Artist Spotlight – Inderjeet Gill
In conversation with Ahmedabad-based wedding photographer Inderjeet Gill
For Inderjeet, a passion for art was something he had since childhood. He’d always had an inclination towards painting and playing with colours. It was only a matter of time before his interest in art, as well as technology, turned towards the perfect combination of the two – photography. And his love for knowing people’s stories and seeing diverse cultures led him to wedding photography.
He strives to capture all the beautiful moments that families share when they come together for a wedding. This conversation is an attempt to get to know more about the vision and philosophy behind his work, his inspirations, and his goals.
From an IITian to a wedding photographer today. Tell us how that transition happened? What pulled you towards wedding photography?
I did my schooling from Kota, was good in studies and liked technology related subjects. Around that time, especially in Kota, if you were good at studies the next default progression after schooling was IIT-JEE. So that’s how IIT happened and I became an engineer.
I loved painting since childhood and my paintings were exhibited at various school level competitions. And, life at IIT was luckily much beyond just studies. We had amazing platforms to pursue non-academic skills too, so my connection with painting continued at IIT as well. I led the fine arts section and also was the head of design teams of the institute’s magazine.
Essentially, art and technology have always been my two main areas of interest.
After finishing my studies at IIT my then-girlfriend-now-wife Mrinal gifted me my first DSLR camera, and that’s when I started exploring photography more seriously. I uploaded some of my images on Facebook. One of my college seniors, who knew about my artistic abilities from college, saw those images and asked me to photograph her wedding and that’s how my first exposure to wedding photography took place.
I am an army kid and frequent transfers of my dad quite initially groomed me to gel up with new people very easily. I always loved to interact with people and understand their stories. I was always excited to see different places and diverse Indian cultures fascinated me at a totally different level. And, wedding photography offers great opportunity to experience all this more often.
I would say by doing wedding photography I get to live all of it at once and that’s the pull factor. I am pursuing my artistic passion using technology and getting the opportunity to meet new people, capture their stories and closely witness and understand different cultures. What more I could ask for!
You travel to a variety of places for weddings and pre-wedding shoots. What has been your favourite destination to shoot at in the past? Why?
Rajasthan is by far my favorite place to shoot. Udaipur, with its beautiful lakes and royal palaces, offers great scenery for a picturesque setting for romantic couple portraits. Forts and desserts/dunes of Jodhpur and Jaisalmer offer the grandeur and rustic character. Jaipur city has its own charm and ethnicity, royal settings and grandness.
One of the captions on your Instagram mentioned that in addition to couple portraits you want to take more portraits of family and friends. Tell us why capturing portraits of friends and family is important to you?
My approach to anything in life is to understand the basic reason for its existence. In case of weddings, the most basic is ‘Love is building up a new family by the union of two families’. And, this statement explains my whole approach towards the wedding photography.
In today’s world, people move out to different places for work, lead a busy life and typically live in nuclear families. Weddings help the families to reunite and bring back the “family wali feeling”. So, not only the bride and the groom but the families and their coming together makes the weddings complete. Hence, family portraits are very important for us at IG Photo and Films. We make sure to make family portraits as that’s what gets printed and is hung on the wall among all the wedding pictures, reminding the people of good times and memories with their families.
A lot of your pictures are made using light modifiers like the magmod. How do you think the sudden influx & popularity of different light modifiers in the market has changed or influenced your style of wedding photography?
If photography is defined as ‘painting with light’ then the light shaping tools like Magmod are ‘beautifully crafted brush strokes’. Being a painter, I have always studied the direction of light in paintings, and that has been the building block in my current body of work with the Magmod modifiers.
I love to play a lot with light & shadows, and Magmod has made shaping the light possible in whatever and whichever way I want. Honestly, before Magmod, the things were a lot cumbersome and not that much fun. But the best thing about Magmod is its portability and the great design sense for the ease of use. Now with the Magmod, I create light and shadows the way I want, and create artistic images in any lighting condition (day or night) and practically in any ambience.
You started IG Photo and Films with the vision that ‘moments do not happen as per photography package’. Tell us a bit more about what this means to you.
I became a wedding photographer because I love capturing genuine moments of emotions floating at weddings. And, if I am putting a restriction on the ‘coverage time & scope’ I block and limit the thing I love to do, which makes no sense to me.
The term ‘candid’ has been abused so much lately. We at IG Photo and Films, never define ourselves as ‘candid photographer’ because we’re not. We are documentary photographers and we love to take pictures that matter to the people in them. We give equal importance to ceremonies, group shots as well as the candid moments.
