Interview with Gurm Sohal
I would like tio bring out my friend girl he's probably one of my best friends. I photographed his wedding, I photographed his sister's okay? And like, I'm like family over there when I go over there and so is the great friend, but I really respect him because he, you know, he did that very hard thing that a lot of us do when we wanted transition ourselves into we've got a nice, very nice paying job. Do I want to sacrifice that, too? Do wedding photography? So we're going to hear a little bit about his story. And how is it able to find a niche in the market to so why don't you give a big round of handed girl? Come on out, john. Thanks for coming on. Thank you. All right, groom. So tell me, how did you kind of get started with this whole busy, crazy wedding business? Well, growing up as a kid, I was I was playing with my dad's slr, and I was also interested in film. So I was had one, cameron each hand, and I tried to document like anything and everything I could. And I guess I was looki...
ng for, like, a story to tell, and I used to capture family events, and I did landscape and things like that, and I got sick of that pretty quickly, and it was pretty dry, and then friends and family told me, you know, it's, just maybe starting weddings, and this is when I was in school and thiss was about two thousand five ish two thousand six, and so I started a few weddings on the side, and I just put together a really crappy website. It was nothing special, and I got a handful of weddings, and I was also interested in film. So I took a film lighting course and that help me with the basics of lighting and just the natural concepts that you should know. And as time went on a book, too few more weddings and about two thousand seven, I think, is when I started stalking you, your log, he was a stalker on dh. I think I reached out to you and I asked you when you were teaching in my area and I went to your workshop in victoria. And I mean that that that is that's. Yes, canada and I remember that first workshop is four days long and every day I was just, like, overwhelmed with the non information that I was getting and like one of us supposed to do with all this on dh that following year I went to every single workshop. Scott had, and at each workshop I was able to concentrate on something that I needed help with lighting, posing um the business side of things. So I had, like, a year of intensive training and that's pretty much that gave me the skills had to bring me where I am. Okay, so that's great. So you develop the content or you had the skill and you invested a lot in teo okay, I did a world towards the two thousand ten thousand nine two thousand nine how many places we went to? Seven were in vegas we were in china, we were in italy, japan and and he went to all of them so he just committed to it. And every time he went, you didn't try to learn everything but just kind of sentry. It's impossible to learn everything. Yes, it's impossible. You know that that's a good point. So how did reach the point where you and you had a nice job at that time? Right? Good paying job. What was that? You know, how did you make that decision to transition over? And how did you actually make it work financially for you? It was a few things that was getting busier. I was getting to a point where if I didn't make a change and was already starting to happen where my couples were getting a little bit impatient cause I was taking so long oh it's impossible to edit weddings and work forty hours a week you just don't have the energy but so that was that was a factor and I knew I couldn't progress any further if I didn't give up my day job I could invest any more into my, uh photography and I also had to I wanted the blessing of my family and my parents and things like that as well that was important so they were all behind me and I think I took the leaper on two thousand nine and you had remember that following year in about twelve weddings book good so you're twelve weddings that that landmark he had that twelve and I think that is the key thing for everybody is that it won't be a natural progression you'd literally have to make a decision right exactly you everybody has to jump off the high dive at some point you and I and you made that switch, which was great and I'm like so proud of you um and I think he said another important thing that's important with a lot of the asian culture which I can relate to is that you want that blessing with your parents right? And I think you're a fortunate and I'm fortunate that I love your parents that they were just so supportive but sometimes they're not it was a sweet balancing balancing act of asking their permission and telling them I was going anyway I do it my mind is already made he was he was going anyway but he wanted that blessing but he wasn't going in and he was going anyway that's just like marrying the person that your parents don't like whatever right is the sample that's a good analogy sometimes it's like that you know, if you love the person and even though your parents may not like her and disapprove her at this thing this time sometimes you just have to go with love right? And that's what you did you you got you you were just in love with your passion and so how did you develop your market? What did you how did you gain traction in the marketplace? What did you focus on? What happened was after I got the lighting imposing skills from you the first few weddings I did that were indian weddings I was looking at what else was out there and to me personally it was just really over processed work and I'm like that's fine that's great people pawn that but I'm like I want to do something different so I decided to really just tone it down and my philosophy became after I got skills from scott to introduce art and get glamour into the indian wedding I said I was photographing and I wanted the bride to look beautiful but not two posey I wanted the post processing to be there, but I don't want it to be over the top and it was something a little bit different that people hadn't been hadn't seen before, so that really got a lot of word of mouth and from the few weddings I had at the beginning I think ninety percent of my couples narrower indian couple's great so there it is you've kind of went to the community that was familiar with you they had trust with you and then you ad and something to that niche market, right? So you looked at it and go well, I see all these weddings out their indian weddings but you don't know the glamour was missing, innit? Yeah, not all of them, but some of them I make something like I can add something to this that yeah already there and then big success for you you went aboard. Now what about that person who is who's considering getting into indian weddings? Well, can you give them some advice? You know, of getting into this market? I think it's a few things one is, I think, it's really important to understand their traditions indian weddings really long usually about five days long there's like a week oh, passivity, ese um and you have to understand that each of those festivities is as important as the wedding and the reception, so if you can go in and not know too much and shoot it mechanically, andi, I'm sure you'll do fine, but I think if you have understanding of the traditions and the history a little bit that would really help capturing those events great, and so I hear that you're actually kind of coming out with a book, right? Yes, I'm working it's a work in progress and it's coming soon, I told them to have it ready before I guess that wasn't gonna