Wedding Gets Perfect With Arjun Kartha Photography
Indian weddings are nothing other than big fat celebrations. This celebration remains incomplete when there is absence of a perfect wedding photographer who knows when and how to capture every emotion and relation present in the ceremony. If you wedding day is about to come and you are looking out for one of the best wedding photographers of India for your big day – Meet Arjun Kartha. Check out the session we had with this awesome photographer.
1) Welcome to Indiacafe24.com. Its an honor for us to introduce a brilliant photographer like you. Arjun say something about you, Your family and your background?
Thank you for having me onboard! Along with my co-photographer and foodstylist wife and partner Praerna, I run a boutique photography studio in Gurgaon called Thoda Strong. We love shooting weddings, and when we’re not doing that – we can be found busy in the studio shooting our second love – food! I do not have any formal training in photography, and started learning when digital photography was in it’s infancy – a time when most photographers were still using film. I learnt a lot on my own (and this is the pre internet era, mind you!) – and once the internet came about, there was no looking back!
2) How Photography made an entry in your life?
My career in photography was accidental. I never planned on being a photographer; when I graduated from school in 2000, as a millennium graduate – the focus on everyone’s mind was technology and computers. Photography wasn’t a viable career choice – and it certainly wasn’t something I even thought could be something I could do! During this time the .com and IT industry was soaring to new heights, and like a lot of other people I felt that my time would be best served by studying computers. After completing my course, I came out of college certain of one thing: I didn’t want to be a computer engineer! I bunked all my placements and took up a job at an advertising agency.
At this point I still didn’t realize that photography was a career I could be good at. During this time, digital photography had just started gathering steam – and being a photography enthusiast, I bought my first D-SLR. Though my fundamentals using film was sound, this was when I fell in love with the wonders of digital photography.
As part of my job in advertising, I was required to work closely with very experienced photographers across a range of assignments including real estate, documentary, film and other disciplines. This awakened my latent photography hobby and enabled me to bridge the gap between photography as a hobby and that of it as a profession. Over time, I started taking up freelance assignments of my own – and after my first pay cheque, there was no looking back!
3) You specialized yourself in various genre of photography. Which genre you love clicking the most and why?
Honestly, there will always be a difference between commercial (assignment based) photography, and photography as an art. I can easily say that any photographer – however good or bad – will have certain pet subject areas that they shoot for the love of it. For me, it’ll always be nature and landscapes. There’s nothing like a perfect sunset in a gorgeous meadow to make me feel I’ve captured something special!
4) Being an expert in wedding genre what are different religious wedding in India you covered so far??
I’ve covered almost every religion there is! I can tell you that even though there may be differences in the ceremony depending on the faith a person follows, there are certain fundamental similarities in every religion, anywhere in the world. A wedding is all about joy and celebration – whether you’re Hindu, Muslim or Christian, these fundamental basics always remain the same – which make it a joy to photograph!
Oh yes, it was certainly very risky! My parents were naturally fairly surprised when they learnt that I wanted to leave a very successful marketing and communications job with IBM (my last “full time” job) to take up professional photography. However, to their credit they had faith in me – and knew that I wouldn’t take up something if I wasn’t dead sure I would be successful in it. I did stay on the fence for the longest time though – from personal experience I can tell you that it is very hard to leave a “fixed” income and move to something that totally depends on so many variables! I was very scared for the first few months that I wouldn’t be able to pay the rent and feed my family – but god was kind, and I started realizing that I could be far more successful doing what I loved instead of something I just did because I happened to be in a certain role.
6) How is your experience so far as a photographer?
For a long time, I always thought of photography as a hobby. As something I did in my spare time. As something I could do for a modicum of creative release.
It took me a long time to realize that photography could also be a profession: not as something you did for fun, but as a freelance or assignment driven photographer. While I struggled to acclimatize to this – for many years, I juggled photography as a part time career along with a full time job in advertising and marketing. After a point, I realized I could either do two things reasonably well – or one thing very well! That’s when I decided to stop sitting on the fence and take the plunge into full time professional photography. When I first started out, I was plagued with doubts: will I succeed? Will I be able to meet my financial commitments? Will I be able to feed my family? Luckily, I wasn’t starting from scratch. The years of freelancing came in handy, and before I knew it – my hobby was actually my profession.
7) How you decide the rates for the events you cover?
Rates and assignment fees are a very tricky subject. For the longest time when I was starting out I charged very little as I wasn’t confident about the product I could deliver.
Today, I am blessed to be considered one of the top photographers in the field, and am confident that I can deliver images that are beyond the expectations of the clients. My assignment fees have evolved over the years based on conversations I’ve had with potential clients – and I think are broadly as per what the “industry” deems a standard fee!
8) If anyone wants to get in touch with you to learn the tips and tricks of quality photography will you teach?
Of course. I am a part time faculty with the Academy of Photographic Excellence (APEX) at Vasant Vihar, New Delhi and regularly hold classes and workshops for full time diploma students at the academy. In addition, I also hire interns who are interested in learning the tricks of the trade at our studio. I also deliver ad-hoc workshops from time to time.
I firmly believe that as a profession, it is our duty to help the next generation pick up on our experiences and knowledge. Photography is a curious art; and like any art, it’s subject to the artist’s insecurities and doubts. Learning comes from anecdotal stories and experiences – and not so much from printed literature or books. The old-world model of teacher-student or master-apprentice still holds: and it’s a two way street. While a student may not imagine that there is much value that they can bring to a teacher, the truth will surprise you!
After doing things a certain way for years, it’s refreshing to meet young minds with fresh ideas and thoughts. There is a certain energy that only youth can bring: and believe it or not, this energy is contagious. It helps us evaluate the way we do things, and bring about a satisfaction of helping foster the next generation of young minds.
9) What are the other areas of interest in your life?
I enjoy travel – I really believe travel broadens the mind. Though I devote a large part of my life to the business of photography, I am also an avid gamer and can be found on my PlayStation blowing off steam when the stress gets too much!
10) For availing you services where should client contact you?
A client can refer to our website http://arjunkarthaphotography.com and use the contact form options built in to get in touch with us!
11) What major tools and instruments you are using to click the perfect snap?
I’m fortunately to own an arsenal of photographic equipment which includes cameras, lenses, lights, accessories, tripods, adapters, light modifiers, triggers and so on. Our studio is littered with all sorts of gadgets – which Praerna calls my boy’s toys!
12) What is your dream for your life ahead?
This is a very difficult question to answer, because I have all sorts of dreams and ambitions which I want to work very hard towards! Broadly though, I hope to be successful enough to be able to remove commerce and finances from the equation – to be able to shoot what I love, when I want to. Fame naturally comes with success, and I hope to be known as one of the top in my field.
13) You received any special training in photography?
None at all – it’s all self taught. I’d advise against this though for people who are starting out in the industry. There is nothing like formal education in a subject to set you out on the right path – and there are lots of options for learning today. Don’t be like me!
14) Rate yourself as a photographer?
I honestly believe I still have a long way to go. Photography is an never-ending loop of learning – one can never confidently say that they’ve “mastered” everything about the field. I’d rate myself as technically competent, but with a long way left to evolve when it comes to personal style. I am keen to see how my creative senses evolve over time, and whether I’ll still like what I do today a few years from now!
15) How it feels when people appreciate your work?
It feels AWESOME! As an artist I think it’s always a positive reinforcement when a total stranger gives you a compliment. Like everyone else, I also have my dark days when I feel lost and uninspired – and wonder whether I truly have any skill or not – and that’s when appreciation can come and pull you out of the dark hole you’re in! I remember a time when I was feeling low and demotivated when someone from across the world sent me a Facebook message telling me how my work inspired her to be a better photographer – that message really made my day!
16) Any feedback or suggestion for budding photographers?
When you start your journey as a commercial photographer, it’s important to decide what genre you’d like to specialize in. Of course, you can take your time doing this; spend the first couple of years working with mainstream fields like fashion, editorial, food, wildlife and so on. But after you spend sometime exploring the various choices available, it’s important to choose a field and stick to it. Remember, it’s nice to be a jack of all trades – but it’s also important to be a master of one!
Further, if you’re looking to make photography your primary source of income – it’s also important to learn how to market yourself. Apart from the art of photography, you need to be able to build a business around it. What this means is that you need to learn client servicing, accounting, vendor management, post-production, complaint management and all the other things that go around managing a business.
Lastly, always keep an eye on the world around you. It’s easy to get lost within your little bubble; have a look at what contemporary photographers across the world are doing. Read books, magazines, journals, blogs and almost anything you can get your hands on to stay abreast with technology, styles and workflows. Remember, the learning NEVER stops. The day you think that you’ve learnt all that there is to learn, that’s the day you stop succeeding.
17) Define in one line- Arjun the Photographer?
Infinitely happy and blessed to be doing what I love. Reminds me of the popular saying: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”. Clichéd, yes – but still true!
Photo Credits: ArjunKarthaPhotography.com