When I write this coloumn, and when you read it, hundreds of weddings are taking place all over India. Photographers are clicking away and colour prints are being made for albums. Even in this era of digital photography, there is no shortage of prints being made, but most of it is meant for wedding albums.
Ten million is roughly the number of the weddings taking place in India in a year. India may not win many golds in Olympics, but if there is an Olympics for wedding items, then Indians are sure to be champions. To take pictures of the items in this wedding Olympics tamasha (fuss), there are 2.5 lakh wedding photographers currently active in India. And all of them put together, they make about 7.5 million albums annually.
The average cos of a wedding album has reached Rs 25,000 and there are many who spent lakhs for the same with several photographers. It's a business of a cool Rs 1,800 crore annually. With other other segments like birthday parties, rotary club functions etc, the total business could be Rs 3,300 crore. It's a lot of money and it leads to the sale of digital cameras, printing machines, lamination equipment etc.
In this field of the Great Indian fat wedding, Kerala, being the largest consumer society, is sure not to lag behind. Kerala state with a land mass of 1 per cent, and a population of 3 per cent of India, has a market share in digital printing of -hold your breath-20 per cent. Many districts in the state has more than 500 wedding photographers, and the total number could be more than 5,000. Kerala has 20 per cent of heavy digital printing machines in India too. Naturally the craze for photo printing leads to sale of Cameras and other equipment. For many a Japanese company selling photographic equipment, Kerala is dream country. Cameras with more than 24 mega pixel resolution sell like hot cakes. Canon 5 D (Mark II, Mark III) Nikon D3, silky, glossy lamination equipment, traditional silver halide printers are all in great demand here.
Kerala has more than 6,000 studios, but major ones are more than a hundred. About 40 studios have crores worth of latest printing machines. But lately, the business of taking wedding photographs has shifted from studios to freelance photographers. They don't have to pay service tax to government and they don't have heavy overheads of studios either, says Suresh Nair who runs Paramount Studio Chain in Trivandrum. Hence freelancers can cut costs and offer lower rates to consumers. Naturally bulk of the wedding photo business is with them. But to make quality digital prints these photographers depend on Studios. It's a symbiotic relationship.
Even when a wedding hall is being booked, along with the feast, photography and album are also being arranged. They become part of a package. They don't even care about quality of photos or prints. After all, an album is a treat to watch for couples in the beginning, even though it's another matter that the same couples are likely to go violent of seeing it, a few years later!
Candid photography is a new trend in weddings. It's all about taking pictures without posing, capturing cute expressions and moments. After all, the entire wedding is a show, ain't so?
Last Post-Promo video is another trend in which the entire video footage is edited and packed for the duration of a popular film song. When the song ends, video also ends. Then it's put in youtube or Whatsapp. It makes a dent in your purse too.