Getting Candid with Jaja Samaniego
“Nothing compares to the energy you get while being surrounded by nature. It’s a moment to completely recharge, as if going back to the beginning, where inspiration translates to creativity. This is where I always feel home.” — Jaja Samaniego
Words from one of Manila’s foremost wedding photographers at present. And based on her growing popularity and glowing body of work, Samaniego has surely been spending a considerable amount of time in nature.
Describing herself as a realist and an admirer of beauty, Jaja has managed to successfully translate her paradigms into her skills and talents. Her goal is beauty and authenticity, and her weapon of choice is a camera.
Despite being in demand as a wedding photographer both in and outside of Manila, Samaniego is also a part-time Photography professor at the De La Salle University.
Very recently, we spent the day with Jaja to chat and organize her workspace. Here are some of the things we talked about:
Tell us about what got you started as a wedding photographer.
I was just 19, a fresh graduate when I entered the industry. A friend from school casually invited me to join this photography group. At first, I didn't know that it was a wedding photography apprenticeship program. I just wanted to meet other photographers at that time and learn from them. But destiny brought me there for a reason. Now, I shoot weddings for a living, and I enjoy it.
Describe your photography style and what distinguishes you from other photographers.
My main goal is to take sincere photographs—to capture the real in its purest form, in the most beautiful way I can. I like to capture emotions. I always seek to experience and capture raw, organic, and spontaneous events and interpret them as I click my shutter.
I always try to stay true to myself and just do what I appreciate doing. I think what I find as an edge is me not comparing my work and myself to others. I think every person is unique and special in their own way and it's very important and crucial to cultivate it, and not put one’s talents to waste. I make it a point to explore and learn new things to improve my skill.
What do you love most about shooting weddings and what was the most memorable wedding you’ve ever shot?
This might sound cheesy, but working in this industry will make you believe in destiny. I’ve shot a lot of couples with fascinating love stories. It’s fulfilling to be chosen to capture one of the most important events of a person’s life. My memorable weddings are the fuss-free and intimate ones were everyone is just chill. My most memorable wedding would be my Tuscany shoot two years ago. Aside from the place being picturesque and perfect, it was my first time to cover a wedding alone. I usually have a team but since it was a very intimate one, I decided to shoot on my own. It was challenging and beautiful at the same time.
What is your advice for brides on choosing the right wedding photographer?
Find that professional photographer who matches your personality and aesthetics. There are so many great portfolios online that you might find yourself overwhelmed, so I think personal recommendations from your friends and other wedding suppliers can help a lot. Connection is key to great photos. It’s important to get someone whom you can be comfortable with.
What advice would you give to the couple for their pre-nup shoot?
There are some many ideas you can see on Pinterest, but always ask yourself this when thinking of what look/theme you want for your prenup shoot: “Will I appreciate or regret this after 10 years?”. The best advice I can give is to show your real personality as a couple. I always encourage an effortless yet elegant look for my couples.
What advice would you give to the couple on their big day?
Research on the wedding suppliers you will book because the success of your event lies in them. Trust your suppliers and let go. Just enjoy your wedding.
We spent the day helping you organize your office. Could you share with us the pieces you chose and how they were used to sort out the clutter in your office shelves?
I think I got a variety of your storage boxes! The boxes matches the color of my office and I really like that it has a touch of Filipino in it because of the famous “banig" pattern. It’s functional and pretty at the same time!
We use a lot of materials like ribbons, envelopes, and papers for our packaging, so the boxes are perfect for storage. The wire basket and the storage bins were also used to keep my vinyl records and portfolio wedding books.
At Domesticity, we take weddings seriously. We understand that a wedding is one of the most important days in a person’s life and we want to help ease the burden of preparing for one. This is where our gift registry service comes in.
Regardless of your taste, you are sure to find useful, aesthetically pleasing items in our store that will surely make your home feel bright and welcoming to your guests.
Additionally, our pieces are locally sourced, so you will not only be supporting local businesses, but keeping your carbon footprint to a minimum. Best of all, most of our products are lovingly handcrafted by members of the Gawad Kalinga Village in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, who are beneficiaries of our sales as well.
Spare your wedding guests the stress of thinking about what the perfect gift is for you and your spouse, and narrow down the choice for them instead. Visit our gift registry page for more information.
For any questions, please visit our gift registry guide page or click the “Contact Us” and leave us a message. We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.