The MISSBISH Photography Workshop | Jelito De Leon

Photographer: Jelito De Leon

Instagram: @jelitodeleon

Tell us about your style of photography. How did you develop this style and what do you enjoy shooting the most?
I don’t really know if I can say that I have a certain style yet, but a lot of people tell me that my photos lean to the minimalistic side. I guess I’ve been influenced by so many of the photographers I look up to since their style is very minimalist.

Photography is all about capturing that moment. What’s the secret?
Preparation, I guess, is the key. For me, I make sure that I know what I want to capture before heading out to shoot. I’d usually have a list of places or things I’d like to see and shoot. I sometimes even Google the place first just so I have an idea of what the place looks like and I can properly plan how to shoot it in a unique way. But some of my favorite photos that I’ve captured are from moments on my way to wherever I’m going. I just make sure my camera is always ready.

Where are you based? What makes home a good base for you?
I’m based in Manila, Philippines. My favorite thing about living in the Philippines is that I’m never really far away from the beach. I love going to the beach and just spending the whole day there. Manila can be very busy and sometimes it just wears you out. So it’s great to live a couple of hours away from the beach since I can easily go there to unwind and recharge.

Tell us about your gear, what camera do you use? What lenses do you prefer? Post-editing?
I usually shoot with a Sony a7ii with a 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master lens. I also use an 85mm f/1.4 G Master lens for portraits. For lazy days, I usually just bring my 35mm f/2.8 Zeiss & 55mm f/1.8 Zeiss lenses since they’re not as heavy as the first two lenses that I mentioned.

How did you get into photography? Tell us about your first experience.
It started back in high school when I first got my “digicam.” When me and my friends went out, I usually made sure to always have it with me so I could record memories and be able to look back on them in the future. I’ve never put my camera down ever since. I always had it on me when I went out and I loved taking photos of things that caught my attention. They weren’t really well composed photos but I enjoyed taking pictures a lot. Fast forward to college, I got my very first DSLR. I was taking up culinary arts then, but after spending quite a lot of time playing with my camera and learning how it works, I decided to switch majors and take up photography instead. I’m glad that I did because I learned so much not only from my professors but also my classmates.

Tell us the story behind one of the most memorable photos you’ve shot…
One of my most memorable photos would probably be my day at the beach with a few of my friends, We woke up to shoot the sunrise but unfortunately the weather wasn’t good and we didn’t get to see it. Then I noticed that the water was like a mirror in the way that it reflected, so I asked them if they could all stand together and pose however they wanted to. It was fun and at the same time the photo turned out so nice. I kinda wish I was also in the shot. Haha!

What is a constant source of inspiration for you as a photographer?
Inspiration really comes from everywhere for me. The sights I see, the people I meet, the things I eat, or even knowing about the history of something. What also keeps me inspired is seeing other people excel in what they do and hearing all about how they were able to do it. It might sound cliché but it reminds me that if you work hard and don't give up, you’ll get to where you want to be and achieve your goals.

"...don’t procrastinate. If you can shoot it now, do it."

Who has been a great influence or mentor to you and what did you learn from them that you still carry with you today?
I’m not sure if this counts but I was browsing through Vimeo a few years ago and came across this video documentary on photography. The photographer featured in the video was Andria Lindquist. I never really knew her before watching the video but what she said during the documentary really stuck with me. Here’s a very rough quotation of what she said during the end of the video:

“I want to have a name for myself for sure. I think it’s easy to be scared of that want for success because you don’t want people saying or thinking that you’re hungry for the name or something. That’s not it at all. But yeah, I think you should want to do well and you should want to succeed. I just don’t want to be mediocre. Hell no. Whatever I do, I want to do it the best.”

Can you give us three photography tips and explain each?
Tip 1: Don’t procrastinate.
I actually need to remind myself of this too because usually when I stay somewhere for a couple of nights, I tell myself that I can always do it tomorrow. And most of the time, I end up not being able to shoot at all. So don’t procrastinate. If you can shoot it now, do it.

Tip 2: Wake up early.
My friends and I always make sure to shoot the sunrise at least once at every place we go to. Most of my favorite photos were taken during sunrise. I just love the tones and colors you get when you shoot!

Tip 3: Before leaving, make sure you have battery and memory.
Something very basic I guess, but very important! Make sure your batteries are charged and all of your memory cards have free space.

Finish the sentence...
If I weren’t afraid I would… definitely try sky diving.

I wouldn't be where I am today if… my parents/family were not supportive with my decision to pursue photography.

I've been listening to... Khalid’s American Teen album!

Kids these days… are very lucky to have fast internet. I can still remember listening to our dial up modem and waiting forever for a page to load.

I look and feel my best when… I just got my hair cut.

When no one is looking I…  secretly try and practice dancing but I usually fail LOL.

Traveling... introduced me to so many talented and amazing people.

I respect... people who are fearless.