Our featured Focus member is a visual artist in a variety of levels . He was a talented sketch and paint artist when he was young, shifted to digital with computer graphics in college, eventually studied and mastered Adobe After Effects, took up photography, and now venturing into videography. He is a full-time After Effects artist and one of the best in the world at that, counting international companies such as Fox, Discovery Channel, ABC News, Australia Travel TV, as some of his media clients. His After Effects templates are also top-sellers in online marketplaces like Envato, not to mention creating logos and branding materials for local media practitioners.
A native of Guiguinto, Bulacan now based in San Fernando, Pampanga, he was also awarded as Newcomer Of The Year in Focus Bulacan's 2015 competition. It's high time to put the spotlight on one of the most talented Focus members. Manuel Joson, Jr. is our featured photographer of the month. Read our short Q & A for more of his story.
Q : You’ve been an artist since you were young, but how did photography find its way into your interests?
M : I’ve shown my innate skills in drawing and painting since I was four years old. I was fascinated with beautiful photos and anything that involves arts. My passion in arts evolved to computer graphics when I took up Information Technology in college. Since then, I enjoyed doing motion graphics. Producing After Effects templates requires great photos to make customers see the beauty of the motions created. I saw the need of having my own stocks of photos, that's why I started venturing into photography.
Q : You are one of the top After Effects artists in the world, is there a different perspective to photography in being an AE creator compared to a straight-up photographer?
M : First, I would like to thank those who believe that I am one of the Top AE artists in the world, haha. Since AE templates are my specialties, I always need to have fresh ideas to meet the market trends. AE templates can be created in your workstation without the need to go on travels but are quite complicated, while photography needs more investment in traveling and gear to capture unique photos. The difference is more about the approach in getting materials.
Q : If you're making that amount of money and being contracted by companies in different countries, that means you're world-class, right? Hahaha.
M : I'll humbly say I am because most of the companies I've worked with are very strict when it comes to design quality and creativity. And my template marketplaces like Envato also have a very extensive review before templates get approved for sale. So maybe I'm world-class. Hehe.
Q : How does photography relate to your main line of work?
M : I always need great images to show the beauty of my created AE templates. Sometimes I go out to shoot to have new photos sampled in my templates.
Q : And now you’re starting to get more involved in videography, as well. What’s the most challenging aspect you have encountered so far?
M : I also need great videos for the preview of my AE templates so I also started engaging in videography. I saw how motion graphics gives life to videos. My partnership with Jason Magbanua on some of his projects made me decide to go deeper into videography. But since the trend nowadays is more on wedding events, experience is really a must. I don't have much experience or gear so it's really hard to get established, but with God's grace I'm gradually investing on equipment.
Q: Tell us about your first camera and first shooting experience.
M : My first DSLR was a Canon 500D and it’s still alive and working. I remember shooting my son with that camera for a whole day practicing the manual set-up and there was no good photo at all, hahaha.
Q: What’s your favorite photo, the one you’re most proud of?
M : My favorite photo is a startrail taken in Batanes during me and my wife's 7th wedding anniversary, February 12, 2015. It was my second startrail attempt. For me it wasn’t an easy shot because I took it for almost two hours with over 200 shots. I was very happy with the results after processing.
Q : What’s your favorite genre, and what other genre would you still like to try?
M : Landscape and timelapse photography for me, and someday I'd like to try light painting, infrared, and fashion photography.
Q : Do you have frustrations in photography, or challenges that you still have to overcome?
M : For now, I just enjoy it every time I shoot. The only challenge now is how to process all of my shots. Maybe I’m quite lazy in processing or I’m just too busy in creating AE templates.
Q : What has photography taught you in terms of being an artist?
M : I’ve learned how to give more quality to the projects that I do.
Q : What would your dream shoot be like?
M : My dream is to shoot celebrity couples or be engaged in film production.
Q : If you could define your photographic style, what is it?
M : I am more fascinated in landscape photography, so I think my style would be showcasing beautiful places.
Q : Your wife is supportive of your passion, but just the same, how do you ask permission for your travels and shoots?
M : I always ask permission ahead of time to make sure that everything is in order as it might conflict with other family schedules. But the funny thing is my wife always has time to join me in most of my travels. Hahaha.
Q : Any tips for those that are just starting out in photography?
M : It doesn’t matter if you don’t own a high-end camera, just take what you have, go out and fire. I mean shoot, shoot, shoot if you have time to improve. Another thing is to visit the portfolio of some professional photographers so your eyes will be trained with quality photos. Personally, I spend some of my free time exploring the work of professional and amateur photographers for ideas and inspiration.
Q : How about a message for Focus followers and fellow photographers?
M : Thank you so much for welcoming me in your prestigious group. Keep believing that you can do better each day. Keep shooting. God bless us all!
Click thumbnails to view more of Manuel's favorite photos
Visit Manuel's website to see his After Effects masterpieces and more of his photos
(we guarantee its awesomeness) : http://graphikofx.com/
Every month, we have a feature on our members, our photography idols, and other photography issues we feel deserve a heads-up.