Anna: Welcome, everyone. It’s Anna Wang. We’re here doing podcast number 12. We have missed a couple of weeks because it’s been pretty crazy in the wedding industry. We’ve just had back to back literally turning out nine weddings and then six weddings and then just going nuts. We kind of did a little bit of a break for our podcasting, but I thought I would come back and we’ll have some really amazing photographers and videographers come on board.
We’ve got here today Rolling Canvas. Pretty much for those who don’t know who Rolling Canvas is, it’s built by two brothers Rishi and Kanav. We’ve got them here today. Welcome guys for coming on the show.
What we want to kind of let people know is who you are, what you are, why you’re doing it, and what’s the inspiration, all that stuff. Let’s get started. Tell everyone a little bit about what Rolling Canvas is.
Rishi/Kanav: Rolling Canvas is basically our company. When we started, we were working in our accounting jobs. The journey started a long time ago. We were working full time in our jobs and we kind of were looking for something interesting to do in life than the accounting jobs. We found that was a bit kind of repetitive and it was not something we were enjoying.
The Rolling Canvas was born out of our interest to find something interesting and exciting to do in life. We started doing it on weekends; couple of gigs a day. Then we got really good response from couples and the families. Everyone kind of promoted us instead of us promoting ourselves. That motivated us to actually leave our jobs and do this full time to take this company to a bigger scale.
Rolling Canvas since the beginning has been doing weddings mostly. We’ve done music videos, corporate videos, and all kinds of video and photography productions.
Anna: And you guys do this full time now?
Rishi/Kanav: Yes. Full time since I think since, it’s been eight years now. Yeah.
Anna: How did you guys learn how to do photo and video? Did you do a course, or did you just teach yourself? The olden days it would be different to now people are YouTubing, but 8 years ago, 9 years ago wouldn’t be big massive YouTube. How did you…?
Rishi/Kanav: It’s mostly, I would say self-taught. We are. We learned from experience. We are always interested. We bought a couple of cameras and started just experimenting and trying. And then a lot of time spent in the editing room to actually polish the work we captured. That actually… just watching the footage we have captured, the photos we’ve captured and what we could do better every time. That’s how we actually learned over time.
Anna: Okay. There’s much styles out there for photo and video. A lot of brides come and they go, I want candid or I want editorial, whatsoever. How do you describe your style? Why did you choose to kind of go with that style?
Rishi/Kanav: I think our style is very candid. We let the things happen and just capture them as they are happening without interrupting too much. I think on a wedding day a lot of photographers what they do is they just stay candid throughout the day. But what we try to do is we divide the day into two parts. One is when you let things happen and capture how the things are happening and then other parts are when you take control.
What we believe the good thing about this is, for example, when you’re doing the portraits of the bride or bride and groom both together, I think a little bit of direction is important. But we let them be themselves. We put them on a nice lighting and we put them in a nice spot and then let them be themselves. It’s not fully posing, but again, at the same time you need those stunning shots. That’s where our creative eye comes as well that how does the whole scene is set up.
The other parts of like ceremonies going on. We don’t want to go in and start asking them to do.
Anna: Can you say your vows again? I missed that.
Rishi/Kanav: I think more about our style what it is, is what we wanted to see if someone is taking our pictures on our wedding day. That was our approach. If we don’t like to see ourselves in that kind of picture, then we just thought this is not something we want to actually create for someone else. I think we found that everyone kind of was in sync with how our style was. That’s why people liked it. Yeah.
Anna: What is the life being a photographer and a videographer as brothers? Because you probably do a lot of the weddings together. In the wedding industry, do you find it your wedding clients are much harder to deal with rather than corporate clients or video clips and stuff? How do you kind of feel when a bride comes to you?
Rishi/Kanav: I think the weddings are more fun. The corporate events are more serious. The corporate events are more planned and the structure… especially the South Asian weddings we do, sometimes they’re not as planned as Western weddings.
Rishi/Kanav: That keeps us on our toes and running around all day. But I think the weddings, the main difference between the weddings and the corporate is weddings are more fun. Everyone’s happy on that day.
Anna: You get to meet lots of people.
Rishi/Kanav: Yeah. My wife always tells me you’re working in the best industry because this is a one of the happiest days of their life and you got a chance to be part of it. Which is a big thing. We do this every weekend. So, we get a chance to be as happy as they are on every weekend. What could be a better job than this?
