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International Photographers big-focus: Big Indian Weddings

Photographing a beautiful Indian wedding is a much sought-after assignment for many international wedding photographers. Some photographers even prefer to make India their temporary or permanent home. Like Cory Goldberg from New York who now lives in Mumbai, Sephi Bergerson from Israel who lives in Goa and UK-based Annie Heslop who stays in India for a few months every year. And those who come regularly look forward to living here someday, like LA-based Dina Douglass at Andrena Photography (recently named as one of the Top 10 Wedding Photographers in the World by American Photo Magazine). Says Dina: “There is no place like India. From the moment I step off the plane, I am transported into a world that is unlike any other. The hospitality is incredible and the wedding venues are a photographer’s dream! I am equally excited when I get to shoot in the villages and more rustic areas. The juxtaposition of a gorgeous couple against a rural backdrop is something that creates brilliant images.”

(Left) Dina Douglass of Andrena Photography, (Right) Annie Heslop. (Below) Photograph by Dina Douglass

Cory Goldberg who lives in Khar, Mumbai tells us what he looks forward to most: “Action at the baraat! It’s very intense and as a photographer, it’s important not to get overwhelmed with all the many things happening in so many places. It can get chaotic– but in terms of capturing raw emotion and unforgettable candid moments, nothing beats the baraat.” He adds: “The style in which I work is a combination of candid, photo-journalistic, semi-posed portraiture, as well as a good amount of still life and landscape. I believe it is important when covering an event as dynamic as a wedding, to be versed in more than one style of shooting.” Cory is in India from September through May, and he goes back to the US during the monsoons. He explains: “Although I find the monsoon quite beautiful, my equipment hates the rain and humidity!”

Photograph by Cory Goldberg

Wedding Planners opine that traditionally, India’s wedding photography industry has had a community connection— most clients felt a photographer from their own community would be the best person to photograph the family wedding, but this is changing. And while India’s wedding market may be huge, that doesn’t mean all talented wedding photographers can get many assignments soon. As Prakash Tilokani, one of India’s most successful photographers explained in an interview to WeddingSutra: “Talent is of course one of the most important requisites for success, but you also need to be patient, sensitive and possess an astute business sense to grow and prosper.” Josh Komanappali originally from Andhra Pradesh, lived and worked in the US for 15 years, and he recently relocated to Hyderabad. He says: “In the US, I hardly got a chance to photograph Indian weddings, and it’s an all-new experience here, the market and mind-sets are different but that’s part of the learning experience.”

Photograph by Annie Heslop

Cory, Dina and Annie believe Kodak Better Photography Wedding Photographer of the Year (WPOY) Award is one of the best initiatives for India’s Wedding Photographer fraternity. Says Cory: “I was fortunate to attend WPOY 2010 and pleased to see such an array of genuine talent and innovation among the photographers.” Dina who is the only solo female photographer to make it onto the list of American’s Photo’s top 10 international wedding photographers, is elated to hear that more Indian females are joining the traditionally male-dominated profession: “In 2011, I hope Kodak and Better Photography institute a special award to recognise female photographers, and I’d love to be a part of it.”

Photograph by Dina Douglass

And while they are fascinated by the Indian Wedding, there are other passions and interests that make their India sojourn more enjoyable or meaningful. Annie Heslop spends time teaching photography to children in a school in Orissa, where she lives. She says: “I’m happiest when I’m shopping for Indian spices, music and essential oils, and I love eating out—Bhel Puri and all street food are my favorite.” Cory takes up freelance acting assignments and enjoys seeing music and theatre performances and travelling. He adds: “I’ve been a vegetarian for over a decade, so I prefer eating out in India. When I’m back home I’m always on the look-out for good Indian restaurants and when I find a South Indian thali, I couldn’t be happier.”

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