1. Tell us something about yourself and your company.
Poonam Kotecha: I started my photography journey as a management consultant to a wedding photographer and at three weddings I fell in love with the art.
At the time, I thought there is more focus on everything but the couple and that’s how “YOU by Poonam Kotecha” came to be.
2. What’s your competitive advantage and why can’t it be copied?
For me personally, being a photographer means making people comfortable in front of the camera and allowing them a safe space to be themselves.
My focus is on simple things leading to honest moments. I love shooting in natural light and my photos are as clean as they are timeless.
3. What challenges/obstacles did you face in your journey so far?
I speak for most photographers here, Indian weddings don’t always allow time for dedicated photography sessions.
As a standard practice, we have become well equipped with managing some great shots under such time constraints but when it comes to your wedding photographs wouldn’t you agree that more is more.
4. What are your expansion plans?
Films that make you laugh and cry. We have done a few films in the past, but we are in the process of building an in-house team that speaks the same language.
5. Tell our audience more about your failures? How should one bounce back?
As I navigated through the stages of my business and worked with a diverse clientele and creatives, I had to learn a lot of things quickly and sometimes, the hard way.
Topics like maintaining accounts, to upgrading our gear/data management systems, leadership, managing bigger weddings, managing freelancers and in-house team, most importantly, delegation.
Every business goes through these stages, which helps us to have a really strong support system that can get you through the nuances of not just being an artist but running your business.
Additionally, your support system cannot do you any good if you lack the ability to ask for help. It’s only a failure if you don’t grow from the experience.
6. How do you define success?
A client that connects with my work and the trust that comes with it, beautiful photos is just a by-product of this.
7. Please share with us some of the challenges you faced in your journey.
Weddings are mentally and physically exhausting and this was something I was proud of when I started only to realize that we may be able to do more than a decent job at any point in time but it seriously robs us of our sense of purpose and/or our creativity.
Maybe next time you sip on a cup of coffee, do it because you enjoy the flavor and not because you need the caffeine.
8. What would advice to someone starting up and particularly to women entrepreneurs?
A Year and a half into the business I had to return the advance for what would have been a real big fat Indian wedding for me at the time.
The bride’s father was of the opinion that women shouldn’t shoot weddings and he wasn’t consulted beforehand. In the next four months, I did 32 weddings along with a celebrity wedding.
I didn’t take more than a day to get over it, because I truly believe one should identify themselves with their skills and capabilities and not by their Gender. And that’s true for the newcomers as well.
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