The generation that we are today is full of misplaced people – an engineer who loved painting, a doctor who wanted to write travelling the world, a government servant who was a brilliant singer back in school. No wonder we live in a place where most people are not happy with their jobs : wrong people – wrong jobs – passionless people.
While many of us want a change , only an exceptional few actually go ahead and pursue their passion. Not only are these people truly passionate but also brave – brave enough to have taken on a journey where nothing is certain. In the end these are the fortunate ones who arrive at a place where they are not only happy, but also get the chance to make an impact – and live a much more meaningful life.
I caught up with two passionate and super talented individuals – John and Iliangna, co-founders of J&I (Photography) Studio in Dimapur, Nagaland.
- What made you decide on starting the studio?
We were both shooting professionally on our own as freelancers. But when we started shooting for weddings, we found it extremely difficult to cover such (big) events alone – especially Indian Weddings – which can extend for more than one day. So, we decided to team up and start J&I Studios ( name from John & Iliangna) to make things easier.
Also, before taking it up professionally, we did a lot of experimental and free shoots for friends and aspiring models who wanted to make their portfolios. Gradually people started taking notice of our work – we and started getting enquiries from people who were willing to pay for our services. So that gave us the confidence to finally team up and start J&I Studios.
- As a startup, how do you manage your expenses and pay yourselves?
We are a mobile studio so we don not have to spend on office space and other overheads of running a studio. We try to keep it lean as possible. Currently it’s all manageable.
- How do you define your style?
We believe in taking photos of moments as it unfolds naturally, rarely would we stage or interrupt a scene that unfolds in front of us. We would refrain from using the term “candid” as it has become such a cliché. We like to believe that our style is that of photojournalism, and believe that is what we get hired for – to tell a complete story in a series of images. The only time we might have to instruct or stage a scene is during Post/Pre wedding sessions and group shoots.
- What suggestions do you have for upcoming photographers?
There are plenty of brilliant photographers. Nowadays it’s easy for anyone to get hold of a decent camera unlike, let’s say – the past decade. Our suggestion would be to stay true to the art, take pride in your work and be consistent; consistency is the key to being a good photographer.
Anyone can take a good photograph every now and then, but to consistently take great photos is what differentiates a good photographer from an enthusiast.
Both of us have no formal training in photography and while we won’t exactly say you wouldn’t be needing one but there is so much information out there on the internet – sit up, spend the long hours in front of the computer, learn, read and watch videos. Above all, do not forget to go out and keep shooting constantly. Most importantly, know the gear that you use – in and out; you shouldn’t be fiddling or scratching your head while your client looks on and wonders what is going on.
- What are the packages you offer?
It varies – mostly depending on what the client is looking for.For weddings, there are 3 different packages which consists of just covering the entire wedding which comes with a photo book, edited soft copies and an online spread on our website where clients can share the link to friends and family who were not able to attend the wedding. The second one comes with the same as the former but with more pages on the photo book and a post wedding shoot. And, the third package comes with all the above and with pre wedding or engagement shoot and photo frames. Our prices range starts from INR 60,000.
- One last one – what sort of info/details do you require from your clients while taking bookings?
Once the clients have finalized on the package that they want, we send them a booking form where they are required to fill in the itinerary of the wedding and sign a contract with us. The other finer details of the weddings are mostly discussed over the phone and via emails.