Kartik Sharma
KS. Creative Photography

How I Travelled to the Other Side of the World for Photography

How I Travelled to the Other Side of the World for Photography

Welcome! Tell us who you are and a quick overview of your business/brand.

My name’s Kartik, I’m a 28-year-old South-Asian Fine-Art Editorial Wedding/Portrait Photographer from Australia who just moved to the UK.

After photographing fashion for various years, I entered the wedding industry and provided a unique creative flare to couples who were looking for something artistic and timeless photos for their wedding day.

I quickly rose with my business and ended up photographing amazing weddings, including Australian cricketer Glen Maxwell, & doing creative shoots with Pav Dharia & Manpreet Toor.

Having a deep love for the South-Asian culture, I decided to move my business to the UK to pursue bigger weddings & projects and since my time here in the last 6 months, I’ve done 24 shoots, and have also photographed weddings in Portugal/Turkey & soon to cover Italy & Cancun — all whilst documenting the journey on YouTube for other photographers to learn & couples to see how I work.

How did you come up with your concept?

My unique photography/editing style was adopted through my years of photographing fashion.

I had done multiple creative shoots which developed my eye for Editorial photography.

I brought with me a unique approach to photographing weddings that hadn’t been seen in the South-Asian market in Australia before, which quickly enabled me to successfully establish my business and outwork my competition, especially within a saturated market.

I take everyday people and create stunning imagery, capturing authentic moments through a unique editorial flare.

How did you actually launch? How were those early days?

I read a book about how to find your passion and purpose (Ikigai).

The concept breaks down the cross-section of 4 questions, what are you good at, what do you like, what does the world need and what can you get paid for?

My response — I was good at creativity, I had an Indian classical dancing background, my father taught me harmonium, and I always loved art.

I liked the concepts of love & relationships and thought it would be good to work alongside people who celebrated this!

Merging the two spat-out wedding photography which I knew the world needed them considering the demand for South-Asian vendors in a particular nice was really high & I knew they could be paid quite decently well!

2 weeks later I quit my corporate job and launched my South Asian Wedding Photography business.

Initially, it was incredibly slow, not to mention I lied to my parents about still going to my corporate job for the first few months.

I successfully proved my worth by showing my parents my skill with the camera after self-teaching myself for hours and hours on YouTube. I got into fashion because I felt inspired by commercial billboards and loved the editorial look, then eventually took what I learned from that industry and moved into Weddings full-time where I made my break.

What strategies have you used to attract customers or followers?

Multi-Dimensional marketing — Taking a piece of content and blasting it on every social media platform (not just Instagram like everybody else).

Documenting & not creating (I’m a massive Gary V fan), Collaborations (a shit ton of these), I’m now the 2nd most followed South-Asian Wedding Photographer in Australia — through a combination of the above-mentioned methods.

DMing every follower that follows me on my business page and just starting a conversation, doing more vertical forms of video content & now taking a step to be an educator/spokesperson in photography through my platform to educate other content creators building credibility & social following within my platforms.

What has been your biggest hurdle? How have you dealt with it?

Anyone who knew me knows I’d never held a camera in my life before reading the book Ikigai, so when I decided to quit my job and spend $8k on a camera set-up, everyone was criticising my decision.

I had left my corporate grad job to do something I had no experience in, but it brought me happiness which is all I was focused on, so I had to block out the noise.

Other hurdles involved constantly combatting South-Asian cultural stereotypes, competition in an overly saturated market, and moving my business abroad to another country.

The answer to all of this was happiness. I wasn’t prepared to listen to anyone if what I did at the end of the day made me happy.

What were you doing before this?

I was a marketing manager at Red Bull and then got a grad job as a brand manager at Nestle looking after KitKat.

I knew it was the right time to quit because I was unhappy, young & dedicated to finding a better purpose in my life after I read the book Ikigai.

The 9–5 lifestyle wasn’t doing it for me, and I knew that I wanted to work for myself & do something that brought me happiness, despite how much money it was going to make.

I was reckless in my decision to leave corporate, quitting 2 weeks after I read a book, but I knew I was the type of person to go all in & not half-ass any attempt to do something.

What are your competitive advantages?

Coming from an industry that hasn’t been incorporated commonly within the South-Asian Wedding space + my marketing background allows me to quickly grow my business, allowing me to replace & overtake my income as well.

My mindset has also been the biggest factor in my success and I live by the mantra of offering the most value in the room and giving without ever receiving.

My work ethic has been a massive contributor to the success of my personal and business growth.

I found within the wedding photography space business often only post content whenever they shoot weddings, the key is to keep creating content even if it’s just about the business/personal brand.

I noticed nobody wanted to do anything different in Australia/UK i.e. YouTube, and creative reels so I made sure to dominate that space.

I’m the only South Asian YouTuber to actively document the journey within the South-Asian Wedding space across both Australia & the UK — allowing me to gain a massive competitive edge when clients inquire about my business. I can now show them content that other people can’t because it’s not something they immediately view as a direct return on investment.

Content creation is a real long-haul game and you need to really put in the time and effort for it to pay dividends.

Where are you today and what are you most excited about in the future?

After realising that I bought a unique approach to the wedding space & my content I’ve been receiving DM’s weekly from many aspiring photographers about editing/wedding photography.

The next goal is to go down the mentoring/coaching route. I remember when I was learning wedding photography, there were so many Wedding photographers on YouTube however it was on white weddings.

No one was actively contributing towards the South-Asian Wedding space, especially within Australia/UK. So when I started posting videos, I got many DM’s from people even in India, asking me to provide further education.

So I’ll continue documenting the journey within the wedding space, but I’ll also aim to do educational content and more 1:1 services for people looking to take their craft to the next level.

What are your three top tips for others looking to follow in your footsteps?

  1. Genuinely fall in love with the journey and not the destination, because it’s the moments in between that we truly live for, the days of hardship, the mini successes — this brings me more happiness than the title of being the most successful South-Asian Wedding Photographer across Australia/UK. Each day I’m doing something I love, then the title that it’ll bring me.
  2. Document — don’t just create. Share your journey online for others to witness and follow. Imagine if your favourite Bollywood actor had a youtube channel in their early days of acting and going to auditions, explaining how they felt each step of the way. This is 10 times more enjoyable to watch & follow than the final product because it's relatable.
  3. DM every single person that has recently followed your Instagram page and have a conversation with them — not to sell. But to see how you can genuinely help them. When you give without the expectation of receiving, you’ll be surprised by what actually follows.

What platforms/tools do you use behind the scenes?

  • Youtube - something that is incredibly underrated and what I'm using to document a lot of my journey
  • Instagram - the bread and butter of my business, how most clients end up finding me
  • TikTok
  • LinkedIn
  • Journaling - More for affirmations & positive mindset reinforcements
  • To-do list - underrated I swear to god.

What resources have helped you the most?

Podcasts — I learn things daily, usually at the gym (business/mindset/love & relationships)

Ikigai — the book that changed the entire trajectory of my life.

Do you have any open job positions or partnership opportunities?

Always open to having people who want to learn/intern from me.

Where can people find out more?

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