Wedding Photography May Look Lucrative, But it is a Challenging Profession: Sagar Kumar, CineLove
by Mugdha Gaonkar Weddings | March 10, 2021 | Interview
Sagar Kumar CineLove Productions
After completing a degree in International Business and Marketing from the University of Technology, Sydney, Sagar Kumar pursued his passion in photography and design in 2010. He believes that the camera is the best time-travelling device invented so far. His unobtrusive and thorough photo-journalistic approach towards documenting a wedding has led CineLove Productions to reach great heights in the Indian wedding photography industry.
In an exclusive interview with EVENTFAQS Media, Sagar Kumar, Head Storyteller and Director, CineLove Productions shares insights about his journey, challenges faced during pandemic, magical formula of capturing candid pictures and more.
Tell us about your journey in photography. Why wedding photography? What drew you to this medium?
Photography has been in the family for years; I’ve grown up seeing our family business develop into the most promising brand in the city when it comes to wedding photography. Despite being so closely associated with this field, my interest in photography developed at a much later stage. My thought process has always been allied to moving ahead, growing with time, trends and technology. So, I went ahead to pursue a bachelors in International Marketing in Sydney, Australia. Up to that point, I had no plans of getting involved in the business back at home, but I did buy a camera and started learning. Photography is all about being present at the right time and for the right moment, and it hits a whole different level when it comes to capturing weddings. Here, we are not dealing with objects, rather we bring out the souls in pictures through our lens. Weddings are full of emotions, stories and moments and I have, over the years fallen in love with the intensity, depth and rush that one feels while holding that camera in hand looking out to seize every moment.
You travel to a number of places for shoots. What has been your favourite shoot destination and why?
It is a difficult choice to make, because every city has something different to offer. Nonetheless, shooting at the Flam Towers in Baku, Azerbaijan was a refreshing experience for all the beautiful colours and vibrancy we got to capture. Further, no photographer can deny that the backdrop of Lake Como in Italy or any little town across Europe, for that matter, has the most lens-friendly and comforting skyline to offer with the subtle play of sun and sky. To top that, places become more special with the kind of people you meet, and I have come across some really beautiful and welcoming souls throughout.
What is it like to shoot for weddings in the pandemic and what kind of precautions are required? Tell us about your experience of shooting for a recent lockdown wedding?
Initially, we were very sceptical and also scared because the pandemic struck all of a sudden and we needed time to process. We work with a team that is more like family, and every decision that we made would have consequences on all of us. At the same time, it was important to go out and work, but with every possible precaution. With every lockdown wedding we shot, we came to realise that smaller settings and intimate weddings had become our new favourite. Intimate weddings are something you understand and grow fond of with time, it sure did grow upon us too. We shot a wedding at an Arya Samaj Temple with about 40-odd members and the whole ceremony was nothing but a roller-coaster ride for the families with absolutely no formalities and sheer happiness of celebrating two people starting a life together.
Please share some of the most interesting requests by clients and unusual or challenging shoots of your career. Is it important to be involved and get to know the client closely to create good images?
Well, we do get a lot of interesting requests from our clients in terms of coverage and methods and at times, it becomes a hassle to manage such requests, but we encourage our clients to make as many requests as they wish, to communicate their ideas so that we can achieve a more personalised result.
Wedding photography may look all lucrative on the outside, but it is a very challenging profession because no matter how much one pre-plans every tiny detail, any situation can turn up differently at any given time. This brings me to the most challenging shoot of my career. Back in 2019, we shot a wedding in a small village of Ballia in Uttar Pradesh. We were aware that the turnout would be around a lakh people, and we had prepped accordingly. However, more than two lakh people from all around had turned up at the wedding and the crowd for sure was mismanaged; there was absolutely no space to move around and we also felt insecure about our equipment. Yet, our team managed to somehow capture the best out of the whole scenario. Now that I think of it, it does feel like an accomplishment for us to have dealt with such a situation diligently.
I can’t stress enough on the point to communicate well with the client before the wedding. We are here to create something personal and there is no way that we can do so without understanding the families involved. To capture a wedding in all its glory, we need to tag along with the family as one of them. Till the time we are unable to feel what they would be feeling at a point, we can’t capture the moment well. Also, every couple is unique with their stories, ways and ideas, and it is important for us to portray them in their rawest form.
What were your early influences? Any photographers you looked up to, or still look up to today?
I don’t really believe in influencing when it comes to photography - it is more about being present at the right place and at the right time and making something that is unique and reflects your creative vision. I believe that as a photographer, my knowledge should not be restricted only to the field I am associated with, so I try to learn from varied fields. Wildlife photography is one such field that requires a lot of patience and composure because your subject is very unpredictable. It is admirable how some photographers can produce such great pictures. Shaaz Jung is one such photographer whose work is commendable and stimulating.
What do you think is the future of photography? With the rise of camera phones, mirror-less cameras and other new technologies, where do you see wedding photography heading in the next few years?
Photography is merely about capturing a moment in time and its relevance is going to last as long as people are making memories. For instance, in recent times, extended families have missed out on physically being present at weddings and so they have depended on the pictures and videos created by us to experience those moments. Wedding photography is ever-evolving because it is directly associated with people, changing trends and times, developments in technology and if your methods are dynamic and not rigid there is no end to your growth in this field.
Talking about the direction in which our industry is headed in the next few years, it won’t be fair to base this discussion only on the advancements in technology. For me, wedding photography has never been about technicalities. Rather, it is about people finding new ways to capture moments differently. Equipment is here just to back us up and support us. It is the photographer who searches for the moments and adds his own creative angles to get what he envisions. A camera brings us as close to time travel as we could get. When we look at a picture, we are instantly taken back to the time it was clicked and we get that rush of emotions and memories that makes us re-live our happy times.
In an exclusive interview with EVENTFAQS Media, Sagar Kumar, CineLove Productions, shares insights about his journey, challenges faced during the pandemic, magical formula of capturing candids.