Samay Studio, wedding photographers
based in San Fransisco,
brings a unique perspective to Wedding and Portrait Photography. In an interview with WeddingSutra,
the photographer duo of samay Studio describe their unique job, the memorable experiences with wedding photography,
photography style and offer advice to to-be-weds.
Samay Studio consists of two primary photographers: Jigar Champaneria & Asad Ali. We live and work in the San Francisco Bay Area. We bring over 15 years of varied photography experience in domains like nature, magazine, candid and landscape to bring out a unique style. Besides covering weddings and portraiture, we also offer other creative photography like baby pictures, corporate events etc.
What cities do you work in?
We focus on the San Francisco Bay Area as well as the Sacramento area, but in practice, we have covered events all over California and, by request, have provided coverage in other states.
Your Photography Style
The term which is in-vogue right now would be "photojournalistic", but rather than say that we practice a specific style, I'd say we express the story of your wedding & traditions through individual photographs. Since every family's tradition is different, we focus on different things for every wedding we do. But the underlying theme is to show the aspects of tradition & emotion that present themselves throughout the day of the event. In addition to portraying this candid side of weddings, we certainly do set aside time for formal portraits and informal group photos, but all the while, we try to be as unobtrusive as possible to the family & the guests.
Your choice of camera/ lens
We use Canon Digital SLRs with a variety of lenses that gives us a pretty wide range of looks as well as a lot of flexibility in different lighting situations.
Black & white Vs. Color photography - your thoughts
No set of photographs is complete without a variety of color, black & white and sepia images. Every image will express the moment a bit differently whether it is in color or black & white. Since we shoot our photos in color, we have the option after the event to determine the color that best represents each image. There are other qualities such as grain & texture that can subtly enhance photos. So we consider all of these options as part of our photo processing.
Indian wedding photos suffer from excessive use of flash - what's your
Flash is an aspect of photography that seems to be blamed for producing undesirable results. This really highlights that the technical knowledge and the creative ability of a photographer are very important to producing results that mesh with the look and feel which the bride & groom want. Of course light is required to capture photos, but it is the appropriate and creative use of on- and off-camera lighting that can make or break the final results. For on-camera lighting, we bounce and diffuse our flashes to create a fuller and less shadowy result. For the most part, this enables us to produce rich colors where the light from the flash does not overwhelm the ambient light in the room. In expanding our creative use of light, we may setup off-camera lights to produce specific effects or we may even consult with the bride & groom on venue lighting schemes that may enhance the overall effect not just for our cameras, but for their guests as well. To that end, our goal is to ensure photographs that are as natural as possible and represent the event & location as the couple see it.
Post processing and Album design
When processing photos, we aim to minimize the amount of noticeable effects applied to any image. We concentrate mostly on color correction and vibrancy of our images and apply subtle effects where we believe it enhances the image. This may mean touch-ups to skin or applying additional grain or textures. The net result should always be a photograph that is enhanced, but not fundamentally altered.
The wedding album is really where the story of a couple's wedding comes together. When appropriate, we work with the couple to help them select photos that best represent their memories and capture their guests, events, and locations. Since each album is uniquely designed for each couple, the layout and the story line varies based upon each couple's choice.
For example, one couple may wish to focus on formal portraits and another couple might concentrate on emotional moments or details of the ceremony & decorations. When designing layouts, we try to tie those layouts back to the events themselves. Many times we use color elements that refer back to the bride's wedding trousseau or reception centrepieces. We also do not limit ourselves to just photographs. The couple may have a custom monogram that they have used throughout their wedding or specific illustration elements. Whenever possible, we try to bring those into the album layouts such that they represent the entirety of their wedding experience.
Your favourite wedding photos
Between the two of us in Samay Studio, our favorite photos have been the ones where candid emotions come bursting out in an unexpected fashion. This has ranged from a tearful goodbye for a bride during her vidaii as her father wiped her tears away all the way to a group of friends jumping in and out of the viewfinder posing in every conceivable way while on the dance floor. Even though these are not our family or friends, we find ourselves attached to certain photos because of these emotions.
A wedding photography experience that you wont forget
A sort of Hollywood/Bollywood moment for us was during the baraat of a wedding in Southern California. It had been raining all week long, but the wedding day was due to be dry and sunny. Lo and behold, the rain clouds were quite ominous as the baraat started. Before the baraat ended, the rain had started to fall quite heavily and in the meantime, we just couldn't stop photographing all of the unexpected reactions to the weather. Some people began covering up quickly or hiding under umbrellas and others were simply confused by this turn of events. Luckily, most of the baraat just went with the flow and happily danced away. I immediately thought of the film Monsoon Wedding where the families simply rejoiced in the moment unconcerned with rain. From a photographer's perspective, it was a day's worth of emotions and the wedding had not even begun yet!
Advice for to-be-wed couples
Even when our clients ask about specific lighting or colors, we tend to defer on any specific directions in that regard. It is, after all, their wedding and we are simply there to capture their moment. However, we have found that regardless of budget, our couples do a wonderful job with coordinating the various elements of their weekend and the end result looks wonderful regardless of the colors or the venue.
What we do ask of our couples is for their time in advance of their wedding so that we can best understand their agenda and specific traditions. This allows us to prepare and ensure we're in the right place at the right time. Having the opportunity to review the venues and meet with other vendors is always a big plus. We have found that these type of logistical elements help to ensure a smoother, less rushed experience for the couple and a generally more enjoyable day for everyone.