I remember being a regular engineering student who was just fond of photography and was very fascinated by it. I loved capturing moments and that's what got me to where I am today. That young boy did not know that he was going to end up ditching his regular job and take a swing towards his passion and make a living out of it.
In college, I recall asking my father to buy me a mobile phone with a good camera in it, because mobile phones with good cameras at that time were not a very common thing. And then when he got me a phone, I felt unstoppable. I would take pictures of my friends whenever we went out together.
Then after a while, I attended a wedding with my family and that's when I saw a DSLR camera for the first time. It was mind blowing for me. That day, I remember chewing up that photographer’s head with all the questions I had.
Later I graduated and got a job in Chandigarh itself. While I was comfortably working, and yet somewhere at the back of my mind, I still felt, even just for my personal use, I wanted to get myself one of those DSLR cameras. I got my first DSLR on an EMI. I started doing some random photoshoots, and I was asked by one of my college friends if I could cover her sister’s wedding. While I agreed almost immediately, I said yes to the opportunity and refused to charge her for giving me that break. Something that she said has stuck with me till date. "Amit, if you're good at something, never do it for free” were those Golden words.
The bride later told me that she loved the pictures I had taken, more than their actual wedding photographer. I started getting a few projects and often looked up for ideas and tutorials on YouTube and the web for extra motivation. I remember making montages and editing some footage for a friend in my hometown. He owned a small pub-like place, and he loved the work I did for him. I decided to pursue photography as my full-time passion and my career as a professional wedding photographer. I named it Focal Point Productions. We eventually built a team of enthusiastic and young photographers, and were working at a great pace until the pandemic hit us.
When the pandemic hit the globe, our field was amongst the worst hit and my team and I were equally vulnerable to the situation. We had a really interesting schedule for multiple weddings at great locations in April, but given the situation, they all got canceled. The income came to a halt, and the situation became critical. Fortunately, my wife was still working and we could sustain till everything opened up again. My wife is my biggest supporter, she believed in me in times when no one did. The first professional camera that I got was Nikon D810 and my wife got a loan from the bank to buy the camera. At that time we were not even married and were just earning enough to pay our rents and the emi of the camera. She has always been my backbone.
We were able to accept bookings again. Ever since lockdown, we had to lower the prices and the number of bookings also went down rapidly. We did a few shoots in November and December last year, but the pricing brought us at a great loss. My team and I were working hard, but we were not motivated. I decided to revise some terms and conditions and policies of our contracts so that we would be able to sustain well enough. I promised my team that they would not suffer as I believe that a suitable compensation itself is a good motivator.
I never thought I would be able to make a living out of a camera, and honestly speaking I never believed in myself either. But with time and support from my wife and friends I started believing in myself and my passion. Wonderful clients who are now my friends as well have boosted the belief that I was lacking, the spark that I was missing in my life.
Along with all these good experiences, I had some bad ones too. In one of the weddings that I shot in my hometown, I never got paid for, even after complete delivery. That was a great loss and also taught me a very valuable lesson. The kind of experiences that this profession brought me, has been exceptionally rewarding. I have seen so many versatile cultures and their traditions and rituals. The way every community has its own way of doing things and how much it means to them. I have mainly covered most of the weddings in northern India but am very keen on exploring some in other parts of the country. The emotional connection that this field offers me, is what I truly value very much. I feel very connected to the groom and bride. Sometimes, I have cried when the bride would enter the venue. That emotion has added more value to my profession.
I find my happiness behind the camera. Coming from a family that always believed in the job culture, I never knew what I'd do in my life. I never had any passion or a specific goal. I was just a mediocre kid who was an introvert since school, but when I got my DSLR, I found my passion. The passion of capturing happiness, emotions, rituals and culture.
- Amit Kumar
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Inverview by: Rahul Thakkar
Written by: Sayoni Walujkar