Passion is a complicated concept. The usual misunderstanding is that passion merely refers to the strong emotions attached to our desires. The true meaning of passion, however, is wanting something so much you would endure anything to get it. I’m sure we have all encountered the saying “follow your passion” but what does this actually mean? Most of us haven’t really figured it out yet, and sometimes we’re too afraid to try ─ I know I was! You see, I never expected I would be a wedding photographer, and yet here I am today telling you my story. It’s true that following your passion may not be easy, but my story shows just how unpredictable fate can be and how far passion can take us.
Not so long ago, one of the main ways to produce photographs was by using a darkroom. A darkroom gets its name quite literally; it is a completely dark space where photographers can efficiently work with light-sensitive materials. I ought to clarify that as a photographer, I have never used a darkroom. However, I would like to use the concept of a darkroom as a metaphor to describe my life before wedding photography. Just as prints are yet to be developed in a darkroom, my life as a wedding photographer was concealed from me during these early years.
You’ve probably never heard a child say, “when I grow up, I want to be a wedding photographer” and I’ll admit, it was not a childhood dream of mine either. To be honest, I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I was a kid. Both my parents were veterinarians, and not a single soul in my family was practicing any form of professional photography, so it never really crossed my mind. As a kid, I didn’t even know what wedding photography was! It’s safe to say that this job did not occur to me at all when I was younger, but then college came in and my story thereafter was truly transformational.
Many young adults find it difficult and pressured when it comes to choosing a course in college. I was no different. Having no idea what I wanted to do with my life, I applied for various courses in different universities, each forecasting a different future for me to consider. It was a crucial, life-changing decision that I had to make, and I just felt like a clueless kid. For some reason, I ended up taking a Chemical Engineering course at the Mapua Institute of Technology. And yes, that course is far from photography. Looking back at this point in my life almost feels absurd!
Life as an engineering student was excruciating for me. The lessons were tedious, I found the subjects uninteresting, and on top of all that, I had to travel for around three hours every school day. It was exhausting. I might as well be drowning in those chemicals I was studying. What’s worse is that I felt absolutely no gratification in this path that I was on. I needed to find a hobby that would get my mind off school work.
Since my parents were practicing veterinarians, I grew up in a household with a lot of animals. If you must know, I have always loved animals of all sorts. When I was a kid, I was into rather unusual pets. It was this passion for animals that prompted me to eventually breed exotic animals later in my life. In a way, breeding was my escape from the dreadful reality of being an engineering student. I got so involved in exotic breeding that I was even featured on local TV news channels several times to showcase the animals. Surely enough, breeding exotics became my first business. For better advertising, I had to take good photos of the animals. That was when I held my first professional camera ─ what a milestone! I noticed that I was pretty good at taking photos. More importantly, I enjoyed it. Before I knew it, I found myself exploring the world of photography further. I tried out macro-photography, landscape, portraits, and so much more. Somewhere along this learning journey, I was invited by a friend to cover a wedding as a part-time photographer. That day marked the beginning of my love story with wedding photography.
Like all new beginnings, I felt clueless and uneasy. From being just a chemical engineering student to an exotic animal breeder, I was suddenly taking my first steps into wedding photography ─ an industry I had zero knowledge about! It was a risky move and I had no idea what to expect, but I couldn’t ignore the excitement it gave me. Before I knew it, I was accepting more and more invites to be an apprentice wedding photographer. It wasn’t easy, but the challenge only motivated me to learn even more about the art and to see where it could take me. Truth be told, the struggles I faced as an amateur photographer were altogether different from the struggles of being an engineering student. In the world of wedding photography, I began to witness growth within myself. Within this new and uncertain period, I finally found fulfillment.
I then knew that I had to make an important decision that would change the course of my life forever. After I graduate from college, I had to choose whether to continue with the career-path of a chemical engineer or to set all that aside in order to pursue my newfound passion ─ wedding photography. I was at a major crossroad in my life; I was not at all confident with my photography skills, and of course, there was the recurring question: “What if I fail?” Working as an engineer seemed like a safer choice, but is the safer choice really the best choice? It took quite a while for me to come to terms with what I truly wanted, but my love for wedding photography was something I could no longer deny. Cliché as it may seem, I finally let my heart decide for me, and it has proven to be one of the most rewarding decisions I have ever made. With the support of my family and friends, I was finally able to move towards living out my passion. Ram Marcelo Photography was finally born.
Throughout most of my life, I was oblivious to what was in store for me. I never would have predicted I would be thriving today in the world of wedding photography. It was only after I made it through the most challenging points in my life that my passion revealed itself to me. I followed that passion and it wasn’t easy! But the life I am living now ─ full of energy, commitment, enthusiasm, love, and happiness ─ proves that all the struggles were worth it. Now that I am a professional wedding photographer, I can say with all honesty that my life has been continuously exciting. There is a never-ending road for learning and experimenting, and the trends keep changing! It has always been a wild ride, but I am always ready to take things to the next level. With this job, I have met countless of great personalities, and I have even befriended people from all over the world! Following my passion has brought me to all these places and has opened my mind in so many ways. Each experience teaches me something new and continues to shape me into becoming not just a better photographer, but a better person. Wedding photography molded me, improved me, and has made me into none other than ─ Ram Marcelo.