• Nilakkhya Dutta

Genesis of Nilakkhya Photography- How it all began and the Equipment Tale

Picking up the camera happened early in 2010 when my interest for travelling to the mountains begun. My first purchase was Nikon D3100 for Rs. 26000 with it's kit lens of 18-55. First it was all auto mode clicks as it happens for a lot of people. My only motto was taking pictures while travelling through the mountains. Soon came the purchases of a prime lens in the form of 50mm and a telephoto lens of 70-300.

Me chilling in the Mountains with my Camra

So it all began with a Facebook Page which I named Nilakkhya Photography. The photos I uploaded majorly were of nature and portraits from the mountains. Also I got a chance to click some beautiful ladies and their images on my facebook page got me some attention. All this was moving along and my interest started to shift from the corporate 9 to 5 job to something of my own liking.

Then came a stage when I had to think more towards upgrading my equipment as D3100 was not sufficing my requirement in low light conditions. But at that point, I didn't have the money to go in for a full frame body and it's lenses. After some research, I convinced myself that Nikon D7000, a crop sensor body along with the lenses I already own would solve my purpose for the time being. After the purchase, definitely the quality of my pictures improved and the appreciation from my audience on Facebook increased.

Papiya Das's Portrait on her Wedding Day

The story started in 2012 on a day when Papiya Das, my neighbor was getting married. My family was invited and I deliberately carried my camera as I was an enthusiast and wanted to capture my apartment friends attending the wedding and the proceedings happening there. While the Ritual of Pheras were taking place, I just went there and randomly took some shots. Came back home and quickly uploaded two or three images on my Facebook page. My flamboyance was touching the sky as the response of my audience was flattering me. Questions came up like "Are you doing Wedding Photography?", "Are you a Candid Photographer?". And my spirit was running high. I at that time didn't know the meaning and concept of "Candid" photography. Hence started reading and understanding what it is all about and it's genesis.

What I gathered from my research was that it's purely documentary photography of weddings where the photographer takes all natural photographs by not asking anyone to pose for it. The most prevalent form being of Wedding Photojournalism where the photographer captures just everything he/she feels like and showcases it in the form of a set or series of photographs. But taking pictures of just everything wouldn't suffice as the clients would look for pictures more meaningful to them. Hence the concept of candid photography is confined to taking photographs in a candid way of the bride and the groom and the family members along with the rituals.

Gaurav and Resham during the time of Pheras

With all this in mind, one fine day I got a call from one of my seniors in college asking me whether I do candid photography for Weddings or not. He offered me Rs. 5000 for covering his Wedding Day evening with the deliverable of all photos in soft format. I was a Corporate working individual with a handsome salary package. An offer of just Rs. 5000 for an evening of 5-6 hours of work. Things looked lucrative. I agreed and hence covered Gaurav and Resham's wedding and it became my first commercial wedding deal. I had Nikon D7000, 70-300 tele lens and a 50mm prime. That sufficed my requirement. The pictures came out well. Gave the delivery of all the photos and got Rs. 5000 cash in hand. Uploaded a few on Facebook and got the much required appreciation and people now started feeling that I have commercially started Wedding Photography.

Portrait of Shweta while she entered

2013 rang the bell and those were the chilly days of January. One fine day got a call from my college classmate Vicky, giving me the good news of him getting married in February to Shweta. Along with the invite, came a proposal if I could cover his Wedding functions offering Rs. 12000. Again the deal looked lucrative and I thought of not looking back and thinking over it. I said a Yes but this time took a friend of mine with me who was in a similar situation starting off with his camera but a corporate guy. We both went, covered, delivered and got Rs. 12000 paid. It was happiness floating all around. Once a dream was transforming into reality. But at the same time, started thinking of the treatment the photo and video guys get especially in a North Indian Weddings.

Vicky welcoming Shweta on stage on the Wedding Day

Since I was a friend of the groom, I got a special treatment, but I thought if I do it for unknown clients, how will they react and behave during the course of the wedding. Because for them, it's pre-conceived notion that photographers are like laborers majorly non-literate and earning a few thousand a month for their survival. So is it worth leaving the comfort of the corporate world and that handsome package for something less respectful such as Wedding Photography?

Abhishek and Varnika during the Pheras

Thinking of all this, came a second call where my classmate from school Abhishek getting married to Varnika and offered Rs.16000 for the coverage. Again it looked lucrative and I went ahead with my friend to cover the same. It was then time to think and see the bigger picture. I said to myself that nothing is impossible. I have a small market now of my facebook audience who are loving my pictures and I'am getting inquiries. What I have to do is just make my clients understand that what I'am doing is a little more than the regular photographers and hence demand a little more money and above all respect.

Abhishek and Varnika during the Pheras

Convincing my parents was extremely difficult but I succeeded. I quit the job. Started editing more and more pictures of those three weddings I had covered and expected more weddings to come in. March rolled in and it was now becoming a little tense as I had no job and no weddings in hand. My parents started to add icing on the cake of worry by saying that What am I doing with my career and who will marry me as I have no job now and a mere wedding photographer.

It's said that "When there's a Will, there's a Way". A phone call came in for a wedding coverage in April. I asked for a fee of Rs. 60000 for the coverage for candid photography by two photographers. They agreed. We covered, we got paid and the story rolled on. 2013 saw a coverage of 26 Weddings by Nilakkhya Photography covering cities of Delhi, Aligarh, Saharanpur, Lucknow and Kolkata. Equipment was Nikon D7000 with a 70-300 tele lens and 50mm prime lens.

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