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Shilpa and Abhinav

Over the last few months I have observed a pattern, that almost all of my clients are not locals anymore. They are either the ones that have moved out of Lucknow and return to get married here or choose Lucknow for their Wedding for some specific reason. In such cases we hardly get to meet before the wedding and most of the communication happens over the phone or emails. Such was also the case here, Shilpa and I were in touch much before the wedding and we had a fair idea how the wedding day would commence. None of us would have expected it to rain on that day in January when the venue was out in the open. Even when we arrived to the venue, the decor was in preps due to this development and but thankfully, mid way through the ‘baraat’ the weather settled quite a bit and all the ceremonies could be carried out smoothly.

Shilpa and Abhinav have known each other for years now and were very much in love and comfortable with each other and created a very close and friendly atmosphere between the families, and guests attending this wedding.

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Roli & Sanket

I have been blessed to work for people who have been very clear to me what they expect from their wedding pictures. Almost always the brief is to capture them how they are and not make them do anything. I met Roli and her family five months before the wedding and it was one of the fastest booking I have ever had. I remember I was ecstatic after the meeting as it reinforced the confidence that there are takers of your vision who appreciate it and recognise it as soon as they see it. It is not to boast (because there are many more who also not end up booking with us) but they mentioned that I was the last one they met that day and were quick to like my portfolio. If you are into a creative industry on your own, you can understand how easily we undermine and self doubt ourselves all the time and small gestures like this keeps your mental health at peace for some days.

Roli and Sanket are both PhD. scholars at IIT and throughout these five months I couldn’t set up a meeting or phone call with her to understand her taste for the portraits although she had already told me she wouldn’t like to pose for any pictures but as it turned out, she straight away came to the ‘mandap’ and we didn’t get any time for the portraits as I had some slight hope to convince her as i find it to be the most challenging part in a wedding.

As a wedding photographing team we had been yearning to shoot a wedding out in the open during daytime as most weddings that we shoot happen late in the night in four walls. Luckily this wedding was scheduled for 10:30 in the morning which is very refreshing.

The mandap being looked after by Roli’s brother-in- law as he was one of the first ones to arrive and oversee the decorations.

The mandap being looked after by Roli’s brother-in- law as he was one of the first ones to arrive and oversee the decorations.

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As the time progressed, the guests starting poring in for this early morning winter wedding.

As the time progressed, the guests starting poring in for this early morning winter wedding.

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Meet Sanket, the most smiling groom have ever met till now.

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and here comes our bride……

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The case of the shining shoes.

The case of the shining shoes.

One of the kids, not happy with the price offered for the shoes, tries to saperate the newly wed couple.

One of the kids, not happy with the price offered for the shoes, tries to saperate the newly wed couple.

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Roli & Sanket photographed for their reception in the evening.

Roli & Sanket photographed for their reception in the evening.

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Shweta and Parth's Wedding - II

During the last meeting I had with Shweta’s family before the wedding, Shweta’s father suggested her to go with Vicco turmeric rather than real haldi for her Haldi ceremony as no one knows what kind of reactions she ends up getting on the wedding day. I took it to be his dark humour while everybody reprimanded him to not go overhand infront of guests(me) . I immediately took a liking for him as that’s the kind of humor that runs in our family. Little did I know they will go ahead with that idea.

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While Shweta was having fun at her Haldi, Parth was getting ready for his Janeyu before the wedding.

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Both Parth and Shweta got ready at Taj Vivanta, while the lovely decor was being done by Naina Garg of Heavenly Marriages Inc.

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Weddings are too hectic and there’s a lot of things going on the couple’s mind, when I suggested Parth and Shwetato sneak sometime out for the portraits, they flat out refused as they were around their family and friends who had come from all over the world and that’s what mattered to them. Even during their consultation, Shweta wanted me to be just capturing whatever is happening and nothing fabricated, but I had found this lovely paitning at the venue and couldn’t miss the chance. Also since the couple is so occupied with other things, it becomes ourjob to ease out things for them and take over the responsibilities sometimes, I did a mock shoot with my assistant , came back down to them and convinced them for 5 mins after they liked the photo. Still I got that chance after all the ceremonies had finished off. But looking at the result it was all worth it and I am happy that I became pushy for a change.

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The vidai had to take place from Shweta’s house and one could sense the gloomy somberness in the environment.

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Shweta & Parth's Wedding - I

As a wedding photographer, I get a lot of calls or enquiries from couples, their parents for photographing their perspective weddings, but with some couples, you know from the get go that these are the kind of people you’ll get to enjoy a lot while being a witness of their big day.

Shweta and Parth’s wedding was one such wedding I shot this year and I have received so much praise for this album that it has been overwhelming as well as reassuring of my own craft and instincts for capturing moments.

Since it was a four day long wedding, I have split the blog post in two sections starting off with the Mehendi ceremony where the groom also dropped in to have a couple of cans of beer but.

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To be honest, unless I bring some elements of my street photography while shooting weddings, I am not content about where my photo story is heading on that day.

