Richa Kashelkar, educated as an architect, started photographing weddings by a chance event. In this post, the lady who has fallen in love with her camera talks about her passion, techniques and work.
Q. How did you take up photography? And how did you get into wedding photography?
A. By education I am an architect, which makes me heavily inclined towards design. At the end of the day, Photography is also about design. I realised that I enjoy making images and started doing it with my phone camera. Later I moved into a point and shoot camera and started clicking everything in sight. A very clichéd beginning, I tell you!
Wedding photography happened by pure chance. I had uploaded a few of my amateur works online and a friend’s friend saw it and asked me to shoot her wedding. It just went on snowballing from there as I kept uploading photos online! I owe my work to the vast spread of social networking.
Q. What kind of gear do you use?
Camera: Nikon D700
Lens: Nikkor 85mm f1.8, and 35mm f2 lens
Flash: Nikon SB600
Q. What’s your favourite lens during a wedding?
A. I love both my lenses equally, but the lens with a slight edge over the other would have to be a 35mm. I have quite recently begun to love it. The wide lens captures a lot of craziness and action which keeps happening at weddings!
Q. What lens would you recommend for someone starting in wedding photography?
A. A 50mm f1.8 lens. Because it will shoot great in low light (which is very essential at weddings). The price is easy on the wallet and so is great for beginners.
Q. Any gadget that you wish you shouldn’t have bought?
A. I have a really bad lens which is the Tamron 18-200mm lens. I was tempted by the idea of an “All in one” lens. They’re bad if you intend to shoot people, which is my love.
Q. What all do you carry while on an assignment?
A. A Nikon D700, a Nikon D90, my lenses, flash, chargers and an emergency bar of dark chocolate. The last one really helps!
Q. How do you prepare yourself for a wedding session besides getting your equipment together?
A. Getting a LOT of rest prior to it.
Q. In the field, what is your…
ISO – Anything from 200 to 6400
Choice of focus – Autofocus / Manual focus – Auto, since you need to be fast in capturing moments. Cannot afford to waste time in focusing when an exciting expression gives you a glimpse and vanishes. I have missed many in the past.
White Balance – Auto, since the RAW files are all colour-corrected later.
Metering Mode – Spot.
Q. What is your most favorite part of a wedding? Don’t tell me it’s the food!
A. Food. Desserts especially! Haha! That apart, the joy on the couple’s faces.
Q. Does photographer’s block happen to you? If yes, how do you overcome it?
A. It does happen to me, but not in wedding photography. Weddings are such a power packed affair that they hardly give you time to even realise that you have a block. They are an inspiration in themselves.
Q. In India, where wedding photographers are predominantly males, have you found yourself to have any advantages over them?
A. Yes! People are very courteous since you are a lady. The bride enjoys your company even in the dressing room and you can build an amazing bond! And the other studio photographers can’t behave rough with you! 😉 It is a very physically taxing profession, so you need to be quite strong and healthy.
Q. Explain your post-processing work flow.
A. I go through the entire lot that I have shot and select the good pictures. Then they go through Lightroom and come out as shiny new images to be delivered!
Q. Whose work has influenced you the most?
A. I honestly avoid looking at other photographers’ works for inspiration. A favourite Architecture Professor of mine had once told us not to browse through any famous architect’s work’ opposite of what everyone else told us to do. Because whether you want to or not, you WILL get influenced. Then whether you want to accept it or not, you will end up copying.
Q. Is there something you wished you knew when you started photography?
A. Nothing! I jumped into it headlong, and I don’t repent it one bit!