Friday, February 04, 2011


It's amusing how certain things turn out. Bride Kristine and I have been exchanging comments about their impending shoot at the now-shuttered Metropolitan Theatre via Joannie Candi (of DLS)'s Facebook, not for anything related to their wedding, but simply for our shared love for culture and history (the inquiry for entourage flowers came much much later).

First opened in 1931, the Metropolitan Theatre is a silent witness to a bygone era where Manila residents flocked to theatres for entertainment, and is one of the finest examples of Philippine-style Art Deco architecture. I had the chance to do a coverage of this edifice in 2006 when I was still an active blogger (you can read it here.)

For this e-session, Allan & Kristine share with us their once-in-a-lifetime experience. :-)

Tell us about the concept of this shoot:

"Luxe Decadent Love". We wanted history, culture, glamour and run down chaotic charm.

In essence, we wanted to be in our own Wong Kar Wai movie - the long sighing pauses, Old Manila, luxe wardrobe, sensual mood, love, longing, and everything in between.

What are the preparations you did for this shoot:

We started with two of our favorite songs, "Gorecki" by Lamb for the pre-nup, and "The World is Our Playground and We Will Always Be Home" by Up Dharma Down for the wedding shots.

We conceptualized the video to match the songs and some of our inspirations are the videos from Fiona Apple's "Criminal", the dance sequence in the U.S. version of "Sassy Girl", and the visual color tone of Garbage's "I'm Only Happy When It Rains". We showed Lei and Joannie (of Daniel Lei Studios) our mood board of ideas and Lei suggested that we also use a projector to flash "memories" or photos to add more texture to the dark shots.


Highlight of the shoot:

Capturing the dance sequences from the roof of the MET to the empty stage; scaring each other while going up the roof and almost getting lost getting back to the ground floor.
Your favorite elements?

The color tone of shots and the effect of the projected images were unique. My favorite shots were the ones where Allan and I were kissing (in wild abandon, haha) - you don't see that in a standard pre-nup. The photo came out sensual, but decent enough to show our families and guests.

Tell us about your photographer:

We found Daniel Lei Studio (DLS) after months of deciding on a photo/video supplier. Their site shows that they do not just churn out standard shots, they pay exquisite attention to their couples. We also liked their pricing package; we thought it was fair and had no hidden charges unlike other suppliers who suggest items not part of the package and you get surprised with their total bill in the end. As they had good (nay, glowing) reviews in the weddings@work forum, we decided to pay them a visit at their studio.

Lei and Joannie are a delight. They listen, they suggest, and they tell you what looks good and they always make every detail the couple's own.

How did your photographer make you feel comfortable?

Initially, we wanted and started with a high fashion shoot but nerves got the better of us. Lei suggested we just lounge around on the floor, try to get comfortable and we found ourselves warming up to the cameras. Lei and Joannie made jokes, repositioned us and suggested that we pretend we were just watching TV or a movie and that was when we started getting the shots we all liked.

Why was this location chosen?

We are both fans of the arts, culture and history. It came to no surprise that we chose a beautiful historical landmark for our shoot. Moreover, Manila Metropolitan Theater or the (MET), the grand dame of Manila theaters, deserves a second wind and if our photos would spark and push the renovation process, all the better.

We asked around and used our lawyering skills to be able to use the venue for free by availing of the Postal Heritage Walking Tour! In exchange, we became members of the Filipinas Stamp Collectors Club. The Club's 'Postal Heritage Walking Tour' is held every third Sunday of the month. You can contact the organizer, Mr. Lawrence Chan, through his e-mail at (Thanks for the shameless plugging. Please support the renovation of the MET, as of writing it has been partially opened.)

The tour also features the Manila Post Office, Intramuros grounds and Arroceros Forest Park. Pilipinas, major major kay ganda!).


Favorite memory of this day?

We really did dance on the empty stage of the MET! Now that is an experience worth telling our children.

Kristine's thought bubble: "Wow, I'm onstage at the MET and I'm dancing with Allan and we're about to get married! Awww, how romantic! *Bliss*"

Allan's thought bubble: "I'm onstage at the MET and its not going to be torn down anytime soon! And I fulfilled my romantic gestures quota for the year! *Bliss*"

And this: Nińa (a bridesmaid) on the phone with McDo Delivery: "Yes, for delivery. We're at the MET. Nearest landmark? Dude, we are AT a historical landmark. Where is it? Manila, in front of the Post Office. Dude, who's your history teacher?"

Tips to other couples on how to prepare for an e-session:

Visualize photos that you would want hanging in your home and aim for that. Take into consideration your common interests and favorite activities. Research, get a good photographer, communicate your ideas and have fun!

Kristine: Get your groom involved and ask for his input (Allan had so much fun playing director and GQ model). Scout for photos you like and do not be confined to the standard couple shots. Favorite MTVs, artworks and memories make for good inspiration. Create a mood board.

Allan: Be involved and have fun. When in doubt, just look at and hold your fiancée lovingly.

Location Guide: The Metropolitan Theatre, Manila

Please see more of this series here.

All photos are by and courtesy of
Daniel Lei Studios | Photo & Cinematography
Look for Daniel Lei Sarmiento & Joannie Candi
716-C Victoria Towers, Timog corner Panay Ave., Quezon City
Landline: (+632)334.9037
Globe: (+63)906.272.2320 (Primary)
Smart: (+63)920.501.6209
YM: wsi_lei

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