by Demi Rosseau

“When someone throws you lemon, make a lemonade!” And for Alex; whose seemingly funny sobriquet, born out of a misfortune during his childhood, did not turn a sour face (from it) but took it as a good humour and proudly brand himself with it all the way. With multiple local and international awards and recognitions to his name, Alexander a.k.a “Bukool” Banaag II is one of the Philippine’s best photo and video team. Currently awarded as the Best Wedding Photographer in South East Asia’s Business Awards.

Bukool is a Photo and Video team based in Cebu, Philippines. They were the one of the first to use arial drone photography in Cebu, the first to popularize candid stolen photos which are usually funny moments caught on camera- a thing which became their signature style over the years and copied by many.

And we are so proud to say that Bukool will be our Film Editor/ Movie Maker Sponsor in “CONNECTED 2021”!

Here is their incredible story;

Alexander Banaag II, of Portraits by Bukool (sitting on the left) with his team

Please tell us a brief intro about yourself.

“I’m a Leo (born Aug 10, 1975). I have a bachelor’s degree in Radiologic Technology and a CCNA certification. I’m married (for 25 years) and my wife and I have 2 grown-up kids, both boys. Brent is 24 and Alexander III is 21. My wife, Jeanneth, works for me as my assistant and 2nd shooter (second camera photographer).”

How did you start as a photographer? What has motivated you to indulge in this kind of art? What was your first medium and what made you realize you are a photographer?

“As most photographers did, it started as a hobby, turned into a passion, and eventually into a profession. In 2009, Jeanneth bought a used Canon A610 point and shoot camera, which was a megapixel camera that was the closest thing to a DSLR that I had. Later that year, I saved enough money to buy a Canon 450D, which was my first DSLR. I started taking pictures of my cousins and friends, then later shot portraits of models. Then I decided to create my website, https://bukool.com.”

Some of the first photography taken by Bukool (photo by Bukool)

What was your first major project?


“In 2010, a former colleague was looking for a 2 nd shooter for a wedding shoot and I enjoyed every moment of it. That was the turning point of my eventual career in photography. Since I already have my website established, I thought it would be easier for me to market my services. Later that year, I got my own wedding project under my own brand.”

Why did you choose wedding photography? What does it (weddings) mean to you?


“Weddings are one of the most special moments in a person’s life. And I like the fact that I am part of someone’s special day. Each wedding is different from the other. And I get to learn a lot of new things every single time. It meant a lot to me because it helped me develop other skills not just technical skills but physical and emotional skills as well. When shooting a wedding, I learn to recognize when a beautiful story is being played out in front of me.”

One of Bukool’s first wedding photography gig (photo by Bukool) 2013

What was life before photography? Or what else did you do, professionally?


“I used to be a branch manager of a freight forwarding/logistics company before I moved to the BPO industry in 2007. Even when I became a wedding photographer, it was not a full-time job. Between 2010-2016, I was working as a marketing analyst and would file a leave of absence
when I have a wedding shoot. My career in marketing greatly helped my photography brand
because I was able to apply my experience in online marketing. I was also able to use my
leadership skills in leading my shooting team, making sure that they can perform their respective
roles.”

Your branding says “Portraits by Bukool”, what does the name stands for and please tell us about your slogan


“Bukool came from the word “bukol” which means a lump in the head. As a young kid, I fell 2- stories high and my head hit the concrete floor creating a lump. Soon my siblings and cousins called me Bukol. And the name stuck even when in college and until now. So when I entered the photography scene, most photographers had their first and last names plus “photography” as their brands. But Alex Banaag Photography simply does not rhyme. That’s why I decided to use Bukool instead. And trust me, it worked. As some clients booked me because of my brand name.


Our slogan – We don’t wait for a moment. We create one. – speaks to our style, a combination of photojournalism and modern photography. If the moment isn’t there, we ask the couple to just be themselves, tell jokes, laugh at random, thereby creating a moment.”

Latest of Bukool’s wedding photo gigs (photo by Bukool)

How long have you been capturing moments in weddings and special events? This is my 11 th year.

“Aside from being in photography, we read that you are also producing films for Bukool Films for weddings. Please tell us about it. Are they one with Portraits…? It started in 2012 when I bought a Canon 60D. I figured I can be a one-stop-shop for photo and video services. So I took film-making lessons from the International Institute for Film and Broadcast Arts. It was where I learned how to make a full production beginning with the story and scriptwriting, to storyboards, production, and post. And the rest is history.”

It is amazing how you capture moments in such a special day of person’s life, how does it impact you personally? How do you see yourself by doing it?


“Again, it feels great to be a part of a person’s life. Shooting someone’s wedding is not just taking pictures. Over the years, I have built strong relationships with my clients. Most of them have become good friends. Seeing their children grow up made me realize how old I am in the industry. LOL.”

Random commissioned photos by Bukool

What is the most unforgettable moment you had as a photographer?

“I can’t say that I have a specific one. But all of my weddings are unforgettable.”

Do you travel to capture weddings too in other countries?

“Yes. We’ve been to Singapore, Hong Kong, and Australia. “

Bukool (left-most) in Australia, with client (middle, 2nd and 3rd), his wife Jeaneth 2nd from right, Bukool’s brother (right)

What can you share to the readers about this career realization such as yours, what kind of
advice would you like to give someone who is yet to find their true calling?


“Commitment. Dedication. Professionalism. And you have to have tons of PATIENCE. Filming weddings involve tons of patience. Do not be afraid to ask questions. Learn from experienced ones. Find your own identity and style. Have fun!”

Bukool at work

Lastly, if you are given a chance to cover a wedding of a famous celebrity couple past and present, whose wedding you would wish to cover?


“*Solenn and Nico’s wedding in France. I just love the location – the beautiful church and the countryside reception.”

*Solenn is a Filipino celebrity and model .
Alexander Banaag II, Founder/ Portraits by Bukool

*****

Book Bukool team to capture your next life’s precious moments, http://bukool.com/

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