Anna: So, you touched based on South Asian weddings just then. You predominantly work with South Asian clients. What is your experience with that? And then, are you tapping into other nationalities and other markets and things like that?
Rishi/Kanav: We actually started around… Yeah. We started with the Western weddings. First two years we only did the 80% of the weddings, church weddings or garden weddings or just maybe some kind of not Indian or South Asian wedding. But then I think in after second year or third year, we did four or five Indian weddings and then our name kind of spread like a jungle fire in that community. And then, they just took over basically rather than…
Because we were already popular in other wedding communities. Once the Indian clients started booking us, their weddings are for multiple days. We were left with very less availability to take any other clients. Slowly and slowly that switch happened. And now, we are at the mostly in the South Asian ones.
Another thing is because we are from India and our background helps. We understand the culture. We understand the language. That gives us a bit of extra advantage in that area. We understand the Bollywood music which is a big thing in Indian weddings. That does help.
I think they feel comfortable working with us because they kind of, when they’re talking, they feel like we’re understand what they want on the day because they’re cultural rituals tradition.
Anna: And then your style is pretty much, much more modern. It’s not like let’s just get an old school Indian photographer/videographer because that’s all they know. But now that you’re in the market, it’s really interesting. It’s probably the younger generation that comes in and gets you. Now, in terms of multiple days. You’re with this couple literally for three or four events?
Anna: More than that sometimes. Gosh, you’re in a journey with them for a while. What are your experiences with the bride and groom? How do you feel that for someone that’s listening to us, what’s the reason why they should book you? What’s the journey? How is the experience like when they come to see you?
Rishi/Kanav: I think by the end of the wedding, we become their friends and their whole family know us, because we go to each event, small events. In these weddings, what happens is not every event is huge. There are some small events where they’re like 20, 30 close family members. Then, there’s another event with 50 people and then it goes to 500 people by the time you get to the wedding and reception. So, we know the whole family and we spend a lot of time with them capturing everything.
I think most of the couples we work with, they are on our Instagram. They all on our personal Facebook as a friend. It’s always a great experience. I think that’s another reason we enjoy this a lot, because this goes both ways. They enjoy time with us, we enjoy time with them. And then, the product looks really better.
There is a recognition to the work as well. So, whatever we are capturing for them when they look at the photos or videos and the reaction we see on their face, the smiles, the tears. That recognition is the biggest reward. That’s where we feel and they feel how much we know about them. That we captured the movement they are cherishing. That way they kind of… I mean, feel that we are on the same page.
Anna: Yeah. You tell their story.
Rishi/Kanav: We tell their story. And it’s for lifetime. And they can cherish that for life.
I think we love being on weddings and we enjoy all the emotions and everything goes in. I remember one time when there was a bride leaving part. It’s very emotional part in an Indian wedding. What happens is, because in a lot of Indian community a lot of kids will live with their parents until they get married. This is the first time they’re going to leave their house and move in with the guy. Leaving the parents is an emotional part. There was one wedding we were capturing and Rishi was doing the video. I was doing photography. We delivered the photos to the bride. The bride after a few months she saw the photos and she saw one photo when she was actually crying. There was a tear coming out of his eye and she said, “I’m leaving my parents.”
But the whole situation, the whole thing was really emotional. He got connected and then he was feeling the same way. I think that is what a lot of people in the industry miss when they don’t connect with the audience and they don’t connect with their clients. If you connect with your clients, you will automatically produce something which will be meaningful for them.
Rishi/Kanav: You need to feel what are you doing. That’s the difference between someone who just want to go out and do the wedding photography and then those people that just and another client than someone who gets involved and feel what they’re feeling. That’s when we are sitting in the editing room, we can see if this scene comes with this music, this is the difference it’s making. We feel it and we think we’re sure they’re going to feel it as well.
Anna: Amazing. It’s very emotional for you guys as well. It’s not just another client, it’s every client literally becomes a valuable asset to you because you become friends with them. You probably find your whole Facebook is clients now and your actual friends have been pushed away. You probably haven’t even spoken to them.
But in saying so, what are the challenges that you both faced when you first started this business? What was the biggest challenge between you guys, the decision between brothers doing the business together?
