A willingness to experiment is what makes Seshu different from other wedding photographers. He unveils his secrets to Neha Mutreja.
How would you feel if you were sandwiched between an eager bride and an anticipant groom exchanging garlands? This is exactly where Seshu found himself at one wedding ceremony. For him, standing at the centre of that moment was a matter of great joy as he enjoys shooting images right where the action is taking place. His job is to click fleeting moments artistically for a bride, groom and their families to cherish for generations to come. Seshu is not only a wedding photographer. He is also a documentary photographer who aims to create unique images that narrate stories. His photographs are a mix of candid and formal moments that are executed beautifully. But this is not how he began his career.
This photographer studied journalism in college, but later his interests shifted to photography and he took it up as a career. He worked as a photo editor at ESPN, US for five years. “Being a photo editor was a challenging job, but after five years of sitting in a cubicle, I decided that I needed a change. I wanted to get out, shoot more and have fun doing it. As luck would have it, I had a chance to shoot at my friend’s wedding. I was hesitant, because I was primarily a photojournalist. But as it turned out, weddings are all about narrating stories. I was completely hooked!”
The Shift to Organised Chaos
Born in the US, Seshu spent 12 years of his life in India and then shifted back to the US. He has seen a mix of cultures, which helpshim get along with his clients really well.His images have captured poignant, sad,humorous emotions that tell stories aboutpeople and their relationships. For Seshu, attending a western wedding is like having a scripted idea of what to shoot. But that is exactly what adds flavour to his pictures.“I am fond of Indian weddings as I know that it is going to be a beautiful day. I also know that something will surely go wrong, but in a good way.”
Moving Away from Clichés
While most photographers tend to look at things from an eye level, Seshu’s approach is slightly different. He literally looks at his scenes lying down. He loves to explore unique perspectives and angles. In fact, he would not mind arguing with the priest if it means getting the shot he wants! “Wedding photography is just like storytelling,” explains Seshu. “I approach my subjects very much like a photojournalist. Like every other photographer I also shoot clichés, but I never show it to my clients. Instead, I look in every nook and corner of a venue to capture interesting moods and compositions to add a refreshing change to the photographs I click.”
A Straightforward Approach
Wedding photography is not about clicking random pictures. It is about understanding needs and expectations.“My first approach towards my subjects is to make them comfortable and understand who they are and what they like about photography. Based on this, I try to tailor my style to their liking.” Before the wedding begins, Seshu asks his clients to give him a list of people they want him to photograph. This helps him to chalk out a plan for the rest of the day. This does not mean that he sticks to this plan, as it may change according to the need of the hour. “I am specific about who I am and what I can offer. I do not care where I am or how tired I am. If there is a moment I want to be there, because that is the reason I am hired. The clients appreciate my approach.”
Most beginners find it a herculean task to decide their fee. While some smart photographers judge and rate their own work or with the help of mentors and then decide, some unfortunately misjudge. Most incur losses and end up changing their profession. Seshu’s approach to do it was a little different. “Once I was out of the ESPN office, I took baby steps and started my career with small weddings. Later on when I was confident about my work, I judged it on the basis of what I could cater. I calculated my investments and worked around a comfortable profit. Once you know what your business costs are, you can charge accordingly.”
It is clear that Seshu’s first love is wedding photography. However, when Seshu is not busy covering weddings, he indulges in portraiture instead. Here too, he interacts with his subjects in an innovative, thoughtful manner. “I invite people to choose a location where they and their family are most comfortable. This puts them at ease and in turn, lends a more natural feel to my photos.” But after dabbling in several genres of photography, what is Seshu’s ultimate goal? “I strive to tell a lifetime of stories that you and your loved ones will cherish for generations to come.”
To see more of Seshu’s work, visit www.seshu.net or read his blog www.tiffinbox.org
Tips by Seshu
- While photographing groups, understand the dynamics and arrange people accordingly.
- When you do not have time to arrange lights, make use of the available light and boost your camera’s ISO to get perfect exposure.
- Use networking to gather endorsement for your work and also to keep abreast of the latest trends.
Before he took up professional photography, Seshu wanted to be a history professor. Seshu believes that the dancing areas at weddings can give you the most photographic opportunities. Currently he is working on a project called Mavens ofMusic. It is a collection of portraits of India’s leading Hindustani and Carnatic classical musicians.