Wednesday, 15 February 2012

The secret is in the details #3: Noel Salazar

A former professor, Ms. Charlene Fernandez-Bobis, left this comment on my Facebook wall post featuring a photo from the Valentine's post I made here:
See, this is what a lot of brides fail to take into consideration: it's the happiness that makes you look good, not the makeup, not the gown, not the venue! :)
I agree with her completely and I was so thrilled when, despite the nervous smiles and lip-biting, I could see that the love and happiness that permeated the entire celebration was documented perfectly. I am the type of person who obsessively documents events of import, whether in writing or in images so yes, the documentation was indeed very important to me.

Hence, secret #3 in this series of wedding-related blog entries: the art of documentation.

We had our pamamanhikan on January 9 2011. It was a Sunday, and we had lunch out with our parents. It was their first meeting which was perhaps unusual for a relationship as long as ours but considering the logistics of where the families live--it may as well be a world apart, believe me.

It is ridiculous and impractical in my hindsight opinion but the first thing I set about doing was to choose our photographer. I say first because there was never any question on who would take care of all our attire.

Allow me to rewind a year or two before we began wedding planning.

As our work is primarily events creation and coordination, I'd been researching possible contacts and I came across Imagine Nation Photography. What got my attention was the fact that they are a group of believers. I know of very few companies who openly attest to that and attribute their talents and skills to the Lord. That was the first hook.

The second hook was a specific distinction between their shots and all others. Note that I am the freak who can easily tell identical twins apart even if I might not immediately put together the right name and face. I don't mean to put down other photographers but there is a spirit I see in the work of Imagine Nation photographers that I haven't found yet elsewhere. I cannot find an appropriate or more precise word for it.

The third hook happened after the pamamanhikan when I began to seriously consider who to choose as our lead photographer. Budget was naturally a consideration although I figured there were things we could compromise on as long as everything is documented properly. I was no bridezilla but I had very definite ideas for what I wanted.

I pored over each portfolio page and though I appreciated everyone's art and skill, there were two photographers I immediately zeroed in on. I told my husband...well, fiancé at the do the same and tell me whose work caught his eye. I think he told me to just tell him which photographers I was considering because I do remember giving him specific people to look at.

On January 21 2011, we met with Noel Salazar. Yes, I know the exact date--I have it on record in my calendar.

Why did we choose Noel? I'll have to ask my husband what he liked about Noel's style. On my part, I saw in him this knack for capturing an ordinary moment and presenting it as something extraordinary. That is quite possibly the best way I can define what drew me to him. Though they all had a way of capturing those "hidden" moments, there was something about the personality of the photographer, his own little quirks, that I connected with.

In retrospect, we arrived at our first meeting completely unprepared. We had no idea what to ask Noel and we also told him that neither date nor venue had been set. It seems ridiculous to me now but that's how it happened. We gave him the ballpark idea of when the date might be and he gave us the specifics of their package including add-ons that might be of interest to us. Very helpfully he also gave suggestions for the suppliers we had yet to select. That becomes important in the next instalment to this series.

We thanked Noel for his time and said our goodbyes. As we walked away, Lester and I looked at each other and declared "He is the perfect photographer." I remember just bits and pieces of our conversation now and can no longer repeat any of the words exchanged at the time but what stood out the most was how his sense of humour matched closely, if not perfectly, with ours. Combined with how much we liked his artwork there was no question in our minds that he was the one we wanted for the job. We just needed to secure the date.

But that belongs to the next story. ^_~

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