Synology-Blog-1

Data Storage: Synology NAS+Seagate review

Data storage and management is no mean feat. And contrary to popular opinion, it takes up a huge part of the workflow in our studio. The work doesn’t just end when we click and deliver the photos. After that begins storing, backing-up, managing, organising and archiving all that data. And believe us, it’s a LOT of data. As you know, Indian weddings are full of rituals and go on for days and days! Which means that there’s loads of data to be handled. To give you an idea, we generate about 2-3TB of data per wedding. Let’s say we approximately shoot 30 weddings a year, that leaves us with 60-90 TB of data per year. Now with our tendency to store old data in case, a client needs it again, over the past ten years data management has been a huge pain-in-the-you-know-what.

Our old data storage workflow… and why it was flawed

We’ve already spoken in detail about the data storage workflow we follow in our studio. We back it up in three different mediums across two different locations. But this is something we have been doing for years and years. And of late, we have started to realise that we need a new system for data management and storage. Our old way works for sure, but it still renders some level of vulnerability to the data. Hard drives crash and fail, it’s just a question of when. It’s a hard truth we have to accept. And to be honest, it also gives way to a LOT of hard drives. We have about 70 hard drives of various capacities and lots of rotating pen drives. It’s a lot of hard drives and it’s a lot of work keeping them.

What are the available backup options

Choosing the right storage system can be a challenging process because of so many options available in the market today. We explored a lot of options while figuring out the one that would work best for us – Dropbox unlimited, private cloud, manual storage and backup (which is what we did), fire-safe vaults, NAS and more.

The case against cloud storage: The online storage seemed like a cost-effective and safe method but it didn’t work out for us in the long scheme of things. We did the math – even if we had a fast internet connection, say 100MBPS, which is as good as it goes theoretically, it would still take DAYS for data from one wedding to get backed up. And while it’s possible to do it, it’s still a painfully long and manually intensive process. One system would always need to be online, monitored by someone and if it failed or stopped in between, then we start all over again. Also, even if we were able to do it manually, most Indian internet connections have a fair usage policy, and so after a few weddings the speed would fall down and we would be back to square one. let’s say for argument’s sake that we were able to upload all the data we have ever owned onto the cloud, downloading it again if we ever need it would be a pain.

To add to the above, the time it takes to upload data doesn’t only depend on our internet speeds. A lot of cloud storage servers have painfully slow speeds and if the server’s speed is slow, then we’re stuck again with loads of data to back up.

What we needed

Well, the two biggest things we wanted to rid ourselves off of is the data vulnerability in hard drives and the hoarding of those said drives. Data is our biggest capital and keeping it safe our biggest priority. But we also wanted a system where all the data was kept in one place without the fear of loss or mismanagement. And to add to it, we needed a process that was faster and less time-consuming than what cloud storage could give us.

Data sharing with the team was also a huge hassle before. Anytime we needed to share a document, video or a photo, we had to move it through hard drives. If one photographer was working on culling a wedding-set, another on editing and a third on the album, a hard drive had to be passed on every time we wanted the process to move ahead. Version control was a nightmare. Also, only one person could work on it at a time. And sure, we have Dropbox and Google drive systems set up for sharing data, but with the amount of data we have, we need to upgrade their storage capacities very often. That’s neither cost-effective nor efficient. Furthermore, the Dropbox and Google drive sharing is good for smaller files, and perhaps even a few GB’s but not for larger data. So we needed a better system of storing and sharing data.

The case for a NAS: So when Synology and Seagate came to us with a solution, we jumped at the chance of exploring something new and efficient for our workflow. We’ve always known about NAS but always hesitated at the chance of exploring its system of storage. But there was nothing to worry about really, once we understood how it worked, it made total sense! It ticked off all the boxes in our list – our data was as safe as it could get, everything was in one place and the transfer rate was much faster.

Before we dive into how NAS has made our workflow more efficient and how we have integrated it into our studio workflow, let’s talk about what it actually is.

What is NAS?

The full form of NAS is simple – “Network Attached Storage”. And this gives you a basic idea of what it constitutes. It’s basically a pile of hard drives in one storage system connected to your computer (home or office) network. One can access files on the NAS through a computer, tablet, or smartphone over the Internet or a local network. NAS runs autonomously as it uses its own CPU and memory to manage storage. The NAS acts as a central storage hub through which multiple computers can access files.

What do you need for installing a NAS system

A NAS is a part of a networking ecosystem (something we didn’t realise until more tech-savvy people turned their noses up at us!). For a NAS to work efficiently, you need a fast network infrastructure to back it up. Till now, we were working with the regular WIFI that the default internet router came with. This turned out to be painfully slow, so we started reading up – and assuming you are a team of multiple photographers and editors, each with a work computer of your own, this is what you’ll need to set up a NAS in hour home or office environment.

#1 A Gigabit router: This is the newest type of router, and provides much higher data read and write speeds than regular routers. In fact, there is even talk of a ten-gigabit router, but that’s still something we need to try.

#2 A Gigabit network switch: A switch is a network device that divides network traffic equally in all directions. You need this because your typical router comes with limited ports – and you’ll need more than the 3-4 that are included.

#3 CAT 6/7 ethernet cables for all systems accessing it: The last link in the chain, a good quality network cable will ensure high speeds throughout (and work much faster than accessing data over a WIFI network).

