Nerd Life

My Last Event Photography Session – Ieda’s 18th Debut


Last month, I had my last event photography session shooting Ieda’s 18th Debut. In Filipino culture, a girl has her debut on 18th birthday as a way of her parents being able to present her to society as a woman, though I know of some girls who have had their debuts on their 16th birthday. If you’re familiar with Quinceañeras you’ll get the concept a little better.







A Filipino Debut is a formal event. The debutante has an entourage made of her, her escort, 8 girls, and 8 boys. The entourage commonly includes siblings, as well as friends from all cultures. It is tradition that entourage does a waltz dance upon entering the hall.

Additionally, there is the tradition of the 18 candles and 18 roses. For the 18 roses portion (traditionally white, but I haven’t seen that in a while), important males in the girl’s life present her one rose and dance a short time with her until all 18 roses have been presented, starting with the girl’s father or equivalent and ending with family friends. Similarly structured, the 18 candles are a series of speeches given to the debutante by important females in the girl’s life.

Special performances are done, a cake is cut and served after a hearty dinner, and then everyone dances!  Sadly, I did not get a debut because reasons, but I’ve already decided that any future daughters I produce will definitely get this amazing opportunity!










I started doing photography years ago as a means of providing families a more affordable option for wedding and event photography, while also saving up for my true dream: starting my own business. While this is not my last photography gig, it is definitely the last event gig I’ll be doing, and I’m very glad it was this one! Happy birthday, Ieda!