If there's anything good that this year has shown us, it's that a ton of things we didn't know were possible online before now are. Of course, we would've loved to find out without the whole pandemic thing, but it's somehow comforting to know that we're far enough in the digital age to make the seemingly impossible happen.
Take photoshoots, for example. Since it's not yet safe to do in person, creatives have turned to video call apps like FaceTime to mount them. Some high fashion brands like Jacquemus even had an entire campaign shot this way to keep up with the times. And sure, it's not as glossy and high-concept as we're used to, but that's the thing about this whole situation—we just have to make the most out of what we have. It's better to slow down than hit a hard pause, right?
Before the pandemic, we ourselves would've never considered doing shoots online. For a milestone like Preview's 25th anniversary, however, we would be damned not to try a challenge that, in truth, is also in our DNA. So, we called on celebrities, influencers, and photographer Erwin Canlas to help us pull off our very first virtual beauty shoot.
What doing a virtual shoot is like according to Erwin Canlas
Some of you might be thinking, how hard can it be? Well, take it from the pro himself: "Shooting virtually is a lot different and a lot more exhausting than an actual shoot," Erwin confesses. There's a lot of communication involved, because for once, the photographer has no manual control of the camera. Recalling his first online shoot, Erwin shares, "I remember taking up almost an hour for a layout because I had to make sure that I'm getting the shots, the angles, and the direction right." It's also a challenge for someone like him who's admittedly introverted and shy, but the photographer says working with people he already knows lifts the burden a little.
All that said, it's the fact that it wasn't Erwin's first rodeo that made us confident of the turnout. On the day of the Preview 25 House Party, our subjects entered the beauty shoot room presented by Ever Bilena one by one, and the show was officially on the road.
The photos and highlights from Preview's first virtual beauty shoot with Erwin Canlas
Spending most of the shoot as a mere spectator, it was a treat to see how smoothly it went. Beauty queen Nicole Cordoves was the first to step to the plate, followed by model Jach Manere, who worked the camera as flawlessly as they probably would've a regular shoot. Christi Mcgarry was literally shining during her turn, thanks to the golden hour sun that hit her straight on. Young actress Sofia Pablo posed timidly but brought her A-game, making everyone in the Zoom call swoon from her cuteness (yours truly, included) in the process.
My new fit-spiration Aliza Apostol-Goco was a breath of fresh air, gamely switching angles and flaunting the poses in her arsenal to get the shot. Preview Clique member Ryan Kyle had us green with envy with his wavy 'do and glossy skin, while actress Therese Malvar served the "I woke up like this" vibe we were looking for. And last but not the least, there was Erika Kristensen, who wrapped up the lineup with her sultry close-ups that were luckily caught on film despite some technical hiccups.
After the shoot, we spoke to Erwin about the experience once more. "The best part of shooting was getting to work with familiar and new personalities. All of them aren't used to the concept of a virtual shoot and for most of them it was their first time (even for a professional model like Jach)," he tells us. "I was so happy to see their reactions while showing them their photos after the shoot, and [hearing them say] how comfortable I made them feel, and how they loved their photos."
Of course, the shoot had its fair share of technical difficulties. The photos suddenly weren't rendering at one point, so Erwin had to improvise. "What we did was we had Therese and Erika shoot themselves with their own phones while I stayed online directing them and making sure the angles were nice," he explains. Erwin admits he was nervous (and definitely sweating from the pressure), but as you can probably tell from the final renders, everything worked out in the end.
Photographed by Erwin Canlas
Art Direction by Erwin Canlas and Bacs Arcebal
Models: Nicole Cordoves, Jach Manere, Christi Mcgarry, Sofia Pablo, Aliza Apostol-Goco, Ryan Kyle, Therese Malvar, Erika Kristensen