How using NAS makes life simpler in a photography studio

#1 Master Data Back-Up

NAS is a one-point storage system. It eliminates the need for triple back-ups because this one system serves it all. So there’s no redundancy of data in multiple drives. We don’t need it because our data is pretty safe in there, but we still maintain another back-up in a regular hard drive at a different location because we’re paranoid about data loss. It is, after all, our most important capital.

#2 Central File Server

All our working files – documents, PDF’s, jpegs, video files, project files, presentations, and any other files are all saved in the central server. This acts just like a Google drive – anything we need to share with a colleague, we transfer on to the central server. So anyone in our company can access the files through our private server and it has led to greater collaboration between our employees. We no longer need to pass around pen drives and hard drives or run the risk of losing or mismanaging data. NAS has made our inter-office data sharing very convenient. We can also assign user permissions to certain folders so that we don’t cross wires between each other, every person has access to data related to their department.

#3 Master Private Server for all our Photo Data

The NAS also serves as a private central server for all our photo data. Instead of the files being passed around on a drive from the person who culls images, to the photo editor and then the album designer, all the raw files sit safely at one place on the server. Each person working on those files can access them directly from the server and there’s no risk of data mismanagement. And what’s more, Lightroom can directly access the raw files from the server and we don’t need to connect hard drives or copy the files on our system. So when one person finishes their work, the next person can pick up where it was left off without any hassles.

#4 Client Delivery

NAS has also changed the way we deliver to clients. Delivering high-resolution photos and videos to clients has definitely been a challenge because of their large size. Drive links expire or eventually, because of storage space limitations we have to delete some data to make room for more. But with the NAS, now we can share files of any size in any part of the world sitting on our private server. The client gets a direct private link for download.

#5 Automated Daily Backup of Work Files

We not only get the benefit of having our work files safe on our server, but also periodic back-up of the work-in-progress projects. With NAS, there is a built-in snapshot feature that automatically takes a copy of the files and projects we’re working on. So in case your system or your software crashes or hangs up before our work is saved, which happens more often than we all would like, you have a version of the project saved up on the server and can pick up right where you left off. Currently, we’re using Apple’s brilliant Time Machine back-up system in conjunction with our NAS. The back-up system is automatic and the data sits safely on our server.

#6 Remote access and uploading data in the field

Once the files are on the NAS server, we can access them from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. And the reverse is true as well. We can even upload files on the NAS through an internet connection when on a shoot. That way we don’t have to worry about data loss or hard drive malfunction on the field and we have two back-ups – one on the field hard drive and one on the NAS back home.

Add-on Packages

Synology comes with a robust app-store of sorts called add-on packages that extend the functionality of the NAS. You can download and install the packages that you specifically want according to your needs. There are a lot of packages available of which we have the Photo Station, File Station and Synology Drive Server installed on our NAS. As we write this, we are exploring more packages that can aid us and help make our workflow easier and better. We’re also scoping out the option of installing the Surveillance Station package to allow back-up and other services for our in-office security camera system. You can check out the packages and know more about what functions each of them offers on Synology’s website.

Choosing the right NAS and the right hard disk to go with it

There are a lot of options when it comes to choosing the NAS station. The good folks at Synology helped us figure out the DiskStation most suitable for our work. We have a DS1019+ DiskStation with 5 hard drives of 8TB capacity each. Choosing the right partner for the drives was a no brainer. We use the Seagate Ironwolf drives and we trust them to keep our data safe. The NAS also allows you to scale up. As the amount of data you need to warehouse grows, you can increase the storage capacity of the drives.

Now if you’ve ever looked at getting a NAS system for your office, you must have come across the term “RAID”. What is it? Well, we had to spend some time ourselves to understand what it means in general and what it means for the storage system we wanted to implement. And here’s a quick explainer.

RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks): The NAS is a connected system of hard drives and is susceptible to fail like any other even though the chances are minor. This is where it’s RAID system comes in.  There are two kinds that you need to understand – RAID 1 and RAID 5.

What RAID 1 does is mirrors the disks. So if you have 4 hard drives in your NAS system, two would be exact copies of the other two. While this does give you back up, it renders half of your storage space unusable because the other two drives are just mirroring the data you copy on the main two drives.

RAID 5 works a little differently though – it distributes data across multiple hard drives to protect the said data in case of a hard drive failure. Let’s say, one of the four hard drives fails, the other three have the ability to rebuild and recover the files from the damaged hard drive. This gives you three drives worth of storage space.

We have the Synology Hybrid RAID with data protection for one drive fault tolerance. So if one of the five hard drives fails, the other four will work to recover and rebuild the lost data. That gives us about 29.08TB of usable storage out of 40.

Should you get a NAS?

Our two cents? Yes, absolutely. If you’re a company with huge amounts of data inflow and outflow and have a lot of inter-office sharing required, you should definitely set up a system. But remember that it won’t be cost-effective if you own at most, 3-4GBs of data at any point in time. The NAS is built for larger data storage. And it has changed the way we keep our data for the better. For a photography studio our size that deals with huge amounts of data every day, it’s a necessity.

Any questions regarding data storage or the NAS? We’ll be happy to help you out!

