Digi-Tech Q&A with Eji Eustaquio

This Q&A series is all about shining a spotlight on people in the industry. The goal is to learn about them and share their insights with you. There are many talented people in various markets around the world, and hopefully this series will help you get to know them better.

Q: Who are you, where are you based and what type of jobs do you work?

I'm Eji Eustaquio (EJI Studios), a Digital Tech navigating the creative landscape of Los Angeles, California! I've had the chance to work on a variety of project types like advertising, editorial, e-commerce, events, and more.

Q: How did you become a Digital-Tech and how long have you done it?

My first dive into the digitech scene started with a funny story. More than ten years ago, a photographer hired me as the second assistant. Right as I got there, they told me I'd be doing "teching," which totally puzzled me. I turned to the photographer with a confused look and asked, "What's Capture One?" Little did I know, the client right behind me heard my clueless question. Needless to say, my introduction to the world of digiteching was nothing short of comical. 

Following that, I moved from the Philippines to Los Angeles, landing my first-ever full-time digital tech job with a major e-commerce company, where I dedicated over 5 years. Currently, I'm freelancing and have more than a decade of experience in the digital tech field.

My journey into the world of digital teching may have begun with a silly blunder, but it has since blossomed into a passion that continues to drive me today. I have learned that even the most seasoned professionals started as beginners, and that embracing one's ignorance is often the first step towards mastery.

Q: What do you like most about your work; what do you like least?

I love collaborating with photographers, witnessing their vision come alive, and observing their work process. Multi-tasking, organizing, and creative problem solving bring me a sense of fulfillment, as it's gratifying to know I contribute to making others' work more seamless.

What I least like about it is working on locations without crew parking available. It’s the regular task of managing heavy equipment and having to find parking close enough to the location so it’s easier to unload/keep backup equipment nearby. I appreciate it when productions think of techs too when working on parking logistics. Yes, we can unload and park somewhere else but having a spot nearby is very helpful especially with all the EQ we have

Q: What do you feel is important to learn for anyone starting out or what do you wish you knew when starting?

While acquiring skills in photography and mastering Capture One are valuable, what I consider crucial for aspiring techs is understanding the significance of trusting your judgment when evaluating photos, asking questions when you need to, and effectively communicating within the team when necessary.

Imagine a scenario where photos quickly land in Capture One, and the photographer shouts, "How's my exposure?" and the pace of the shoot is going fast. It's crucial to trust your judgment and respond to the photographer as soon as you can. While also quickly informing the first assistant to adjust lighting or adjusting camera settings yourself if you need to. These are vital for the shoot to move smoothly without stopping every time. If you somehow feel unsure, it’s okay to ask. Additionally, effective communication with the art director/client, seeking feedback, and relaying it to the photographer enhance the overall navigation of the shoot. Offering assurance that the client is satisfied helps the photographer stay focused on shooting, alleviating any worries about the overall outcome.

When I first started, I hesitated to express my opinions, suggestions, and ask questions due to shyness and fear. However, I've learned that doing so is immensely beneficial for the team in achieving the desired shot

Q: What’s one item in your kit you can recommend to everyone?

Calipso Method. This proved to be a game-changing aspect for me. The standout feature, in my opinion, is its weight. Being exceptionally light makes it a breeze to move swiftly, even with a lot of accessories attached to it.

Q: What piece of equipment would you like to never see on set again?

Slow spinning drives

Q: If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?

To establish fair and standardized rates for services and equipment.

Q: What was your best day on set?

A truly memorable moment unfolded on a Santa Barbara mountaintop, as I observed the photographer capturing a paraglider's descent into the landscape against the backdrop of a sunset-lit ocean view.

I recall being so impressed by the moment that I thought to myself, "man, I really love my job!"

Q: How do you explain what you do for work to family/strangers?

I'm the computer nerd hanging out with the photographer, checking that the photos look good as they come in. I also handle all the digital stuff on the photo set, making sure everything runs smoothly

Eji Eustaquio | she/her



You can read others in the Q&A series HERE