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What should one be looking for in Candid Wedding Photographers?

Let’s say you are getting married and you want some awesome candid shots taken on the special day. You have several tabs of several photographers’ websites open on your browser. So what exactly should you be looking for while selecting the best candid wedding photographers for your wedding? Let me tell you a story before I answer that. It’s a pretty interesting story I assure you.

More than ten years ago, in the city of Madras there lived a pretty girl named Satyanjali. A Hindu with origins in Uttar Pradesh. I will call her Anjali. She had a wonderful friend called John. A Christian with origins in Kerala. The friendship grew stronger by the day and over an year or two, they were pretty much in love. And then one day, Anjali’s dad asked her – what is it between you and John? You are not going to marry him, are you? He was angry. A devout Hindu was not going to like it if his dearest daughter was even contemplating to get married to a Christian.

Anjali could have lied. She could have told, no John is just a dear friend. And it could have cooled down her dad. At least for a while. Anjali had lied to him many a times before already. On various occasions. To avoid such awkward confrontations. So what if he had named her Satyanjali. But no, not now. She just could not. This was not the time to lie. And she did not. Yes, I intend to marry him. She said.

It was a bit of a struggle for her to be in touch with John thereafter. Her dad even got her office to give her leave. She was not supposed to be seeing John anymore. But she did. And once, when her dad found out, he even hinted at getting some of his powerful political contacts intervene. The protective love of a father for her child. Things never reached that stage though. In fact, Anjali even managed to get John to her house for a face to face with her dad.

What would you have to say if your sister did something like this? Asked Anjali’s dad.

She has the freedom to do whatever she has to. Replied John. Anjali’s dad couldn’t get more furious. Get out of this house, he said. John did.

One fine day, she was with John. Yes, again. And her dad found out. Anjali’s mom called her and asked her to return home. A friend tipped Anjali on the fact that her parents knew she was with John and something bad may happen this time. This was it. They decided to run away. For the sake of love. For the sake of all that was there between John and Anjali. Something much beyond being a Hindu or a Christian. Something which hearts so easily understand, yet the society often views as a crime.

John’s dad was in Middle East. He was supportive and all that. He suggested them to come over. John or Anjali did not have enough money. They borrowed 10k from a friend, took a bus to Kochi and bought tickets for Oman. They didn’t have any luggage. The looked like two people eloping. And they eloped. They returned in a month, to get married in a court. And after about a decade, John found out about ShaadiGraPher and wrote to me the following email:

“22nd April 2013, my wife and I complete 10 years of legal togetherness. I couldn’t give her every girls dream…a dream wedding…in fact I couldn’t give her a wedding at all. We got married in a civil service with auto driver, cook and some random as witnesses. At the time we feared for our lives due to the inter religious union but we survived and survived well. As we head towards the 10 year mark I’ve been scouting out locations for a quiet celebration with close family and friends. I suspect that we would be at the forty mark in terms of guests I’d like to give the run away bride and my wife a surprise ….and you maybe able to give me that opportunity to do so.”

John was looking for one of the best candid wedding photographers in Goa for this occasion and with me, he felt his search ended. Once the deal was sealed, I had to wait for about a month before John & Anjali arrived in Goa from Delhi. And their friends and family from various other parts of India / world. And I had a kickass time shooting. The light was kind of low, and that limited my ability to take a lot of pictures but I did the best that I could.

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You can check out the full picture-story and many other such nice picture-stories on my wedding photography blog on ShaadiGraPher.com but here in this post, let me come back now to the question I began the post with.

What should you be looking for in candid wedding photographers?

What, by the way, do you think John and Anjali were looking for when they finally shortlisted me? They were looking for the ability to capture the real story of their cheerful wedding a decade after the runaway wedding. And that’s what you should be considering (IMHO) when you compare the work of various artists. Do you see a story? Or do you just see random artwork?

I have often seen couples liking someone’s work and then still not being able to book the photographer simply because they think he / she is ‘way out of’ their budget. Do you know why that happens? That happens not because people are poor or anything like that. They are still spending lakhs on booking a venue and on food and on DJ and everything. And yet they hypothetically ‘allocated’ a budget of “30k to 40k” for whole ‘photo-video’ thing. Of course not everyone does that, but many do. And so when they later find themselves awestruck with a wonderful artist’s work, they go crazy hearing the charges! There are photographers who charge anywhere between 1 lakh to 1.5 lakh a day and then there are us, who charge almost half of that (mostly because we are yet to get that one celebrity client whose pictures we can then market and randomly increase our price – 😛 – no, no, we are not kidding – we pretty much know where our quality of photography stands and the only reason we still charge half of most well known ‘famous’ photographers is simply because we are still waiting to get famous!). Anyway, so let me not drag too much. The point is simple – wonderful photographs which capture the essence of your wedding are worth every bit of penny that you may have to shell. So don’t allocate too little, and once you have figured out the budget, choose the photographer who you can trust with bringing out the real story of your wedding. That’s pretty much about it.

By the way, just to complete the story of the runaway bride, well, Anjali’s dad cooled down finally. He spoke to John three years after they had eloped. But spoke he did. And today, a decade later, it is only overpowering love that spreads across the two families. May John and Anjali get to celebrate many more of these happy decades! Once again, if you are interested, you can check out the full picture-story and many other such nice picture-stories on my wedding photography blog on ShaadiGraPher.com

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