FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
seriously the most important.
Rufino or Joshua - what do you prefer to be called?
Let us answer a question with a question - What is easier for you to pronounce? Seeing that they are both my first names. (Rufino Joshua) - is my first name. You may call me which ever you like or prefer. I will usually tell people that Rufino sounds classier and professional - while the Joshua / Josh, has more of a street credit to it. Go ahead call me which one is easier ~
What is the Rufino's Theory of Photography?
This will take days to talk about. Please ask me personally.
On a bus. Image taken on a moving bus. China 2013
Why does photography cost this much?
There are a lot of different types of photographers, there are those who hold a camera, there are those who knows how to use a camera, there are those who are masters of their cameras, and there are those with lots of cash and can do any hobby cause they are awesomely rich. Photographer's are not merely God's gift to the human kind to professionally document and masterfully cover, with solid skills and unnatural talent, but with an almost perfect precision to timing and technological powers - all to be used for the most important events in your life. There are actually plenty of cost of goods sold (c.o.g.s.) for people presenting themselves as a photographer. Let us consider that most of them may be still trying to pay for their schooling, their gear, their international mentoring workshops, their studio, their top grade lens that will capture your super dark reception, the desktop computer that will edit, the 3 cups of coffee that they will drink for your day... let us not forget that some photogs have rent, mortgage, car, wife, kids, insurance, electric bills, diaper stashes, missing memory cards & maybe the occasional burger and fries. As someone who has hired photographers a few times in his life, I understand this - we love our jobs, we do it cause we love it! We are not passing down the financial burden to you - our beloved clients - we, like you, just want to get paid for our jobs.
When did you start shooting? why?
I have been holding a camera since I was very little (imagine 4-5 years old). As a young kid, I was always fascinated with little gadgetries, what ever it was. I can remember always prying the video camera from my dad and shooting our family footages, unfortunately I was not as steady as a medium priced tripod. Our family videos came out awful- most of the viewers would get sick due to my shaky fingers. For the latter years, my father met this business man from Japan. Their awesome culture dictates that he must present a gift to my father as a sign of colleague respect. He gave my dad a Nikon F series (SLR) camera and my dad being a business man more than a creative - handed it to me. This gave me a new way of looking at the world, the new world of still life. At some point, at school we were asked to bring in some baby pictures for a project. I asked my parents about the project and if they could provide me with some photos to choose from - unfortunately, they did not have any. This prompted me to imagine a future, that everyone I know - will have a photo taken by me. This is the why - the original reason why I needed to have a camera near me - I did not have pictures of me growing up... it gave me a scar that I will never accept that a friend or a family member will ever say "I do not have photos of me".
Mountain ranges in Reno, Nevada - circa 2013.
What did you do before you were a photographer?
I used to be a credit underwriter for a fabulous financial company until we got laid off, I was working there happily for two years and a few days. Before that I was a dashing credit analyst for the same financial company, meet a lot of great people - tirelessly worked for 4 years = got laid off. Before that I was a very successful employee of one big red retail store, I spent a few months at the cash register and then eventually got to be that Photo-lab guy. Yeah my first real job was checking out people's grocery and stuff, then all I did was process film and troubleshoot a few developing machines! Sometimes it is quite funny how I was going to go back to some kind of photo related industry. I love my past jobs. I love the one I am currently in.
Shameless Sony Plug. Image taken from Sony's Flagship Store in GuangZhou China. 2013.
SONY?! Why are you shooting with a SONY camera and not Nikon or Canon?
One word. Innovation. Sony, for me right now has the most innovative cameras in the world. They have changed the game... the camera if you will. Nothing against the awesome powers of N & C - but it was Sony, who I believe wished not to fight in the "my megapixels are larger than yours war", but decided that they will approach the industry with different sensors, with new powers, with some never before seen features - that the photographers of today might appreciate. And I do. I shoot with a Sony A99 - a full frame camera that does what I tell it to. I shoot full manual and with the Sony Flagship camera and super slick Carl Zeiss line up of lens - I am able to work effective and achieve my vision.
Are you single?
No, sorry I am not single. I am very happily married. I am wonderfully and graciously blessed with God's perfect wife for me. One that can patiently love, respect, and share grace with me. We have known each other for six years before we got married. I chased her for those 6 years. We have now been married for two years, and I will never know life without her. My best friend and my travel buddy - ha! Jenny, thank you for being so awesome. Yes I admit - my wife is cooler than me! And for the question - sorry - I know some very nice gentlemen and I can point you to their direction.
These images are awesome! Are these yours?
Yes. I have shot them myself, and I personally edited all of them. We have spent a few thousand hours, honing our craft - pressing the shutter button. A few more thousand hours, downloading presets and renaming them so we can remember what they do. A couple of hundreds of hours traveling the world to get inspired and see something unique and capture them. Not to mention lug around funny amounts of camera gear and portable lighting equipments, battling elements and customs officers (dude, thats a flash thingy not a zapper!). And yes, we do them so we can present to you some form of professional skill and maybe something to love.
Where do you get your positive energy?
The air. I breathe, therefore I am alive - right? Reminding myself that always makes me happy! Oh - and yes, close people will tell you that I enjoy drinking Taro Milk Tea, that makes me happy and giggle with positive energy. The world is such a beautiful place - this the camera taught me, it is funny that a mechanical device can teach us a lesson. Seeing beauty makes me happy and feel positive. Breathe, feel alive, and be joyful!
Sharing an image of Rufino Josh: His first time, shooting as Lead photographer
Two cameras, audio recording device, walkie-talkie, and red necktie - circa April 2011.
