Each week we select and profile a photographer from our #SFGuide community on Instagram. We believe these photographers capture the everlasting beauty of San Francisco and the Bay Area. For a chance to be featured on our Instagram feed, or here, on 49Miles.com, tag your photos with #SFGuide.
This week’s featured #SFGuide photographer is Philomen Lewis (@phillihendrix), a photographer from Stockton, California. Scroll down to view Philomen’s amazing work, and learn more about what inspires him as a creative.
#SFGuide Featured Artist Profile
Name: Philomen Lewis
Place of Birth: Stockton, CA
Where do you currently reside: Stockton, CA
Something you’d like viewers to know about you: I’ve only been doing photography for a couple of years.
What is your favorite spot to shoot in San Francisco, and why?
Favorite spot to shoot in SF is everywhere, because everything is always different. There’s always different events going on, different faces etc. That’s what I love about the city.
When and why did you take up photography?
I started photography in January of 2015. I was heavy into the import scene and was tired of paying photographers to take photos, so I took it upon myself to do it.
What do you love about photography?
The thing I love about photography is that you can create whatever you want, from a mood or feeling to viewers.
How do you decide what to shoot?
I’m not a photographer that just shoots everything, I take my time and scope things out. I’m always on the swivel looking for the best angle or for the right time to take a photo. If I don’t feel confident, I personally won’t take it. I’m very patient.
What’s your favorite part about going out to shoot?
My favorite part about shooting is when I meet up with buddies and create with them. Although shooting alone is fun. With others. Knowing we are capturing moments and enjoying it together, makes it even better.
Which location did you have the most difficulty getting to, and how did you do it?
One location was a rooftop in SF, had gotten all the way up and couldn’t find a rooftop access, until a security guard came and asked what we were doing. We told them straight up we just wanted to take photos nothing more. He was super cool about it, gave us access and sat with us. We talked for about an hour about photography.
What is your dream shot? (Where, what time of day, what’s in it / the subject?)
A dream shot of mine is taking a photo of my grandmother back at her home in the Philippines ??,. She loves the area and it’s in the forest, so I want to take a wide angle shot with her in the front during a cool sunset.
What is your favorite app to use for photo editing on the go, and what are your top 3 favorite filters?
I use Lightroom to edit all of my photos. That’s about it. For filters or presets, I don’t really use them. Most of the time I start from scratch on each photo.
How does Instagram and the #SFGuide community inspire you?
Instagram and the #SFGuide community inspired me for everything about photography. Just looking at the hashtag and seeing photos from around the city makes me want to shoot more and more. There’s so many cool places I haven’t been to and seeing them gives me motivation when I’m feeling like I don’t want to shoot.
What are your favorite San Francisco-based Instagram accounts to follow?
I don’t really follow a lot of photography pages. Most of them are friends and family. I look at hashtags more because there’s an unlimited amount of photos to look at.
What type of camera do you use? And what is your dream camera?
I shoot with a Canon 6D, a 24-70 f/2.8. For now this is my dream camera, it literally does everything I want and it’s super sharp. Maybe one day I can get a newer 6D or 5D, but for now this camera is insane and hasn’t disappointed me in any way.
What are your favorite settings in your idea shot?
My favorite setting in an ideal or perfect shot is…
Lens: 24-70m f/2.8
Aperture: 2.8 or 3.0
Shutter Speed: Anything in between 500 to 2000
ISO: In daylight 100, in super dark anywhere from 400-2000
White Balance: Daylight
Focus (Manual / Auto): Auto
Image Format (RAW / JPEG): RAW
What advice would you give to new or rising photographers that you wish you had received when you first started?
My advice to new photographers is not to try and copy others. Have your own idea and style. Some new photographers try to imitate others and their photos end up looking very similar. Try to be different and start a new style or trend people haven’t seen.
What do you love about living in the San Francisco Bay Area?
I have moved back to Stockton after living in the SF Bay Area for a couple of years studying at the San Francisco Academy of Art University. But living there opened my eyes up to more than just photography. The vibe is crazy and unlike anything else. Living there showed me that living life is true happiness.