Q1. Is photography your passion? What made you pursue photography as a profession?
It wasn’t my first choice as a career. It was always a hobby that I had since a very young age. I was keener on film making and that’s what I studied for my under grad, and masters courses. But photography became the more lucrative option for me. It was appreciated quite instantly by a lot of people after I shot my first wedding for a friend. Soon I was being asked to shoot weddings and getting paid quite well for it. That’s when I realized it was something I could pursue seriously. For me, wedding photography became a form of storytelling on a much more personal level. It was intimate for the clients and for me to be able to capture that intimacy.
Q2. What do you think differentiates you from other photographers in the industry?
Every photographer has their own style, whether they realize it or not. This is defined by their personality and the way they approach a subject. For me photography is a very individual experience. I always prefer to shoot entire weddings by myself. This gives me complete control over the experience and output. It’s an extension of who I am as a person. I enjoy individual activities such as biking, swimming, playing darts, binging on TV shows. All of which can be done in complete isolation. At a wedding, being alone gives me the advantage to get lost in the crowd and not be noticed, thus allowing people to drop their guard and not be conscious of the camera.
Apart from that I’m always trying to innovate on products and services I offer my clients. I have a unique product that I call Mini Klone. These are 3D printed miniature replicas of a person. Basically, an equivalent of a three-dimensional photograph. Another product I have is a personalised jigsaw puzzle where I print a photo of the couple onto 1000 puzzle pieces. It becomes an activity for the couple to do together whenever they want a digital detox and spend time with each other. Once the puzzle is finished (which could take a few days) it can be framed like a regular photograph.
Q3. How was your experience working in the television industry?
I was an assistant director working on ad films. This was right after my post-graduation course from Pune. Film making taught me all I know about storytelling, composition, lighting and visual aesthetics. All of that learning I have used to improve my craft as a photographer. It was an exciting job for me, being an assistant director. Interacting and learning from so many talented veterans of cinema. My first job was with Prahlad Kakar and the first film I ever worked on was with Amitabh Bachchan. Watching two titans, in their own right, was quite a surreal experience. Over the years I worked with a lot of famous people. But the one most people are envious of is Sachin Tendulkar. It was a commercial for Boost where Sachin was the protagonist. I was given the job to collect him from his house in Bandra and bring him to the set in Goregaon. What most people curse me for is my lack of interest in cricket. I only discussed our common love for fast cars during the entire trip from Bandra to Goregaon!
Q4. On your website, you have mentioned that you worked with Emmanuel Lubzeki, how was your experience working with him? What is the one moment that you still look back at fondly from the whole experience
It was a huge learning opportunity for me being on a set with Chivo (as he is fondly called). This was one of the last few films I worked on before I moved to photography full time. Having worked with so many DOP’s over my 5 year career as an assistant director, it was a revelation to see how his way of working was so different. The ad was being shot entirely outdoors over 3 days. Not once did he use an additional light source apart from natural sunlight. That is unheard of in Indian cinema. It made me realise how much control he has over his craft. And how we don’t push ourselves enough to improve our understanding of a medium rather than spend loads of money on expensive equipment in the hope that it will make our work better. The equipment doesn’t matter, it’s what you can do with it that will define your talent.
Q5. What is your process for working on weddings? How do you build chemistry with your client?
Once I get an enquiry from a prospective client, I make it a point to revert as soon as possible. I was quite surprised when clients appreciated my quick response compared to other photographers they had contacted. Some of whom never even replied. I prefer to meet the clients if they are in the same city or at least speak to them over the phone to understand their requirements. Based on that I offer a quotation of all services that I will be providing before, during and after the wedding. Once the costs are finalised I try and visit the venue with the client if it’s possible. If not then I ask them for photos of the venue. How they plan to do the layouts for each function. This gives me an idea of what to expect in terms of guest movement and space. How I can position myself best for the best angles. I offer suggestions on lighting and colours for the décor if the client would like my inputs. Brides have often asked me for advice on the colour of their outfit and shade of make up as well!!! Building chemistry is really not a problem for me. I can get along with people and make friends quite easily.
Q6. You have worked on many weddings overseas as well. Did you find any difference in weddings abroad as compared to weddings in India?
The weddings I’ve shot abroad have all been Indian weddings. The most striking thing about them is the fact that people are so much more punctual. And venues have become quite savvy in catering to Indian wedding requirements. From Jain food to all the puja items, everything is available.
Q7. What advice will you give to a young kid who wants to pursue a career in photography
Be prepared for a highly competitive market. Though there is enough opportunity out there as well. Besides that, make sure you know WHY you are getting into photography. Buying the best equipment won’t make you a good photographer. Get a formal education to help you understand the technicalities of a camera. Not a phone camera but a DSLR (or mirrorless even). How to control light and how to use it to your advantage. And try to get as much feedback about your work as you can. Unless you are taking photos just for personal consumption, you need to understand what people appreciate about your work and what they don’t. You may choose to ignore all of it, but knowing it is important. [READ: 5 Backdrop Ideas for Blog Photography Under $25 – Shop Backdrop]