5 Reasons why you shouldn' t be a wedding Photographer in India
Updated: Sep 19, 2018
Yes, You've heard it right ! this is the topic no one is going to tell you about.
We all imagine life of a wedding photographer to be highly paid professional who lives life happily of which the songs are sung about. All you have to do is shoot for 1 day go home live your life. But that ain't true. Even I had the same Idea about this Industry before we started Shutterbug.
1. Equipment Cost
Yes, Photography equipment are very expensive ! an average photographer carries stuff worth Rs.8 lac, which includes the body of the camera( roughly 2.5 - 3.0 lac ) & lenses. An experienced photographer always uses the Quality lenses which costs around 1 - 1.5 lac each and yes, you cannot go with a single lens. A photographer needs at least 3-4 lenses in his bag. Then, comes the lighting part and there's no end of expenses.
2. Establishing your business
While there are tons of photography firms who can work at the price of a peanut, why would someone hire you in the first place? You need to understand the market first,how to get clients and crack the deal. If your ancestral business is photography then, you're born with the golden spoon. You should just know how to play your cards right.
But that ain't the case for most of us; now if you're from a middle class family and even if you spread your word of mouth, all you gonna get is a mediocre wedding of which there'll be nothing you can add to your portfolio. So how are you going to get better clients who can pay you the justifiable amount of money ? This is a long journey towards success.
3. Client Expectations
No matter how much they pay you that shouldn't affect your quality, that is the first rule.
To become a wedding photographer the basic requirement is to dial the correct exposure in a fraction of seconds. Remember, this is not a fashion shoot at your studio and your subject isn't a model.
Then comes the family portraits, no one actually knows who started this in India but it seems like a desperate attempt to get the job. Our oldies have done something which isn't reversible. Yes the pictures of all the rituals, I mean literally! (even though no one actually watch it later on) then the entire family portraits( families can be really big, I mean you may have 40 Important people in a single wedding ) then the stage grouping starts.
Lets make one thing clear, Wedding Photography in India isn't a single man's job unlike the western part of the world. You need a team, a solid team to work, but you need to pay them as well. And tons of revisions with your videos and missing photographs and client's request for RAW footage is a time consuming task.
4. Long working hours
Unlike other western part of the world, Indian weddings go on for 12-20 hours and you can't say NO during the event. If you haven't done any wedding yet, start by assisting a photographer. We have to be on our toes all the time. I mean literally standing for 18 hours straight can make your back ache, feet sore and over that you cannot eat for hours while you're working. If you're fortunate enough to have an assistant who can at least get the water to you, you'll be little relieved. Most of the time you're the last one to eat and sometimes the caterers have already winded up, so NO FOOD. And even in all those situations you still need to be creative, energetic & keep the smile throughout the day (that is mandatory).
Later come the post production, it can take around 12 hours to process a day's footage if you ain't bulk processing( it takes us more than that ). But that is just one angle's footage, now you might be having three. So, its 20hr+12hrs+12hrs+12hrs. we haven't even included the video editing time, that's a different topic altogether. On top of that, you need to keep your social feeds going throughout the year and meetings with new clients and album designing and LEARNING.. whoa ! that's a lot of work. ALL these are just for one wedding. Now, the worst part is not getting the full payments even after the timely delivery. The pay is always delayed. Photographers are the last one to be paid. We highly recommend not to take projects of a shady client. You might not get paid even after doing the job.
You have to give up on your Winter every year! which i believe is the best time to go for holidays. You will miss everything, I mean it. You can even miss your cousin's wedding or your son's graduation even you won't be there if someone in your family dies( unfortunately happened with our colleague as we were out of the state).
Now you cannot work with your laptops( unless you've got an alienware ). You need to build your RIG( your PC or Mac ) which is always 30% more expensive in India due to Custom charges. Now the Scenario is even worst while DDR4 Ram isn't in stock so their prices are sky rocketing even the graphic cards ! thanks to the crytocurrency miners for buying all the GPU's in the market where everything is already expensive. Let's take an Example , If a computer costs 1,00,000 INR in United States, you have to pay Rs.1,30,000 INR for it in India where the currency and economy is already poor. Wait now, that is just the MRP I am talking about.The Vendors, who are not selling DDR4 and a GPU at MRP. The price is always higher ( thanks to our cryptocurrency miner friends and Samsung for still figuring out how to make RAM). So, you're paying somewhere near Rs.1,50,000 for the same. While the Average Spend on Wedding Photography in the UK is £1,520 which is equivalent to Rs.1,37,475 according to survey conducted In 2015, and photographers still get everything cheaper. You on the other hand have to pay more for the same and earn less as the Average wedding photography charge in India is Rs.40,000/-
Don't forget about numerous external storage to back-up 350-400GBs RAW Data, and they aren't always cheap. Approximately you have to make at least 2 back-ups.
Now comes the worst part, paying the rent of your office, electricity bills, Taxes(Curse the Government), the salaries of your employees and Adobe creative cloud membership. All that at least cost Rs.50,000/- excluding the salaries. Be prepared for the off season, NO WORK for 5 Months. Mark my word, spend your money wisely.
If you still want to be a wedding Photographer, there's no Stopping you. You can give it a shot and see for yourself how things work.