Jason has been a Lead Wedding Photographer in the South Asian community since 2009, during which time he has photographed over 500 South Asian weddings and events and counting. At J. Henry Studios, he and his team of professionals promise to take great care of you and your family, capturing every single detail so that you will have stunning keepsakes for years to come. We are well versed in various styles of photography, but our specialty is bringing out the raw emotions - the joy of seeing your partner as they present themselves to be only yours, the laughter expressed by your family and guests, the tears that remind you of the journey you’ve taken to arrive at this moment, the pride shown by those who’ve pushed you to become who you are, and we work hard to preserve those emotions for you to feel again every time you look at your images.
What prompted you to work as a South Asian/Indian wedding photographer?
I have been working as a full-time professional wedding photographer for 13 years, during which time I have photographed well over 600 weddings and events of different cultures, mostly of South Asian origin.
How would you describe your style or personality as an Indian wedding photographer?
I can personally say I’m immersed in the culture. I’ve personally studied the Hindi language for over 2 years, and have learned to read and write, I eat all kinds of South Asian food, even outside the context of weddings and events, and have many dear friends who are South Asian. So when I photograph an Indian or South Asian wedding, I feel at home, and that carries over to how I interact with friends, family members, and vendors. People feel comfortable around me, and vice versa. Forming such a strong bond with the ones that you are photographing is just as indispensable as having a talented eye, and this will show in the final result of your photos.
I also recognize the meaning and importance of the cultural ceremonies that occur during the wedding and having an appreciation for these things further helps to immerse you in your environment as a photographer, so that you are more than just a bystander or attendee, but you can key into the highlights of each ceremony, and translate this deep sense of meaning into your final images.
How do you describe your working style? Do you prefer to capture candid moments by blending in the crowd, or do you like to be more visible and take charge and choreograph images?
I have always considered myself a candid photographer. People really want their most authentic moments to be captured as they originally happened. Not everyone is comfortable in front of the camera, so in order to successfully do this, you do have to blend into the crowd. Over the years; however, I have learned that you cannot always capture moments that do not happen. Sometimes you need to put on your director hat and set the stage for the candid events to happen. If you see two children sitting and playing, it’s okay to direct them. Ask them to spin around, put a prop in their hand to see what they do. Crack a joke to a few friends that are together. Tell the bridesmaids to sing a song during their pre-wedding photos. There are so many special ways to provide just enough input to make those candid memories shine through and still keep them authentic. This is what makes each wedding unique.
All this being said, most of the time you are not working with professional models, and not everyone is comfortable being themselves in front of the camera. There are moments where you must provide strong direction and very specific instruction during the wedding day, and though I favor the candid style I’ve learned to do that where necessary and to discern when that time is.
What is your process of working with couples from the day they sign you to the wedding events?
I always have a pre-wedding consultation to determine if the couple will be a good fit to work with me and my team. Though they look to me as the authority, I feel it is important to let them do the talking about their wedding day and what their expectations are. We also go over each planned event in detail so that I can advise, and recommend the best package for them.
Couples usually book their photographers first, when they are very early on in the planning phase, so I also recommend vendors and offer advice for any remaining items that they have on their to-do list. In my welcome brochures, I provide an overview of what to expect throughout the entire process, and once they sign, we start a Pinterest mood board so that I can make sure that my style of photography lines up with what their vision is for their pre-wedding photos, and their big day. From there the line of communication stays open leading up to their events, after they say I do, and even after their photos are delivered. I usually reach out a few weeks before the wedding to have a final meeting to review any changes to their wedding details, and to make sure their coverage is still adequate for their big day or days.
How do you feel about pre-wedding or engagement shoots?
Pre-wedding shoots are like a warm-up session for you to get to know your photographer, and to build chemistry with them, and yourselves. This is so important since you will have so many things on your plate the day of your wedding, and will want to be comfortable with the person who is spending the entire day with you and your family. When things inevitably don’t go as planned, or unexpected changes shorten your photo schedule, knowing how to recreate poses from your engagement session can be a real time-saver in a crunch, and you won’t have to re-explain any areas of body concern, poses to avoid, preferred sides, etc. because that was already made known in your pre-session.
What are the hottest trends that you have seen in Indian wedding photography?
Many couples have been booking private locations and themed indoor studios to match their desired aesthetic, and inspire the imagination. So many local parks have been overused, and even many destinations are being used by almost every photographer. I always interview my couples to ascertain what their unique style is, and combined with the direction of our mood board, I will recommend a private, themed, and staged, studio location that is tailored to them. These themed shoots are the direction of where photography is heading and will set couples apart on any social media or publishing platform when they go to post their images.
What are some of the most popular poses that you would recommend?
As a candid style photographer, I always like to get my couples close to one another. This brings out the emotion and chemistry between them and highlights their relationship with each other. Holding hands, face to face, eyes closed with a secret whisper in your significant other’s ear. All these things are classic poses that will make good images, but there are a few key elements that elevate the image from good to great.
Laughter is one of those elements in my couples' images, that make them stand out from the rest. Once I position my couple, I use a few cues to encourage them to burst out into spontaneous laughter, then capture the moment as it happens. Lighting is another very important aspect of posing. You must not only be skilled in using available light, but you must also be able to shape light around your couple to accentuate, or hide flaws if needed, to help your couple look their best, then pose them according to the light.
Any tips for the camera-shy couple?
I assure each and every one of my couples that I am there to direct them should they find themselves feeling uncomfortable or inadequate. Aside from that, the best advice I have for couples is to focus on your partner, and your relationship. You can fail at being a professional model, but you can’t fail at focusing on the person that brought you here.
Once you realize that it is just the two of you and your love, all the exterior factors just melt away, and you are reassured that you have a loved one that makes you feel loved, comfortable, and at your best. There are also things you can do before your session to make you feel relaxed. Listen to your favorite song, have a drink, get plenty of sleep, get a massage, do whatever you need to do before your session to loosen up. Once you get to your session, just think of it more as a mini date, than a portrait session. You should go home feeling like ’that was so much fun’ rather than ‘Whew, I’m glad it's over,’ and my job is to help make that happen.