Saturday, June 7, 2014

Pro Photographer: Rommel Bundalian - Keeping grounded and on your feet

Popular photographer philippines Rommel Bundalian

When doing street photography, there’s no better way to begin than having your feet firmly planted on the ground. Being well grounded gets you that stable and sharp shot. Being well grounded in life also allows you to keep the best compsure despite life’s ever-changing high’s and lows.

Rommel Bundalian is a successful photographer. His photographs have been seen by countless eyes, through publications such as Mabuhay Magazine, AfterCapture, Lifestyle Asia, Mega Magazine, People Asia, and View Magazine. Being also one of an elite team of Fujifilm ambassadors representing the brand in his country, “Omeng” has seen an amount of success brought by his passion in photography many of us would only dream about.

Despite the success, he remains well grounded to life. Having his feet firmly planted allows him to continue his voyage as a photographer with true and raw passion in his craft.  Many of those who meet him in photowalks for the first time see his passion as a photographer first, and then noticing his big name on the back of a projector screen. The realization that Omeng-the same person shooting and conversing with them is actually Rommel Bundalian as he is called on stage to share his wealth of knowledge and vast experience.

I was able to catch up with him for a short talk, and here are some of his insights and takeaways.

When doing street photography, Always Travel Light

When asked what gear he brings when he goes on street photography, Rommel Bundalian says he tries to bring as little as possible when doing street.

His idea behind this is that street photography is about mobility, and the less you have, the more mobile you become, opening more windows for taking better photos. For Rommel Bundalian, he also usually limits himself to one lens, the reason of which he explained in his second takeaway.

Use one lens the entire shoot

Rommel Bundalian mentioned that when he goes to the streets, he forces himself to use only one lens the entire shoot. “It removes options and allows me to think more creatively” said Omeng.

According to him, many photographers bring too much gear with them that it creates confusion. They often worry a lot about what lens to be the best tool for the job, while the opportune moment slowly passes them by. 

When doing street, Rommel purposely brings with him only one lens because to him,  “Having multiple lenses is a temptation". Limiting yourself to one lens allows no room for regret, because it is all you have.  

When shooting street, establish the location of your shoot

In one of his seminars, Omeng stressed the importance of establishing the location of your shots, which is one reason why he has a particular fondness of wide angle lenses.

When working in the industry, you are brought to places to shoot the environment but also it is of equal importance to give your viewers a look of the location  of where you are shooting.

Establishing Jones Bridge 
Photo by Rommel Bundalian

Pulling off  a “Zack Arias”

Rommel keeps true to his experiences sharing tips he learned from others along the way. One particularly interesting tip he gave in doing street photography was a technique made popular by Zack Arias which involved a little bit of acting and sleight of hand to pull off. The technique is used in taking candid portraits on the street in order to not attract too much attention from your subject.

Simply take your camera up and act like you are taking a picture, then bring it down to give the impression that you were viewing what you just took when you are really taking the actual photo.

Sounds confusing? here’s a clip to the sleight of hand tip as taught by Zack Arias himself.


With a little bit of time left, we held a short Q&A to pick his mind.

Favorite Food?


Favorite Focal Length?
14mm on his Fujifilm Xt1

Favorite Time of Day to Shoot?
Early Mornings

If you were not a photographer today, what would you be?
Graphic Artist specializing in digital printing

Favorite Camera Settings?

I shoot full manual. When shooting on a sunny day, my settings start at f16, shutter 125 and ISO 200 and I work from there.

You can learn more about Rommel Bundalian through his official website

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