To be honest, unless I bring some elements of my street photography while shooting weddings, I am not content about where my photo story is heading on that day.

I probably mentioned this somewhere that since meeting Andre Corsi at Silk Inspire, I have got a new perspective of keeping an eye on children during weddings and see it from their perspective too.

I probably mentioned this somewhere that since meeting Andre Corsi at Silk Inspire, I have got a new perspective of keeping an eye on children during weddings and see it from their perspective too.

Didn’t I tell you :D

Didn’t I tell you :D

A lot of the couple’s friends dropped in from different cities much before the actual wedding started.

A lot of the couple’s friends dropped in from different cities much before the actual wedding started.

Friends and family of Shweta had arrived from different cities and it turned out to be a mix of traditional folk songs sung by her aunts and friends discussing the dance moves for the ring ceremony and cocktail party.

The ring ceremony and the cocktail party.

The ring ceremony and the cocktail party.

Each day’s decor was done by a different team but still it felt so cohesive while being different. This beautiful cake was provided by arguably the best wedding cake maker of the town, Mouth Wide shut.

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The crazy dance party went beyond the wee hours, even after we left the venue, which also resulted in Parth’s swollen face the next day, but that’s all okay, times and meets with friends from your childhood to adult life comes very few times.
Coming up next is their wedding day and how I clicked the most Unhappy picture of mine ever……

My Experience at the Silk Inspire 2017

If you have been following my Facebook page or profile for the last few days, you know that I attended the Silk Inspire Wedding photography Festival in Goa this year. There are few places which suck you in their own world making you forget where you come from. Silk Festival is one such event where photography is celebrated, talked and explored into.

One of the big reasons of going to the fest was to meet my guru the ZACK ARIAS through whom I have learned most of the technical aspect of photography, he is one of the most generous and honest photographers who believe in spreading the knowledge with the next generation. I just had to meet him in person and thank him for all that he helped me with.

The festival opened with DJ Pete playing, "I've got the Power" and Sephi and all the panelists dancing on the stage setting up the overall mood of the fest.

Sephi Bergerson opened the session by sharing his documentary work on Polio eradicament in India by UNICEF and showing how his approach for documentary photography translates into his wedding work. He clearly drove home the point that you need to be a good photographer first to be a good wedding photographer.

Sergei Ivanov, a Russion photographer who creates fairytale inspired photos for his couples shared his reaasons for his approach and how it helps him stand out from the crowd.

The one photographer who got everyone in awe was the awesome Jeff Newsome who shared his family photos with us to let us in in his mind space, to empasise how it's important the create images which matter to you and not just what follow the trend or just look pretty. He is in my list of most favorite photographers now on and garnered a standing ovation for his work.

Jen Huang, an elegant analogue photographer who approaches her work from the space of a creative director rather than a spectator of the event brings her own accessories and decorative items to add on to the photos that she already has a list of before reaching the wedding venue.

Another of the photographers who had the delegates by their sleeve was Andre Corsi, who has ethics and honesty as one of his primary driving factors to run his business. Not the one to take up any wedding coming his way, his pictures, perfectly presented with narrative soundtrack got us emotional about the weddings we don't know anything about. He shared that he approaches to shoot a wedding from the eyes of a kid.

Juya Jentil, a Columbian photographers who already commits the oft heard sin of shooting in JPEGs and not knowing how to use a flash, is a prime example of sticking to your guns and not fretting by comparing oneself to other photographers. His bold imagery and use of available lights brought a fresh perspective to my approach to see and observe a location before looking into the viewfinder. (In a personal chat with me he admitted to start shooting in RAW and learn Flash next year :D)

Also, there are funny people in this world and then there is Brian Callaway. If you ever feel low about your photography, you should see his early work, you'll wonder why you haven't won any awards till now considering this guy is still in business. We often come across many tips and tricks in photography, but looking at them as a performer and keeping those hack in your bag of tricks is what I primarily learned from his presentation, the way he has implemented them leads you to try them yourself. I have always felt and good art is that which makes you want to create yourself. It's the same with his work.

I can't say enough Zack Arias and still express what I felt for Zack Arias's journey up till now. I will save it for some another day and hope....

I am the sort of person who doesn't like to talk about gear and instantly get put off with these conversation. It's the philosophy and expression through it is what I am most interested in, not the ISO performance of the new camera or the color saturation level of the edit. Thankfully Silk Inspire was the one that I had missed discussing for quite sometime since I started shooting professionally. I hope this culture grows rapidly in India and we are not copying each other's style but rather creating our own deep personal way of shooting the same project and let the clients choose which one they want to go for.

Thanks to Sephi Bergerson and his team to offer a slice of this culture. Festivals like these recenter you from all the chaos that happens because of running a photography business, meeting deadlines, following trends, managing team and dealing with clients, most of these people don't come from the same vision as yours and invariably pull you away from your own sense of vision. Meeting like minded artists keeps you on the track and bring more confidence to keep going on it.