Interview – Sharmila Shah, Wedding Photographer

Have you attended a wedding lately? Ouch, maybe I touched a raw nerve there. 

Ok, then let’s jog our memory to the recent past, Rewind to a few months back when Indian weddings were at its glorious best and may I add, also at its costliest best! Times when People did not hesitate or hold themselves back with a guest list, décor or the shenanigans associated with an Indian wedding. Big or small, Intimate or not!

During this period, we got talking to Sharmila Shah, an established Professional Wedding Photographer in Bangalore. Here you go:

Q: So we would like to know, what attracted you to this field?

A: It was surely the excitement of a wedding scenario, I would say. The twinkling fairy lights, the flowing colorful fabrics, people on high energy and emotions, all of them put together is a great mix for an exciting career as a Wedding Photographer.

Q: What are your observations on how this trend of Women getting into the Wedding industry may have started?

A: Without any historical document of proof, I can only put forth my keen and honest observation over a decade as an over-enthusiastic wedding photographer. The later 2000’s started this amazing trend of Professional women photographers entering the wedding market by a dozen. The Wedding industry with its dynamism and multi layered challenges met all the tick boxes of offering an energetic and vibrant profession and a work atmosphere.

Q: What kind of Backgrounds did they come from, anything particular?

A I saw a lot of Ex engineers turned wedding photographers, creative type photographers turned wedding photographers, basically a lot of people who were looking for a creative outlook plus a great opportunity to establish their names and brands in a Vibrant and exciting industry.

Q: What was it that made these women enter this all male dominated industry? 

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A: The answer lies in that fact women have entered every other male dominated industry. I don’t think we women photographers got in with this agenda that we are entering a male dominated industry. We were just following our dreams and seeking out opportunities.

Q: What sets them apart? What makes them rule the roost and literally be rock stars in the profession they have chosen? 

A: What was generally agreed upon or expressed time and again by families and brides is that, they most often than not had a positive engagement with the ladies and their depth of understanding was lot deeper, and many of us do get in to a lot of detailing like the brides outfit, her make up and hair which adds a multitude of dimensions to what we do. I think that would surely be our USP.

Q: How did brides respond to women photographers?

A: There is an immediate comfort that the brides experienced with their Candid female wedding photographers. There was an instant bon homier, open discussion on clothes, look and maybe even a woman’s experience during and after the wedding. Precious, that!

I can personally vouch for conversations that I have had with brides, which was way beyond what just happened on a wedding day. 

Q: But the real question one may ask is that does it really make a difference to have a lady photographer vs the male photographer, at a wedding?

A: To be honest and in a larger scheme of things it does NOT. The bottom line always being, that one’s gender does not define one’s efficiency, productivity or capability to do one’s work, artistic, non artistic or any type of work.

Like all professions, hard work, talent, commitment and dedication takes precedence over everything that you do, and holds far more real value with whether you wear pants or skirts. Again, we women do that very well. But moving on.

Q: How have the people around responded to seeing a lady photographer?

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A: When various Women and Men walk up to me and express admiration for the “Different “profession I have taken up, there is a sense of pride each time. Even after all these years. 

When young girls in a crowd chase the drone along with little boys and come to you and ask to hold the camera for a bit, it feels that much more like we are pushing the envelope a bit forward. 

Maybe it’s the same feeling we got when we saw first women pilots, or women in combat, cause we do shoot after all, with our own kinda weapons.

Q: Any closing lines? Any tips for budding Wedding Women Photographers?

A: Having said that, some people, very few people, I must point out, in every society will always cast a suspicious eye when there is a change in the stereotype, For e.g. is a male make up artist better than a female make up artist? Do women know more about clothes and men know more about cars? No one can answer that and it boils down to an individual eventually. And rightfully so.

Advice would always be to keep walking on your own paths. Make and create opportunities for yourself. It’s a great industry to be in . I have loved every moment of my career. It took me places, met so many wonderful people. Above all my dreams have given me wings and the courage to live an independent life.

Each step is in that positive direction of growth, equality, progress and Prosperity.

– Sharmila Shah

Find her on Instagram | Visit WeddingBellz

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