Shooting stars
STAR BYTES - Butch Francisco () - November 5, 2011 - 12:00am

I can imagine how it must have been so much easier for screen idols back then if only because they didn’t have to do the following:

1) Pay value added tax that now eats up practically half of the income of today’s celebrities (okay, I’m already including the commission turned over to their respective managers with that computation). Those huge taxes taken away today by the government are rather recent impositions and actors of the happier past enjoyed more the luxuries in life. (Rogelio de la Rosa had a Baguio house and here in his Manila home, he had a Roman bath.)

2) Shoot outdoors where stars are at the mercy of the elements. In the days of Sampaguita and LVN Pictures, filming was kept within the confines of the studio — from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. If the Sampaguita director wanted his actors to ride horses, they merely walked to Delgado hills where the durable row of Ayala town houses stand today along Granada Street, off Santolan Road.

3) They didn’t have to starve for a photo shoot. Yes, they also did pictorials in those black and white/sepia days — for their movie ad layout and magazine covers. The only sacrifice they had to make, however, was to merely cut down on their rice intake. They didn’t call that diet. They only used the term reduce in those days.

Today, celebrities spend anywhere from a month to closely a year to shape up for a shoot. Except when they appear on billboards where they get paid, all of them actually shell out money for non-income projects like making it to the list of FHM’s sexiest women and walking the ramp shirtless for the annual Cosmo magazine event. Okay, they get honoraria but those are never enough to cover all the expenses involved in preparing for the shoot.

With celebrity photographer Jason Quibilan, who owns Shutterspace Studios in Quezon City.

The preparation to a shoot is long. Celebrities need to have a weekly body scrub, a regular appointment with the dermatologist, protein shake (if they want to mass up), diet pills that I will never recommend, daily intensive workout and starvation.

As the day of the pictorial nears, the process becomes even more difficult. From a diet of very little food, you shift to hardly any food. A day before the shoot, you even have to limit your liquid intake to avoid water retention and bloating.

Today’s generation of photographers understand all these sacrifices — even if the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) doesn’t.

Save maybe for master photographer Jun de Leon (oh, I but learned a lot from him, including discipline — and he is still the best), the newer breed of photographers (including Raymund Isaac, who is destined to become a master himself) are more patient and pander to the quirks of celebrity clients (if you’ve been starved, you are not in the best of moods).

That had always been my experience with fast-rising photographer Jason Quibilan. A University of the Philippines Fine Arts graduate, he is now very much in demand for shoots meant to sell a wide range of consumer goods — from food to beauty products.

I’ve worked at least thrice with Jason for those Flawless billboards and print ads. Only recently, Flawless lady boss Rubby Sy decided to have a series of pictorials for the skin center’s endorsers.

In my most recent session with Jason, he said he was happy that at least I knew how to condition and prepare myself for photo shoots.

However, I learned other tips from him and he dished out additional information by sharing with the public (especially to those aspiring to have a modeling career) the following pieces of advice:

Come to the shoot mentally, emotionally and physically prepared. Photographs tend to magnify emotions (or the lack of it). So get motivated a hundred percent and set those goals before you report to the studio for a shoot.

Know the people you are working with. Photographs involve at least two persons: The subject and the photographer. They need to develop rapport between them because that will go a long way.

Be prepared for anything.

Photoshops? They were already a practice even before World War II. While that is so much easier and less tedious to do today, the truly respected photographers will try to stick to the image they have captured on their lenses. Yes, a little cleanup is done, but basically, what is presented to the public is the face and body that the model brings to the set during a shoot.

Nothing beats preparation.

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