Your life in print | Sunday Observer

Your life in print

When it comes to memories, the best way of reminiscing is through photographs, and when it comes to your special day you should settle on a unique set of styles to bring out the best of the happiest days of your life. Wedding Photography in Sri Lanka has now reached new heights with talented and out-of- the- box thinkers joining the profession. If you are into creative artistic images then Geeshan Bandara would be one of the very few who would surely give you nothing but the best. Being an international award winning wedding photojournalist, Geeshan has taken many unconventional and interesting shots over the years.

This week YV contacted Geeshan, to talk about his photography, his experiences as a wedding photographer, favourite moments and more.

How long has it been since you started wedding photography? How did you get interested in photography?

I officially started my wedding photography business in 2013, though I’ve been shooting weddings since 2009. I believe I saw the world differently; I saw lines, shapes, patterns, and colours. I saw light and shadow. I was drawn to it more and more and it came to a point where I could ignore it no further.

I did a complete 180. I went from studying Engineering, getting a BSc in Mathematics and working in IT to using up all my savings to study Photojournalism.

Why wedding photography?

I love telling stories, I love taking pictures and I love to travel. The ability to combine all of these into a career is both humbling and exhilarating.

What kind of weddings do you shoot? Is it only modern ones or do you cover traditional weddings as well?

We have shot and continue to shoot all kinds of weddings. While we’re arguably the destination wedding specialists we find an increasing number of people having traditional weddings wanting creative, documentary style pictures

You are someone who has done quite unusual shots as a wedding photographer. Any special reason why you wanted to attempt something like that without following the traditional methods?

I find traditional wedding photography boring. It has its place, but I yearn to tell stories, which I get to do through my camera. I have a degree in Photojournalism and I shoot weddings the way I would shoot breaking news.

My clients come because I take creative and compelling images to capture all their real moments that they miss.

You cover destination weddings as well. How challenging/ interesting is that? And how different is it to that of other weddings you shoot?

I love destination weddings because they’re small and intimate with typically no more than 50-60 people.

The challenge is what keeps me getting out of bed. We shoot in constantly changing lighting conditions as well as in extremes of weather like glaring sun and pouring rain.

We shoot while hanging out of moving three-wheelers, dodging flames from fire-dancers and balancing precariously off unstable heights – all of this while making sure we don’t miss anything that makes that wedding special.

Except for wedding photography what other genres of photography do you enjoy?

I enjoy all types of photography – in my free time I focus more on landscape, nature, wildlife and particularly street photography. All of these experiences heavily influence how I shoot weddings.

What is the best thing about photography?

With the prevalence of smart phones and almost any device, being able to take a picture we tend to forget the significance of photography and its ability to show a snapshot in time that can never be replicated.

As I mentioned before, I love what I do and can’t imagine doing anything else.

What is the best moment you have captured? Why is it the favourite out of all the shots?

The ‘best’ moment is subjective and will vary from person to person. It’s impossible for me to pick just one, but one of my recent favourites was from a particularly raucous destination wedding.

The party was in full swing, with people dancing on the deck and people dancing in the adjacent pool when the DJ suddenly drops Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’. It was almost as if the guests were possessed – everyone started walking out of the pool in unison and burst into the Thriller dance. It was incredible.

What do you prefer, Colour photography or Black and White?

There’s a time and place for each. I love both colour and black and white. I tend to make heavy use of the interplay of light and shadow in my work, which can lead itself very well to black and white. Erika Mann, probably one of the three best documentary wedding photographers in the world, said “we shoot in colour, but we feel in black and white.”

What is your view on wedding photography in Sri Lanka? Is there healthy competition?

In general, wedding photography in Sri Lanka is very competitive, which is great for the consumer. There are numerous photographers and styles to select from, ranging from the traditional posing - heavy to the light and fluffy that is popular now.

Documentary wedding photography is not yet properly understood in Sri Lanka and I consider my competition to be outside the country.

How do you usually decide on shots? Do you take those after consulting the clients as to what they want or do you suggest shots?

When I meet with a potential bride and groom I make it very clear exactly what they are getting from me. Because I focus on capturing real moments I won’t plan specific shots. I merely capture what exists using my creative vision, enabling me to give something unique to each client.

Best compliment you’ve received so far?

The best compliment is always the same – when a couple tells me they get to relive their wedding day through the pictures I take.

What advice would you give to a couple when choosing a photographer?

Think about what is most important to you and what you really want from your wedding pictures. Be sure to communicate this to your photographer and ensure that you’re on the same page. For example, couples choose me because they want real moments captured.

How is the demand for wedding photography? And what kind of requests do people make when they choose you as the photographer?

There are lots of weddings that take place every year and even more photographers ready to shoot them. We cater to a very small segment of the market that just want a no fuss documentation of their wedding day and the moments that make it special.