Why stay in Cebu when there’s a greater market in Manila?
There are many responses to this misanthropic-stereotypical question. One of them comes from a maverick photography team which illuminates the endangered reality of love and happiness to cynics. RainbowFish points, “Cebu is where we live, but that doesn’t mean we are only limited here. We are [practically] everywhere.”
RainbowFish is a partnership that has a portfolio full of smitten couples, all with a tinge of a modern ’70s feel. The team, which comprises of engagement and wedding Cebuano photographers Nicolo Manreal and Matet Spagnolo, agrees to do an impromptu interview as they dash to meet deadlines. So let’s take a closer look at the duo behind RainbowFish.
Why choose “RainbowFish” and not “Eternal Sunshine of Happiness”? We can’t remember how we came up with the name, but the word “rainbow” translates to different colors. Besides, we think it’s better than Nicolo Manreal Photography! (laughs)
How did you guys envision RainbowFish? We just wanted to shoot and document weddings! It was nothing formal, just for fun. But that was back then because we now have a business plan. We were both into photography in college.
“Besides photography, both were pretty much hooked,” says a professional who used to go to the same university department as RainbowFish. Matet once posted an 8-year-old love letter from Nicolo online. They now have Nijo Manreal, the little toddler who has the exact genetic make-up of a modern Cupid, who, according to his mother, takes ten 5-second photographs. His parents’ optimism lay deeply-rooted in Nijo’s eager eyes, rosy cheeks, and infectious smile. He shows the very childhood many long for. Nijo is blissful because of happy parents. And RainbowFish seems to be producing the same effect on their nuptial photographs.
How long does it usually take for a project? For weddings, it takes about 4 to 6 months. We shoot, choose the best ones, process them, make prints and their photo album, then prepare the final DVD. It takes a long time because we process most of the photos we give to the clients.
How far has RainbowFish travelled? We just did a project outside the Philippines last month (October). Usually, we shoot and document weddings for friends; some are referrals by them. A few find us through the internet when they are looking for a wedding photographer in Cebu. Most of them plan to wed or have an engagement shoot on the island.
Matet: Both! But as much as we love to shoot and document weddings, it is not as easy as pressing the shutter button. Most people perceive it as an easy job, but Nicolo and I put a lot of hard work in it. Although, you need to have some level of passion in what you’re doing to keep going.
Nicolo: I feel so lucky and blessed to get paid in what we love doing.
[It is a universally-accepted truth] that not everyone is as lucky to be enamored with their careers as these two. This is why Nicolo and Matet continue to be grateful with everything that they do. Other than the obvious, there must be something else that makes it work.
When you guys did Lalay [of Urbandub] and Laurence’s pre-wedding shoot; why the pajamas and newspaper painting theme instead of the usual foliage? It was short notice. Lalay and Laurence’s schedules were hectic. So we decided to do the shoot in their hotel room. It was raining hard outside; we couldn’t do any outdoor shots, so we decided to use Lalay’s garage as a second option. We put some newspapers in the background, bought poster colors, and went crazy. It was that simple.
Matet: I like to interpret and process photos after they’re taken. So that would be Nicolo, the romantic! He’s the main photographer, and I usually like to work behind the scenes –but I shoot as well. That includes Nijo! =)
Nicolo: I can do romantic stuff if the couple would want it that way. But others don’t want the cheesy stuff. They like the more candid, fun, and spontaneous approach, which is more challenging because you will never know what’s going to happen next.
What is RainbowFish’s process in developing a good product? Is a survey done firsthand? This is the reason why we love to do engagement photography. It is basically a practice shoot before the wedding. We get to know the client before the big day. It goes to the whole process of taking the pictures and the final output.
How does one maintain a positive outlook? We do that by being grateful. When you start to appreciate life, everything comes along, even as simple as having food to eat. We look at the brighter side of things. Our products come from a positive mind and heart. That is all we [practically] need.
Is doing business with the person you love the secret spice for RainbowFish? We’re sure that’s one of the spices. But it’s more of just actually enjoying and loving what you do. Be inspired by every person and the little things that you meet on a daily basis. And by delivering a better product, it’s making clients happy in the end. But to be honest, shooting and documenting weddings makes a really good business.
What makes RainbowFish distinct from others? We are different because we like our clients to be themselves. We keep it real and spontaneous, and as natural as possible. We are more realistic when it comes to wedding and engagement photography, although each photographer has his own style. And apart from that, we make friends with our clients.
Negativity takes away the very common of all senses. Why read what’s between when there’s nothing in between? Life can be simple: you just have to read the goddamn line, and appreciate it as it is. Accept the things that come your way and learn what is given.
In RainbowFish’s case, you get what you see. It is the couples’ elegant way of saying that happiness begets happiness and love begets love.
So, readers, by the time you decide to be happy, give these hopeful romantics a call. Trust me: it won’t hurt one bit.
RainbowFish consists of Nicolo Manreal and Matet Spagnolo. See their portfolio at here.