Photographer Of The Month: Arjun Kartha-Kodak Wedding Photographer of Year 2011

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We are delighted to announce Arjun Kartha as the photographer of this month. In a candid chat with weddingsonline, Arjun shares his passion for photography and his off-beat approach to shooting weddings…

Arjun Kartha describes himself as a ‘non-wedding’ wedding photographer with a candid, contemporary and off-beat approach to shooting Indian marriages. With years of rich experience, Arjun is one of the finest and most sought after wedding photographers in India. Working as a husband-wife team, Arjun and Praerna are candid wedding photography specialists – and veterans of the fledgling wedding photography genre in India. With a penchant for making “fun” photos, they love creating behind the scenes memories that will last a lifetime. Arjun is also a category winner of the prestigious Kodak Wedding Photographer of the Year 2011 award. 

Here is the complete interview:

Tell us a bit about yourself. How long have you been working in this field?

I’ve always loved photography. As a kid, I used to sneak off with my father’s camera – something that led to a lot of confusion when the film was developed! Seriously though, I think there are literally hundreds of thousands of people in the world who love photography as a hobby – but for one reason or the other, are not able to bridge that interest into an actual career. I started my career as an client services or account management man with an advertising firm – a decision I think that really contributed towards my becoming a professional photographer. While in advertising, I had various opportunities to work with a variety of creative people doing a bunch of really interesting things – something that sparked my latent interest, and showed me how this was something I could actually do as a profession.  Over the years I’ve tried to hone my talents while doing things that really interest me – and wedding photography has been one of them.

How would you define your style when it comes to wedding photography?

Wedding photography as a genre itself changes every day – and it’s something that I’ve been following with a great amount of interest. If you think about it, until a few years ago this genre was dominated by traditional photographers who belonged to the regular studio setup – who had largely “templatised” the entire genre into a “pose-smile-click” type of approach. Now however, you have a large number of immensely talented photographers (both experienced and new) who bring up the other side of the market, a style that is largely defined as “candid” photography.

The way I’ve approached shooting weddings keeps evolving, as does my style.  As a husband-wife team, Prearna and I use our own experience of a couple getting married to really be able to integrate into the wedding family – and therefore be able to bring our own unique perspective of fun, behind-the-scenes and shoot-as-it-happens into the work that we do. In doing so, we are usually able to really bring out moments from the wedding that REALLY matter. It’s these memories that will still bring vivid memories from that special day to the couple years later.

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Do you work in a team? Which cities/locations do you specifically cover?

We don’t believe in LARGE teams with photographers crawling all over the wedding mandap. Praerna and I are the core team – as a husband/wife team, we’re able to understand each other and work off each other’s strengths. Praerna brings with her strong creative ideas, while I bring a strong foundation in the art of photography. Together, we’re a very strong unit – and are more than enough to handle a wedding. However, we also have backup and assistants who can help shoot the more traditional aspects of a wedding if needed. Overall, we try and keep the numbers low – it’s important to be unobtrusive and behind-the-scenes, so that the focus can be on the couple – and remain there.

We shoot all over India and abroad – we go where our work takes us. We are both travel loving people, and enjoy seeing new places and faces!

Do you do destination weddings?

We love destination weddings! We firmly believe that as creative photographers, when you feed us with strong locations and a strong love story – we give you fantastic pictures. We get inspired when the couple takes the trouble to plan a wedding down to the minutest detail, and are more than happy to get involved in that creative process to make sure your wedding photos surpass the memories you have associated with your wedding.

What are your packages? Specifically what products do you offer?

We try and avoid commoditizing wedding photography – our main product is exquisite wedding photography for the discerning bride and groom.  Each wedding is estimated based on how much, or even how little the bride and groom wants to invest in their wedding photography. The bare minimum is our professional fees –  after which we try and estimate the number of days we need to be engaged, what extras need to be catered for – like extra photographers to walk around the crowds, wedding video (we have partnered with some excellent documentary style wedding video directors), albums, give-aways and such. It’s best to talk with us – and we may be able to suggest ways to keep your costs low, or things that you may not have considered, but would love to have!

What sets you apart from your competitors?

Well, that’s a tough one! The wedding photography genre in India has really exploded in the last few years, and there are many, many photographers who now offer quality work at a variety of price ranges. However, it’s important to remember here that wedding photography is an extremely demanding field – and it’s experience that sets the pros apart from the starters. During a wedding, you only get ONE chance to get that perfect shot – if you miss it, it’s gone! Praerna and I have years of experience shooting weddings, and coupled with the fact that we understand what it takes to get married and based on that, be able to deliver intensely personal memories to a bride a groom – that has resulted in many, many very satisfied brides and grooms with whom we are very close friends with even years after their wedding!

Tell us about one of the interesting shoots you have had…what made it interesting.

I love shooting by the beach – I always have. Last year, while shooting in Mahabaleshwar, we decided to do a quick post-wedding shoot by the sea. The clouds and rain decided to play hide and seek with us, but we went for it anyway. While walking around, the amount of energy the couple and the friends and family of the couple brought into the shoot was amazing – one would never have thought that the entire group hadn’t slept a wink in two days! We tried a couple of jumping shots (I still can’t believe the number of times they did this, each time higher than the next!), played a game of beach volleyball (never challenge a bride!) and all jumped into the pool right at the end! A day well spent! 🙂

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Visit Arjun and Praerna on their website and Facebook  for more information.

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