Photographer of the Week: Rommel Marcelo
By Maan D’Asis Pamaran
Aside from capturing a singular moment, photography has the power to capture its subject’s mood at that particular point in time. Rommel Marcelo of Fiatllux Productions specializes in capturing these emotions with his trained eye and quick reflexes, and this has made him a client favorite for his portrait and wedding photography work.
“I specialize in portraits, environmental, wedding, glamour, and candid shots. What I do like most, though, are tight portrait shots as they emphasize the subjects' emotions that can be seen through their eyes or their smiles,” shares Rommel.
His trademark would be to have photos which seem to speak to its viewers. “Most of my photos capture emotions. I really want my photos to show how the subject feels, the emotions set, the love between couples, and the like. I want my viewers feel how my subjects feel.”
He graduated with a degree in B.S Electronics and Communications Engineering from the Bulacan State University, but decided to pursue a passion that was ignited in him as a child. Rommel recalls, “As far as I can remember, I started having interest in photography at an early age. I borrowed my parents' film camera back then and started taking photos of people smiling. The experience gave me a sense of positivity that life is full of happiness.”
He continued taking photos, transitioning from film camera to the digital point-and-shoot, until the era of camera phones came. At that time, it was only for documentation purposes and the realization of the passion for the craft has not yet sunk in.
“Perhaps the turning point would have been the time that a friend lent me his DSLR camera and encouraged me to test it,” Rommel says. “The moment I took photos with it was nostalgic -- it has brought me back to my first shots with a film camera. I had then pushed myself to get my own unit. As soon as I had bought my own DSLR camera, I started doing photo walks and always had my camera with me whenever I would go out. I then explored different photography genres, only to realize what I love most, which is taking portraits.”
To expand his skills, he read books and magazines, watched tutorials and attended various workshops to hone his skills in portraits photography. One of his influences is his friend, Parc Cruz, whom his work he studied closely and whose workshops he handled under the TWG or The Workshop Group, which now has its online version.
His passion in the art soon gained recognition. “I am a very competitive type of person. I often join photo contests back when I was just starting. The best recognition I have received so far was from the Wedding and Portrait Photographers of the Philippines (WPPP) during one of its national competitions in 2018. It was when two of my photos were selected for the Portraits Open Category and the Wedding Open Category out of the 10,000 entries, ranking at the top five and top 10, respectively.”
While experiencing setbacks such as having to stand in the pouring rain to catch a bride’s entrance into the church or experiencing an earthquake in the middle of a ceremony, Rommel says that he finds fulfillment in his work. “For me, the best thing about being a photographer is the opportunity to capture and share every beautiful moment I witnessed myself, especially in wedding events that I cover. It gives me a sense of fulfillment to see happy faces from viewers realizing how emotional the day was through the photographs we share. The moment that happy tears roll down their faces, I know we did a good job.”
Feelings are a very big part of the job, he adds. “For me, photography is not just a form of art but an instrument in conveying emotions. What cannot be said or written can be portrayed in every shot, in every photo. It is like poetry – it evokes imagination and emotions. As a visual artist, I would always want my works to be timeless – ones that never get old, ones that are reminiscent of that moment they were captured, ones that would tell you the story and emotions regardless of time.”