Here’s the childrenswear catalog that I did a couple of weeks before I left for the States. Buttercup is a reputable boutique and novelty shop in Ormoc City, Leyte, that just inaugurated their “bigger and better” outlet last July (from their humble online store beginnings just a little over a year before that), and who are as well-known for their selection of kids’ clothing as for their womenswear. Owned and operated by my cousin-in-law Ishshah Franco-Kangleon, whose eye for curating beautiful and playful pieces is only matched by her keen business acumen, Buttercup is where the town’s stylish moms flock to for trendy items for their little tots (at very affordable prices, if I may add).
As we were planning this shoot to showcase their latest selection of little girls’ dresses and dressy tops, and we were scouting for someone who could model them, I figured: why not ask her five-year-old daughter Khaela to do it? She had a doll-like face, loved to play dress up, and, judging by the family pictures that Ishsha had posted on Facebook, it was clear the little girl loved to pose for the camera, too—so, really, what was the point of looking for someone else? Luckily we got not just Khaela but everyone else in the family to say yes, and so we got down to business in no time!
I was supposed to go to Ormoc to do this project, but I only had a day free, and I seemed to know taking the first boat in and last boat out on the same day was no fun, so I asked Ishsha and Khaela if they could come to Cebu instead (they had some doctor’s appointments to go to anyways). Turned out to be a good decision because this way I could have quick access to the guy who does lighting setups for me (Marlowe Guinto), and to my set decorator friend (Jennifer Hortillosa)—didn’t have these kinds of connections in Ormoc, and so if I’d gone there I wouldn’t be able to assemble a team!
Good call, too, that we decided to go all out on the set design and all! At first, you see, we thought about keeping things simple—just Khaela standing there wearing the clothes, and that’s it. But there were about 10 or so outfits that needed to be shot, and I was afraid that maybe after the third or 4th outfit the little girl would begin to think this was no fun at all and then decide to “quit” the job. And so quickly we agreed to come up with a bunch of scenes that involved toys and other stuff she could play around with, just so we could be assured Khaela would not only be kept on her toes but have a good time as well. I personally liked the country set wherein we had stackable luggages, a miniature rocking horse and stuffed country animals to go with the smocked paisley-print dress—touch of Little House on the Prairie right there! I also enjoyed the scenes where we had her pretend like she was watering plants. I even had my baker friend whip up a batch of Devil’s Food cupcakes with bubblegum pink icing to go with the brown-and-pink gingham ensemble with little cupcake accents! True enough, Khaela had a rocking good time—perhaps a little too much, actually, because now she was completely distracted by all the stuff surrounding her, and so it took a lot of effort from all seven or 8 people in the room to get her to look at the camera! We managed to finish shooting in a little under four hours, though, and that was an incredible thing—not even an adult model could breeze through 10 or so outfits in that amount of time!
If there was one thing I could change about this shoot, it would be the fact that we did this indoors. These clothes and scenes would’ve been perfect for an on-location thing, don’t you think? Plus you all know I’m not good with studio lighting—no matter how many books I read, and no matter how many lighting specialists are there to supervise me, I still can’t seem to get it right! (I should enroll in a legit workshop before I take on another studio-type shoot.) So why didn’t I call for an on-location shoot in the first place, you ask? Well, simply because I checked the weather forecast for our shoot date, and it said rain with a chance of thunderstorms, and I didn’t want to risk not just my the safety of my camera/equipment but the health of our little model as well, so there. Hopefully when we do the next catalog it’ll be in the summer, so we can take this whole thing outdoors!
Buttercup childrenswear catalog | Photographed and styled by Angelo Kangleon in Cebu City, Cebu, on October 6, 2013 | Model: Thaleanna Makhaela Kangleon | Hair and makeup by Pam Buhangin | Lighting supervisor: Marlowe Guinto | Set decorators: Angelo Kangleon and Jennifer Hortillosa | Special thanks to Monique Rosal and Rhia de Pablo