Tear drops and excitement of brides, dreamy shots, unconditional love, fluorescent lights blinking in the dark, vibrations of important moments and the dust of a camera. These speak of the entrepreneur’s work. His heart lies in capturing life through his eyes and not in code or cubicles. He has an evident penchant for capturing the real emotions in still shots. It reminds you of a fleeting moment frozen in time.
Meet Sriram Raghu, the Founder of Signatures, the man behind the platform through which he allows the world to see his magical kind of art – an art that helps people preserve time, moments and a myriad of memories. Take a look at his Instagram Page and you would reflect on life, people and moments all at once. His captions are the icing on the cake.
In a candid conversation with Chennai Insider, Sriram shares about what photography means to him, his journey with Signatures and much more. If you are an aspiring photographer, then this is a must read!
Hi Sriram. Introduce yourself to the readers. How much was your exposure to photography before college?
A typical mechanical engineer from SASTRA university. I landed myself in an IT MNC and did not like what I was doing since it was not my core field. I had been a part of photography club even during my college days and that is where my passion for photography was ignited. Before college I am not sure if I had a decent camera too. Before becoming a full-timer , I was a part-time wedding photographer and I chose to do 1 or 2 weddings a month.
To, you what is photography? How did you fall in love with photography?
Photography is a visual art when it is personal and it is a skill trade when it becomes your profession.
What you see as a lensman should convey the actual mood of the event or subject to whoever sees the picture . I love the job since it is not about taking the photograph alone. It involves soft skills and networking skills too. I had no plans of becoming a fulltime wedding photographer until I started getting good reviews from clients after delivering the end product . It really motivated me to work harder and deliver more when people felt that I have an eye for detail in photos. Rare moments typically lie in those that include the finest of details.
Did you assist before starting out on your own or took the plunge directly? Did you have any formal training?
I did my pro certification in video editing while I was working for MNC’s and I had initial plans of getting into cinema editing . Plunging into wedding photography is impossible when you are trying to be different . It just so happened when one of my friends wanted me to click his sister’s wedding. I am sure that many current generation photographers have come across this situation which eventually gave them a breakthrough.
What was the first camera you used?
A semi automatic SAMSUNG film camera and then a 550 from canon.
You seem to have the ability to make the subject relax and reveal a candid and natural side to them through your photography. Do you have any tips to achieve this?
Only way to achieve this is to be present in the moment. We have to anticipate and be ready because we won’t know what would happen . We aim at capturing moments and stories from any shoot.
Do you research the subjects before photographing them?
For me it doesn’t work that way because we might land ourselves into preconceived thoughts if we do a lot of research . We just get into the wedding venue or any other shoot, with a smile , get along with the family and try to capture it as raw as possible .
How important is developing a style as a photographer? As you grow as a photographer, are you seeing your style and interests change?
Style is very important because every client has a different expectation with respect to their wedding coverage and they should know what they would get when they hire you. It is very important to develop a style for yourself and the same should be liked by the client too since they pay you. I don’t think the basic style will change , but we all evolve and get inspired when the network grows.
What would you say as the best part about your job?
Meeting new people , networking , immediate appraisals 🙂 on a lighter note. But the best thing is that we are blessed to be a part of someone’s BIG day and we are able to see so many emotions and expression that others may not be able to witness.
Do you still find anything challenging after all this time?
Challenges are there but it has to be seen as a motivating factor . You cannot sit idle thinking that you have achieved. There is always someone who can or who is doing something better than what you do.
An all-time favourite camera / lens combination?
CANON with 15-30 & 70-200 mm lens
Landscape shoots or portraits? Your pick and why?
Both . Love both. Each work requires its own aesthetic and that is what excites me.
What role does editing play in creating your aesthetic?
It is very important to show how your end product is . Unedited images are like mosaics without polish.
Has photography influenced you as a person? What is your perspective on the world and on life?
Photography has changed me a lot and it is all positive . When we have the ability to make someone happy with our pictures , it definitely is an euphoric feel . When I can see something beautiful , I wish that it should be shared with the world too . I basically have my camera to communicate my feelings to the world.
What is the inspiration that keeps you going? Any favourite photographer who influenced you?
Film songs and art works are my inspirations . Jerry ghionis and Kemranshiraliev are inspiring . I do see a lot of other photographer friends who are also inspiring.
Tell us about your team at Signatures?
We are a team of 6-10 people at every wedding and we aim at doing 40-45 weddings only per year. Quality over quantity always.
What is the future plan for Signatures?
When someone thinks about moments , they should think about our team 🙂 . We are slowly expanding and we don’t want to expand beyond a limit since it might affect the deliverables and quality .
What would be your advice to a beginner who is eager to make a career in this field?
Create a style , create a brand identity , see this as an art as well as business and save for the next 2 years before starting your own firm .
How can readers reach out to you?
Follow us on insta @signaturesbysriramraghu
Fb – @signaturesbysriramraghu
Contact – 9940590698
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