Getting wedding memories framed is a dream for every couple and pursuing wedding photography as a profession is gaining popularity in Bangladesh as it can help you earn some quick cash. However, a photographer's job is not an easy one; you need passion, dedication and hard work to pursue this career.
"Wedding photography has experienced a breakthrough in the past decade," said Prito Reza, the very first organiser and curator of wedding photography exhibition "Wedding Diary" in 2010 and founder of Wedding Diary.
There are many factors associated with becoming a wedding photographer.
Why will you become a wedding photographer?
Different photographers pursue this career for different reasons.
M Aminur Rahman, co-founder of Checkmate Events and Creative Nation said that he chose the path because it was his passion.
"Sometimes you need to take risks to pursue your dreams and passion. I risked my career and had to go through a lot of tests and trials to reach where I am today," added Aminur.
Tanvir Ali, founder of Wedding Moments and Tanvir Ali photography and also the co-founder of Creative Nation said "I became a wedding photographer to give wings to my passion. The journey was not easy, and I can say that only passion and dedication for the work can take you to the height of success.
Recollecting memories from his early days, Tanvir said that his first assignment as a wedding photographer earned him Tk8,000 a decade ago. Asked about his training, back then Tanvir was a self-taught photographer.
But is it as easy to become a wedding photographer? Three pioneers echoing one another said, no, it is not.
How can you get started?
The first thing you need is a camera. There are more than enough options for choosing a camera with different price points. But, if you do not have enough money to buy one, you can rent it out and start shooting, said Tanvir.
The renowned photographer added that although you can save the cost of the camera and other gears initially, there is no scope of escaping from the skills and training.
"I think that there is no end to learning photography. I have been in the learning process from the first day. For the newcomers, I would suggest that they never stop learning and growing," Tanvir added.
"You can learn photography at different places," Prito said.
He recollected his memories of paying Tk 500 for a photography course, where he first realised that he wanted to be a photographer.
Prito has established the WD School of Photography where a basic photography course for two months will cost you Tk,6000 and an advanced six-months wedding photography course will cost around Tk15,000.
"The basic course is designed to accommodate outdoor and indoor practical sessions, while the advanced course will allow an apprentice to get theoretical classes, and the opportunity to shoot live sessions with the mentor. The best student will also get a job offer from Wedding Diary," Prito added.
Other places such as Pathshala South Asian Institute of Media, Counter Foto, Creative Nation offer courses on photography. The fees for the basic courses start at Tk 5,000 and higher while advanced courses range from Tk 7,000.
All these courses provide certificates after the students graduate.
But why would someone choose wedding photography over a corporate job? The answer came from Tanvir Ali.
"I can tell you why I chose it. When I was doing my undergraduate degree, I wanted to join a multinational company and pursue a corporate life. But then I realised that it would not make me happy. I am not cut for it. By then, I knew photography was what I wanted to do. From the perspective of an entrepreneur, I wanted to turn my passion into a profitable business, which I did successfully."
In addition, wedding photography can help people earn easily. Given that it has taken a toll on the photographer as it involves physical labour and mental stress, the money earned from wedding photography is quite rewarding, Aminur added.
Aminur opined that it is very important for a photographer to be patient and understanding with the client. "If you are in a hurry, you will never be a good photographer," he detailed.
What about the family's expectations?
"Even two decades ago, the scenario was different. Every wedding had a big white microbus dedicated to the helping hands and other support staff members. People would perceive that the photographer will arrive at the venue in the same car as they," Prito said.
Prito added that once upon a time many people used to consider wedding photography as a lowly job.
"But I wanted to change that mindset and create a disruption. I wanted to establish that wedding photography could be a very successful career path in Bangladesh," he said, recollecting memories from a decade ago.
The 2012 Youth Icon winner started his career as a freelance photographer. Later, he started Wedding Diary, which has now become a popular choice for wedding photography.
The situation has changed over the decade, he said, adding that people now treat wedding photographers with the same respect as any other professional.
Echoing Prito, Tanvir said that it was not easy to make his family accept his passion.
"A decade later, now they are very they are proud of me," he said and added that if one is determined to pursue his passion, he will surely make it through.
Speaking about female photographers, the three pioneers said that nowadays many women are becoming interested in photography and enrolling in their courses.
"They have lots of possibilities in this sector if they are willing to take the challenges,"Prito said. He teaches his female students to be more confident and not be scared of any limitations.
But still there are not enough female wedding photographers because there is always an invisible social pressure on the females. The society does not approve women to choose such careers and hence many potential female photographers are dropping out.
"They will have to break the stereotypes to pursue their passion. If they dare, they will be successful," Prito also added.
However, each wedding photographer has their own charges and their incomes depend on the number of events they cover. The charges vary from one photographer to another.