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Meet Molly Chien and Abel Manansala of Goldensun Photography in Fullerton

Today we’d like to introduce you to Molly Chien and Abel Manansala.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Photography is what brought me and Abel together. We knew of each other because of mutual friends from school but had never met until we decided to shoot together.

While I was a student at CSU Fullerton, I worked as a second-shooter for a local wedding photographer. In 2016, Abel sent me a message on Instagram, asking me for photography advice, since he had recently bought his first camera. We decided to meet up to take photos in LA, and one of his friends tagged along as our model. Since that day, we were friends for a few months, dated for almost two years, and got engaged in November 2018.

I began working an office job after I graduated but was occasionally shot weddings on the weekends with Abel. During that time, we created Goldensun Photography. After shooting a few weddings together, Abel tried to convince me to quit my job to become a wedding photographer. Although I dreaded work, I stayed for two years until I made the leap into full-time photography in October 2019.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Early on, I was only worried about the foreseen obstacles—like my parents’ disapproval, self-doubt, and setting work/life boundaries. These are things that I knew that most freelancers struggle with. Despite those challenges, the first few months went better than expected. Inquiries trickled in, and we were booking weddings for 2020 and 2021.

It goes without saying that this was the worst year to enter the wedding industry, let alone be planning our own March 2020 wedding. Two weeks before our wedding day, Abel and I made the hard decision to postpone indefinitely. Although it was extremely stressful, this experience allowed us to able to empathize with our clients who eventually had to postpone or downsize their own weddings as well. We’ve gotten to connect with some amazing couples, and we’re still grateful to be able to document their special day, even if the plans have changed.

It’s undeniably frustrating to be facing this within the first year of going full-time, but thankfully Abel’s marketing job has been our lifeboat. I still wrestle with regret, doubt, and the need to prove myself, but I know that there’s only going up from here.

Goldensun Photography – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Our job is to make moments last forever! We strive to authentically capture weddings in a way that allows our couples to relive the butterflies, tears, and joy they felt on that day. We want to focus on and celebrate the love and relationship our couples have created together.

It doesn’t matter to us if the flowers are real or silk, if the speeches are written on a coloring book page (it’s happened), or if the bride is an hour behind schedule (also has happened). Every part of the wedding day is special, but nothing will be as valuable as what that day is about. Our photographs tell their love story as it unfolds naturally, and we make sure that the little moments don’t go unnoticed. We are dedicated to preserving every piece of it. It’s one of the reasons why I’m beyond grateful that Abel is always my assistant-shooter, my second pair of eyes, or as he likes to call himself, my sidekick.

Capturing the wedding day is only a slice of what we do. Editing all the photos to our style is an important part of our job too. I do all the editing myself, and I think the best way to describe our style is dreamy and carefree, but overall natural.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
It’s so important to us that our couples have a great experience. Not only do we want them to love their photos, but also to enjoy the process! Of course, when they gush over their photos, that’s the biggest win, but my heart swells when they say they had a fun time! Couples often warn us that they’ve never done a photoshoot together, or that they freeze up in front of the camera. When we do engagement shoots, I always assure them that we’ll get past the awkward stages in no time and that I’ll guide them in a way that won’t feel too posed. When we get new inquiries from referrals of past clients, we take it as a sign that they really did love our work.

We would love for our couples to come back to have us capture all the important milestones in their life. From engagements to weddings, baby photos, anniversaries, and family photos, it would be the greatest honor to witness and make memories for every part of their journey.

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