5 minutes with — Nisha Ravji

Nisha Ravji is a wedding photographer from New Zealand. She is coming to Way Up North in Stockholm in October to speak at the conference. We had her attention for a few minutes to share a bit more about herself and how she approaches his work.

WUN: So, for those who don’t know you, who is Nisha Ravji?

Nisha: I am Nisha Ravji. I’m a wedding photographer photographer originally from New Zealand now living, probably, two-thirds of my year in Europe and one-third back in New Zealand. I’ve done this for about four years now.  My parents were born in Africa and India but I was born here in New Zealand.

WUN: So you had an international touch already from the beginning then. Do you like traveling and that kind of thing or do you have relatives in Europe? Or how did you end up living both in Europe and New Zealand?

Nisha: I do. So my mother actually grew up in the UK. So she’s British and her side of the family is over there. Originally when I went there about four years ago now, the draw was to meet the family, I didn’t really go expecting that people would be interested in having me shoot their wedding.

But I think it’s a big novelty and when I first started doing it, there wasn’t as many Kiwis and Australians shooting over there, so I think people were quite excited about it. Now, we are all everywhere – which is wonderful. Everyone is everywhere from both hemispheres.

WUN: That must be a great thing to have the best of both worlds in a way. Like here in Sweden, the season is extremely short. So you have four months and then it’s over.

Nisha: Yeah. So the New Zealand/Australian season I think is definitely longer because it kind of starts end of October and goes through to end of April and I notice that in Europe, it’s much, much shorter. But I really dislike winter as well. So it works quite well for me.

WUN: New Zealand gets kind of cold in the winter, right? It’s not like Australia – or is it?

Nisha: No, no. It definitely gets cold here. I’m in the north island, so it’s not super cold. We wouldn’t get snow or anything where I live, just a lot of rain. The other thing for me as well, is I really love shooting weddings and most other photographers, they shoot families or landscapes in the off-season. Me, I want to get my 10,000 hours in and master weddings first and then try something else.

WUN: That’s a good plan.

WUN: So do you miss New Zealand when you’re in Europe or is it  an easy transition every time?

Nisha: I don’t know if I miss New Zealand, because I’ve been here most of my life. But I definitely miss my husband most of the year, unfortunately, and I get a lot of questions about that. He is Kiwi too, but his job has always been primarily in London and now Berlin. So I’m quite lucky that his work is all digital and his company let him work remotely from New Zealand for a couple of months every year. But other than that, we do spend a lot of time apart, which I think is the reality for a lot of photographers shooting destinations. It compromises time away from family and friends.

WUN: Do you travel to other parts of the world to shoot weddings or is it mainly Europe and New Zealand?

Nisha: Last year, I did a bit of everywhere. I did a few in North America, some in Asia and the majority in Europe. Then of course New Zealand/Australia a little bit as well. It’s kind of changing, though. I’m planning on heading to Vancouver. So towards the end of 2017, I’ve got work booked for Vancouver and North America.

WUN: So do you settle there for a while or just shoot a few weddings and move on?

Nisha: I would quite like to settle there for a while. I don’t know how long it will last though. Like I said, I don’t like the cold.

WUN: Right.

Nisha: So I think I will probably get to when the snow come in Vancouver and  then get on the plane and come back home again. I was there earlier in 2016 for a wedding and I really love the city. It reminded me a lot of home, like everyone is really friendly like New Zealanders. But it also has that international standing as well of course.

WUN: So you don’t feel like you want to stay in one place for the whole year?

Nisha: No, not for me at the moment. A lot to do with that is that I’m a pretty high energy person I guess. I shoot a lot of weddings. I don’t like telling people how many weddings I shoot because I always get this stunned, horrible reaction. I’m not someone who likes to sit still. You know, the idea of having months where I have nothing to do or no weddings to shoot or nothing to keep me inspired almost frightens me a little bit.

WUN: So, of course, now I have to ask you, how many weddings did you shoot?

Nisha: So in 2016 I shot 64.

WUN: Oh, wow.

Nisha: Yeah. See? See?

It took me a while to be OK with it, however, and I think it was only through talking to some very dear friends who are also photographers about that reaction. Because I thought people have this thing about 25 to 30 being the perfect amount of Weddings to shoot and that makes you a true artist and that kind of stuff. But I think at the end of the day – if you’re happy shooting that many weddings and you want to meet that many couples, I think it doesn’t really matter if you do.

WUN: No. I’d say, just go for it!

Nisha: Yeah.

WUN: I’m guessing you don’t do your own editing then or…?

Nisha: No, I do.

WUN: You do? How do you find the time to do all that? You must be crazy…

Nisha: I’m pretty disciplined. I do a really, really, really solid work regime every single day. I’ve just learned to be really adaptable. So I work on planes and airline lounges and really utilise all of my time.

Over time, I have learnt my light and know my colours and what I’m going to be doing in post anyway. So I force myself to cull my weddings within 12 hours of shooting them and just little disciplinary things like that really keep me on track.

WUN: Yeah, Because if you leave the culling part, until later, it usually takes much, much longer. That is what I have found anyway.

Nisha: Yeah, I would think so too. You know, even after a week, you’re less connected to that day already and you’re not going to remember who her best friend was and who’s relevant in the images and you’re probably going to be a little more generous with the cull. So yeah, I have someone drive me to my weddings here in New Zealand and I will often cull on the drive home.

WUN: That’s a great idea!

Nisha: Yeah. Well, I don’t want to outsource my editing. But I knew I had to get some time back, so I outsource my driving instead.

WUN: Well, I never heard that one before. But it’s a good one.

Nisha: Yeah, it works for me.

Check out Nisha Ravji online here: Website | Instagram

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