Our “SLR Lounge & Fundy Designer Artist Feature” collaboration articles highlight some of the very best photographers in the world. This article features Sanjay Jogia of Eye Jogia Photography (Harrow on the Hill, London, UK), an internationally recognized wedding photographer. In addition to being a Fundy Storyteller, Sanjay is also a Canon Europe Ambassador. He was named one of the top wedding photographers in the world by Professional Photographer magazine and has dozens of SWPP and WPPI awards to his credit. Sanjay took time to talk with us about his journey into photography and what makes an experience with Eye Jogia Photography an experience like no other.

[Related: “Photography Travel Tips, with Nikon Ambassador Kristi Odom | Fundy Designer Artist Feature”]

Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us, Sanjay. Tell us about your journey into photography.

I grew up with photography. My father worked for Kodak for 35 years, in the local factory. Photography dominated my entire youth. As a kid, I used to go to the events that the factory organized for their employees and their families, for example workshops that taught me how to develop film. I taught myself how to use a camera by reading the instruction manual that came with my father’s Canon AE-1. …

That said, I wasn’t always a photographer. I’m actually a qualified architect. Still, photography stayed with me throughout my seven years of architectural training. My training in architecture helped me to develop a unique style of presenting designs. I created photograph montages of my designs, placing them onto photographs of the actual location for the building … I did this by hand (no Photoshop)!

Many people ask me how I made a leap from architecture to photography. I really don’t see it as a leap because there are many similarities when you consider the needs of both. You have to have mastery of light, space, composition, beauty, surface, texture, emotion, experience, meaning, moments, and history. There are so many parallels! It’s hard not to conclude that photography chose me.

My friends (and their friends) would ask me if I would photograph their weddings. They knew I wasn’t a professional photographer at the time, but that I had been a photographer since I was eight years old. …  My challenge, then, was to give the wedding (and my photography) justice, in a way that also respected established wedding photographers. I wanted to make sure I didn’t undercut anyone, out of professional courtesy and general principle. As well, I sought out to be conscious of setting a good precedent for myself. I decided that if I was going to take this seriously I should market my services toward the high-end market, considering how much of myself I put into my work and how much effort is involved throughout the entire workflow.

We know the client care and experience is a huge part of your success. How have you developed such a smooth process?

Fundamentally, we set out to do the very best job we can, and everything else spawns from that. I believe that success—be it within a single project, profession, or in life in general—is a by-product of the equality of one’s actions and the integrity of intent. And that intent should always be for ‘excellence,’ executed with sincerity and without vanity. When it comes to Eye Jogia Photography, we are apt to remember that, while we do what we do because we love it, we are here to service our clients. We’re not here to gratify our egos or for our own personal gain. The ethos is to deliver a high-quality luxury experience. With our photographs and the code of conduct adopted from my previous life as an architect, Eye Jogia Photography has become known as a luxury brand.

For us, the process begins at the initial inquiry: how we respond to potential clients, and how quickly. It sets the overall tone for the couple—that this is what’s to come. Then, it’s on to the consultation, which is always held at our luxury showroom in a historic part of London. Here, the client is given a taste of the experience they can expect when they invest in Eye Jogia Photography. Once the booking is confirmed, we will hold one or two pre-wedding planning meetings. This helps to iron out potential kinks in the ‘schedule’ and manage expectations.

On wedding days, photographers are the ones who are the most visible and have the most time invested of all the vendors, especially because our workflow and client experience continues after the wedding is over. Photographers rely on sales and referrals for their business to thrive (not just survive). Therefore, it’s vital that our relationships with our clients, and their families and friends, is positive and memorable, and has longevity.

After the event, we’ll treat the couple with some teasers to build excitement for their upcoming ‘viewing.’ This is where they will see all of their photographs, each of which is processed and finished in our trademark style, a style that I have personally developed over the last decade. The viewing always takes place at our showroom, on a large screens in a room built for atmosphere and comfort. From that point onward, we maintain contact with our client to guide them throughout their album design and the production of their finished products. Beyond this? We tend to become friends, as well as the recommended photographer within their circles.

We’d love for you to share one of your favorite photographs lately. What’s the story behind the photograph? Why do you love it? Why do you feel it best represents Eye Jogia Photography?