Disclaimer: This post has been written in association with Synology and Seagate but the opinions are strictly our own.

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How we got the shot: In action

A quick look at some of our images and deets on how we got the shot

Creating beautiful and everlasting images for our couples and families is what we do. No matter what the situation or circumstance, it is THE job. Whether it’s a ritual we’ve shot a hundred times before like the chooda ceremony, haldi or the baraat or an emotional moment like the vidaai where we have to be extremely sensitive while taking a photograph, no matter the situation, it’s on us to create distinctive images every time. It’s the perspective of the photographer that makes the mundane extraordinary.

Even when you get a gorgeous location or a grand entry with fireworks, you have to be at the right place and the right time with the right camera and settings to get that shot. And if we know one thing about Indian weddings, it’s that things are often chaotic and unpredictable. How we get that perfect image is through a presence of mind, a good knowledge of our cameras and the ability to adapt quickly to changing situations. In one of our previous posts, we took you behind the scenes of some of our images and spoke about what we did to get the final result. In this post, we are going to do the same. We will talk about a few of the images we have captured over the past few months and tell you how we got there.

Starry Entry

Paayal and Samir made a point to enter big in all of their wedding functions, but this one on their reception night took the cake! We knew there would be fireworks because as all good wedding photographers should, we already had a discussion with the wedding planners and the couple beforehand to know about any big planned moments. But the key was to get the fireworks, the people and the dancing couple all together in one frame at the right moment. We waited until Paayal and Samir had passed all the fireworks so that it would make for a fantastic background and not distract from the couple. And then it was just a matter of getting the right expressions in the frame.

How we got the shot: Shot by Arjun Kartha on Fujifilm XT3 with an 8-16mm lens at 8mm f/3.2, shutter speed 1/400 sec and ISO 2500.

A change of perspective

Indian bride kaleera

We have shot this ritual many many times before. And it usually goes the same way – the bride stands while her unmarried friends/sisters kneel down and wait for a piece of kaleera to fall on them. Sanya decided to stand on a chair to perform the ritual, so the top-down shot wasn’t an option. And that gave us a reason to try something different. The photographer, Nikhil, decided it would be a good idea to turn the camera upwards and capture the moment from the point of view of the person on whom the kaleera might fall. And that gave us this amazing image!

How we got the shot: Shot by Nikhil Mishra on Nikon D850 with a 14-24 lens at 14mm f/2.8, ISO 320 and shutter speed 1/1000 sec.

Men in action

Arjun’s baraat was different from the ones we’ve shot in the sense that there was no horse or a carriage. He was walking along with his family and friends during the procession. Now we all know that a thousand things are going on during a baraat. There are so many things happening that it’s hard to keep track of who’s who and where. Which is where the keen eye of our photographer Paras came in. He noticed this incredible moment where the groom, his friend and the dholwala made for a perfect frame.

How we got the shot: Shot by Paras Batra on Nikon D4 with a 24-70 lens at 24mm f/2.8, shutter speed 1/160sec and ISO 500.

Flower Shower

Varsha’s haldi ceremony was followed by a colourful holi party with family and friends. There was so much chaos and running around that it was near impossible to plan anything. But like we have said a lot, it’s important to keep your eyes and ears open during a wedding. We saw a plate of colours and flower petals and anticipated that Varsha was going to twirl around with the plate. So we got our cameras ready, picked a spot and waited for it to happen. And voila! We have a beautiful image of our bride.

How we got the shot: Shot by Nikhil Mishra on Nikon D850 with a 24-70 lens at 24mm f/2.8, shutter speed 1/2000 sec and ISO 80.

Tearful Farewell

Vidaais are incredibly emotional affairs in Indian weddings. And it’s important to be respectful of the family’s emotions while also making sure that we capture the story. Sanya’s vidaai was a very emotionally charged affair with everyone crying because their beloved daughter was saying goodbye. When she hugged her father just outside their home, this shot was captured. We had already anticipated this moment, now we just had to decide the framing, composition, focus, lighting and all of that. Our photographer decided to focus on the anguish of the bride and so he killed all the other ambient light except for the bokeh in the background. The focus on just the bride’s face and cutting out on other distracting elements makes this image more powerful.

How we got the shot: Shot by Nikhil Mishra on Nikon D850 with a 35mm lens at f/1.8, ISO 800 and shutter speed 1/500 sec.

It’s always a challenge to create something new and unique at a wedding and one that we welcome happily. Nothing gets our creative juices flowing like the drive to create special images for our couples and their families. If there are any other images you would like us to go into detail, please comment and let us know! We would also love to hear your behind-the-scenes stories!

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What’s in My Bag | Cameras and Lenses for Indian Wedding Photography

If I had to talk about one question that I get the most as a wedding photographer, it would be “What camera do you use?” I am not even going go into the whole “the photographer makes the image, not the camera” debate, because let’s face it – while your skill behind the camera is what it’s all about, but the equipment you have with you makes a big difference on a shoot.

We know that Indian weddings are days and sometimes week-long affairs. And as photographers, my instinct is to pack up everything I own and take the whole studio along. But of course, I can’t do that. Why? Because most of the times, we travel by air to wedding destinations and so it’s important that what we carry fits in the overhead luggage compartment and is also within the weight limitations of hand baggage. Secondly, let’s say the wedding venue or pre-wedding location is huge. Traipsing along hill and dale carrying a twenty-kilo backpack is for army commandos; clearly not for me. So comfort is important.

