If you are into architectural photography or Wes Anderson’s ‘wedding cake colours’ or thirsty for some photography inspiration – you are in for a treat! EOS Professional and Producer, Gabrielle Salonga, shares with us her photography journey and techniques in creating surreal photos. 

Hi Gabrielle, let’s start with a short self-introduction

Hi! I’m Gabs –  I have have been taking photos since I was 11. In fact, one of my first cameras was a point and shoot from Canon! It was the Canon Digital Ixus 850 IS. Fun times.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III | EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM | F/8 | 1/4000s

What are some of your favourite Canon camera gear(s) to shoot with?

I don’t have favourites – I always try to be a photographer who can work with any gear that is available. But if I could work with only 3 lenses, it would be the EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM, EF50mm F/1.8 STM and EF35mm f/2 IS USM.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III | EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM | F/5.6 | 1/8000s

How does Canon camera gear(s) help you capture the images you want?

I’m a sucker for telephoto lenses. They are worth every cent! I always look at them as extremely long term investments. Because they are so versatile, I can shoot portraits and architecture in one day without having to carry around additional lenses – a plus when you’re someone always on the go.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III | EF35mm f/2 IS USM | F/8 | 1/1000s

You seem to take more architecture photos so what made you more inclined to this photography genre?

There are various reasons. My dad is an engineer and he is the person who got me into photography at a young age – he would always be taking pictures of the projects he was working on and I believe that was part of the influence. Also, having started in landscape photography, I have always emphasised on negative space, shape and composition. 

Canon EOS 5D Mark III | EF35mm f/2 IS USM | F/11 | 1/125s

What are some things you keep in mind for post-editing when capturing a photo?

Exposure – and I don’t necessarily mean exposing correctly for each shot. Exposure is a creative choice and heavily depends on your environment and the mood you want to edit your shots to. With my recent shots, I slightly overexpose (while trying to minimise clipping) and then bring things down in post.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III | EF35mm f/2 IS USM | F/11 | 1/1000s

How do you decide what colours to use and change in a photo?

It is usually by playing around with all the adjustments in Lightroom. When I start forming a colour scheme I want, I then begin to make smaller changes to other colours to fit that. I do try to experiment with colours as much as possible, but I lean towards blues, pinks and purples (or what Wes Anderson has described as ‘wedding cake colours’) and adjust the HSL sliders until I am happy with what I see.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III | EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM | F/5.6 | 1/5000s 

Do the colours you use to edit your photographs represent a mood, memory or personality?

Making these pictures dreamlike and other-wordly by adding a splash more colour is something I enjoy and the process itself is a way of escapism for me – so I would say they represent an alternate reality.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III | EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM | F/5.6 | 1/4000s

How long does it take for post-editing including deciding on and changing the colours?

It varies! One photo can take 2 minutes, the next can take 30 minutes to 1 hour. There have also been many times I find myself in a creative block and come back to an image a few days later to try and approach it with a fresh mind.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III | EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM | F/5.6 | 1/4000s

Any advice for aspiring photographers?

You hear it countless times – but with the way we tend to look at social media now, do not measure yourself with metrics that constantly make you unhappy. Quickly learn how to separate the worth of your work and how many people see and like your stuff on Instagram. That mind set really needs to go and don’t follow trends if you don’t enjoy them yourself. It’s easier said than done, but your best work comes from simply just being you and finding your own style. You will then find other photographers with similar taste. They are your friends, not the “competition.” Build a community and learn from one another. Reach out. Have fun.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III | EF35mm f/2 IS USM | F/5.6 | 1/125s

Also, always make sure you have an extra battery and card.

Enjoyed using the Canon EOS 5D Mark III? Then you will love this upgrade –  the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV  is equipped with a full-frame CMOS sensor boasting of a 30.4-megapixel image resolution, ensuring detailed depictions and beautiful tones that will satisfy pro photographers.

Get inspired with Gabrielle’s beautifully surreal shots at https://www.instagram.com/gabriellesalonga