Photography Workshop with Magic Liwanag

January 28, 2019

Being a concert photographer has always been one of the things that I wanted to do, and I am actually lucky enough to have fulfilled that in my own way through the concerts that I was able to attend to. In any field that you are passionate about, for sure you have someone you look up to like a mentor. For me in this field, one of them is seasoned lifestyle photographer Magic Liwanag.

If you follow sites of local concert promoters, you will see this familiar name on the captions of those awesome concert photos. I've been following his social media accounts for years now (alongside Kris Rocha of course!) and I have always loved his creations. Of course if you heard your idol would be holding a photography workshop for free, you would come right? 😁 So when I saw the Facebook post about his talk, I freed up my schedule to be able to attend.

Magic Liwanag doing his workshop for Henry's Professional
Holiday Gift Guide Festival 2018 at Glorietta 2 Activiy Center (December 2018)
It was my first time to see him in person, even hear him talk actually. It has always been in a picture online that I saw him. Because I was such a fangirl, I shamelessly walked straight to the front row when I arrived at the venue. Good thing I went there several minutes ahead of time. The line queued for registration for Magic's talk was long! The chairs prepared were not enough to accommodate us all, several of the attendees just sat on the floor during his talk.

I must say I am happy I finally saw Magic in person. He seems to have a bubbly and light personality. His talk was not boring at all and I can just sense his pride and passion with his craft. Most of the things he said I already heard from Kris Rocha's music photography workshop, but Magic's talk extended to lifestyle events photography this time. The foundations are all the same - come prepared, research about your client, research about their branding - those kinds of stuff. He didn't actually focus much on the technicals of photography (because I guess we can learn it by ourselves anyway), but instead spent much of his talk discussing about the soft skills photographers have to possess to be successful in the industry. What's the use of having the best gear and technique when you are an a**hole? (Magic didn't say this by the way... this is from me, don't quote him on this 😂).

Throughout his talk, he was flashing beautiful photos he took from different events. Of course my heart will always be with concert photography, and I couldn't help but to be at awe at how fantastic his photos turn out.

Magic showing us a photo from Katy Perry's concert
I wasn't able to ask my question during the Q&A session (even though I have raised my hands a hundred times 😅). He said we could DM him after the event, of which I did.

My question: What's your essential gear set during concerts?
His answer: I usually bring 2 cameras: one with wide lens, and one with telephoto lens

I know he's such a busy person but I'm so happy he took time to reply. With just this brief encounter, my respect for him has quadrupled. He's an ambassador of Fujifilm cameras and on that day, I got slightly tempted to consider buying one. But oh well I already have my Lumix. It's incomparable to DSLRs and mirrorless cameras out there, but for me it makes the job done. As a casual concert photographer, my number one dilemma is not having a media pass during concerts (although I've been given for some concerts I've been to), so a powerful point-and-shoot super zoom camera is what's perfect for me. It's a 2-in-1 camera I guess: I could capture the crowd as a whole because I usually am located far from the stage (wide lens) and I could also zoom in 30x if I wanted to have a nice close-up shot of the artist (telephoto lens). I guess I was doing it right all along. 😂

Hey Magic, thanks for the inspiration. With you sharing your photography journey, I learned that to become successful (in any field I guess), you don't just need to have the skills, but also the passion, and the right attitude. 😎📷💓

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