So, what’s in my bag? Read on to see what I usually carry for most of my assignments.

MY CAMERA(S)

I use the Fujifilm XT3. It’s light, fast and does everything I want it to brilliantly! It has a great auto-focus and lovely form factor with major settings via just 3 dials. The colours come out amazing and I really love the image quality I get with this camera. Also, the electronic viewfinder lets me shoot what I see as is. I usually shoot with two XT-3 bodies, it’s easier to just change cameras with different lenses on, than struggle with changing lenses on one camera during a crucial moment. You never know what can happen at a wedding, so having a back-up camera is always a good idea.

MY LENSES

Fuji 16mm f/1.4 R

This is my preferred weapon of choice while shooting a haldi! It is perfect for getting everything in one frame – the hands, reactions of the family, haldi being smeared on the bride/groom. This lens is brilliantly wide and never lets me down! If I had to choose just one lens to shoot the wedding, this would be it. My go-to for just about everything!

Fuji 56mm f/1.2 R

This is perfect for those dreamy getting ready shots and bridal portraits. The lens is great for portraits and has amazing frame compression.

Fuji 35mm f/1.4 R

This one needs to be used well as it doesn’t offer much maneuvering while shooting. Prime lenses aren’t flexible but still quite amazing for bridal shoots and getting ready shots.

Fuji 8-16 f/2.8 R

No sangeet performance is ever complete without this lens for me! It gives you a grand vista of performances and I’m sure to come out with striking images with this one! The super-wide allows for creative photography but needs to be mastered well, so be careful with this one. It can cause distortions and is not a good idea while intending to shoot close-ups or the bride.

FLASHES & ACCESSORIES 

Off-camera flash is my bread and butter. I really believe that the ability to shape light well makes you a much better photographer. I carry a bunch of flashes, currently two Godox AD200 Pros which I use in a variety of manners and a Godox V1 for everything else.

Godox X1 and the X-Pro triggers work great on the Fuji system to trigger the flashes. The flashes themselves have in-built receivers so don’t need anything additional to pop them.

MEMORY CARDS

This one is a no-brainer. I always carry a LOT. I usually travel with two memory cards wallets full of Sandisk Pro 300 MBPS memory cards. You never want to run out of memory while shooting a wedding, especially when shooting in RAW. And since you never know how much, or what a wedding will bring, always carry more than you think you will need. One tip I would like to give all photographers out there is to invest in multiple medium-sized memory cards (32 gigs or 64) instead of one larger one. This limits the loss of data in case your card gets corrupted or malfunctions.

LIGHT STANDS

If my light stands could talk, they’d be screaming about the conditions I put them through! They fall over all the time, are put in water, get perched at precarious angles and get thrown about in airline check-ins. I’ve often lost, broken and/or forgotten my light stands. Which is why I use local unbranded (and cheap) stands because they do what I need them to without burning a hole in my pocket.

LIGHT MODIFIERS 

I use all sorts of light modifiers, but the one system that has stayed with me the longest is the Magmod system which includes the grid, gels and the flash diffuser. The Magmods are ridiculously easy to use in the field and are just about awesome. I also use the Godox AD200 with a beauty dish, and I swear by it!

So that’s it! That’s what’s in my bag! Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions regarding my gear or any other products you need advice on. I’m always happy to help out!

 

 

 

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A Jaisalmer Destination Wedding | Srishti+Rishabh

A Jaisalmer destination wedding that brought two people and families together

Srishti and Rishabh had a destination wedding in the “Golden City” of Jaisalmer last year at Jaisalmer Mariott Resort and Spa. The wedding was an intimate gathering of the closest people in Srishti and Rishabh’s lives who had come from all over the world to participate in celebrating their love and togetherness.

Part 1: Pre-Wedding

Before their wedding festivities began, we knew we wanted to make some pictures in the streets of Jaisalmer. We started with a few pictures is the hustle and bustle of the city.

Pre-wedding couple shoot in Jaisalmer

The Jaisalmer Fort is almost a permanent fixture in most of the photos taken during the session. When you climb up to the very top of the Jaisalmer Fort, you get a lovely panoramic view of the city below. It makes you think about the fact that this is probably the very view that the kings and queens of yore witnessed every day of their lives.

Pre-wedding couple shoot in Jaisalmer
Pre-wedding couple shoot in Jaisalmer
Pre-wedding couple shoot in Jaisalmer
The blue azure skies of Jaisalmer with the fort in the background made for stunning photos!
Pre-wedding couple shoot in Jaisalmer
Pre-wedding couple shoot in Jaisalmer
This old street artist was playing a beautiful tune on that ancient ukulele, and we coudn’t help making a few pictures with him!
Pre-wedding couple shoot in Jaisalmer
We HAD to cap it off with a panoramic view of the fort. We should note that it being December, it was freezing on top here but Srishti and Rishabh had each other to say warm!

Part 2: Mehendi and Sangeet

The mehendi function was a casual and relaxed afternoon. The couple along with their family and friends spent their time catching up and drinking and dancing. It was a colourful and vibrant afternoon of festivities.

Yaay, it’s my wedding day!

