If a picture is worth a thousand words, then thank your photographer for working all the random elements that leave a viewer speechless!
The wedding photographer’s job gives the illusion of being a simple one – so simple, every high-end camera owner believes they could pull it off – young love, a moment, an awe-inspiring image. A back-handed compliment to a skilled photographer – a frame so perfect, so natural, you think anyone could have done it.
But shutterbugs like Anand Rathi know what it takes – struggle, determination, improvisation and patience! When Dhaval and Shivani, a twenty-something Mumbai-based couple, came to his company, Reels and Frames, with their dreams of an international pre-wedding shoot, he began the process. Over a span of nine months they explored locations around the world – London, Paris, Turkey – only for each plan to crash into a last-minute dead-end. Disheartened, the team took a sabbatical.
As it turned out, this project would only see the light of day two months after Dhaval and Shivani’s Amby Valley wedding. But, it would happen in mystical, romantic Venice!
Venice wasn’t their first choice, but Anand had been to Cinque Terre, a picturesque cluster of five villages on the Costa Ligure of Levante, a UNESCO protected heritage site. He knew the colours, contours of the location would lend themselves beautifully to the Bollywood-homage he’d planned for the shoot. The team then spent weeks in pre-production planning every single thing down to the last detail – including the couple’s wardrobe.
They set off, looking for sunshine glinting off the waters and blue skies. As they touched down at Marco Polo airport, they were greeted by a thunderstorm. The clever, intrepid travellers decided to improvise and made room in their story board for dramatic thunder clouds and sparkling rain. Guided by the forces of good (and the reliable Google Earth) they set out on their mission – to make images that would last a lifetime.
It helped that the couple was enthusiastic and willingly woke up early to be on location at 6 am to beat the tourist hordes, hiked up 22,000 steps or walked as many as 8 kilometres a day for the perfect shot. And the perfect shot they got – time after time, Anand and Sumit’s perseverance and instinct and skill are tangible in the gorgeous results!
1. Kissing on the Grand Canal – Our first stop was the Grand Canal in Venice. This is a 150 megapixel composite stitched image, which you can blow up to an XXXL billboard with no loss of resolution. Look at the way the image is lit; it’s dark with beautiful light on them. We managed this by taking extra shots while the last rays of sun were going down. Then we stitched the images together in post. The bride’s outfit is designed by Veda Raheja.
2. Posing at Saint Marks Square – We picked a photo holiday to shoot on, so you’ll see that there are no tourists around. We wanted a glamourous, evening look and they were all decked up at 6 am. She’s wearing a red gown by Kashveen Kohli.
3. The Bridge of Sighs – There were hundreds of tourists so we decided to pretend we were on a film shoot. The couple checked their make up in the mirror as we tried to create a little space for our shots. When some Chinese tourists asked if they were Indian film actors, the bride played cooked up a really convincing story and said we were shooting for a South Indian film! It worked!
4. Singing in the Rain – This is at Monterosso al Mare, two stations away from Manarola. We’d initially planned a sunset shoot, but there were thunderstorms as we got off the train. Dhaval and Shivani had an umbrella at hand, there was a tunnel behind them and we just took these shots at the station itself. They’re magical!
5. Up, Up and Away! – This aerial shot was taken at Vernazza, one of the five villages in The Cinqe Terre. There is a visual contrast – a very European backdrop to a very ethic couple. (The saree is designed by Kashveen Kohli.) There are no hotels here so we woke up at 5 am for the 6 am train and hiked uphill for an hour to get to this location. The couple are standing inches away from a few hundred foot drop to the ocean!
6. Romance in Venice – On the last day, just before the couple was leaving for the airport, we scurried around and took three shots in a gondola. We skipped a couple of lines, took all the shortcuts we could and shot till half an hour before they had to be at the airport.
Photography- Reels and Frames