Zook Interview Link – http://blog.zookapp.in/zook-talenthub-sanoj-kumar/
ZOOK TALENTHUB – SANOJ KUMAR
Can you tell us about the journey so far: From your first wedding to the most recent?
My first experience in photography was when I attended my cousin’s housewarming ceremony. His friend had brought along a German camera. Out of my curiosity, I looked through the camera and was amazed at what i saw through it – it was a whole new perspective! It inspired me to follow photography. After clicking a few pictures with that camera, I checked out the negatives. After seeing the pictures that I clicked, I became aware that I could frame pictures well.
After that, my first wedding photography experience was at my cousin’s wedding. I got 900 rupees for that. From then on, I was the wedding photographer for his brothers’ weddings and most of the weddings in that locality. After that, there’s been no turning back and today I even get to do celebrity wedding shoots.
What did young Sanoj aspire to be?
I wanted to become a film technician, as I was very much attracted to the film industry. But then photography changed my views and I have been a wedding photographer ever since.
Your favorite hangout places in Kochi?
I love to visit Fort Kochi. It is one of those places that never lose its charm. Right from its old world charm, to the modern visions – Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Fort Kochi is one great place to hangout. Whenever I feel like going for a drive, I tend to visit Fort Kochi.
Places you like to go with friends/family?
My family and I love to travel. We had visited Sri Lanka recently and we loved that place. When I travel with my friends, we tend to travel to different states and love to explore.
Most memorable moments of your life in the city?
One of the most memorable moments that remain in my mind is the wedding shoot of the famous Malayalam movie actor Mammoty’s son – Dulquer Salmaan. Right from the discussion time, meeting the star and his family, to the final day of the wedding; it was an experience in itself.
First big break, which put your name in the limelight?
The big break was when I covered the wedding of Dulquer Salmaan. It leveraged me into a whole new level and gave me a name in the celebrity circle. I have since been covering a few celebrity weddings too.
Proudest moments so far?
One of the proudest moments was when I was contacted for the wedding shoot of Dulquer Salmaan. I still get goosebumps thinking of that day. I felt like I had won a lottery.
Favorite malayali dish?
I can never say no to Appam and Fish Curry. I have some very fond memories of eating this dish, right from my childhood days.
Which is the Indian city you’d like to visit over and over?
Bangalore – not just for official purposes but for a break too. Other than that, I would love to travel to Varanasi and Pushkar. Maybe do a candid wedding shoot there.
Dream destinations, kind of weddings/events you’d love to cover?
One of my dream destination to do a wedding shoot is the Jaipur Palace. It would be a remarkable experience. The beauty of the palace and an enchanting moment like a wedding will make a shoot memorable for all. And maybe someday, I would love to shoot a tribal wedding too. I have always wanted to witness a tribal wedding and shoot it. Hopefully, I might get lucky soon.
Wedding photography must be one of the toughest, with clients probably uncompromising on the most special day of their lives. What are the challenges you faces frequently?
One of the major issues that I have come across in a wedding shoot is the lack of pre-planning from my clients’ side. Right from makeup time, to the wedding ceremony. It all happens lightning fast. In the process, some good shots are missed.
Secondly, most of the clients hire a bunch of photographers and videographers. What happens is that everyone is basically capturing the same photos. So what’s the benefit in that? There is no necessity of hiring more than one good photographer or videographer for a wedding.
Another thing that I have felt could be changed in most weddings is that, clients should opt for an open space wedding rather than a stage wedding. In a stage wedding, there is only one point-of-view. In the earlier days, wedding were conducted at home or in an open space wherein there would be a wedding arrangement in the middle and everyone gathered around that. This way, more viewpoints could be captured. Today, I think clients should go for an open space wedding like on a beach or a garden area.
From movie stars to politicians, from people across different geography and religion, you have pretty much covered it all? Which one was the most challenging one and why?
The most challenging wedding to shoot is definitely that of a celebrity. There would be like 10 to 20 photographers covering the wedding. Not to mention the crowd. It is very difficult to capture a good frame in a celebrity wedding. It’s like one should fight to get a good frame of the couple.
If Sanoj had superpowers, what would it be (also your favorite superhero)?
Well, if I had a superpower, I would want to become Iron Man. My son loves Iron Man and he would be very happy indeed.
You have travelled around taking pictures. If you’d have to get happily stuck in a place, where would it be?
I wouldn’t mind getting stuck at Hampi. I just love that place. The architectural beauty of that place is very enchanting. It’s great to think how beautiful it would have been, back in those days.
Your Idol, someone you look up to?
I have always looked up to my friends Hari Menon and Shaani for inspiration. They have inspired me professionally and personally. I also love the works of Ben Chrisman, Adam Alex and many more.
The evolution of wedding photography culture in Kerala has been quite tremendous. Your take on how this has affected the general perception of people to what you do?
In the earlier days when film roll camera was used, the photographer had some restriction in the number of photos that was taken. The photographer was also considered as a very vital part of the wedding then. After that when the 35 mm film camera came, the value of the photographer was secondary. The printer was the king. Then when digital photography came, the designer became the king. But the photographer also benefitted as more money could be charged for the wedding shoot, up to 50,000 rupees.
Now, with the arrival of candid photography, the demand of the photographer has increased again along with the cost. The bride and the groom have taken over the selection of the photographer and they tend to opt for a candid wedding photographer. Maybe in the future, when new changes come in the wedding photography field, the photographer will have new challenges to face.
How would you like Kochi to evolve in the next few years?
Kochi is evolving at a fast pace. In the next few years, Kochi will have a new face with the Metro project. Likewise, people will also evolve. More people will also come into the city to make a living. I think Kochi will become grand in the coming years.
Message to upcoming photographers?
Wedding photography is a mix of many genres of photography. It is a combination of fashion, photo journalism, artistic and many more, that helps create that perfect wedding photo shoot. Today, if one has to make a mark in the wedding photography field, they should have a unique identity of their own. They should be able to bring the art of photography alive through their work.
Rather than copying the work of another photographer, one should get inspired by their own work and do better. Also, Photoshop must be used sparingly while editing the photographs. Try to keep the photographs more natural. That way even after many years when the couple looks at their wedding pictures, they can recollect those wonderful moments in its true nature; even the photographer too.
What’s your most anticipated moment for 123weddings in 2015?
In 2015, I look forward to remodeling the wedding photography scenario in Kerala with some new changes. I cannot reveal them now as it is still in the planning stage. But I am excited about it and I believe that my clients will also love it.
Zook Interview Link – http://blog.zookapp.in/zook-talenthub-sanoj-kumar/