The sangeet night was hosted by Srishti and Rishabh’s friends. It began with a fun game organised by the couple’s friends that involved them in answering questions about each other. The rest of the night was a mixture of dance performances by the couple’s friends and family. It was also a night of speeches, a lot of their friends told stories of their college days, they spoke about how much they loved the couple, wished them the best for the new life-adventure. The partying went on until the wee hours of the morning!

Part 3: Haldi ceremony

The couple had separate haldi ceremonies with their families. We were amazed at their energy so early in the morning after an entire night of partying! While Rishabh’s family had fun putting loads of haldi on him, Srishti’s family added a flower shower in addition to the haldi wars.

When Srishti’s parents and brother ganged up to shower her with flower petals, it was one moment we knew we couldn’t miss!

Part 4: The Wedding

Srishti made for a gorgeous bride in a bright yellow Sabyasachi lehenga. We loved her distinctive choice of colour in her bridal outfit. So we made sure to capture her in all her bridal glory.

Sabyasachi Indian bride portrait
Indian bride in Sabyasachi lehenga wedding shoot
Indian bridal photo in Sabyasachi lehenga
That gorgeous yellow lehenga was one our favourites this year!

Rishabh made his entrance on a vintage car while his friends and family danced around him. The baraatis were so full of energy that they didn’t want to stop dancing even after two hours! And who could blame them, bring on dhols and some Punjabi beats and we could dance for hours ourselves!

Srishti had her own baraat and danced with her family before walking down the aisle with her father. And when she walked down the stairs for her entry, she looked no less than a princess making her grand entrance!

All set to walk down the aisle together!

Once the wedding festivities were done, we snuck the couple away from their families for a quick photo shoot. We wanted that lovely yellow lehenga to really pop!

All good things come to an end, and soon it was time for Srishti to say goodbye to her family. Of course, since it was a destination wedding and everyone was staying in the same hotel, the goodbyes brought her straight back to everyone!

Part 5: Reception

The reception after the wedding ceremony was an amazing musical night. The two Jain families weren’t ready to leave the party yet! The evening was melodious with the music of the performer Kutle Khan. It was a night of dancing for everyone.

Watch their wedding video here!

The Wedding Makers

Venues: Jaisalmer Marriott Resort and Spa, Jaisalmer
Wedding planner: Ten Events
Srishti’s outfits: Anamika Khanna (Sangeet), Sabyasachi (Wedding), Self Portrait (Pre-wedding)
Make-up & Hair: Vijay Thakur
Entertainment: All India Permit (Cocktail), Kutle Khan (Reception)
Photography and Cinematography:Twogether Studios
Photography: Arjun Kartha, Nihareekaa Kaur, Rohit Kason, Sunil Gautam
Cinematography: Ritesh Arora, Aman, Sameer

Arjun Kartha Wedding photography Bridal portrait Mussoorie India

Bridal Portraits: How to shoot in a crunched timeline

Tips for shooting bridal portraits when you have just under five minutes

If you’ve shot even one Indian wedding, you know how chaotic and unpredictable they are. And if there’s anything we have learned in a decade of shooting weddings, it’s that anything can happen on a wedding day. Even the best-planned timelines can run late. The sweet one hour that your bride promised you for her portraits, could very well change to only 5 minutes. Now you can complain and blame the next person you see for putting a dent in your plans, or you can buck up and plan ahead so that you deliver the amazing bridal portraits you promised your bride. After all, that’s what we’re here for right? Creating beautiful images from the wedding that our couples and their families will cherish years from now, no matter what happens.

We’ve broken down our game plan into four simple tips to follow. Follow them calmly and we promise you will nail those portraits even if you have five minutes to get it done!

#1 Prepare beforehand and recce the location thoroughly

This one has a lot of moving parts, so we’ll get right to it. The basic is of course, while you’re waiting for the bride to get ready – and you know this is a LOT of time – move around and recce the location for good spots. Keep in mind that the location you finalise should NOT be too far from where the bride is because if you have just five minutes, you don’t want to spend all of them walking over to the location and then getting only a minute for one shot.

The next thing to figure out is your lightmap based on your location. Are you shooting in the bride’s room, outside, in the dark at night, in early or harsh daylight?  Whatever the situation is, keep your light set-up ready beforehand. Place one of your team members as the subject, test the shot and have it ready before the bride is. Remember, you have only 5-10 minutes to get some amazing bridal portraits, so don’t waste the time by setting up your light after the bride comes.

#2 Keep a few go-to poses in your mind

When you know you don’t have much time in hand, you know it’s also definitely not the time to experiment with poses. Don’t waste the time you do have to get your bride into some complicated set-up. With time running out and stress levels running high, your job is to keep things simple and worry-free for your bride. You also don’t want to draw up a blank on directing her when she’s ready for her portraits. A photographer who doesn’t know what to do doesn’t really inspire confidence. So have a basic list of 4-5 easy-to-do poses burned in your mind. Of course, if you get your safety shots and are still left with a few minutes, go ahead and experiment a little. But do get your basics done first.

#3 Be clear and direct with your instructions

We know we keep emphasising about time, but that’s exactly what this post is about. If you only have a few minutes, know that the bride will also be in a hurry. So be clear and precise with your instructions. Tell your bride exactly how to want her to stand, where to place her hand, which direction to look in and what facial expression to go for. Be direct, but keep your tone relaxed and friendly. Your bride will be stressed enough as it is, and you don’t want to add to her tension. Now if you have #2 from above sorted, you will know how to guide the bride as well.

