The Wedding Photography Wizard
~ by Joseph Radhik
My journey of making images started in 2001, and my very first image making device was a digital one. So unlike the rest of the photographers who've graced these august pages, I'm fairly new and consider myself still a learner in the craft. But I'll tell you this - I can't remember my life before I started looking at the world in frames. Photography has made me see the beauty in the world around us, whether it is the smile of an 80 year old woman that shows a life well lived, or a surreal sunrise viewed from 17,000ft up in the mountains. This ability to see beauty has turned into an obsession to seek more beauty. In turn, this search has turned into a life full of travel.
Not just the travel that takes you places, but the kind that forces you to experience new lifestyles and cultures. I spent six years studying engineering and management, and three years working with some of the best companies in the corporate world. I've traveled from rural corners of India selling toothpaste to big glass-faceted corporate houses selling ideas. And while I truly enjoyed this life, I always found pure joy while creating images. So it was in the winter of 2010 that I quit, becoming a full-fledged wedding photographer. 'Why weddings?' is a question I get asked a lot. To me, weddings stand for everything that I love about the art and craft of photography - they force me to interact with my subjects, but at the same time teach me to respect the occasion and be a fly on the wall. They require you to be quick on your feet, are full of emotion, and simply gorgeous to shoot.
That then, brings me to what I seek for in my art. Two factors make up pretty much every one of my images: beauty and emotion. All the images I seek need to have both of these aspects, the rest of the technicalities are optional. By emotion, I don't just mean capturing an expression on camera, but I also hope to elicit an emotion from my viewer when they see my work. I hope to steal more than five seconds of my viewer's attention with my images. Five seconds may seem less, but in our age of rapid social media consumption, it is nothing but a meaningful pause. A pause that begs for you to look deeper or simply be so stunned that you’ll sit back and soak in the detail. Beauty as a term is self explanatory and my work revolves around this central theme across all genres.
Finally, I recognize that photography is equal parts art and craft. While the art is what keeps me awake at night, the craft is my indulgence. I'm driven to technical perfection and innovation, and cameras that help me achieve this in my images are what pique my interest. For the past two years, Sony has been shifting the paradigm with their mirror-less range, and I've been one of the first few in my industry to shift completely to mirror-less. My beginnings in professional camera equipment were with a humble Sony A300, followed by the tank-like A850. Today, I shoot entirely with the A7 range and Zeiss series of lenses. One of my addictions is cinematography and film making, and no other system of cameras does both as good as this system. When it comes to my camera kit, I’ve always favoured prime lenses over zooms. Primes tend to restrict your vision, thus leading to innovation and discipline in your process. The other important factor for me is portability - I travel over 200 days a year, so I need my cameras to be as light as possible.
My lens kit consists of Zeiss lenses made by Sony, and by Zeiss. These lenses are stellar in both sharpness and the way they render out-of-focus areas ("bokeh" in geek terms). My camera kit is entirely mirrorless. The primary camera is the Sony A7R2 which is the epitome of image quality right now, with its large, clean 42-megapixel image files. The secondary camera is either the Sony A7S or A72, based on the assignment I’m on. Both bodies are capable of class leading video output which is a big advantage in the field. I shoot entirely in RAW, and depend a lot on the amazing dynamic range of these sensors. My last magic trick in the bag is the pocket sized wonder - the Sony RX100 M4. This tiny camera is always with me, and is used during photo walks, for making timelapses and slow-motion footage, for aerial and underwater images, and basically for life as I see it.
Story Stats & Gear Used:
|Lens||FE 16-35mm F4 ZA OSS|
E-mount Camera with Full Frame Sensor