On a rocky shore, or under water, Davao photographer Roland Jumawan turns every wedding moment into unique memories that live forever

It’s not mere luck that made Roland “RJ” Jumawan a name in the industry. He had to work his way up the ladder before the photography gods smiled at him and rewarded him with a life many young photographers could only dream of—a financially rewarding and successful photography career.

But unlike today, where many average Joes turn into overnight digital sensations, Roland built a solid photography career with a good footing, eventually getting years of experiences as a news photographer for various reputable media organizations. Today, he runs his own photography studio in Davao, shooting weddings and corporate events with a group of photographers.

In this interview, Roland shares his experiences in capturing weddings and “the most important things in the life of others”.

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As the lead photographer, what tasks do you cover and what tasks do you assign to the members of the photography team?

We usually have a pre-wedding day meeting, where specific tasks are assigned to members of the team. I make sure that everything is in order before going to our event. There should be a main photographer and a lighting assistant. Who will shoot the details, the preparation of the groom and bride, etc., is also decided during the briefing. Usually, I personally shoot the bride and groom, especially if they are staying in the same hotel or location of preparation. As the team leader and lead photographer, I also encourage the members to be productive in their work and remind them of the importance of their tasks.

What are your essential shooting gears for wedding photography?

I usually prepare a two-cam setup. The two camera bodies are mounted either with a 16-35mm 2.8 ultra wide-angle, a 70-200mm 2.8, or a 100mm macro. I also pack two flashguns with remote triggers for off-camera flash and a couple of LED lights.

What are the top three shooting skills that you think aspiring wedding photographers must learn first?

First, knowing the “moments”, or knowing when to shoot, what to shoot, and how to shoot it. Second, recognizing the quality of light and how it will affect the shot. The third most important thing is creativity, or the ability to create moments and chemistry with your subjects.

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Since weddings are personal to couples, how do you make sure that your clients get photographs that are different from other wedding photographs you’ve taken?

I see to it that I make my images better than the last one. Before the wedding day, I check some old photos and review how I can make them even better and unique. It’s always good to be prepared. I may check the venue itself to get a good insight of the shooting conditions ahead of time. I always bare in my mind that I’m joining a photo contest and that I should be at my best to win it.

Any tips to photographers who wish to strengthen their network and reach more clients?

Always be true and professional. Be transparent on what you can offer and make sure that you always give your best during the event. Establish rapport with clients to gain their trust and increase referrals.

To get more professional tips on shooting weddings and on managing your wedding photography business, check out the 8-page interview with Roland Jumawan in i-Mag Photography magazine’s Issue 44. Order your copies at and like us on Facebook:

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