#4 When in trouble, keep your bag of tricks handy

If after going on a recce, you find out that the location is not that gorgeous, then it’s time to pull some tricks out of your bag. First, see if there are any of the usual techniques that you can use for a portrait. Are there any trees, tall plants or flowers around for a shoot-through image? Have you been lucky with time and there’s an amazing sunset you can use for a silhouette shot? Any water fountain or reflective body around for a reflection shot? If it’s the middle of the day and the light is harsh, can you think of an interesting contrast image? Or how about playing with shadows, or planning high-key shots with a large blank wall? If nothing in your surroundings inspire you, then fall back on your bag of trinkets. We have always suggested that photographers keep a few things handy to add an element into a photograph if the location is not encouraging. Anything from battery powered fairy lights and shiny pom-poms to mirrors, lens balls, and prisms can do the trick. Our bag of these little devices has always saved the day in a hot spot.

So there you go! Our two cents about shooting a bride when you have just 5 minutes. Remember to keep a calm exterior first and foremost, even if you’re panicking on the inside. Your demeanor and calmness will help the bride stay positive and the session will go much smoother and be more rewarding. Tell us what you think about our tips and if you think there’s anything else we can add to the list, do let us know!

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Announcing Twogether Classroom 2019

ANNOUNCING TWOGETHER CLASSROOM 2019

A series of (free) knowledge sharing sessions for photographers looking to grow and sharpen their skills.

We’re super excited to announce a new initiative that we’ve been wanting to create for a long time now. In the spirit of giving back, we will be hosting a series of small lectures which will focus on different capsules of wedding photography and film-making. These sessions are ideally meant for young wedding photographers and cinematographers and are to help you ace your game and take your skills to the next level. The workshops will be held at the Twogether Studios office in Gurgaon, and will be limited to a small quorum of attendees. Each workshop will be held by a senior member of the Twogether Studios team.

Twogether Classroom Schedule

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Date Class Overview Instructor
10th August – 3 p.m Visual Storytelling in Wedding Photography – CLASS FULL Techniques, trips and tricks and editing workflows in wedding photography. Nikhil Mishra
17th August – 3 p.m Video Editing 101 – Registrations will open on 12th August (Monday) Overview of the Twogether Studios approach using Adobe Premier Pro for wedding film-making. Ritesh Arora
24th August – 3 p.m Art of Storytelling in Wedding Cinema Camera techniques and post-production approaches to documenting wedding stories. Anmol Sharma
31st August – 3 p.m Social Media Superstar Instagram, Facebook and other social media growth hacks in the wedding business. Nihareekaa Kaur
7th September – 3 p.m Advanced Photoshop & Image Editing 101 Post-production – the Twogether Studios way Nikhil Mishra & Rohit Kason

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How to Register/Apply

The events are absolute FREE of cost but entry is through invitation only. You just have to register to request an invitati0n and we will get back to you within a few days. There are only 10 seats, so apply fast as the invitations will be sent on a first come first serve basis. Registrations for each weekly class will open on the Monday of that week.

Location: 6603, Twogether Studios, DLF Phase 4, Gurgaon.

For any queries, please email us at [email protected]

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FAQs

#1 Who is this for?

A. Any young photographer or cinematographer who wants to learn the Twogether Studios approach to wedding photography and film-making.

#2. How much will the workshops cost?

A. The workshops are absolutely FREE of cost.

#3 Will these sessions be recorded or live streamed?

A. No. These are short sessions, only meant for people attending in-person in our studios. This is to make the spirit of the sessions classroom based.

#4 Do I need to bring a camera?

A. It depends on the workshop you have applied for. But there’s no harm in bringing one along anyway!

#5 Will Arjun or Praerna also be teaching?

A. No, these sessions will be held by the instructors listed above. However, Arjun or Praerna be will be making an introduction and will be around after the session to answer questions and talk with the attendees.

#6 What are the number of seats available? How will we be chosen?

A. There are only 10 seats available per workshop session. The first ten people to apply for that specific workshop will be chosen and sent an invitation by email.

#7 Why are you doing this for free?

A. We are a learning organisation and we want to give back to the community in the spirit of sharing. We want to foster the community and help grow the next generation of wedding professionals.

 

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An Udaipur Destination Wedding Story | Harsh+Sanjana

A grand Udaipur destination wedding spread across Oberoi Udaivilas, Chunda Palace and Jagmandir

In the very famous Bollywood movie Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Shahrukh Khan says “Love is friendship”. And that’s what became true for Harsh and Sanjana. They got married in the beautiful property of Jag Mandir with celebrations spread across Chunda palace and Oberoi Udai Vilas in and Udaipur destination wedding.

Their wedding hashtag #Sansh is perfect because that’s what they are when they are together – one spirit. Even across a room full of people, they have eyes only for each other! Here are our favourite moments from their wedding.

Part 1: Pre-wedding in Delhi

We had so much fun during their pre-wedding shoot. They have a lively and fun chemistry that made it so so easy to shoot them. And we think the pictures have turned out quite amazing!

