PROFILE

Sanjay Jogia

A bride in a red and gold dress sits on the steps of an ornate Hindu temple, with a long veil spread out around her.

"Being presented with a beautifully ornate traditional Hindu temple and a bride worthy of a role in a fairytale movie, it's hard not to want to create a scene that looks like it should be in that movie," says Canon Ambassador and wedding photographer Sanjay Jogia. "Careful posing, finessing of the outfit and deliberately crafted lighting are the key ingredients to the structure of this image. The success of the execution, though, relies on the lens – the EF 70-200mm was the obvious choice here because the long focal length eliminates distortion and the distance allows a pleasing and believable compression of all the elements within the composition." Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II (now succeeded by the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III) with a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM lens at 102mm, 1/250 sec, f/8 and ISO200. © Sanjay Jogia

Canon Ambassador Sanjay Jogia is one of the world's most decorated wedding photographers, with a clutch of awards from both the Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers (SWPP) and Wedding & Portrait Photographers International (WPPI). The Briton is known for capturing a mix of posed and unposed images, all bursting with emotion and charm. He also shares his expertise, travelling the world to deliver lectures and workshops.

Serving the luxury wedding market, Sanjay's company, Eye Jogia Photography, specialises in wedding photography of the most demanding kind: destination weddings all over the world, and Indian weddings, which pose distinct challenges compared to other types of ceremony. "Indian weddings are more intense and much longer: a typical day can be 12 to 16 hours," says Sanjay. "There are many separate rituals on the day of the main ceremony, and all the days tend to be an onslaught of colour, energy, emotion, socialising and fun."

Sanjay's response to this challenge emerges through an ethos he calls 'Fantasy & Reality'. Each wedding shoot typically features a series of spectacular, conceptual 'Fantasy' images, with couples posing among carefully lit interiors and exteriors. "These are the most challenging parts of any wedding, because, for various reasons, the time assigned usually gets compressed on the day," he says.

"We are expected to create a range of images that are dramatic, cinematic, and editorial or fashion in feel, under immense time pressure and with people who are not used to posing because they're not models. To add to this, as a competition judge for some of the largest international associations, I tend to be overly critical of my images in situ: I critique the lighting, posing, composition, story and impact there and then in the viewfinder, and do not rely on post-production to 'fix' things. These sessions are usually done twice, or sometimes three times a day, to coincide with each outfit change."

A black-and-white headshot of Canon Ambassador Sanjay Jogia holding his Canon camera.

Location: UK
Specialist area: Weddings
Favourite kit:
Canon EOS R5
Canon RF 28-70mm F2L USM
Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM
A family gather around a pot gesturing excitedly at each other, as the bride cheers and the groom pretends to look downcast.

"Hindu wedding ceremonies are full of colour, tradition and rituals, but the rituals also consist of fun and games," explains Sanjay. "This is one such game called Koda Kodi, where the bride and groom compete to find a ring in an ornate pot filled with milky water and stones. Whichever of the two wins the best of three or five rounds wins… and it's a game of honour – whoever wins wears the trousers in the relationship. In this case it was the bride! When you have so much energy, there really is no need to need to represent all that colour – on the contrary, the monochrome nature of the image eliminates the distraction that a colour image would bring here, allowing you to be drawn into the energy and emotion of the moment. The EF 16-35mm lens allows me to get into the action and frame enough of the context to tell a wider story, coupled with the Canon EOS 1-DX Mark II, which is perfect for such a high energy, unpredictable moment." Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with a Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens (now succeeded by the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM) at 16mm, 1/400 sec, f/7.1 and ISO6400. © Sanjay Jogia

Alongside these are the 'Reality' images, which focus on small details and the more human moments. "These are the photojournalistic images of the day, and not directed by us in any way," says Sanjay. "Somewhere in the middle sit the 30 or 40 formal group photos, which must be crafted with the same care as in a well-balanced studio setup."

Sanjay started using Canon's mirrorless RF system in 2018 with the Canon EOS R, and was one of the first people to use it to photograph a wedding. "It's a really good all-rounder and my go-to camera for less high-pressure situations and when I'm creating portraits," he says. "It's versatile, and the vari-angle touchscreen allows me to shoot from very awkward angles. The silent shooting function has been very useful when taking candid images at sensitive and emotional times." The Canon EOS R5 is also a regular feature in his kitbag, and he is also now using the Canon EOS R3.

A bride and groom embrace at the front of a luxurious yacht as the sun sets behind them.

