When friends pushed Amar Ramesh to try out the DSLR, little did he know that it would end up becoming one of the turning points of his life. An engineer by training, Amar was working as a techie in the US after he completed his Masters in Electronics and Computer Science. He began taking along the camera with him on his travels.
“I loved the results, which made me read and learn more about photography from online blogs and tutorials,” Amar recalls.
Amar would eventually go on to be an apprentice with a couple of award-winning photographers in Seattle. That helped him perfect his art.
Quitting the job and moving back to India
Quitting a stable job is a scary decision to make. But Amar says that he followed his instincts. “Having a supportive family of course helps, and that gave me all the confidence I needed to take the plunge. The fact that I had a great working relationship with my boss was also a huge plus. He assured me that my job would still be waiting for me if things didn’t work out for me in photography,” Amar says.
Fortunately for Amar, the need never came up.
Amar came back to Chennai, the city where he grew up and spent all his childhood. This was back in 2010. During this time there was a scarcity of contemporary photographers in India doing the kind of work that the West had seen for years.
“Families here were happy with photos ‘machined out’ by the same family photographer for years and decades together. Much of this can be attributed to the lack of exposure to good quality work. For me, this represented the kind of challenge that can be converted into a game-changing opportunity. I had already shot several weddings in the US with experienced photographers and believed it was the right time to jump into wedding photography in India,” he explains.
Amar found his niche and started shooting weddings. And thus was born Amar Ramesh Photography.
The role of Social Media
“I photographed a few weddings, and posted the images online. It just kick-started a chain reaction of sorts. Word of my good work got around and friends of the people I had shot started contacting me. That’s how I bagged most of my clients in the beginning. I didn’t have to spend a penny marketing my business. All I focused on was doing amazing work and perfecting my art with as many weddings as possible to get my name out in the market. And I achieved that mostly through Facebook and my blog.”
The woman behind the man
From day one, my wife has been instrumental in helping me build my company. She helped set up processes that I still use to streamline my work. She is my major source of motivation and my first critic. It always helps to have someone push you to new limits every day so you can move up levels.
A growing team
Since starting in 2010, the team has grown from strength to strength. Amar started with one editor in 2011. Today, the team consists of four editors, five photographers, a client relationship manager, an accountant and his driver. “Each employee to me is special —they have all helped me grow as a person and as a professional. They’re all very talented and I’m thankful for having found them,” he remarks.
To keep things exciting, Amar makes sure that no person is stuck doing the same thing all the time.
“We try to move things around. Editors try out photography and photographers dabble in image editing. As a team we take on projects that are different from our usual ‘bread and butter’ weddings. Recently, we shot a campaign for a local fitness company and that was a lot of fun for everyone on the team.”
What makes Amar Ramesh Photography different?
The core of the company is a team of experienced and professional wedding photographers and videographers.
“Unlike a lot of up and coming photographers, we pride ourselves on efficiency of the highest order. We’re a well-oiled machine. And we’re popular for our quick turnaround time, excellent communication, and most importantly the quality of our product,” he pitches.
In addition to photography and cinematography of wedding ceremonies, the team also takes up outdoor shoots for couples and conceptual shoots. “We create stunningly beautiful photobooks,” Amar adds.
Most of Amar’s clients -- couples who love photography and want to make their wedding extra special, have been from South India. But the team always attempts to go beyond geographical boundaries.
“Weddings all over the country and across the world are beautiful in their own way and I’ve wanted to shoot as many different ones as possible. I make myself available for shoots anywhere in the world accessible by a flight, train, or bus.”
What does it take to bring out beautiful photographs?
“Typically, the preparation for each wedding shoot starts long before the day of the wedding. Our initial conversations with the clients are usually centered on understanding what they want from us. As you can imagine, each wedding is different and so is each couple and their wants and needs. Understanding that is key to managing their expectations.”
Before every wedding, the team gets together to make sure they're all well prepared for the shoot; especially if it involves traveling to a different location.
“More so, when clients want something different — like in one instance where the couple wanted a video to be played to guests at their ‘sangeet’ on the eve of their wedding and we needed to plan the shoot with their family and friends,” he adds.
Till date, the team has shot over 200 weddings and they mostly cater to high profile weddings. "The couples we shoot are generally sons or daughters of famous movie production people, industrialists, current & ex-Ministers and, celebrities etc."
Building a niche and a name for himself, and providing high quality work ensures that the photography packages at Amar Ramesh Photography starts from INR 200,000.
Plans for the future
“I'm currently working on two businesses. One is an extension of my current wedding photography work, which I'm expanding to cater to the growing demand I see in the market. Often, I get booked months in advance and when a new enquiry comes along I have no option but to decline. At the same time, I have been mentoring so many talented photographers who are doing some excellent work. So, I thought why not bring the two together and offer clients looking for my style something similar even when I'm not able to be present in person.
“My focus is on presenting Studio A as a collective of candid wedding photographers, videographers, editors, designers and event photographers — your one-stop shop for wedding coverage. We take care of everything from photography, cinematic film, and albums to anything unique a client might want. We've already started doing this in practice but we’re yet to launch our vision publicly.
“Our next venture is a premium kids photography business that will tap the potential of children and family photography. I feel that currently there is no high-end kids photography offering in the market and I want to fill that gap. So watch out for an announcement pretty soon!”
What keeps Amar going?
“My motivation comes from all the interesting people I shoot, from my interactions with them and the range of emotions that I’m able to capture. As a wedding photographer, you get to witness and experience it first-hand. And, that is what keeps me going.
It is a great feeling to hear from clients, years after their wedding, about how they treasure my pictures and how it helps them relive that special day. Through my work, I’ve become an integral part of one of the most momentous days in their lives.”