Part 2: Mehendi and Sangeet night

Their mehendi functions took place in the Chunda palace with old folk songs and both the families having a playful singing competition with each other.

They had an energetic Sufi-themed sangeet night where family and friends performed for the couple.

Part 3: Cocktail

The couple dance was saved for the cocktail night and because of the right reasons! Harsh had a special surprise planned for Sanjana for their dance performance that he had been practicing with their choreographer for months! He proposed to her with the engagement ring during their dance performance in front of their closest family and friends.

Part 4: Haldi

The couple had separate haldi ceremonies equally as crazy and as fun as the other with lots of love and haldi showers.

Couple photo at Oberoi Udaivilas in a Udaipur destination wedding
We managed to sneak in a quick portrait session in the famous courtyard of Udaivilas before the haldi began.

Part 5: Destination Wedding

Indian bridal photo at Udaipur destination wedding
Indian bridal entry at Udaipur destination wedding

The wedding was a celebration of their love and the union of two big loving families.

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The much anticipated jaimala ceremony at the Jagmandir palace.

We hope you love the trailer as much as we loved creating it!

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Video Data Storage Workflow: How we do it

Our video data storage workflow and some tips to keep in mind while making one for yourself

Storing and organising data is a huge part of managing a wedding photography studio. It must seem like our work ends the moment we make the delivery to the client, but there is so much more in between this process and even after that. All the data that we have from a wedding has to be managed and stored somewhere. And this is where a data storage workflow comes in. It’s very important to have a workflow because without it you won’t know which data is stored where. A workflow establishes a uniform treatment of all data and makes sure that the data isn’t irresponsibly lost. So it’s very easy to track anything at any point in time.

We’ve spoken in detail about the importance of a workflow in our previous posts. Of course, for that, we need reliable and robust tools that can store and protect our data. It’s not a question of if, but when a hard drive fails. So having a storage device that we trust to keep our data safe is very important. As a studio, we have an average of 2 to 3TB of data per wedding. Multiply that by 20-30 weddings in a year, and that generates about 80-100TB of data. All this data needs to be managed and stored efficiently. Now we have spoken about our photography workflow in two of our previous posts. So this time around we thought we’d give you an idea of what our video workflow looks like. Let’s dive into our data management workflow and take you into our process.

#1 On the Field – From cards to LaCie Mobile Harddrive

The first step on the field is to copy your data from the memory cards to your hard drive. Now, this is a very tricky situation as your data is a little vulnerable until you can get back to the studio and make another copy. So the LaCie Mobile Drive helps us quickly transfer our data from the cards. It’s built for rough use and helps transfer the data quickly via USB-C while we’re on the field. It’s a high capacity portable storage device that we highly trust to keep our data safe.

#2 Data Back-Up in Studio – Seagate Backup Plus Hub

The next step in our workflow is backing up the data from each wedding. Once we’re back in the studio, there’s only one copy of the wedding data and that makes us a little nervous. So the idea is to get more backups in place quickly. As we’ve mentioned in our previous posts, our mantra is “3,2,1”. There are 3 copies of the data that is transferred onto 2 mediums (hard drives and a cloud backup) and 1 of those copies is kept at a different location from the rest (say 1 at the studio, 1 copy at home). So in case there’s an accident at one of the locations, at least the data is safe at the other backup.

We have massive amounts of data, as you know, that needs to be managed, stored and archived very efficiently. This is where the Seagate Backup Hub Plus comes in. It has a huge storage space and the data transfer rate is great. Plus, it has two USB 3.0 ports on the front panel. So we can plug in another flash/hard drive in case all the ports in our computer are busy. Once plugged in the hub, the drives can be accessed as if they were plugged directly into the computer.

 

Of course, with so many wedding projects open at a point of time, we also need to know how much data is stored and where. So for this, you need to have a master list of all the data stored. So that if anyone needs to access anything from a wedding, all they need to do is open that master list and check where the data is kept. We also strictly make sure that only a handful of people are responsible for copying and keeping the list updated. So if one person is copying one wedding’s data on the field, the same person will also be responsible for backing up and updating the sheets once we’re back in the studio. This ensures less error and loss of data.

#3 Studio Edits – Lacie D2 Professional

Once all the data is backed up, it’s time to get into editing mode! For this, we use the LaCie D2 professional. We could go on and on about the drive’s technical specifications but we’re not one to go deep into the technicalities of the product. What is of importance to us is how it functions and how it can help us work more efficiently. And the D2 does help us work faster and much much more efficiently. It has definitely made our editors’ life easier. At any given time, we have 3-4 projects open and the LaCie’s storage capacity helps keep them all in one place. The D2 also has a USB-C/Thunderbolt port and as compared to a regular hard drive, it does work with the speed of thunder. Our Premiere Pro projects run more smoothly and with less lag and waiting time. The storage device has definitely become a very important part of our workflow.

Our policy as a studio is to store all the data we’ve ever shot. Which of course requires not only a massive but also efficient and reliable storage unit. And it’s our responsibility to archive everything for possible use in the future. Or just in case a client needs it again. Seagate understands our predicament and helps us to what we do best without worrying about data loss. Once we deliver the project to the client, the updated project files are backed up in the Seagate Backup Plus drive again and the data remains stored in perpetuity.

