“I want people to know me for my photography for sure, but more so, I want people to know that I’m an honest person.” Fresh off a shoot at Gloveworx with Becky G, we were able to sit down with Christian Bondad to discuss the process of finding his passion in photography in today’s restless society.
So let’s start from the beginning. How did you get into photography?
I had my first DSLR in 7th grade because my sister bought one, and it was the first time I touched a camera. She never really used it, so I would mess around with it at home. I would shoot my shoes and my friends for fun. It was something I thought was pretty dope, to be able to shoot and capture moments, but I didn’t think it could turn into a career.
When did you decide to make it more than just a hobby?
Back in April, I ended up quitting my job. I was working at an office, but it was something I knew I didn’t want to do forever. I was looking for a new job, and that’s when my cousin sent me an IG story that Devin Williams (of In The Lab and 10,000 hours) needed a photographer. I didn’t have anything to lose, so I messaged him and he told me to come through. Devin turned out to like the photos, so I thought maybe I’m actually pretty good at this! After this first event, I did some thinking and I realized that if I’m ever going to pursue this hobby, now’s the time.
So your Instagram following is growing in the sports photography world and you’ve been getting invites to a lot of private practices and exclusive events. Are you specifically trying to go into basketball?
Right now it just happens to be fitness, but I’ve always been into fashion, streetwear, and lifestyle photography. Just haven’t had a chance to dabble in it. Definitely open to new and other things.
How do you typically plan your shoots?
At the beginning of the workout, the trainer usually tells me what they’re gonna do for their work out so I can know how close I can be to them. If they’re gonna be running certain directions, I won’t be in their way. Then I look for unique perspectives and angles not many people are getting, such as shooting through equipment or props.
Does this define your style of photography?
I like capturing movements and having these movements tell a story. Being able to shoot a private workout is an good opportunity to do so. When I’m shooting in a personal space, I’m shooting everything I can and really trying to capture their raw emotions.
What are you working on now?
I’m working with GloveWorx in Santa Monica to create more content, in terms of building new clientele and dabbling in different aspects of photography, such as fashion and lifestyle. I’ve always felt nervous and awkward telling people how to pose and directing them, and I think that’s one of the things stopping me from getting into Lifestyle photography. But I’m trying to get better at that. I’m not trying to be a one trick pony and just be known for sports.
What was the best experience photography has given you so far?
Definitely meeting the players I’ve been watching. Jordan Clarkson was one of my favorite players. Him being half Filipino, I’ve always looked up to him. I wanted to bring my jersey of him to get signed and thank him for putting on the Philippines, but I had to keep it professional. One of the first big names I shot was Julius Randle at the Lakers facility. It was one of the most surreal feelings. I’ve been a Lakers fan my whole life, and just being able to be there, seeing all the banners and retired jerseys was unreal.
I noticed you had the opportunity to work with 2 Chainz as well, how did that happen?
I first noticed his trainer, Amoila Cesar, since he trained Julius [Randle]. I reached out to him and he said that he’s seen my work and would be down to have me shoot for him the next time he was working with Julius. After I started shooting with him, he was like 2 Chainz is gonna be in town. Do you want to shoot with him? I was like hell yeah, I wasn’t gonna say no.
Is your next goal to shoot courtside?
I have a lot of goals. I want to try to get into music and shoot festivals, or shoot small shows. But being able to shoot an NBA game would be dope too. I’m trying to network and build honest relationships as much as I can while focus on my work.
Ideally, where would you want to see photography take you?
I would love to travel the world to shoot photos, to be someone’s personal photographer and to be able to capture their moments. I’ve only been in California, and it would be really cool to see where else photography can take me.
Is there anything in particular that you wanna let your followers know?
I want people to know me for my photography; but more so, I want people to know that I’m an honest person. I’m not the type to reach out to someone just because they have a good following. That’s not who I am. I really enjoy taking pictures and I want to produce good content for people. I’m the guy to look out for people; if you got my back, I got yours.