Enriching another person’s life through lenses

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The only competitor that one must defeat, according to Jacinto Alonzo, or popularly known ‘Jay Alonzo’, is oneself. 

Alonozo, a seasoned photographer, has to go through the eye of a needle before he founded the Key Lite Studio and LearnfromJayA.com and became one of the most sought-after Filipino photographers in terms of food, products, and interior photoshoots. 

“What makes me happiest with my work is when I see my clients get to use the images I created for them and it helped their business or marketing campaign. On a personal level, the challenge of lighting different products, setups, or locations and being able to accomplish it beautifully is what keeps me going in this field,” he said. 

Career in the Philippines 

When he embarked on a career as a photographer in the Philippines in 1993, social media wasn’t a thing back then, making it difficult for him to establish his photography career. He had to build it by meeting magazine editors and marketing heads and creative directors to showcase his physical portfolio. 

Since enhancing images on Photoshop was still not popular in that era, he had to discipline himself to get the right shot straight from the camera and capture images perfectly. “But during those times, what picked me up whenever I feel down and tired, were my inspiration photographers like Richard Avedon, Patrick Demarchelier, and Ansel Adams. Just by looking at their work charged me up and got me going again,” he said. 

Before moving to Abu Dhabi some eight years ago, Alonzo has already been working as a photographer in metro Manila since 1993. One of the most memorable moments for him was when he was hired by a popular film producer and businesswoman to do a photoshoot for big celebrities. He also did several poster photos for the local movie industry with others released internationally. 

Alonzo’s works have also been published in the Philippine Airline’s in-flight Mabuhay magazine. 

In 2010, he was featured in Digital Photographer UK, an international photography magazine based in the United Kingdom. The Filipino photographer was later got featured in Digital Photographer Philippines. 

On the sidelines, Alonzo has also been conducting photography training for several individuals, companies, and the government since February 1996. 

“As a photography instructor, seeing my student turn from knowing nothing to winning awards always inspire me to keep on teaching, and continuously reminds me why I’m doing ít–that is to enrich another person’s life through a camera,” he added. 

When asked about his plans after Dubai, he said he’d probably continue teaching photography since teaching has already been a passion since college. 

Tips to aspiring photographers 

“If you are starting out as a photographer, don’t try to do or serve all kinds of photography immediately. Your market must know first what you are good at, your specialty. Believe it or not, if your client likes your work, they will ask you for other types of jobs too, or refer you to other departments or a sister company for the same or even kind photo work. Be a big fish in a small pond before jumping to a bigger pond, where there are bigger fishes than you.”

“A common mistake I see among first-time entrepreneurs is they think, by going into business, you get rich automatically, regardless of industry. No. It takes time to build a robust enterprise. If your business got popular immediately, be afraid. It means it is a fad and could soon fade away. So, if you invest money in a business, use money that you can afford to lose, or have no need to use for a couple of years. Think of it as a medium-term time deposit. Remember, around 45% of new businesses close in their first five years. And make sure you know something about the business at all, not just get into it for profit.”


This story has been featured on the seventh issue of The Global Filipino Magazine. To get a copy, you may contact Mr Orli Gayeta at +971503196856. If you have an inspiring story or know someone with one, please send an email at tgfmfi@gmail.com.