We had the good fortune of connecting with Noel Daganta and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Noel, what makes you happy? Why?
What makes me happy is being free and able to do what I want to do; using my talent to have a positive impact on other people. I always believe that we are given a special talent and a set of skills for a reason. It is our responsibility to share that talent with the world and hopefully make a difference.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Photography as a profession happened by accident to me. When I was in the US Navy, photography was one of my hobbies but I never really took it seriously. One of my good friends when I left the military, James Ellis, who wanted to be a model paid a photographer for a photoshoot to get started in the industry, Unfortunately, none of the photos from the shoot came out to what he wanted. He did not have a lot of money and I felt bad so I told him I can try to take some photos of him at the beach and hopefully we can get something that could get him started. Using a cheap camera, that was my first photoshoot ever and those photos helped him get an agent. He used many images I took of him in his social media, MySpace at the time. Within a few months, he landed his first magazine cover. That got me a lot of attention as well since most of his photos in his social media were shot by me. Pretty soon, named models started getting a hold of me for shoots. Within that year, 2007, him and I decided to move to LA to further pursue his modeling career while I wanted to pursue filmmaking and photography since I have a degree in film and TV. I struggled at first but after a year or so I had a big break when my friend James had the opportunity for another magazine cover and he recommended me to the publisher. The publisher gave me a chance and that started many more magazine covers after. Since then, I have established relationships with different magazines as a photographer. I was able to use James about a dozen times as a cover model, paying him back for what he has done for my career. One thing I have learned being in Hollywood is to have a good support system, even if it’s one person. I was lucky to have moved here with a friend that we both really helped each other’s careers. Noel Daganta Photography (http://www.ndpictures.com) is located at the fashion district in downtown LA. I shoot fashion, headshots, editorial and commercial images. Although my portfolio has a pretty good range of photographic genres, I am known for being a fitness and fashion photographer. I have shot more than 200 magazine covers, mostly fitness, published in the US and internationally. Google helps me a lot by ranking my photography pretty well in fitness and fashion photography especially in Los Angeles. What sets my images apart from other photographers is that my images are commercial and functional whatever genre I shoot. It was a conscious decision I made from the start. I want my images to be useful, whether it’s for a personal website, business or magazine publications. and not just getting like on social media or creating art for the sake of it
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would say we’ll start with what LA is famous for. The first day would be the beaches around the city, Santa Monica and Venice. The second day would be Hollywood, maybe a restaurant or nightlife in West Hollywood the following day, hiking in Runyon Canyon the next day. Maybe Universal Studios on the fifth day, another beach day the following day. This time around Malibu or a little south such as Manhattan beach for a more local vibe. The last day, which is my most favorite thing to do as a local here in LA is sunset hiking Wisdom Tree and Hollywood Sign via a private trail that not a lot of people know about. It’s the most amazing experience that I have taken many of my visiting friends and they consider it the highlight of their stay.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My family deserves a big shoutout. I have done some great things and not-so-great things but they have been there through thick and thin. I would like to thank them for supporting me no matter what. Thank you for the love whether I succeed or not. Shoutout to my biggest inspiration, the Filipino people. I am always proud of my culture and I take it upon myself to represent the best I can who I am as a Filipino-American. I hope to make my family and the Filipino people proud someday.
Linkedin: Noel Daganta