happen, but the process but people can contact you, right if they're exactly consultants of what that great? So I mean that's amazing and I think he brought up the important point is that if you're going to dominate in issue have to really know it, the intricacies of it like no other, so somebody else coming in, they're not going to photograph it the same where you are because you know exactly what that client it wants and what they're looking for because you do know all the traditions and all that kind of stand with indian weddings, you also need to satisfy the couple and satisfy the parent it's too it's too different, so they're they're usually in the opposite ends of the spectrum that's kia and they're the ones usually paying the bills so I always kind of catered to them and what they're happy then I can liken work with a couple of sea that's the western point of thinking is a little bit different, right? Because we don't really consider that a lot of times right? And so you you have to that's in trickle part of their culture is you have to understand that process so I would imagine little we'll have time to get into later but the closing process on that is a little bit different it's a lot longer you have more than one consul to exactly so it'll be probably three or four concerts usually and more and more people show up at each one you know what's great about having this is what happens when I was doing your wedding and I'm doing your sister's wedding it's like you get to spend a lot of time with your clients and really built a great relationship. So at the end of the week it's like amazing you feel like family exactly you don't know that that's why like I feel like now when I go over when I go up to your place and everything so that's great let's go but is there any kind of questions or anything that you might have for girl or about him dylan that developing his niece or anything like that let's start with our in studio audience and if not we'll head to the to the internet I'm sure it's going to be asked how do you even start with the five day wedding like charging right commuted to take on less per year I limit myself to run I did twenty five last year it was just too much twenty is good and usually the package includes the wedding and the reception which is usual saturday and sunday everything else's hourly and you just have to determine what you can charge heavily um I think the market it ranges anywhere from seventy five two two fifty an hour for indian weddings so just an example what's the average not like necessarily your price but an average what is a people expecting to pay? Your client expected to pay for indian wedding probably around six thousand six thousand is about the average with an album with an album. Okay, great good to know all right thing else we are a question here we go question from wack a doodle which is one of the one of the great if you were starting over what might you do differently? That's a good question. I would I when I first started I was focusing all on photography like one hundred percent of my energy was going towards that and I'm pretty quiet and reserved guy so I probably spent a little bit more energy on this working with people and developing a report quicker that was kind of one of my weaknesses at the beginning and it took me a lot longer to get over that tonight, right? Cool one sharp joe would like to know how you would like to know how you keep your beard so neatly trimmed one our morning joe uh cindy mac do you work alone? No, I have a few assistants probably don't two for each wedding because sometimes events happen simultaneously during the week and I can't be everywhere at once so I usually have one or two second shooter's each wedding cool and let's take a look at glimmer um I have a really hard time higher hiring my prices when it comes to original clients. They think that since they got the lower prices once they will always get it can we can talk a little bit about that. You mean that's like moving up? Yeah, right, yeah that's gonna happen okay, you're gonna lose it and so my philosophy is is when you raise your rates you're breaking into a new kind of social class. If you will, you need to establish twelve weddings in that new social class before you get that rave again, so sometimes when you raise your rates and you get into a new social class, you're going to go back a little bit because you're leaving behind that but you can't you have to leave behind something in order to get something greater, and I'll be talking about that next lecture, all right, where we have sabrina, who is from jessa a sabrina has also we've had her on we've we are she's been with us on and one of your close friends as well. And so serena's question is, what is for graham? What is the biggest? What is the biggest lesson that you learned from scott's world tour? That's a good thing, there's so that it's more than one? I didn't know anything about lighting or posing when I went in a new, very little so it was lighting posing it was bringing myself into my photography I think that two three biggest things I can't limit that to one thing and then the last sort of looks I'm kind of mentoring him with now is kind of like bringing out your personality that mean he's got a great personality, but just coming a little bit forward and showing it a little bit more, huh? Yeah, that's great graham, this is from hagen in casey, do you have any advice, teo? Non indians for howto get there first indian wedding or booking them, um, it's a bit tricky because I know that they would like to see some work with an indian wedding because they want to make sure that you understand all the traditions and the festivities would recommend maybe second shooting for somebody that does indian weddings so they can at least share some images and show that they think that they know the wedding great we have a lot of questions that are starting to come in on indian weddings way actually haven't had a indian wedding photography workshop here incredible I've and I think that we really should so if you guys know anybody who is unstructured er and educator who could teach that class well let us know what was going to do it alright yes passing teach oh that's fantastic way do have ah we do have a survey I think it's created live dot com slash serving suggests thank you live dot com slash suggest awesome awesome uh do we have any? Do you have any any final questions for her? Anyone in the studio? Yes. Krista, can you talk a little bit more about how you please both the parents and the bride and the groom? Because I've run into that before. Yeah, I just want to hear a little bit more about how I had the luxury a little bit of spending more time with the parents because of the pre wedding events so I try to figure out what's most important to them it's usually like out of town guests and family that they really care about. So I tried to figure out who they are, the days leading up to the wedding, and then I just go crazy with a telephoto lens and just shoot a lot of candid photos of them, and that goes a long way. I get more compliments on those photos, sometimes in the spent hours. So yeah, that's, a good I would've never thought of that so that's, great that's, why I don't get hired, teo. Alright, well, fantastic. We really, really appreciate you coming on and hearing hearing what your experience has been. Where can everybody find you? Website is soho photography, dot com and then facebook. I think it just facebook and then groom soho spell that out for people g o r m s o h l perfect, perfect. Well, please help me in giving grune.