How has CORONA impacted the work and lives of WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS?
We as Indians, the traditional community that we are, love to celebrate our festivals with a lot of cheer and grandeur. And with a wedding marking one of the biggest festivities in one’s life, it calls for a celebration almost unprecedented in terms of scale and splendor. The joys and the celebrations know no bounds. Preparations begin months in advance and it takes almost a village to plan and execute the much-popular extravagant Indian wedding.
But the virus Corona, seems to have changed it all. Not just our physical health, the virus seems to have intruded into every aspect of our lives and impacted it adversely. Though the national lockdown is over, still the precautionary steps are much mandated. The Social distancing norms and regulations from Government restricting large gatherings has made it unfeasible to plan the big-fat Indian wedding. The new normal in the Wedding industry post the lockdown phase is drastically different from the kind of Indian weddings that we all are used to. It won’t be hypothetical to say that the virus has hit the Indian Wedding Industry like a rock and taken it off track like a storm. Read more on “Are Indian Weddings really happening amidst the Corona virus Pandemic“
As per the data from renowned wedding website Shaadisaga.com, an average Indian Wedding deploys almost 15 vendors – caterers, photographers, venue planners, décor, florist, music band and more. With this hit, all these vendors have suffered massively and been out of business. None has suffered any more or less than the others. For the Wedding photographers, the period has been totally lulled and suspended.
According to Jayarath Hedge, a renowned wedding photographer, “Smartphone photography has already been a deterrent to our business for all these years, but with this new concept of intimate weddings, our business has taken a severe blow. People do not really want to hire a professional wedding photographer now.”
With all of the Wedding photographers sitting idle and without a livelihood all these months, there is a dire desperation to get back to work. Most of the photographers have slashed their prices marginally. There is a cut throat competition to grab much chunk of the work pie right now and make up for as much of losses as they can. Photographers too are upgrading their skills to learn more on ‘How to nail the client experience’. With a more informed, sophisticated and well evolved clientele, photographers are including a lot of more services to their regular packages, keeping I mind the ‘Requests made by the clients to their wedding photographers.’
With people swapping to more personalized gatherings at smaller venues for their weddings, they do not feel the need to pay exorbitant amounts to the professional photographers. Also, with professional cameras being there in almost every household these days, people are more keen on making candid lively videos that they can share on their Social Media platforms. The demand for professionally shot captures has been on a low for all these years and it is doomed to go further low with all the inevitable changes in the Indian weddings now.
The photographers who were earlier also relying on other Social events and gatherings for their incomes, have nothing much to look forward to in these times of Social distancing. The months of Nov’2020 – April’2021, which are predicated as ‘heavy saayas’ by the astrologers are more or less going to be the detrimental phase for the photographers to decide on the future of their industry. With the uncertainty of the times and lesser enquiries coming in, most of the photographers are pushed to look at other avenues to consolidate their significantly hit earnings.
As like most of the other industries, wedding industry not just in India but across the globe has bore the brunt of this virus. All the Spring Summer weddings for the year 2020 got cancelled and even further plans were halted leading to huge losses. In the words of the New York based celebrity Chef and Wedding Caterer, Gaurav Anand, “In the last 11 years of running successful restaurant and wedding operations, I have never seen a setback as huge as this.“
Amidst all this gloom, it would still be a little far-fetched to say that the concept of the opulent Indian Weddings is gone forever now. People have just shifted to a more intimate wedding set up for the time-being. For those, who are still keen on making their weddings a ‘larger than life’ event, they are willing to wait for another 6 months to a year to have the kind of wedding they always wanted to. With government rules easing out, things are certainly lapping back to normalcy, but with some changes. Physical Distancing, adequate hygiene and sanitization measures and contactless services have become the watchwords for the new normal in the Wedding industry.
Weddings and the related industries and professionals have definitely suffered massive setbacks in the last few months, but things are looking bright across the tunnel. With a large number of couples postponing their weddings, the backlog would more or less makeup for all the losses incurred. There are huge number of weddings planned up in the coming months of Winter 2020 and Early 2021. Venues have opened up and with all these months of sitting at home, people are more than geared to get back to all the fun and fare associated with the Indian Weddings. It is once again going to be all about dressing up in their best attires, all the social banter, fun and frolic, good food and good life at the Indian Weddings.