Rishi/Kanav: I think we were always good working together. Even back home in India with dad’s business we used to go to the business. We always grew up working together. So, we never had any issues. Like I know a lot of brothers do have and siblings they can’t work… but we never had those kinds of issues. I think it’s much easier, because the way you can trust your family member, you can’t trust anyone else. I think if I had any other business partner it wouldn’t have worked out the same way it had. Because a lot of things we don’t even talk about. We know okay he’s going to do this regardless whether he’s supposed to do or not. And he feels the same way.
I’m going to do this not just because I’m supposed to do this. It was just going to happen. I think it’s more like synergy even. You understand each other.
Rishi/Kanav: Yeah, my wife always says that like you guys are great. I don’t think I can work with my brother the same way you guys do.
Anna: Because if I was to look at you guys and never met you, I wouldn’t know you are brothers. As you’re like, your appearance is different, your personality and be we’re like, well you’re actually brothers unless… we actually know who you are, you’re actually brothers.
But in saying so, working together with the bride and all of that stuff. There’s only two of you. You can only do one wedding on a given day or do you have a team?
Rishi/Kanav: Yeah, we do have a team now. When we started, it used to be just two of us. But we have been really blessed in this area. The team we have joined us along the way and helped us a lot. I think what the Rolling Canvass is today is because of the team we have got. If it was just two of us, the Rolling Canvas would have never been the way it is now.
I think all the freelancers, contractors, I feel personally that every photo they captured or a moment they captured made some significant impact in the production we have done. The credit goes to all of them. It’s not just our hands holding the cameras who produced the best films or photos. It’s actually a lot of people who worked along with us. They made this a company bigger than what it could have been.
Anna: Yeah. Did you train these people to go, hey this style, this is… because everyone has their own style?
Rishi/Kanav: Yes. But I think we’ve been very lucky in this … that they were having a similar kind of ideas we were having. If we say, okay this looks good. You know sometimes people say, no this doesn’t look good. That looks good. Which happens up to some standard. But mostly what happens is, they are aligned with the same kind of vision we have. So, that makes it so much easier. And then we can actually tell them, okay this is how we want things. And they are able to produce in the same way.
A lot of people started from scratch with us as well. We train them right from the beginning in editing and in shooting as well. And now, they’re working full time with us. Since last five or six years they’ve been working. First couple of years they learned how we actually create the magic in cinema and photos. And then once they got the concept, they started bringing their own flair style into that. That kind of polished our work a bit more as well, enhanced. And now, together it’s like10 brains working together now instead of just two of us.
Anna: How many weddings can you do on a given day, then?
Rishi/Kanav: Sometimes, we have three. Sometimes, we have four.
Rishi/Kanav: Yeah, yeah.
Anna: Wow. You do most of your editing, and you’ve got your team that assists with the editing as well. Gosh. What’s your turnaround time? If I was to book you, as a bride, when do I expect to receive my photo, videos, or even just to see…?
Rishi/Kanav: Photos, usually take a couple of months, one to two months, and the video usually takes three to four months. Depending on how busy we are.
Anna: Obviously, Rishi does more of the work, because he seems to know more about the turn around. So, it’s harder with the videography rather than photo. Ten times more. Oh god. It’s crazy.
What advice would you give someone who wants to enter the industry? For anyone that kind of has never had experience or anyone that goes, I’ve got a passion and this is what I want to do. What advice can you give?
Rishi/Kanav: I would say, don’t be afraid. Jump in and you will find your way. I believe that every individual has a unique style in them. That is for sure I have seen. They could be a little bit different or could be significantly different from others, but you have to explore within yourself, and that comes with practice. The more you practice your skills, the more you shoot, edit, that actually makes you better.
Anna: Beautiful. What about competition? There’s a lot of photographers out there. A lot of it or some of them has been around for a very long time. Some have come and gone. Some new ones have come through. Now, when a bride comes to see you, do they actually compare to a lot of other photographers or videographers that they’ve seen or companies and say, look, I want this photo. Can you reproduce this? Do you get many of them?
Rishi/Kanav: Like Rishi said, if you find your own style, and if people love your style, then the conversation is more about your work rather than a price. If you’re producing what 10 other people are producing in the market, then definitely the conversation’s going to be more about price. Because you’re offering the same thing what everyone else is offering. But if you’re offering something exclusive, which is people are not getting anywhere else, it’s not just the quality of photos, it could be quality of service or the experience you give to brides on the day.
