Thursday, 11 June 2015

Decoding Destination Wedding Photography with Gulzar Sethi

One of the most sough-after Candid and Destination Wedding photographers in the country, Delhi-based Gulzar Sethi's work is all about making any couple's D-day memorable. Natural or posed, it doesn't matter. With Gulzar, it's easy to capture those naughty expressions, eye gestures and the love between the bride and groom. With the wedding season in full-swing, we bring to you a detailed conversation with the ace photographer, learning about his life as an experienced shutterbug, what ticks him, and what's his favourite destination for a photoshoot. This was truly fun! Read on...

1. Wedding photography isn't what it once used to be. It has evolved into an advanced form of art. What do you think inspired this change?

Photography in general is a field of perspectives and change, thus for the wedding Photography genre, I believe the change happened with the introduction of Candid Photography as there was and still is a need and desire for something new & different because for the couple, their wedding day is their day of glory. Weddings revolve around the bride and she wishes to be portrayed as a true princess of her prince because pictures only last a lifetime. It is with this thought that wedding photographers added art form to the wedding portfolio to capture every single moment a bride has on her big day and during these shots we get to see the various emotions like excitement, anxiety & love which finally are put together in the album & films which we look through for many years and generations to come.

2. What makes GulzarSethi photography a cut above the rest?
We at GulzarSethi Photography believe in a 3 word mantra of Connect, Interact & Personalise and thus we strive to become the couples best friends and the parents pillars of strength. Since we are very selective with the projects we take, we put in all our positive energy into making every couple live their fairytale by personalising our relations with the entire family and we have been fortunate to be welcomed with open arms. We begin from their brief and add our experiences to give them their dream output and when the bride's father cries on our shoulders and with folded hands thanks us for our presence we know we made a new family. My father always said "Beta, insaan kamao" and though it took me a long time to understand what he meant, but when I did I made it my mantra.

3. I'm going to be a bit daring and ask a burning question in every couple's minds today: Why is wedding photography so damn expensive? Also, what are the decisive factors based on which amateur photographers can fix their rates?
All good things come at a price... HAHA!!! Jokes aside, I feel its with the rapid advancement in technology (which is changing on a day to day basis) we need to be up to date with all the new inventions which the customers demand to have for their weddings and in India many believe that a marriage happens only once and thus every desire should be fulfilled on that one day to make it memorable for a lifetime.
As for amateur's its tough to give them a pointed answer as to what they should charge because there are no hard and fast guidelines or rules for the price they should set for their creativity as various aspects come into choosing a price range like the equipment used, Location of the Photographer, his/her experience to list a few. Though I would like to add that one must always self analyse and critique ones own work before putting a price especially because thanks to social media we have groups, apps and pages to show our work but we must always be true to ourselves and evaluate our work so that we can do justice to our brand and to the client.

4. What gear do you use?
My whole house at times... HAHAHA!!! There is so much one needs to take along apart from the equipment and the gear changes with every shoot. Weddings are far from monotonous and though we use Top of the line Nikon kits like the D810's and D800's with varied lenses, flashes, triggers, stands, lights etc we also carry our Personalise mantra and this is why I always say ,"It's Not About Photography, Its About The Photographer". We do need the equipments to support us but what really makes us a photographer is our approach and thus the entire gear for a shoot is way beyond plastic and metal bodies.

5. I'm sure not every couple is camera-friendly! How do you make shy couples pose for you?
As I mentioned above its all about Connect, Interact & Personalise. How we Interact and Personalise with the couple will show in the pictures. We spend a lot of time with them to break the ice and get them to share their desires with us and be it over Skype or over a cup of coffee we bring fourth a friendly approach. Its not business talk, it is a "getting to know each other" session which helps them know us and vice versa, so that by the time we shoot we have developed the comfort level. Having said this, we don't prefer to have posed shots, we aim to capture their small hidden moments.

6. Tell us about your favourite destination photography experience.
This is one very tough question, especially because each wedding is so unique and beautiful that each one seems like a fairytale but if I really had to choose one of all the destination weddings it would be Pondicherry. Our madly in love couple who met through one of the most beautiful form of expression: Dance and got married in two different styles. The white wedding had the sun setting into the beach waters and the wind carrying the essence of love while the other imbibed the traditions of Marwari ceremonies and cultures.

7. How has the wedding industry changed for photographers today compared to when you started?
Change is constant and yet change is personal. For some people that change has not come and for some it has been changing from the beginning. Ask yourselves till a few years back did you ever notice who was the photographer at the wedding? Most of you will say no, because this was never the interest and photos were mainly for documentation. Social media played a huge role in making wedding photographers come into the limelight since we have a platform to show our work which works for both the client and the photographer. When I came into the industry the wave had just about begun and many of us surfed the high tide to incorporate new trends and changes at that time wedding Couples used to treat us like a regular Vendor, and after a while they started acknowledging us as an Artist and now they treat us more like their friend or a family member. It's their love and appreciation that gives us satisfaction and ignites the fire within us even more to reach higher creative heights.

8. Where can our readers get in touch with you? Please share your website and social media links.
The best to catch us is on Facebook :)
Instagram: gulzarsethiphotography
More Photos by Gulzar Sethi