I have been an active kid in school and always wanted to do something different in life. I used to play basketball at school and even won a gold medal at the National level. Basketball can be called as my first love but as I finished my schooling, I realized that it will not do much as a full-time career and decided to choose an academic field while exploring different things. Photography was not even in my vision then. I did have a few friends who were in this field and I always appreciate what they did because it was something different from the usual.
During college, I took up photography as a hobby. I used to click pictures of my friends whenever we used to go somewhere. As I finished my MBA, my family suggested that I take up the job. I got a campus placement but I was never interested in a full-time job! I knew I wouldn't be able to hold it for more than 6 months and the same thing happened. As a young adult, I wanted to start something on my own. Along with two friends, I started a food joint called Jaafa at one of the premium locations in the city. We were new in the business, hence we used to be there at all times. Around the same time, my love for photography started growing. I developed connections with a lot of photographers in the city from the food joint.
I always loved the vibe of weddings and the thought of documenting it. It is a bundle of emotions and something you enjoy along with work. I started getting some projects with the help of my friends. I didn’t care a lot about the money at that time as I was focused on building a portfolio. I didn’t take any formal education but I actively attended many photography workshops that helped me imbibe the full scope. With a sports background, I am very active during the projects and my approach is to build a connection with the couple and family. That way, I make them feel comfortable. This results in raw candid pictures.
Word of mouth spread across the city and I started getting bigger weddings. As my photography business picked up, we decided to close Jaafa and move on with our desired career paths. Chandigarh is a city of celebrations and weddings are celebrated the most. But as time passed, things started getting monotonous. There are only a few venues for premium weddings and there came a point where I started feeling like everything was the same, only the faces kept changing. It was not something I thought would happen.
I always had a big picture in mind, I never wanted to be limited to being a photographer in Chandigarh. I wanted my work to be on a national level! I decided to expand my business to Delhi and after watching the market standards, also decided to change the name of my company from my name to ‘Vows and Tales.’
I used to travel back and forth from Chandigarh to Delhi for many months to meet clients. I shot many weddings around the country. I started enjoying the vibe of my work again and focused mainly on destination weddings that eventually became my specialty. As time passed, I even got some international projects. I shot weddings in Thailand and Dubai. Our main workstation is still at Chandigarh. My sister partnered up with me and she now handles the entire back end. I have a team that handles post-production, while I go to every single wedding project that we take.
I had a dream of being among the top wedding photography brand companies in India. Wedding Sutra awards are considered to be the biggest in the Industry. We were nominated in 6 different categories amongst the most premium companies in India and won the award of ‘Wedding film of the year’ for 2 years in a row. It was like a dream come true. It felt great to finally see all efforts paying off.
There was a time when we shot weddings in more than 13 different destinations, in just 6 months. Everything was so exhilarating. Living something that wakes you up in the morning is the best feeling. Photography is no longer just a profession for me. It is my passion and I am one of those lucky ones who do what they love.
- Abhit Jhanji
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Blog by: Harshita Sharma