There’s a different kind of charm, unposed and carefree, to the pictures we used to keep in photo albums, commemorating milestones and holidays. In the era of timelines and news feeds, though, people have taken to getting snap-happy with their smartphones, hitting ‘upload,’ and calling it a day—with absolutely no regard for quality or quantity.
Even with a fast-paced, digital lifestyle, it pays to make memories that are actually worth coming back to and poring over, and nobody’s going to do that when they have to sift through hundreds of photos that were taken without a second thought.
On the other hand, you may be so preoccupied with getting the perfect Instagram-worthy shot that you’ve forgotten to live in the moment and enjoy yourself altogether. And when these photos were taken on a trip in a foreign city, there’s a good chance you won’t get any do-overs for quite some time, if at all.
Enter SweetEscape, a holiday photography service that specializes in location-based professional shoots. Founded in Indonesia, it officially launched in the Philippines this July and proved to be an instant hit: Filipinos are already the service’s second-most frequent clients, the first being Indonesians.
The Goal Is To Create Memorable Photos
“When you travel, the best thing to do is to live in the moment—to experience the sights and sounds with your own senses,” explains founder and CEO David Soong, who has always been passionate about both travel and photography. “Having to constantly peer through a camera lens with the obligation to document can be disruptive of that experience.”
SweetEscape makes it easier by connecting clients with over 2,000 professional photographers in over 400 cities. “In less than two minutes, you can book a photographer anywhere in the world,” says Soong. Once your shoot has been set and the session is finished, within three business days, you can choose among hundreds of high-resolution edited images and download up to 40 of your favorites.
The idea for the venture came to Soong during a trip to Paris with family. “Although I’m a photographer, it was ironic that I didn’t have any decent pictures of my family and I during that trip,” he says, adding that it’s a common problem among his photographer friends as well. “This led me to think about how nice it would be to connect people with a local photographer anywhere in the world, who could take good pictures and provide the best touring tips on how to experience the city.”
According to Soong, the goal of SweetEscape goes beyond visually appealing photos tailored for social media. “A memorable photo tells a story that reminds you of more than just the time and place a photo was taken, but also the emotions and thoughts associated with that moment.”
A Local Photographer Is Your Key To Unforgettable Moments
In curating its pool of photographers, SweetEscape’s team makes sure that, while skilled, experienced, and equipped with the best tools, they’re also friendly and able to engage genially with clients. “What makes our team unique is they come from different walks of life,” Soong explains. “Not all of them are full-time professional photographers. Some of them have jobs as graphic designers, engineers, or even housewives among others, but have the creative eye and technical skill of a great photographer.”
An added benefit is that you’ll be working with someone who actually lives in your destination and knows it by heart—and who can show you how to have a good time just the way you’d like. “Working with a local photographer is like having a friend in that city,” says Soong. “They can take you to shoot in beautiful and interesting hidden gems that other tourists wouldn’t know about. They can even serve as a guide of sorts providing you with restaurant, activity, and touring recommendations.”
Men Can Immortalize Their Proposals Or Bachelor Parties
Along with your overseas or out-of-town trips, it’s worth keeping SweetEscape in mind for all sorts of once-in-a-lifetime celebrations (proposals, weddings and honeymoons, bachelor parties) and special occasions (anniversaries, birthdays, maybe even your family Christmas card).
“Well-planned [wedding] proposals are incredible, which is why having it properly documented is a must,” shares Soong. “Often times we actually help the guys plan where they should pop the question to ensure that the location is photogenic. Our photographers can skillfully capture all the subtlest and grandest emotions of the people involved better than that shaky cellphone footage your friends could shoot for you.”
The results are candid and warm, even cinematic—an unfiltered, intimate look into your own life, a fresh perspective.
Given its versatility and range of services, it’s no surprise that Filipinos have taken quite a liking to SweetEscape. “Filipinos are very festive and love to celebrate every occasion,” Soong says. “In the Philippines, we’ve had clients book us not just for holidays or pre-nuptials but also for birthdays, graduations, and family gatherings, among others. The possibilities are endless.”