I always say it’s not just the photos on the day, it’s always the experience. People need to have fun on the day. If they have fun, the photos are automatically going to be looking good. Anything you offer to the clients which other people are not offering, then I think the conversation is more about your personality you’re putting into your work or the quality of work you’re producing. But if you’re producing same thing that everyone is producing, then obviously you have to compete on price.
Anna: Yeah, exactly.
Rishi/Kanav: To be honest, the competition is not that bad.
Anna: There are a lot of people getting married.
And there’s always work as long as you’re good in it. Another thing like Rishi she said, everyone has a style. Going back to like you asked, any advice for the young people who want to get into the industry. I think what we felt when we started out, lot of people who were already in the industry helped us as well. They were established photographers, but they were happy to share their knowledge. They were happy to take you along with them on the wedding day where you can see how the things are happening.
What I feel is, people are very helpful. Same thing what we do is, we try to pay it back and seeing we’re now a little bit established. When we take people along with us and train them. If they like it and they think, okay this is what we want to do, then they can jump into this industry.
And the best thing is, the weddings always happen on Saturday and Sunday. Most of the people are free. So, instead of watching a Netflix, if you want to go on a wedding and have fun especially if you’re going on an Indian wedding, why not? Try it out and to see if this is for you. If it works out well, I think it’s a really good industry to be in. That’s what we feel.
We feel really blessed that we made that decision of leaving our accounting jobs and doing this. Because if we’re in the accounting job, we would have never been able to travel the whole world. We have captured weddings in Germany, UK.
Anna: Pretty much every continent.
Rishi/Kanav: Yeah, pretty much every… We were in Africa last year. We captured a wedding in Botswana, and our team went to Fiji today to capture a wedding. We’re going to India in the end of December. Then, going back to India again in the end of January. Four weddings booked in India.
Different cities in India.
Anna: Hats off to you because if internationally people recognizes how amazing your work is, and they’re flying over there to do it, it really is great work that you’re producing.
Rishi/Kanav: Yeah, it’s exciting.
Anna: It’s very exciting. Well, I’m going to be your assistant next time you go to India, because you’re going to take me and I’ll hold the camera for you. I’ll hold your bag.
In terms of actual just kind of seeing your history, because you said you worked for dad back at home. What was dad’s business? What did you guys do there?
Rishi/Kanav: He had multiple pharmacies in India. Unfortunately, he had a car accident and he passed away. I was studying, I was in medicine back in India. I have to leave my studies and jumped in to the business to take care of the business, because I was the older one. Then, for a couple of years, we tried to manage and everyone helped us and then kind of joined me as well later on.
And then, for I think six or seven years, we did the business in India. Then, we managed everything over there. We had banquet halls in India as well. There were multiple businesses my dad actually built.
We just felt that we’re too young to just sit on a chair and just to… I mean, the work was… in India it’s different. You got a lot of manpower. People can take care of everything. You’re just sitting on a chair making payments or something simple, decision-making mostly we were doing. Then, we felt this was kind of boring. We’re not doing anything and we’re so young right now like early twenties. Then kind of decided to go out of India to do some studies. And then I followed him. I came out as well. And then we completed our masters here.
Anna: And you’ve got family. You’re both married?
Anna: Yeah, you’re both married and have family here.
Anna: Is the business to running in India?
Anna: Not anymore.
Rishi/Kanav: A couple of years after we left it was running with the partners over there. But then we wrapped up everything. We just sold it. Yeah.
Anna: Oh, gosh.
Rishi/Kanav: Well, I think your dad will be very proud of what you guys have built today. Thank you for coming. We’re going to wrap this up now.
In terms of actually getting in contact with you, how does brides or grooms or anyone that’s listening, who go, wow, these guys are fantastic. How do they get in contact with you?
If they want to see our work, they can check out over Instagram. And there’s a website as well rollingcanvas.com.au. They can jump on the website and they can see our work, and they can also fill the ‘contact us’ page form. Then, yeah, we’ll…
Anna: And then you’ll go from there. Anyone that’s listening that is looking for a photo/video team, Rolling Canvas is your team. But you have to get in there very early. Otherwise, you will miss out because I’m sure you get booked out quite early in advance.
Thank you for listening, everyone. As we kind of wrap up, let’s kind of put it all together. Let’s kind of get our next week’s guests on board. We’ve got someone still in the industry but slightly a bit different. We’re in the entertainment industry next week. Really exciting.
Thank you much, Rishi and Kanav for joining us today.
Rishi/Kanav: Thank you. Thanks very much.