Featured Photographer: Interview with Shaira Luna

by . January 22nd, 2015

Last updated on August 23rd, 2022.

Shaira Luna is a Manila-based, self-taught photographer. She is booked mostly for fashion editorials, magazine covers, and food photography. In her younger days, Shaira was well known for an ad for the Promil Gifted Child TV campaign. She was expected to become a doctor and took up BS Human Biology at De La Salle University at the age of 13.  A few years later, however, she took pictures using a simple point-and-shoot camera while on break from the university. Eventually, she found her real passion — photography.

YTP got the chance to talk with Shaira Luna regarding her photography. Check out the interview below.

“Photography was something I simply enjoyed and pursued without too many aspirations in mind, so it was a slow yet extremely valuable learning curve.”

YTP: Hi, Shaira! Welcome to YouThePhotographer. How’s it going?

Shaira: Thanks for having me. I’m answering this on my first full shoot-free day since October, haha! I’m very used to working every day, but this last quarter of 2014 has been extra crazy – something I’m really thankful for, of course!


YTP: Tell us something about you and your work.

Shaira: Mainly, I shoot fashion, portraits, and lifestyle, including but not limited to clothing campaigns, lookbooks, features, PR, advertorials, and editorials. They may be seen anywhere, from magazines and social media to store displays and billboards. I can’t say I have one style because I can easily adjust to each look required by different clients, but people say they can tell the work is mine when it’s either cinematic, dreamy, or old-looking! LOL. I am also one of seven photographers now represented by the Southeast Asia branch of Jed Root, At East Jed Root.


YTP: Did you have any formal photography training, or were you purely self-taught?

Shaira: Purely self-taught! I always looked through the little manual that came with my first DSLR (a Canon 350D) even though I didn’t understand half of the things there. I learned patiently and gradually through experience and experimentation.


YTP: What is your most significant achievement?

Shaira: Honestly, just being happily able to do what I do now! My work keeps me inspired and on my toes, and it’s like living a dream I never dreamed!


YTP: What’s on your gear list (cameras, lenses, software)?

Shaira: My workhorse is the Canon 5D MkII and the 24-70mm 2.8L lens, and sometimes a 200mm 2.0L. All my hot shoe flashes are third-party ones from YongNuo and Photozuela. I have a 1000watt Hensel for strobes, but I use my low-watt Falcon Eyes and Photozuela ones more often since they’re smaller and lighter. The Samsung NX30 is also an amaaaazing little backup. The only software I know how to use is Photoshop CS5. Lightroom baffles me!

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YTP: Do you need to be knowledgeable about fashion to be successful in fashion photography?

Shaira: It definitely helps to know a little bit about fashion, although I think your eye will be more critical. I, for example, don’t know much about the seasons and collections of each brand or label, but I observe and try to familiarize myself with the current trends and aesthetics.


YTP: What are your plans? Are you holding an exhibit anytime soon? Workshops, perhaps? If people would like to see more of your work or get in touch with you, where can they go?

Shaira: I really want to shoot in Europe again if I get the chance. We shot a campaign in Paris recently, and I fell in love! The light’s just so different and beautiful there. Exhibits? Hmm, not so into doing that. Maybe in a couple of years, haha. My work is all online: for a more curated compilation of my styles, you may visit shairaluna.com. I upload my published and commercial work and behind-the-scenes photos to my Facebook and YouTube. And for more fun and personal look, there’s my Instagram @shairaluna :)