"This image was particularly challenging, because the conditions were choppy despite the scene appearing quite calm," says Sanjay. "This meant the composition was impossible to predict and control because the yacht was unsettled, as was the boat I was in. I needed the sun to be in the background, requiring me to fill the foreground with light as well as lighting the couple using high-powered strobes. The rapidly-changing nature of the situation meant that the Canon EOS-1D X, the flagship model at the time, was the perfect tool for the job because its AI-Servo Focus would remain locked on the bride and groom as well as remaining unfazed by any splashback from the water." Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X (now succeeded by the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III) with a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM lens (now succeeded by the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM) at 93mm, 1/125 sec, f/6.3 and ISO125. © Sanjay Jogia

Sanjay is quick to acknowledge the support required to create this work. "I lean on my team a lot," he says. "Initially it was just my wife Roshni and I; I have always been the main photographer with Roshni as my second. She would also do all the social stuff, like the 'grip & grins', usually because they are requested at arbitrary times, even if the main ceremony is still being conducted! Roshni's presence allows me to focus on what I do without distraction. She is the beating heart of the business – she is always networking, even at events.

"We now have at least one assistant with us to take care of many of the technical aspects of the day, which is essential to our approach. Pragmatism aside, I am very proud of my team for the harmony we have achieved and for our ability to respond to extreme pressure – but moreover for their dedication, and how much they understand my thinking, my tastes and my demands."

How did your interest in photography develop into a thriving business?

"I was raised with photography because my father worked at the local Kodak factory for 35 years. I practised as an architect, having qualified in 2004, but, having heard about my 'geeky' love of photography, friends – and their friends – would ask me to capture their weddings. That was the catalyst: I was hooked on the emotion, the theatre, the energy, and the technical (and creative) challenges that came with weddings. In 2008 Eye Jogia came to be, and by 2010, Roshni and I had quit our jobs and decided to give our 'baby' the attention it deserved… we've never looked back."


You're a qualified architect. How does your knowledge of architecture influence your photography?

"There are many similarities between architectural design and photography: the understanding and creative grasp of light, space, surface, texture, composition, aesthetics, form, proportions, emotion, concept, and the general appreciation of beauty. The main similarity is the balance of creativity and technicality that is required… it's uncanny. All my couples tell me they can see my architectural side in my work, which I love! It gives my work an identity."


How has your architectural training helped you to master the technical aspects of photography?

"Architecture students at the University of Bath were required to study various engineering subjects, including lighting engineering. This gave me an understanding of the physics of light, be it artificial or daylight. We were taught about the effects that various types of light source have on the scene, as well as on human skin, along with the general colour characteristics of different light sources. Two decades later, I know exactly how to 'clean up' those light sources in my images."


Who have been your biggest photographic influences, and why?

"If I had to name anyone, I'd say Sebastião Salgado – mainly for his intrepid approach to photography and the way in which he sees the world. And, of course, Henri Cartier-Bresson. At the other end of the scale, Irving Penn and Annie Leibovitz – but they are more of an inspiration than an influence. It stands to reason that the approaches here are diametrically opposed; our approach to wedding photography is similar, with its 'Fantasy & Reality' ethos."


What qualities do aspiring photographers need in order to be as successful as you are?

"Consistency in every aspect: your image as a person and as a brand; your behaviour, physical and virtual; and your work and processes. Put simply, it equates to trust. This consistency requires a thorough approach, discipline and self-determination; and I'd like to put the most emphasis on self-determination. Your motivation mustn't be purely financial, or for accolades due to peer pressure, or to out-do others, because then you're driven by someone else and not by your core values. You must love photography, you must love what you do and understand why you're doing it, otherwise it'll unravel very quickly."

One thing I know

Sanjay Jogia

"The advice I'd love to have had at the start was to have complete faith in my instincts and my vision, which ultimately determined the trajectory of our brand. It was a high-risk strategy for us, so it's natural to have doubts, but our instincts have proven to be reliable. Trusting in my vision from day one meant that I needn't have concerned myself with being accepted by my contemporaries or what they were producing, as this could easily lead one to produce derivative work. The goal is to try to be definitive: this can only happen by looking within, not without."

Facebook: @eyejogia

Instagram: @eyejogia

Website: www.eyejogia.com

YouTube: @sanjayjogia

Sanjay Jogia's kitbag

The key kit that the pros use to take their photographs

Sanjay Jogia's kitbag containing Canon cameras, lenses and accessories.

Cameras

Canon EOS R3

The new high-performance, high-speed mirrorless camera marks a new era for sports, wildlife and news photographers, as well as creative filmmakers.

Canon EOS R

A pioneering full-frame mirrorless camera that sets new standards for photographers and filmmakers. "It's a really good all-rounder and my go-to camera for less high-pressure situations and when I'm creating portraits," says Sanjay.

Lenses

Accessories

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