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Breaking Barriers: Now women pro capture weddings with their lenses

Post by on Sunday, August 29, 2021

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Over the years, there has been an increased demand for wedding photographers in Kashmir and many youths have ventured into this profession. However, female wedding photographers were unheard of until recently.
One such promising and young wedding photographer from the Valley is Sahiba Wani who has made a name for herself in a short span of time as many brides prefer wedding shoots by female camera persons.
The 24-year-old, engineering graduate from Nowgam, Srinagar has been into photography since childhood. “I have been an artist and have explored all artistic endeavors including sketching, painting, fashion designing and out of all that photography became a manifestation of that love for art and aesthetic,” she said.
Sahiba started photography when she was a teenager and used her parents’ phone to practice, but her passion for photography got serious when she was in college.
“I always had a taste for photography, and I think art is something that you can't really learn, it's an innate thing and you keep getting better with practice,” she said.
Sahiba’s parents were reluctant as they were concerned if photography was a good career option for a female in the society.
“For me personally it was a viable career option as I saw great acceptance from the brides,” she said adding “I had struggled a lot to make my own place in society as a photographer, but I never stopped and kept going.”
Like all the other artists who are just starting their career, Sahiba was also skeptical about her career. “I wasn't sure if this would work out or if I would get the appreciation I deserve. Moreover, there was no one to look up to. There was no female wedding photographer who I could have taken guidance from as there are very few,” she said.
Sahiba loves the feeling of preserving a moment filled with emotions in a picture. It is as valuable to me as an artist as it is to my brides, Sahiba said.
Being able to freeze the most precious moments of a bride in a picture is something that makes Sahiba happy and there is nothing equivalent to that for her.
Most of the weddings happen during April and October in Kashmir, Sahiba does around a dozen wedding projects in a season and also shoots in other parts of the world occasionally.
She believes the wedding photography industry was and is still a male dominated field but that motivates her even more. Sahiba believes that the kind of comfort level a bride gets with a female photographer is impossible to achieve with a male photographer.
She is hopeful the trend might change in the future and more female artists will emerge in this field.
The pandemic has changed the dynamics of the world and because of that in the last two years Sahiba’s wedding projects have been mostly in Kashmir.
Inspired by a lot of foreign female wedding photographers, Sahiba is involved in weddings, Pre/post weddings (couple, family, baby shoots), parties, events, fashion, product, and portfolio shoots.
“Being a female, it has been very challenging for me as I haven't come across any female wedding photographers in Kashmir until now, maybe there are one or two,” she said.
Being among the very few female wedding photographers Sahiba’s advice to the aspiring female photographers is to practice, do your work with dedication and let your work speak for itself.
………….
Barlina Khan (28) from Baghat Srinagar, is one of the very few female wedding photographers in the valley. She was born and raised in Delhi, and married to a Kashmiri boy in 2019.
She had a great passion for photography since her childhood. “I was ardent when it came to photography. I loved to capture moments and loved exploring things around me,” Barlina said.
I wasn’t good with my studies, so I did simple graduation through correspondence and simultaneously did a one year diploma course in photography, she said.
Barlina did her first photography assignment in 2014 and ever since then, there has been no looking back for her. She believes there is no greater thing in life than chasing your dreams as she was lucky enough to have changed her passion into a profession.
Being in a patriarchal society, Barlina had full support of her parents which kept her going. “My family has always been there for me. They have been with me through thick and thin. It is because of their tremendous support that I am a well-known photographer today,” she said.
It wasn’t easy for Barlina to balance between her professional life and family. “This profession comes with a lot of challenges especially for a female and my journey was full of hurdles,” she said.
Barlina said photographers don’t have a proper schedule. “In this field we don't know when to pack up, when to eat, when to sleep and how to give time to our families,” she said.
Initially she had lots of issues popping up in managing her schedule as she was an amateur photographer when she started her journey, but her father eased out everything for her.
The thing Barlina loves the most about photography is it gives her an entirely new experience and relations to cherish for a lifetime each time she is at work. She has been inspired by her husband Sajjad Shah and Vishal Punjabi (a well-known wedding photographer).
“When my husband and I started MG’s Wedding Cinematography, we were the first to bring the concept of cinematic weddings to Kashmir,” said Barlina.
Barlina’s advice to the aspiring photographers is not to take this profession as an option. “Especially for girls, you will definitely face so many hurdles, but you are the one who has to make boundaries in between right and wrong, practice well and you will be able to sustain in this field,” she said.
She believes things have changed in Kashmir as people are willing to spend lakhs on a wedding photographer. She has done more than 175 weddings projects since 2016. She has worked globally under her company MG's Wedding Cinematography.
“We travel across the world to shoot weddings. Some of our best weddings have been shot in locations like Istanbul, Bali, Maldives and Turkey,” she said.
The cinematic shooting packages start from 1.5 lakh for 2, in which we provide a concept cinematic wedding film with candid plus traditional still photography for our clients, she adds.
 
 
 
 
 

 

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