Get to Know the Wedding Pro: Chandan Sojitra
Each week, we shine the spotlight on Bride Club ME vendor club members, allowing you, our reader, to get up close and personal with some of the best wedding vendors in town. Here, you can learn more about the people behind some of the businesses you may be using to make your wedding the day you’ve always dreamed of!
This week, we have the privilege of showcasing Chandan Sojitra, a wedding photographer and videographer with a passion for story telling. Read on as we interview Chandan and discover his approach to wedding photography and why he sees himself as a visual storyteller. Enjoy!
Above: Chandan Sojitra
How long has Chandan Sojitra been established and what exactly do you do?
I like to think of myself as a Visual Storyteller. This extends to both wedding photography and cinematography/videography. I started shooting in 2008, and from just a passion grew a career, as more and more members of my friends and family chose me to capture their memorable events.
What inspired you to set up the business?
I’ve always been a creative type, but it wasn’t until I picked up a camera that I realised my true vocation. I discovered the power of visuals to help tell a story, but even better, I discovered how happy, special and magical they could make people feel. That’s what I wanted to share with my couples through my work; a little bit of happiness, a little bit of magic. It’s something that I felt was missing in the wedding industry. I wanted to cater for couples who want to relive their wedding through storytelling images rather than having their ceremony interrupted and left feeling posed the whole day.
What do you love most about running your business?
I love the fact that it gives me creative freedom. I can shoot what I enjoy. I can spend time perfecting my craft and focusing on personal projects too. I like the fact that I don’t have a fixed schedule which means I can donate my time to the charities that I support as well.
Do you have any exciting projects coming up?
I have a couple in mind, but I’m still deciding which one to start first. One of them will be wedding related (kind of) and the other is about stray dogs. I have a few more but I’m leaning towards one of the two…So keep your eyes peeled!
Describe your style and approach to photography…
I’m renowned for my relaxed, unobtrusive style. I tend to shoot the wedding day as it naturally unfolds, capturing the essence of the occasion through discreet and sensitive shooting. I go above and beyond the posed, staged and ‘generic’ wedding photos. My mission is to capture the spirit and feeling behind every look and gesture, and the honest and raw moments. My work is influenced by the documentary, reportage and photojournalistic wedding photography styles.
Out of all of the weddings you’ve photographed, do you have a particular favourite? And if so, why?
This is a tough one that I always find difficult to answer! I don’t actually have a single favorite, but I love different things from each wedding that I shoot. If you’re talking about big lavish weddings with extravagant décor, I’ve done a few of those and they look amazing, but I’ve also shot some really intimate weddings and I really loved those too as they felt so personal. In fact, I have an intimate Indian wedding with less than 15 guests taking place at the Bride’s house this year, how cool is that?!
We understand you photograph a lot of Indian weddings. What is your favorite element of an Indian wedding?
My favourite element of an Indian wedding is actually ALL of the different elements that make up the wedding. From the actual ceremony, to the Vidhai (the Bride’s farewell), there’s so many things happening and the great thing is that everyone loves to get involved, which means there’s always interesting moments for me to capture. The wedding is a whirlwind of emotions from funny moments to tears of joy, laughter and happiness and even moments of sorrow. If I had to choose a favorite moment to capture though, it would be the Vidhai. I won’t lie, sometimes I shed a tear along with the bride’s family too.
Tell us about the process you go through with the bride and groom, from the very first consultation to the wedding itself…
I always like to meet my couple beforehand if possible, usually over a cuppa. When this is not possible, we connect via a phone call or video-call. I like to hear all about their big day and what makes it special to them, including all the little details. Most importantly, I want my couples to feel comfortable around me, after all, I’ll be standing by their side the whole day so I want them to feel relaxed.
After the consultation and getting to know each other, they usually go ahead and book. This is all done electronically, no paper contracts (every little helps when saving the environment). If they opted for one of my Signature “Soul Shoots’ ®” then I would start researching some potential locations that I know they’ll love. This is an informal session that gives us a chance to get to know each other better and helps me to understand their relationship better so that I can look out for all the hidden moments on their special day.
On the Wedding Day itself, I like to be there but at the same time, I like to make myself invisible. I’m there in person but I’m not there interfering with the genuine moments that happen on the day or telling guests what to do whilst they try to enjoy themselves. If the Bride & Groom need anything from me then I’m more than flexible on the day and bring my years of experience with me, guiding them so that the day is as smooth as possible.
After the wedding is over, I work quickly to edit their wedding photographs and design their album (if they opted for one, which I highly recommend). My average turnaround time to deliver a couples wedding images is 6 weeks. Once the images have been delivered, I usually find that a new friendship has formed and I stay in touch with my couples. I even catch up with them in person from time to time. It really is an honor being a part of their wedding day as it’s so personal!
What advice would you give to couples who are looking for a wedding photographer?
When searching for a wedding photographer, it’s really important that you have a thorough look through their portfolio first, to make sure that you LOVE their work! Regardless of how much you spend on your makeup, outfits, décor, venue or cake, the only thing that you will be left with to remember it all are the photographs and the wedding video.
Secondly, have a look at a FULL wedding gallery, at least one! Any photographer can show a hundred great images from a mixture of weddings but it takes a good photographer to wow you with a full wedding album. This will give you an idea of how they approach the day itself.
If possible, meet the photographer in person or at least have a chat with them on the phone. It’s SO important that you get along with them, after all, they are the supplier that you will be spending the most time with and if you are not comfortable around them, it WILL show in the photos.
Finally, make sure that they give you a booking contract. This will outline what you will be receiving in your package, sets expectations, and it also protects both parties in case of any hiccups that may happen.
Do you have a favorite UAE wedding venue?
I think every wedding venue in the UAE is unique in its own way. You’ve got some great outdoor spaces with stunning views and at the same time, there’s some really extravagant indoor spaces. I’ve seen some amazing, lavish venues and even some quirky intimate venues, it’s quite hard to decide on just one.
What budgets do you cater for?
I like to keep my pricing affordable but at the same time, I don’t cut any corners. The investment for my photography is in the mid-high/luxury range.
Lastly, why did you choose to list with brideclubme.com?
I loved the vibe I got from Rio (BCME Founder) and her team! I really liked the idea of their concierge service where they match-make couples with potential wedding suppliers. The reason I chose them was because of how personable their brand is and how they bring the wedding industry together through networking events and collaborations on a regular basis.