love engaging with extraordinary artists who channel passion and energy to their body work. Moreover, we love listening to their back story. We sit down with one of our favorite lifestyle photographers , Louie Arcilla, to learn more about his craft, tools and style.
What subjects inspire you the most?
I've definitely grown to love photographing people for weddings and lifestyle portraits, but my favorite subjects of all time are landscapes and seascapes, and the little things you get to observe while traveling--local culture, strangers and their habits, unique architecture, the colors and textures you find in markets and on the streets.
Being a part of someone else’s “Legacy”…
I got into photography because of curiosity (I got curious about finally owning a DSLR 6 years ago), and it's what drives me to this day. I'm curious about how things look from different angles, curious about how people are really like, curious about what beautiful scenery is just up ahead if I continue walking a bit more, curious about what I can shoot better, so I just keep shooting and trying out different things to shoot. I also love the perks that go with photography--not so much the "likes" and "follows" one gets on social media, nor being able to brag about the latest gear or having a "cool" job, but being able to explore new places, meet new people, work with talented individuals, and in some cases, be part of someone else's "legacy" by capturing their wedding and family photos. Such a great feeling!
What are some of your challenging photo shoots?
My first shoot with Maggie Wilson, because I was photographing Maggie Wilson! A sunrise shoot in Keelung, Taiwan in 2013 with a group of local landscape photographers I met online, because at 4am, we drove from one spot to another, got out of the car, trekked a bit up and down hills and forests in the dark, in search for good spots to shoot at. I did not know where we were going, and only one of them knew English. Then when we were shooting, they were all using a technique called the black card technique to take sunrise shots, which I wasn't aware of at that time, and I was just trying to play it cool and "trying" to copy what they were doing. Pa-simple! haha!
Portrait sessions with 2-3 year-olds, because they can just be all over the place! You not only have to be a good photographer, but you also have to be a playmate, a guardian, a clown, a yaya, and one that's physically fit and patient at that!
What was your career path? How did you get from being an aspiring photographer to actually doing it full time, for a living?
I never intended to be a professional photographer. Being one was never part of my "What I'd like to be when I grow up" list. In fact, I only first held a DSLR 2 years out of college. Back then, I was doing corporate events as well as managing a band. When I got my first camera, a 2nd hand Canon 400D, I got hooked instantly. I'd stay up all night reading how-to's on the internet, and when I'd finally go to sleep, I'd have my camera beside me on the bed! I started out like most newbies do--bringing my camera wherever I went and taking photos of all sorts of things. I'd bring it to family gatherings, when going to the mall, to dates with my then-girlfriend and now-wife. When I'd travel for leisure or for work I'd bring my camera with me, until on work trips, I started staying a day or 2 more just so I can explore new places with my camera.
I eventually wanted to get better and so I started a 52-week project, which required me to shoot every week and compile 52 favorite shots over the course of a year. It was while doing that 52-week project that I believe I started getting better skills-wise as well as attitude-wise--being more persistent, patiently setting up or waiting for the right shot, being more disciplined and working through snags, getting out of my comfort zone and pushing myself to become better. I did my first photo exhibit featuring my 52-week project photos in front of family and friends, and upon seeing my collection of travel shots, landscapes, street photos, portraits, and even still life shots of items around the house, I realized I can do more with my new-found passion, and that's when the thought of doing weddings popped into my head.
Luckily, I had friends who previously had a photography business, and we got to talking about getting into weddings. We started by just doing a couple of weddings for free, or by being backup teams, until we gained enough experience to market ourselves. Eventually we got more and more gigs, and 3 years after our first paid gig, I think we're doing more than okay. 🙂
Now a full-time photographer, aside from weddings, I've also gone into family, baby, and maternity portraiture professionally. I'm also trying my hand in fashion and sports photography. 🙂
Keeping it light and simple…
...I use a Canon 6D. My favorite lenses are the Canon 50mm f/1.4, the Sigma 35mm f/1.4, and the Canon 85mm f1/.8, whether I'm shooting weddings, exploring a new place, or covering a UAAP game. For landscapes, it's got to be my Canon 6D, a 17-40mm f/4, my Benro tripod, and some ND filters since I like doing long exposure shots. I use just Adobe Lightroom to catalog and process my images.
See Louie's Portfolio
Check out Louie’s work with us: