"You can look at a picture for a week and never think of it again. You can also look at a picture for a second and think of it all your life" - Joan Miro. Lots of wonderful things happen around us all the time; being able to see doesn’t take efforts, but being able to flash & capture that very moment is possibly the hardest part. Being a good photographer is not easy, and if you are a female in an industry where men are in dominance, then it gets a little tougher.
People believe, there are a few things only men are good at. But we question, is it? I mean, yes, there was a time, when we got to see no female photographer capturing the wedding, but now women have left no stone turned. They excel even here, and they're outdoing themselves, EVERY. SINGLE. TIME!
This Women's Day, we're celebrating some of the renowned Female photographers with an impressive high profile clientele and their awesome portfolios, in no particular order. Let's roll, ladies!
A petite frame, brimming with enthusiasm and meaningful tattoos, camera or two slung on the shoulder, a defiant stance, a strongly opinionated voice and an overarching maturity in her images, Monisha Ajgaonkar, the founder of THE PHOTO DIARY, is an LGBTQ activist and artist equivalent to a breath of fresh air on a monotonous Monday morning. Monisha brings more than 9 years of experience in tow with her at the company. The Photo Diary was envisaged on the pillars of experimentation, individuality and the art of exploring human emotions ingeniously in order to mold it into varied hues of brilliant, colourful and monochrome imageries. The Photo Diary is a Wedding, event, concert & fashion Photography and videography company based out of Mumbai that promises to capture the essence of any event or function in the most creative manner to suit everyone’s distinct tastes and wishes. Monisha started her journey as a gig/concert photographer at a time when female gig photographers were considered a novelty and then later went on to join Rolling Stones subsequently after Blue Frog.
“If someone told me 6 years ago that I would be a photographer, I would've laughed. Yet today, Photography is who I am. It feeds my soul and makes me happy”, says Dhanika. Her journey started in a completely different genre, she began with Wildlife photography on her trips to multiple sanctuaries in India and South Africa. The reason she was drawn to Wedding photography is that, she is an emotional person, someone who thinks from the heart, & weddings are all about emotions! Weddings bring out the purest of emotions in everyone, everything is so raw and genuine that you are always left speechless. She believes, If she is able to capture the story of the bride and groom, in the way they experienced it that day, she'll go home a happy photographer.
Photography is not something she decided on consciously; it came naturally to her right from the beginning. Her tryst with photography started very early when she was a kid in the school. She says, “I picked up a point and shoot camera and I have never looked back since. It is very rewarding to have a copy of those perishable moments in my hard disk”. Photography gives you the illusion of being so powerful and owning time, even if it is for a fraction of a second. Once she fell in love with the camera, there was only reinforcement of her passion over the years. Weddings seemed the most obvious next step to me, as it defines beauty, grandeur, emotional ties and a union of two people. She believes each moment has a story and her venture is passionate about bringing those moments to life. She is in love with people in love. And, we're in love with how she captures people in love.
Photography has always been a part of her life, even during the time, she was studying to be an engineer or when she started to work for a bank. She quit the corporate life in 2012 to pursue this full time and found herself gravitating towards weddings because she really loves photographing people. She says, “I'd like to not think of myself as part of an "Industry" as much as a photographer who happens to shoot weddings. For me, my work is personal and so is my relationship with the people who choose me to cover the very special day of their lives”.
She is not one of those people who possessed an indomitable passion of clicking pictures right from childhood and thus had photography as a natural choice of career and profession. In fact, photography came into her life as a natural saviour when she was running through a rough patch a few years back. She says, “At that time, it was simply an instrument to channelize my emotions and convey them through my pictures. And in that relentless flow of expression, I never realized, when capturing emotions became the source of my being & fuel for life. A house of wedding experiences every moment that’s special in itself – filled with infinite emotions. Therefore, Weddings gave me a perfect platform to make a story out of those moments.”
A pioneer and a trendsetter for over a decade in the field of Luxury wedding photography, who carries the goodwill of a veteran in the photography industry. She evolved the concept of candid & mood photography in Indian weddings, she believed women add more sensitivity & details to weddings. She started as a fashion photographer and was constantly searching within for newer ideas. Once, she was casually browsing through her sister’s wedding albums when it occurred to her how all the pictures were unimaginative and clichéd. It was then, she decided to venture into this challenging niche of a un-attempted genre in India — where fashion meets weddings! She says, “It is here that I impart uniqueness - by punching in my aesthetics of fashion and mood photography and blending them with my sensibilities and sensitivity as a modern woman. I capture the flavour of Indian weddings like never done before and weave a tapestry that’s enthralling yet surreal and timeless. Opting for quality over the multitude, I shoot only single-digit weddings a year focusing on the attention to details, which becomes the leitmotif of my photography”. She has worked with top and famous clients & connoisseurs like Riteish & Genelia, Amrita Arora, Mr. Sajjan Jindal, Mr Sunil Bharti Mittal, Mr. Narayana Murthy, and many added to the list.
Shortly after they finished their under-graduation, they decided to study photography, which had been a long time hobby. After a short stint in Jamia, (which is incidentally where they both met), they did their Masters in Photography from England, in the year 2009-2010. “Before specializing in a particular aspect of photography, we wanted to do varied assignments- and thankfully for us, Delhi had tons of opportunities. As the work took off, we formed a partnership where we did turnkey projects for companies like Walmart, Allen Solly, Barista and several other local brands. Surprisingly for us, our most demanded services were in the world of big Indian weddings, which sometimes stretch up to 4 days of intense shooting and are often set in exotic locales! We personally do all the post-production work, design coffee table books, which seem to be appreciated for their creative content”, says the duo. Weddings provide a platform for them to be able to use their creativity in an interesting way. No doubt, it is a huge responsibility, but given the fact that it’s the happiest occasion in someone's life, they are a great photo-op, to begin with!
Photography has always been a passion, with much encouragement from both her dad and granddad who are avid amateur photographers. While she was pursuing a diploma in photography, she happened to get a chance to shoot a friend's wedding as a wedding gift for her, and that's when she realized that this was what she was truly passionate about and wanted to pursue as a profession. Pooja shares, “What I love the most about shooting weddings is that I get to do different kinds of photography all during one event, it is a mix of creative photography, candid photography, portraiture, landscape photography, product photography, architecture photography, and so much more. Shooting weddings are very personal to me and I feel like that makes a world of difference in the images I shoot as it always adds the personal touch to the capture and enriches the essence of the emotions portrayed.”
Having a lot of bad pictures at my own wedding was good enough an experience to get me frustrated enough and be a little curious as to how does one get some good pictures clicked. And hence began this journey of self-realization and creative upheaval. With a very curious soul and a keen desire to find beauty, it started with this dialogue - "I love clicking pictures". I just got a little more carried away and have thereon; just blindly followed my gut and seen the world with my lense more, rather than my bare eyes. Today, almost 4 years in this creative journey, I won't say I'm at my creative peak, but there definitely is a voice of my own. A voice that transitions in creating art that has seen light of some of the best of national and international wedding media. But some of my most proud moments as an artist in this genre of photography, are the heartfelt thank you notes I get from some spirited souls I get to meet.
Radhika Pandit, an artist by heart and smiles. She captures the essence of human joy, love, emotions and stories of human experience and loves to travel. Each of her pictures, tells a story. Her wedding photography has always been based on great communication with the bride and groom. The best wedding photography is truly candid – the photographer should blend into the background, and capture the genuine smiles. She believes the photographer should behave like a photojournalist, documenting the drama and excitement of the celebration. She tries to capture the real emotions of the people when they hardly pay attention to a camera. When asked her to speak about herself, she humbly replied, “I’ll rather let my work speak for me”
“I started photography in 2010 alongside college. I, along with a friend started the photography society in my college Sri Venkateswara College, Delhi University. I always had an artistic bend of mind. I made oil paintings, glass paintings and sketches throughout my formative years. I started clicking photos at gigs and concerts where my friends performed, which is when I realized that photography gave me a sense of purpose and fulfilment”, says the cheerful Mahima. She shot her first wedding when another photographer asked her to cover it on his behalf. And then she completely fell in love with the whole beautiful chaos, that is the Indian Wedding. Some people do it for the money or to sponsor other fields of photography that they like, she does it for the sheer love of the hustle and bustle and making people smile. It's a truly rewarding experience to be responsible for someone's happiness on one of their most important days.
"After my bachelor’s in architecture, I went to NID (Ahmedabad) for my Post Graduation in photography. The decision came naturally to me because I have spent my childhood travelling to beautiful forests with a camera in hand” says Ankita. She started off with lifestyle photography & commercial shoots, but later WeddingNama was born as a result of the passion to capture the story of each wedding beautifully both in stills & in motion. For her, each wedding is a plethora of moments sewn together. She enjoyed shooting the fun, happiness, craziness, & high-on-emotions, the madness that was there. She also shares, “Right in front of my eyes, I saw wedding photography go through a massive shift from the traditional manner of capturing weddings to the beautiful manner where each frame is a timeless beauty in itself”.
Wedding photography was not something she planned or was very passionate about when she first started, but suddenly she fell in love it. She mixes strange faces and genuine happiness with Traditions & Rituals, and makes it more Candid. She says, “nothing challenges me more than taking something unique from every wedding, from the little moments, like talking to the bride about how she is feeling, hearing people discussing clothes and jewellery, from the first look of the Bride to families running around with all the Stress and happiness at the same time, from a crazy dance in the Baraat to silent talks & tears in Bidai. Its Spontaneous, Candid and It’s full of Life. These are the things that attracted me to wedding photography.
Both of them graduated from MIT Institute of Design, Pune. Though they were in different departments, Kanishka from Graphic Design whereas Aayushi was from Film and Video Design, they had a lot of overlapping courses, majorly in photography. That's how it all started. Aayushi shares, “We would often exchange notes on different photographers' works and peculiar techniques we would stumble upon. Our interest in documenting weddings grew over time when we were asked to shoot a friend's sister’s wedding. Initially, we did that as a gift to the bride and groom. But, then requests started pouring in. So, at the end of 2012, we quit our respective jobs to start The Wedding Salad”.
Her interest in Photography developed from her passion to travel. What started as a hobby turned quickly into genuine interest and then into a cherished profession. She worked as an R & D engineer before she took up photography full-time. Neeta says, “I absolutely love photographing people and so when I got an opportunity to shoot a friend’s wedding, I decided to try it out. Shooting the first wedding was so much more than what I had imagined it to be. The colours, the grandeur, the strong emotions, the happy faces and all that love! I enjoyed that first assignment so much that there was no turning back. The positive response I got for my pictures was overwhelming! It felt so good to be able to freeze the most important and special moments of people’s lives; to help them relive their big day over and over again. And so, I found my dream profession in Wedding Photography”.
Her journey with photography started 10 years ago when she decided to explore the world & herself. She quit her journalism job & dove headfirst into it. Wanting to give unconventional wedding gifts for her friends is what led her to wedding photography. She says, “Two weddings & I was hooked”. Not only, did the creative juices start to flow like never before, but their reactions on seeing the photographs made me feel like I was exactly where I belonged. In 2017, she launched Cinnamon Pictures and is now building a team that shares this love and passion for photography and wanting to see their clients happy. ‘I loved how I feel so in tune with everyone and everything amid all the chaos, quietly taking it all in from behind the lens & documenting it for all eternity! And at Cinnamon, our goal is to give our clients not only amazing memories from their big day but add to that experience by being their best friends through all of it!’
She studied Photography while doing her Bachelors in Visual Communication. That was the start of her career where she followed her heart, and also did a lot of budget travel trips during her college and post-college days. So that's how her interest in photography developed. She shares, “A few years back, I shot a friend's wedding, it was my first wedding shoot & I really enjoyed capturing those special moments. This beautiful journey that started a few years back hasn't stopped and there is no looking back. Every wedding I shoot is a whole new experience and I love the fact that I get to meet so many people from different places and different cultures. It's been JUST AMAZING!”
She has always been inclined towards design and chose to study architecture, at the end of which she realized, she loved taking pictures even more. She says, “It is all designs in the end! I ended up photographing weddings quite by chance, and found an opportunity there for documentary photography. There's a thrill in shooting an unstaged drama which I quite enjoy. This wasn't a planned venture for me, but social media gave me exposure; I started getting inquiries and I thought, well, let's try?'. So here I am.
(This is an updated version of the blog published in 2015)