The wedding photography segment in Indian may have got hotter in recent times and several new photographers have emerged as strong players. However one man who has been there right from the beginning is Prakash Tilokani, whom you can consider a veteran when it comes to Wedding Photography in India.
Prakash Tilokani today has his main photography studio in Baroda (in a eight-storied building which he owns, and in which his family lives as well) where most of the post-production work happens as well. Prakash has an office in Delhi as well, and his client list includes some of the biggest names in India, including the Ambanis. Obviously, he’s not authorised to share his works, that includes the high profile clients, on social platforms like Facebook or YouTube.
How did Prakash Tilokani get into photography?
Prakash’s father’s close friend used to own a photography studio, where Prakash would go along with his father, when he was a child. That is when he got bitten by the photography bug. Soon Prakash used to spend more and more time at the studio and started assisting his uncle. He then spent the next 10 years or so working under him, and gained all the experience he could before venturing on his own.
Prakash was in his early twenties when he started his photography business. Since then, he has focussed primarily on wedding photography only, and today is one of the biggest names in the wedding photography business in India. He’s also among the select few photographers in India who attends workshops and events conducted by Wedding & Portrait Photographers International (WPPI) in the US.
Leading Wedding Photographer in India
Today, Prakash Tilokani is considered a role model by hundreds of Wedding Photographers in India. With an enviable client base and a relationship as the ‘family’ photographer to several high profile business families Tilokani has photographed weddings almost all over the world.
He has photographed weddings of every scale and size- simple Gujarati weddings to spectacular extravaganzas in Europe and South Africa. Such is his relationship with several prominent personalities, that some of them call him first just after a wedding is fixed in the family.
How Wedding Photography has changed over the years
“Wedding Planners may change depending on the destination, but in India, the tradition of family wedding photographers continues”, says Tilokani who has photographed over 10 weddings of some joint families. “Of course, a lot has changed too and as photographers we cannot rest on the comfortable relationship we enjoy. The brief or the creative demands of the younger generation is quite different today- earlier photography was an exercise that involved presenting a large showcase of formal portraits and ensuring every family member and important guest was featured in the albums”.
Handling expectations of his high profile clients
“A wedding is a high-involvement occasion for all families, regardless of their budget, but my clients spend a lot more time and money for each of their many events, so naturally they want photos that depict the ‘grand event’ and which highlight the ‘minute’ details too. It is always an insightful experience to view their response to the albums when on occasion I present it personally- besides reliving the happy moments, they are excited to view the details- the labels of rare wines and liquor imported specially for the event, the hand crafted designer cutlery or the bride’s hair accessories. Obviously no client will tell me what minute details they’d like to see, but I know they’d expect to see all this after the wedding.”
Tilokani tells us how his relationship with clients changes over a period of time. “During the first few meetings the talk is strictly professional, and quite often, later we become friends. And they don’t hesitate to ask us for advice on matters weddings, and the talk rarely centers about photography alone. After the wedding they try to keep in touch or make an effort to come up to say hello when they see us at work at other weddings. And since they know we interact with so many families, they ask us to recommend a suitable match for their near and dear ones too.”
Advice for budding Wedding Photographers & even Clients
While Tilokani is happy that a number of young, talented professionals are venturing into wedding photography he has a word of advice for them. “It takes a lot of efforts to build a relationship with families, and while it might be easy to get one-off assignments, your success will depend on a combination of factors- talent and creativity, interpersonal skills, patience with handling family members, and discipline to deliver photos and albums as per the time schedule. Don’t take on an assignment unless you can be sure of all this.”
He shares his inputs for clients too: “There are so many Photographers in India today- each one of them have their own strengths, but make sure the service provider is well equipped, technically strong and someone you are comfortable with- then give them your full trust to build beautiful images. Don’t hire someone only because you are impressed with their presentation skills or because they are charging lesser than someone whose work you love. Wedding is the one time when most people get to work with a very talented photographer so take a wise decision.”
Despite the presence of several wedding photographers, Prakash Tilokani is still a name to reckon with in wedding photography in India. I hope you enjoyed the words of wisdom on ‘wedding matters’ from the veteran himself.