Please tell us about yourself. How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and fascinating career?
Arpit, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
About a decade ago, I started a music blog to share what I was listening to. Before too long, I had musicians, bands, and labels offering concert tickets to do reviews. So I started taking my dad’s DSLR to take photos for my posts. As I shared those images on social media, friends started asking me to take photos for them, and that set me on the journey ahead.
Some of my first paid work was commercial in nature. Very quickly I got interested in fashion and editorial work as well, so I pursued that. When I met an established wedding photographer shortly thereafter, I offered to assist him to see how I liked weddings. After the very first time, I was in love. Within a couple months I had booked my first wedding and by the end of the following year, I had traveled as far as Singapore to photograph one of the most surreal weddings of my life.
It’s been a long road since, but I continue building my wedding photography business and work all over Southern California regularly. While I still do destination weddings, the number fluctuates year to year. But that’s okay as I love being able to sleep in my own bed!
Has it been a smooth road?
It definitely has not been a smooth road. In the age of the selfie, everyone’s a photographer. Perhaps overdramatic, but millennials grew up with a camera in hand. That means the value they place on photography is quite a challenging mindset to overcome. Add on the increasing quality of cameras and the decreasing cost, more people jump in to an already oversaturated field. I had to realize along the way that if I don’t value what I’m bringing to the table, I won’t survive in the industry too long.
But that’s more superficial in a sense. As a creative, the hardest part of doing this day in and day out is finding the joy in creating. There are plenty of photographers out there that repeat the same poses, ideas, etc. for each wedding and are quite happy turning that around quickly.
For me, each couple is incredibly unique. That means being creative on a constant basis. There’s no auto-piloting on the wedding day, which means there’s emotional and spiritual drain in addition to being physically tired the next day. That wedding hangover is no joke!
So yeah, there’s quite a bit to overcome. There’s personal doubts when there isn’t work on the horizon and there’s the struggle against coasting when you’re staying consistently busy. You live in the present and the future simultaneously – not being able to accomplish that is the fastest way to become a relic in such a rapidly changing industry.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Visuals by Arpit story. Tell us more about the business.
I offer wedding photography primarily. With that comes engagement sessions, elopements, and boudoir. A lot of my couples also become long-term clients, so I do maternity, newborn, and family sessions as well.
Anyone that sees my work will point to one distinguishing factor: color. I love vibrance and contrast. While many photographers are drawn to the film look, it’s far too washed out for me. I grew up in India, so color and culture are a big part of my aesthetic. That’s why I never photograph any two couples alike. I believe that’s what separates me from a lot of the photographers out there.
What I’m most proud of is the legacy that I’m building. When I see so many of my couples choosing me from their engagement to their wedding, from their maternity session to their newborn session, from casual family photos to intimate boudoir sessions, I am humbled by the trust they continue to place in my hands.
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
It’s hard to speculate, but I think we’re already seeing drastic changes. Drones are a big part of that. Artificial intelligence and robotics will also become a part of the industry before long.
Right now, video is getting more attention as well. From Facebook wanting to go up against YouTube, as well as all the instant story and live video services, instant gratification and turnaround will become quite the cornerstone of the wedding industry.