Being a wedding photographer is certainly a challenging career, but photographer Avinder Singh doesn’t let it affect his ultimate goal, to capture the all the emotion of a wedding.
Winning Malaysian Indian Wedding Photographers & Videographers (MIWPV) Convention 2019‘s prestigious Photographer of the Year award has only filled Avinder with the zeal to pursue his passion turned profession.
His company, Avinder Photography focuses on wedding photography. But he doesn’t limit himself to just that. A quick peruse through the company’s social media platforms show that they cover a variety of events from graduations, to baby birthdays. Avinder, however, adores wedding photography.
Avinder sits down with Varnam to talk about his journey in the world of Malaysian wedding photography. Here are 8 things about this talented photographer that you need to know.
This is his second time winning Photographer of the Year at MIWPV
Last year, Avinder clinched the title of Photographer of the Year in MIWPV 2018. “Honestly, I am overwhelmed that I won this award two years in a row!” Avinder was shortlisted to the 10 best photographers, and at the awards night held in Everly Hotel, Putrajaya on the 29th of July, he was announced as the winner. “There was a rush of emotions the moment they announced my name, never in my wildest dreams did I expect to win two years in a row!”
Established in 2015, MIWPV began as an annual gathering for Malaysian photographers. As each year progressed, the number of people participating kept growing. In 2018, the MIWPV gala dinner and awards were introduced. “I was excited to submit my entries for the competition,” Avinder shares. “I wanted to win, but did not pin much hope on it, because of the competition,”
He graduated as a designer, and then ventured into photography
Avinder shares that he discovered photography while in college. He would cover events held in his alma mater. “My lecturers told me that I had an eye for photography, and the talent to go with it. They encouraged me to go for it,”
“After college, I did an internship in a design company for three months,” But Avinder’s calling didn’t lie in the world of design. “I loved designing, but there was just no connection to the profession. I then remembered what my lecturers told me. I got a camera and started taking pictures of my friends,” Avinder had found his calling. “I had an instant connection with photography. I became a freelance photographer in 2011,”
He chose wedding photography because of the emotions involved
“Why wedding photography? Because of the emotions.” Avinder gushes. “The emotions involved in a wedding are raw, and if a photographer can capture it and freeze it in their shot, it becomes priceless for the couple,”
Avinder’s pictures are often met with tears of joy from his clients, and this keeps him going. “Its nice to hear the clients say, ‘Oh my goodness, this is so beautiful! I had no idea this was happening!’ And honestly, that’s the best part of my job!”
He always connects with his clients before a photo shoot
“I always make it a point to connect with the client before the shoot. I get to know them, and we have a casual chat about their likes and dislikes,” Avinder shares that this is when he learns about his clients. “We talk about their family, I love hearing the couple talk about their loved ones enthusiastically,” Avinder reveals that this makes things easier when he finally shoots the couple, as they are comfortable with him behind the lens.
He also makes it a point to tell them not to worry about the pictures on their wedding day, “I tell my clients to be in the moment on their wedding day, and I will capture those special moments,”
He knows how to deal with clients who are a little.. stiff
Of course, not everyone is comfortable in front of the camera, and Avinder tells us that he has a way of dealing with this. “If the client is a little stiff, I know that I cannot push them too much. Ultimately, I want to maintain the authenticity of the shot that I’m going to take,”
“I usually go with the flow after telling them to just be themselves. As I take the pictures, I will show then the pictures I have taken, and they will automatically loosen up.”
On his clients’ big day, he tells them NOT to look at his lens while the rituals are going on. “I tell them I don’t want you to look at my lens, because when you do that, you are not in the moment anymore,” Avinder shares. “I tell them to be free, and to immerse themselves in their once in a lifetime experience, as I eternalise those emotions,”
When he encounters difficult wedding guests, he works his way around them
“On a few occasions, I do encounter guests that are over enthusiastic with their phones, trying to take pictures of the couple. In this day and age, everyone wants to take photos and there is no stopping them. In my head, I make sure that I have a backup plan,” Avinder shares that he remains focused on his goal of getting the shot, and he doesn’t waste time being exasperated with them.
“I cannot afford to miss the shot because of an over eager relative. I cannot even afford to think about them or be angry with them! As much as possible, I will work around it. But if it gets out of hand, i will inform the couple, so that they are aware that this is an issue I am facing. Avinder tells us about an event where he was blocked by an enthusiastic guest, “The couple was walking in and their relative blocked me as he took pictures with his phone. So I took it upon myself to inform the brother of the groom that this is the scenario, and that I would appreciate it if he could talk to his relative about it,”
Avinder’s focus on getting the shot is what his main aim is. “If you pay attention to what the others are doing, instead of the couple, you are bound to miss the emotional moments and special smiles! The couple gets my utmost focus and attention,”
He and his peers constantly encourage each other
When Avinder began his foray into wedding photography, he stumbled upon Kamalesan Kamalakaran’s work. “I saw his work, and I knew instantly that this is the benchmark that I should be striving for. His one of a kind techniques and angles were revolutionary,”
Kamalesan is the co-founder of MIWPV. “He is a genuine guy, and he’s easy to talk to. He motivates me to do better. He also never hesitates to share his knowledge in the seminars that MIWPV holds,”
According to Avinder, the wedding photographers often encourage each other, in spite of being competitors in the same field. “When a veteran in the industry is telling you that you can reach greater heights with your photography, there is no room for self doubt!”
He is a firm believer in MIWPV’s programs
Avinder has this to say to aspiring photographers, “If you want to pursue a career in photography, join platforms like MIWPV. It is the only place where you will come face to face with award winning photographers, who are willing to share their knowledge of the craft,”
Avinder also encourages them to join photography competitions. Plenty of these are available online and in print media. He says, “If you don’t get your work evaluated, you wont know how far you have come in your photography journey,”
“If you don’t get your work evaluated, you wont know how far you have come in your photography journey,”
“Fundamentally, photography is about creativity. It is how you look at a moment and attempt to capture it. This creativity knows no bounds. It really is insane how much more surreal the pictures get every year!”
Avinder ends the interview by saying, “I am so proud to be a part of MIWPV, and although I have won twice in a row, I still have a long journey ahead of me. There is never a finish line in photography!”
In spite of his photo finish at the MIWPV this year, Avinder remains humble, and he is laser focused on his penultimate task, capturing the special moments in a wedding. Congratulations, Avinder. To capturing many more memories!
All images are credits of Avinder Photography unless otherwise stated.
Check out Avinder’s work on his social media handle here.
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