The big, fat Indian wed ding season has just begun. Alongside the band, baajaa and baraatis, a ubiquitous special guest at these grand dos is the wedding photographer. You will find him clicking away everywhere – right from the dressing room to the dining hall, from the sacred pedestal to the mantap. Though the shaadi season drives many crazy, it is luring many young IT professionals into taking up serious wedding photography.
However, as juggling a steady job and shaadis can be tough, many of them are quitting or taking sabbaticals till the ‘knotty’ excitement fizzles out.
Though the idea of being a wedding photographer sounds glamorous, there’s a lot of pressure and back-breaking work involved. This forces these shutterbugs to give up their IT jobs.
“It’s was not easy to dedicate time to both my regular job and my passion. Though I have been shooting for a while and was balancing time, I had creative issues. I was not able to evolve creatively, at the most, I would cover two weddings in a month. That’s when I decided to quit in September and focus on wedding photography,” says photographer Manas Saran, who has clocked eight years in the software industry.
Like Manas, there are many others who have been bitten by the photography bug and are glad to face this ‘matrimania.’ “It’s like watching a saas-bahu saga. You get cranky aunties and brides throwing tantrums, I used to hate it but now these are the reasons I love it so much!” says Chenthil Mohan, an ex-sales professional at a software firm and an IIM-Calcutta alumni. “At times I have shot for 20 hours with just three hours of sleep. At the end of it, your body fails you, but mentally, it’s a high,” adds Chenthil.
But it’s not just about creativity.
Coming from a corporate back ground, these young professionals-cum-creative photographers have an edge over the neighbourhood studiowallah. Not only do they position themselves well in an already overcrowded wedding photography market, crowded wedding photography market, they have a better repertoire, thanks to their confidence and out-of-the-box thinking.
“There is a complete contrast between being a corporate executive and a temporary photographer. But our corporate background helps us work more professionally,” says photographer Elvin Jacob, a communications professional. Armed with confidence and state-of-the-art equipment, these young men cover about 15-20 weddings each season. Not just in Bengaluru, they travel the length and breadth of the country.
Currently shooting in Rajasthan, IT professional Rakesh Ramesh says, “I have already completed four weddings and nine more are lined up for this season alone.”
With decent returns and creative satisfaction – the field is seeing a crazy rush. With prices ranging from Rs 15,000 to one lakh a day, it definitely appears like a mirage of sorts. “Once your work is recognised, you could charge a realistic amount. But initially you might have to shoot a few weddings for free,” says Elvin. Once the bug bites, these youngsters don’t look back. The ‘knot’ with the Indian weddings binds them forever.
With the likes of Mahesh Shantaram, Joseph ‘Joe’ Radhik and other ex-professionals making a mark, the sky is definitely the limit for these lensmen.