Moments that happen in between events many times tell deeper stories and from our past experiences, I can say that they are some of the most precious memories to the families involved. Capturing emotions being my primary satisfying point I won’t want to miss the integral pieces of a story. Hence, I say moments don’t happen as per photography package, they happen when they do and as a team, we are committed to capturing these precious memories that families entrust us with.
What do you love the most about shooting weddings? Are there any moments that are your favourite to capture?
I am a person in awe of diverse human relationships. A wedding is a prime example of celebrating the joy of human relationships, and I love to capture them the most.
A wedding is two people in love starting a journey of lifetime companionship, and their families coming together to celebrate this sacred union. It’s an amazing opportunity for me to experience the beauty of human relationships. I get to capture myriad of emotions from laughter, shy smiles, subtle romantic moments, tears of joy and ecstasy. So many human emotions are floating in front of our camera, and no matter how much you capture it, you still want to witness more and more. And when people trust you so much that they give you the opportunity to document their life, you won’t want to miss any of those.
I love to capture every ceremony of weddings but capturing the fun of haldi ceremonies is so much fun. The madness and fun this ceremony unfolds are amazing. It brings out a totally different side of people involved as it relieves the entire hustle-bustle of the wedding. The entire atmosphere gets filled with tons of positive energy and full-of-life emotions. People purely enjoy, laugh and have fun during this ceremony!
Tell us your thoughts on wedding photography as an art vs as a business?
I believe art is being used in different spaces/ industries and definitely with a purpose. Apple brought art into technology products and the purpose was to make gadgets look more attractive & hassle-free; movie industry tells stories with a purpose of entertaining and spreading learning, and there are so many similar examples we can quote. As a ‘Wedding Photographer’ we tell stories through images and our art has a purpose of bringing happiness and creating long-lasting memories for people.
Wedding photography is 20% photography and 80% business. Its business part spans from building up a brand to marketing yourself to get more clients, client meetings, strategic collaborations, and partnerships with other service providers, managing finances, inventory management, and planning expansion. But the main purpose of doing all this is to create beautiful and meaningful images for the clients.
With the increase in wedding photography conferences and workshops over the past few years, what do you think has been the impact on the industry and on the practicing wedding photographers?
Photography involves a lot of learning. There are so many things from using the light, to composition, to editing to your pictures in the right way so that they communicate exactly what you want them to. The business side of wedding photography needs proper techniques and skills to overall growth as a brand.
With mediums like YouTube, you can learn a lot of things about both artistic & business aspects of running a successful wedding photography business. However, the conferences and workshop make all this knowledge available to you in a more structured and streamlined manner. Learning from people with more exposure, years of experience and learning can save you from getting lost amid loads of information available online and at the same time gain from their experiences as well. Information is out there but what to do with that information on the ground level is something only such platforms can provide.
With PEP summit and Silk Inspire, we now can meet top internationally acclaimed photographers here in India and can learn from them. These are the people who are doing great work and the whole world looks up to them to interact and learn.
Also, photography is a lonely profession if you shoot alone or don’t have an in-house team. These platforms give the opportunity to meet industry peers, network, learn and share knowledge. ‘We are the average of 5 people we spend our most time with’ and these conferences give us the opportunity to build new connections. We then get to interact with a lot of fellow artists and understand different styles of working, business and it is definitely a great opportunity to make long-lasting friendships built on sharing ideas and learning together.
We are living in a very good time per se for the photography industry. I believe this is still an initial stage for us as an industry and getting exposure like this will surely help us grow and gain better footing to compete at International levels. Eventually, if each one of us can up our skills it will help the whole industry to grow and excel. And not to forget the end purpose, first hand learning from the great masters will help us create better output and provide a better experience to our clients.
I would call these conferences ‘the hostel life of Indian artists’, you learn, share and grow together!
Tell us about your photography inspirations, wedding or otherwise?
My first encounter with images that capture the timelessness of life was through the National Geographic Magazines. So, I would say the idea ‘become a photographer and tell stories’ came from NGC.
Personally, I am a big fan of Steve McCurry’s work. I am also a huge admirer of Christopher Nolan’s philosophical style of storytelling. In the wedding space, the work of Two Mann Studios is my favourite. The way they use light and shadows to create compelling images is beyond words.
What’s on your Goal List for wedding photography this year?
Well, for this year I would want to create as many awesome pictures as I can and continue to capture beautiful memories for the people.
We have also ventured into commercial advertising now. So growing in that space along with covering meaningful wedding work is what we are aiming for this year. I hope someday we can touch as many lives like Apple’s ‘Think Different’ campaign did.
A business is truly isn’t a business until it can’t work and grow on itself. So, building and growing into an artistic agency which can tell stories and touch lives is my dream for IG Photo and Films.