How long before we receive our images?
The delivery time shall be within a week to a month to three months, depending on the number of images we are editing / processing, and of course the scheduling of shooting and the log of editing. Most of the time we are able to give clients a positive acceptable estimate of when they shall receive proofs and final images.
Pointy hat. Shangri-La Hotel Cebu, Philippines 2011
What do you see for yourself, in the future?
A bigger family. More kids or a big sized dog, maybe both. More people to meet near and around the world. Lots of traveling (Europe, Asia, Africa, and underwater). A Sony endorsement? A lot of volunteering hours. A boatload of shooting! Looking for a few awards a year. I would love to become the best photographer possible. Someday show my kids and dogs, how beautiful the world is.
If you are not a photographer - which industry would you be working in?
Food preparation world. I would love to become a sushi chef. Have you watched "Jiro, Dreams of Sushi" ? - if you have not - please give it a try. It is for me, the most wonderful video made to inspire us do what we were supposed to, made to be doing. I know I was made to be shooting photos, but if I wasn't I would be making you some wonderful sushi. I would be very happy as the guy who makes tamago. Something so berry simple, yet demands, utter perfection and dedication, things we appreciate.
Do you do your own printing? What about albums?
We have photography laboratory companies as our partner in the industry of making your products. Rufino ONG Photography is proud to say that we are partnered with Nations Photo Lab for our printing products and with GraphiStudio for our hand made Italian albums. Both of which are companies, that are very well respected in the photographic industry.
Big retail stores can provide competitive prices on the products you have - why should we order them from you?
Your photographers worked very, very hard to capture, and to achieve the images, presented to you. We aim to perfect them in the digital world - and in bringing them to the real, physical, tangent world, it has been always in your best interest that we suggest that you leave the printing to the experts of the industry. That will be the photography laboratories that 24/7 focuses only in creating the best possible physical representations of the memories of your day. We have tested and challenged the laboratories that we have partnered up with. This gives us the trust that, as professionals - we can pass on to you, that you will receive a special piece of tangible memory that you will proudly keep in your home for years to come.
Secret Bride. San Francisco City Hall, USA 2012.
Why should I choose you over other photographers?
You shouldn't. You should choose the best one that meets your needs as a client. There will be the usual factors - financial, photo-quality, calendar availability, overall technical shooting skill, posing powers, awards attained and super pressure performance, and maybe even the photographer's personality. I would never tell potential clients to choose me. That's a no-no. I would however, happily point them to the direction that the photographer person they choose will be with them, the lot of the time, at their engagement and or wedding day - and that it will do them a lot a good to find someone they feel the most comfortable and relaxed being around and snapping some picture. An awesome example of this is (as a bride), would you honor another lady to be your maid/matron of honor if you don't like that person? Would you not want the best, most closest sister in your life to be there - in that most special of occasions! As would the groom to be - would you not want your best man, to be the best man from your crew? Hire, that photographer, rather the person - that feels right! It is your wonderful day, let us surround you with your favorite people!
What is your greatest strength / weakness?
Funny, to add this corporate-world question here. Seriously, why do they even ask this in interviews? Here goes - strength will be my smile. It is cute and it is honest. You can see a lot in a person in the way they smile. There are different kinds of smile, a sly smile, a menacing smile, a cute smile, a shy smile, a humble smile, a confident smile, a perfect smile - etc! An honest smile is my strength. It tells you what kind of person is before you. Honest. Another strength, is the desire to be different - that itching, burning, non-contageous need or rather saying it bluntly - wanting to be different. It is our number two drive to shoot photography. Weakness - sshh, our weakness is a secret that will opt not to share online for now. But we will love to have a chat about it with you over coffee or taro milk tea! Please understand that our secret weakness could tip the scales of the photography world in an even crazier state, and I will gladly share this with you (but not here). *cheers*
How do you feel about traveling for destination engagements / weddings?
I love it! Let's go! Do we need to get a visa? Where are we going? Somewhere near - we'll go! Somewhere far - we will go! Someplace tropical and hot and possibly exotic - Wohoo! We love to drive as well! Thinking of travel always excites us and our crew. It presents the ever-so-present challenge of the unknown, and we love it!
Baker Beach, San Francisco 2014
What inspires you to do what you do?
The world is beautiful. Let us agree on that! Photography is one of the best ways to prove that beauty and to be able to share it with everyone! You can take pictures of anything in this world. You can capture the pretty, the cute, the adorable and share them - make someone's day. Love is also an answer - we meet so many lovers and families - their one thing in common is love - it drives us to shoot and edit. Seeing / sensing love + grace + respect, between partners and families is one of the most inspiring things as a photographer. Love is beautiful!
What is your favorite kind of food?
Sushi. Uni. Unagi. Ankimo. I made up a Joshie-Special. Consisting of the above nigiri. I need to add an image of the Joshie-Special here. The freshness of the ocean, delivered to you in a perfect presentation of beauty, art, and food. We will also vote in - as our number two favorite food, Dim Sum. Simple and yet very hard to master. Usually steamed into succulent goodies. The humble ingredients caressed by the perfect wrapping and showered by your favorite chili and soy sauce. Okey now we are getting distracted.
Rufino Joshua Ong - a husband and now dad with a camera, is an international award winning photographer from the San Francisco Bay Area, offering photography coverage in San Francisco, the Bay Area and destinations worldwide. Rufino Joshua is mentored by the Internationally acclaimed master photographer, Scott Robert Lim.