We cannot stress enough on the importance of a good and systematic workflow. In the absence of one you can lose video data, have difficulty in locating them, duplicate data, and these are definitely not good for your business. Of course, you probably already have a system in place. Now you just have to identify the weak spots and devise a system for it. But start today, if you haven’t already!

If you have any questions about our process or need help devising one, do let us know in the comments. We would love to help you out!

Disclaimer: This post has been written in association with Seagate International but the opinions are strictly our own.

 

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Mother’s Day Contest Winner Photoshoot

This Mother’s Day we had announced a photoshoot giveaway, in association with Designer Events and a bunch of talented artists, for one special mother-daughter duo. All they had to do was follow a few simple steps. We asked the participants to post a picture of a special moment with their mothers with a caption. And we’re happy to announce that Aanya won that special photoshoot for her and her Mom. Her caption “Still not prettier than her’, really won our hearts!

We had the pleasure of having both of them in our studio for the said photo shoot a few days ago. And it’s safe to say that we’re super happy with the results as well!

Both of them looked gorgeous in the outfits styled by Devnaagri. The jewellery by Raabta by Rahul completely complimented the clothes. And of course, Jasmeet Kapany‘s brilliant skills completed their look for the shoot. The Designer Events Inc had organised a beautiful set-up in our garden that we couldn’t wait to shoot in.

Our plan was to capture some light-hearted, fun moments between Anya and her Mom. Though shy in front of the camera at first, Aanya’s Mom was a pro at it pretty soon. We got some pretty enchanting pictures of the duo in the garden set-up. The light was perfect and the vibrant clothes only added to the charm of it all.

After the outdoor shoot, we moved into our studio for the second part of the shoot. The intention here was to give them timeless portraits that they could frame and keep forever. And the Godox lights definitely helped us achieve it. We got some marvellous portraits of the mother-daughter.


The shoot was styled by these amazing artists:

Make-up by Jasmeet Kapany
Jewellery by Raabta by Rahul
Outfit by Devnaagri
Decor set up by Designer Events Inc

Top view old film strip

5 Wedding Trailers That We Love

Weddings are such wonderful affairs. There’s so much love, emotions, family, colour – everything that we love under one roof.  Now we know that we talk about photography a lot, but the videos are just as important in a wedding. While photos capture moments in time, video preserves those moments. They help you see so many more moment at a wedding that you were not a part of.  So this time around, we thought to take a look at some of the wedding trailers we’ve created in the past year and why we love them. These wedding trailers open a window to what the wedding was like, what the feel of that specific celebration was.

#1 IshK

Isha and Kurt’s winter wedding in the mountains of Mussoorie was a beautiful mix of two cultures and families. Their wedding celebrations in the Jaypee Residency Manor were one of the most fun we’ve shot last year. Their love brought two Indian and Australian families together in a three-day music-and-dance gala. We love the playful moments between Isha’s sister and Kurt during his haldi. Isha was a total ‘bridechilla’ who knew how to have fun! What was extremely special about the wedding ceremony was that Kurt made vows to her in Hindi during the wedding rituals, that made everyone (even us!) teary-eyed.

ISHK – Isha + Kurt from Twogether Studios on Vimeo.

#2 A Love Like This | Shalin+Gurmeen

What we love about this wedding and this trailer is how real everything is! Their wedding brought two Gujarati and Punjabi families together in an eclectic mix of two cultures. Shalin’s letter being read by Gurmeen right before she leaves for her wedding ceremony is so powerful and emotional. This wedding was not just a joy to shoot but an equal delight to edit and create a trailer of.

A Love Like This | Shalin+Gurmeen from Twogether Studios on Vimeo.

#3 My Best Friend’s Wedding | Nitya+Rahul

Nitya and Rahul’s wedding was a multicultural Delhi wedding between not just two individuals but two families. This wedding trailer is all emotion – from the cheering from Nitya’s mother during her bridal entry to her sister’s heartfelt and emotional speech on their reception to Rahul’s excitement at spending the rest of his life with his beloved.

My Best Friend’s Wedding | Nitya+Rahul from Twogether Studios on Vimeo.

#4 Him & I | Sanya+Aman

This was a very special project for us and sharing it with our audience was most-awaited! We followed these two crazy lovers around Phuket as they roamed on the streets of Phuket Old Town, danced in Illuzion, took a ride in the famous Tuk-Tuk’s, hugged a tiger and saw the beautiful sunset in Patong beach. What was interesting was that the majority of the shoot was not precisely planned or strictly scripted, as is the case with pre-wedding shoot sometimes. We just let the two be, and what we got was a couple with some sizzling chemistry taking the streets of Phuket by storm!

Him & I | Sanya & Aman from Twogether Studios on Vimeo.

#5 Forever Starts Today | Harsh+Sanjana

The one word that would describe this wedding is “grand”. Spread across Chunda Palace, Oberoi Udai Vilas, and Jagmandir, the three-days in Udaipur were a grand celebration of Harsh and Sanjana’s love. From the imposing dholwaalas at the baraat to the gorgeous varmala exchange in Jagmandir, we loved being a part of this royal Udaipur wedding.

Forever Starts Today | Harsh+Sanjana from Twogether Studios on Vimeo.

Let us know which one of our trailers are your favourite. And why? We’d love to know!