In the saturated Indian wedding photography market, a standout style is an essential in the recipe for success. Meet Akash and Ankita, a husband and wife duo whose novel “WeddingNama” style has propelled them to immense success in the wedding scene. Sit back and take note as they open up to us about their killer style and their journey so far.
1) Your photos speak for themselves, tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up in the midst of different cities and cultures, absorbing different environments and always curious about life and its ways. I picked up a camera in an endeavor to document things happening around me quite early on. After my graduation in Architecture, I went to National Institute of Design for my post grad in photography. Part of my training as a photographer was conducted in the University for the Creative Arts (UCA), Farnham in the United Kingdom(UK). I shot on film on both medium & large format cameras and developed the photographs in color as well as black and white in dark rooms. The joy of shooting on film cannot be described in words. I love writing stories both in words and visually. Living in my dreamland, I love creating beautiful surreal visuals to be long remembered that can be easily forgotten.
Photography to me is my means of communicating with this universe, expressing what I cannot express with words, connecting with people’s emotions and dreams.
2) You take amazing couple portraits. What is the key to a good couple portrait?
Understanding the couple and becoming friends with them before the shoot is key. The photograph should be able to bring out the personality of the couple. Before every couple shoot, a lot of time goes into ideating and creating mood boards, starting from the color palette, locations, props, themes, outfits, etc we go into every tiny detail possible. Once the details are finalised and a rough story board prepared, on the day of the shoot, we just trust our instincts and try to bring out the beauty of the relationship that the couple share. It’s all about finding new ways to capture the same old, crazy love!
3) How do you describe your style?
My style is to create something new, something different; rather than just being there, I like to make things happen and then be the storyteller. I am a very passionate photographer and I make sure that every story is captured in the most unique manner possible. Along with my husband Akash, I started WeddingNama and we are very proud of our baby. We call our style of photography, WeddingNama photography. We start with an empty canvas and then fill it with moments that are special! We give it our heart & soul and work towards making each & every moment beautifully memorable. We both have been together for 9 years now and we love creating work that makes people believe in fairytales.
4) In your opinion, what is “Candid” photography?
‘Candid photography’ does not just mean shooting with block lenses and wide apertures to get soft bokeh backgrounds! It is a lot more complicated. Personally, I feel the term ‘candid’ is overrated and does not describe the true scenario that occurs in Indian weddings. People use the term ‘candid photography’ just to differentiate between the traditional style of photography (posed) & the photojournalistic documentary style of photography (termed candid). It is easy to fall in either one of the categories. But I feel that to make beautiful photographs at weddings, it takes more effort than that. Indian weddings are big, really crazy, a lot of fun, colourful, full of emotions. And Indian weddings can get really out of control if you don’t intervene. There are moments when you have to set your own frame and make sure that things happen in that frame to ensure they are captured well. So there is a certain level of direction involved even in the ‘candid’ style photography.
5) How do you continuously improve as a photographer?
By learning constantly and keeping up-to-date. The beauty of taking up photography as a profession is that it can never be constant-aka-boring. The learning curve is exponential and that is exciting for me, it keeps me going. Everyday, there are new avenues to explore, new subjects to shoot and new technology to shoot them with. Both Akash & I love to travel and explore new cities, its people, their culture. Travel and shoot, the best way to continuously stay on the feet!
6) How has shooting weddings influenced you as a person?
Shooting weddings has been quite a fascinating journey for me. When I had started photography, I was more into nature, landscapes and architecture. When I started wedding photography, it took me by surprise, it is a whirlwind of emotions! You meet so many new people, establish a strong connection with them and be a part of the most important day of their lives. It is bound to be challenging and at the same time, a lot of fun. By shooting weddings, I have become a more responsible person because I realise the importance of these memories in their lives and the value of the task they have assigned the task me to keep them safe! Also I think I have become a much more observant person having an eye for details and moments that are about to happen. No one is going to direct and tell you to turn your camera in the direction of the teardrop or laughter! You just have to know. I think I have developed a sixth sense and can feel when a beautiful moment is about to happen to turn the camera that way just in time!
7) “Wedding photography is easy”, what is your take on this statement?
Any profession you are in, can be as easy or as difficult as you want it to be. At the end of the day, I think it is the amount of effort you put in that counts. I have done fashion, travel, documentary, product but in no way I feel wedding photography is easy. In fact, in can turn out to be the most challenging because things don’t go according to the plan. Weddings are beautifully chaotic and the bride, groom, their family are so caught up in the moment that they won’t remember the details of how the days went by. Right from the first meeting with the couple, their family to the final day when we see tears in their eyes as they see the photographs and film, it’s quite an experience.
8) In your opinion what makes a good photograph?
A good photograph is one that evokes an emotion in the viewer, any emotion. Makes them view it again and again. Interpret the story in their own manner and wonder what led to it.
9) Among your photographs, which one is your favourite and the story the behind it.
It is a very difficult question cos my favourite is always the next photograph that I am going to make! 🙂 For now, I will pick the underwater proposal photograph. When the couple came to us, they said they wanted to announce their wedding date but in a unique style. We got to know them and realised that they were both divers. That moment we decided that the proposal has to be under the water! Since we were short on time and could not travel to a location where the sea water is clear, we decided to shoot in Mumbai itself and create the feel of deep sea in a pool. We chose a deep diving pool, created a huge 40 feet canvas backdrop to avoid the tiles, incorporated props custom made to last underwater, designed special outfits, and lit the entire set using film lights because it was a rainy day! We were under water for over 10 hours, skin peeled and tanned but, at the end of the day it was all worth it to create this photograph and their save the date video.
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