Shaadigrapher travel

Nagpur days

Last Sunday (that is six days ago), I took a long flight from Goa to Nagpur (with a change at Mumbai – the reason the flight was long). I have been in Nagpur since then. There were two weddings to be shot, with a gap of three days between them. Going back to Goa after the first shoot would have meant more or less wasting two days traveling. Didn’t think it was worth it. So just booked myself a room in a reasonably good hotel in Nagpur. And pretty much stayed inside for three days. The next wedding starts today and ends tomorrow and then finally, the day after I will return to Goa. After having spent 8 nights and 7 days in the city.

In the three free days that I had, I had thought I would do a lot of ShaadiGraPher related work (mostly processing pictures from December shoots and dispatching off pictures to the clients). But I did absolutely minimal work. May be 2/3 hrs of work overall from all three days! I also though I would run regularly. But I did just one 8 Km run on one day. That doesn’t mean I kept sleeping all day. On the contrary, I used to sleep late and still get up early enough (at least early enough to not miss my free breakfast).  😛


The hotel (Nagpur Ashok) was pretty nice and all that (in terms of hospitality, room-size and ambience, cleanliness, location, promptness of service etc.) but the room did have a basic problem. It did not have any window in it. There was absolutely no natural light. Reminds of that room Neelabh and I shared in our cruise-shoot last year in Singapore. What it meant was that you could never make out what time of the day it was, unless you saw the time on ph0one / laptop. Or unless you stepped out of your room, which I hardly did (room service zindabaad). No wonder I lost the discipline to sleep or get up on time (it’s always good to blame something else, anything else, for your failures 😛 ).

I sometimes get in these phases, where when I am doing something (especially reading things on internet – including updates on FB of course), I just don’t feel like letting it go for a long long time. And that long long time is significantly greater than the typical hours in a day. And that means at some point I do have to let it go so that I can catch some sleep or have some food. But that also means, I let it go only when it becomes almost unbearable to stay awake any more (or hungry as the case may be). And that is what fucks up my routine. So all these three days, I was reading (and watching videos) on a  lot of other lenses (yes it is like an addiction to imagine that one more lens that you may have and what value can it bring to your pictures), microphones, Gopro aerial flying systems and all that stuff. There are two important things happening in December where I can leverage upon any new film-making skill / techniques / equipments that I can gather – 1) Subbus’ wedding and 2) biwi and mine New Zealand trip.

For Subbu’s wedding I want to focus only on cinematic movie – it’s been a long time that I shot one myself. I made Subbu shoot three cinematic movies over last two months and I think it’s time I make him see how it’s really done (for his own wedding). I also plan to take Neelabh’s help. So a lot of time I mentally keep thinking about how to take a particular shot. Wedding film-making is absolutely fascinating and the more you shoot, the more you learn. After not being very happy with just one person shooting cinematic video in a wedding, I have even changed the policy at ShaadiGraPher. We have increased the fee for cinematic move and will shoot with two of us at the venue (compared to just one person earlier). I think that’s the first step towards improving the production value. With one person, we are simply not being able to effectively utilize all the awesome equipments that we have. And to add to the list of equipments, guess what I ordered today? A RC quadcopter that can fly a gopro and take aerial videos. And that means Subbus’ wedding and our NZ trip will have some kickass aerial footages.

I often tell people that I am good at photography but it is definitely not the thing I am most passionate about. However, I must say I have become very very passionate towards cinematography and film-making at least. Creating stunning moving shots and weaving them together to bring out a story is as fascinating as anything can get. And it’s so easy to do a bad job. Even with all the equipments that you may have. I am loving its challenge. And I am so glad my photography is helping me with both time and the money to indulge in these otherwise costly experiments (the quadcopter to fly the Gopro came for 1.5 lakh for example). I would never had done these wicked-ass cool things had I been working as a consultant and they are days like these, here in Nagpur (where I can afford to lock myself up in a hotel room and do whatever I get driven by) that keep me so happy and so excited!

Alright, let me go back and process some pictures till its time to go shoot the Sangeet in the evening. I will have to see when the wedding starts tomorrow morning and if I have time, I will probably go for a run at least tomorrow. See you guys soon.


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 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

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Anuja was looking for the best wedding photographer in Bangalore. And then she found me.

[I have borrowed this post from one titled “Best wedding photographer in Bangalore – the Bhopal shoot” posted on]

I was a manager in a consulting firm in Mumbai when Anuja called me. One fine day. Must have been June or July.She worked in Bangalore then. She had been scouting for the best wedding photographers to shoot her upcoming wedding. And thats how she found us – ShaadiGraPher. We had a deal on phone and I met her soon in Bangalore. I have this feeling it was my birthday the day I met her. She worked for an advertisement agency and I met her in her office.

‘We have got regular photographers for taking pictures of everyone else. But I want you to focus on me. Just keep clicking my pictures. I really look forward to your pictures and they are going to be very very special.’

‘You will love the pictures’, I assured her. And then I came to my sister’s place (who lives in Bangalore) and cut a cake I guess. And carried on with a shoot in Bangalore the next day. Returned to Mumbai. Took a sabbatical from my job shortly. Got married to my girl-friend. Flew to Cape Town for our honeymoon and from there flew to Johannesburg to Mumbai to Bhopal, all ready for her wedding shoot. It was December already. And I was slightly jet-lagged but all ready. My first shoot as a married person. 😛

Below are just three pictures from the 20 + picture story on ShaadiGraPher

Best wedding photographer in Bangalore – the Bhopal shoot story

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Do check out the full story on


On meeting soon-to-be-married couples

Carter road CCD / Costa has become my favourite place for meeting prospective Shaadigrapher clients. MRP had introduced me to this place and I love the air about it. The sea-view about it. The people who come here to hang out. Simply too much positive vibe in the air – and you can so totally feel it.

It’s another story that since a lot of my prospects don’t live in Mumbai (or Hyd where Neelabh stays) – they often don’t get to meet us till the wedding day. Facebook / email / website or phone se kaam chalaana padta hai. Those who are here in Mumbai, and find time, do meet. It’s always great meeting soon-to-be-married couples. I simply love the way such couples look at each other. Talk to each other. So much of love. It’s overwhelming.

The folks I met yesterday would be getting married near Nainital in November this year – a few days before I get married myself. And they look super cute together. What a chemistry between them! Even when the girl told me it’s an arranged marriage. And this girl by the way, is the second person who also wants to chuck her job and start doing what I am doing. Wedding photography. I have met few so far who don’t tell me they are jealous of my job. Shooting here and then shooting there and then traveling in between with all the free time in the world. Isn’t this what I always wanted?

MRP often asks me – ‘is that what gives you a kick, haan? making others feel jealous?’

‘LOL. Yes, it does!’, that’s just an honest answer. What to do! For some reason, doing what most others don’t / can’t makes me feel super cool and super happy about my life. Because beyond that, happiness anyway is purely an internal thing and I can be happy pretty much doing anything and anywhere.

Anyway, to bus yahi sab chal raha abhi life me aur kya.. aap sunaaiye.. kya haal chaal!