That wedding is a big business in India is well-known. And we know of startups like Jodi Clickers and Knotinfocus who have jumped on the band-wagon. Pranesh Photography is another such startup based in Chennai keen on milking the opportunity that the the Indian wedding industry presents. Pegged at over Rs 100,000 crore, Pranesh says the market is growing at 25% - 30% annually.
Pranesh Padmanabhan, a B Tech graduate who also has a Masters in marketing and communications, decided to find his pot of gold in photography and wedding business much to the dismay of his family. “I could not pursue a visual communication course and was forced to join engineering. But I continued to practice photography by borrowing a film SLR camera from my uncle. I had no support from family, and was surrounded by severe negative vibes all the time,” says the 26 year old. Add to that no financial support from banks made his decision to do photography a tough choice. But Pranesh decide to tread along and listen to his heart.
Today 165 plus weddings later, Pranesh is well on his way to grow, expand and take Pranesh Photography (PP) to the next level. He acknowledges the clutter in the market and says they are working to provide a one-stop shop for all marriages. The services they provide include photo-realistic photography, creative wedding cinematography, traditional videography, traditional photography, custom made photo-books, pre/post wedding shoots, bridal shoots, attire suggestions, make over suggestions etc. “Clients tell me that they rarely find all services from a single vendor without compromising on quality,” says Pranesh proudly.
PP recently started an add-on service called “Surprise Mantra” which enables best friends and siblings of the couple to surprise the bride/groom with something special on D Day. There are more than 5000 options to choose from based on the budget.
PP now has a design studio in Chennai to help clients interact and have a say in the post wedding work like designing photo-books or editing videos. A team of five full- time, 10 part-time and five freelancers manage the show. Pranesh says most clients opt for the complete range of services because of the cost benefits they can offer.
Of the many highs and lows he has faced in the business, Pranesh counts the growing number of fans on Facebook and growing number of clients as the important milestones in his startup journey. “Prospective clients will have to book my dates at least six months in advance. It feels great when many clients come to me after rejecting offers from other top class photographers in Chennai and Bangalore,” beams the young man.
Most advertising for Pranesh Photography happens by word of mouth or through Facebook. He is looking to raise funds to expand and scale the venture. “During the peak wedding season, I face cash crunch, and that can be a distraction from real work,” he says. Going forward, Pranesh plans to start a commercial studio to rent/lease space for shooting, build a hi-tech bridal studio, a photography school and emerge as one of the best photographers/solution providers in India.
Looking back at his decision to follow his heart, Pranesh feels very satisfied to have come so far. However, he also understands there is still a lot of ground he has to cover to achieve his dream of being among the top 10 in India.