I have to pick a favorite rather reluctantly. It’s like picking your favorite child! The photograph above moves me emotionally for a number of reasons.

First, I relate to the bride on a spiritual level and because of her general ethos in life. She’s incredibly kind, empathetic, caring, and calm. Anyone who looks at this photograph will probably see that in her expression, which develops the longer you look at it. For me, it has that mysterious, Mona Lisa-like quality to it. Is she smiling? Is she not? What is she thinking? What must she be feeling? It’s an incredibly simple portrait, but it’s all about the bride. It’s not about her clothing, jewelry, or her environment. Another reason that I love this photograph is that it’s a prime example of overcoming challenges!

I took this photograph in the bride’s lounge, the morning of a 700-guest wedding at her house! As well, it was the first wedding anywhere photographed with a Canon EOS R, on the day that Canon announced their brand new mirrorless system! The challenge arose because the camera arrived that morning, because of the incredibly tight security around the EOS R prior to its launch. I had to get to know a brand-new system, with all of its customization, new technological features, and new lenses. Overall, according to the bride’s family and friends, this photograph best portrays who she is. It gives the impression of a calm environment (even though the reality was the exact opposite). That’s what counts the most!

Speaking of the Canon mirrorless system … What’s your essential gear on a wedding day?

Apart from my trusty Canon EOS-1D X Mark IIs and Canon L-Series lenses, I would say my lighting equipment. I love shaping light to create the mood and feel of my photographs. Really, all of my lighting equipment is essential. This includes my extensive Profoto equipment and my continuous lights. I also need my X-Rite ColorChecker Passport, because color management is a huge part of my signature look and feel. Back to the subject of cameras, the new EOS R has been a revelation! Its outstanding image quality and beautiful tones are amazing, but, particularly, I love the incredibly sharp and well-resolved RF-Mount lenses, which render such beautiful bokeh.

In a similar vein, what software keeps your workflow precise, allowing that seamless client experience you’ve been talking about?

There are four core pieces of software that I use in our workflow. First, we use Photo Mechanic to do the initial cull. Next, Adobe Lightroom helps us set up a catalogue for each of our couples. Lightroom is where we do 95 percent of the work. It’s also where we manage and develop all the project’s RAW files. I use my own presets, as well as specific local adjustments and fine-tuning. At this stage, we begin designing albums and wall art, using the brilliant Fundy Designer software. We design our clients’ complete set of wall art using photographs from their homes, and within that same project, we can design their full suite of albums. It’s a huge part of our post-production sales and process.

Finally, we use Adobe Photoshop to finish our photographs, whether they’re for wall art, albums, social media, or print competitions. And apart from  those four software applications? We also rely on JPEGmini. It saves valuable space on our servers (both live and backup).

Thanks so much, Sanjay! Tons of great info! Before you go, how about one last question? What advice do you have for photographers reading your feature, regarding how they can improve their own clients’ overall experience?

  1. Listen. Really listen. Understand your clients, their needs, their story, and what they’re looking for. Whoever you speak to, whether it’s a client, a friend, or a new acquaintance? They should always feel like they’re the most important person in the room.
  2. Don’t force yourself onto the couple. Adapt to their vision, but within the gamut of your style and approach. That is to say, be adaptable, and, at the same time, don’t reinvent yourself each time, or you’ll end up with no identity.
  3. Respond to calls, emails, and text messages with the urgency you’d expect from others. This doesn’t mean dropping what you’re doing to respond. After all, you might be photographing when a call or email comes in. Use common sense, and your good judgement, to decide when it’s the right time!

If you’re heading to WPPI this year, be sure to connect with Sanjay! You won’t regret it! He has a sold-out photo walk, but you can still sign up for his Master Class! Here are the details: “How I Made That Image—Uncut!” As well, you can see more of Sanjay’s work on his website. And be sure to check out his work on Facebook and Instagram!

Finally, check out the updated list of partner discounts available for SLR Lounge Premium Members. You can, for example, save $50 on Fundy Designer’s “Pro Suite” or “Album Suite.” You can see those discounts by clicking here! And, finally, don’t forget that you have until the February 28 deadline to be considered for SLR Lounge’s February 2019 awards competition!