Hi, my name is Sam Walzade. I live in Mumbai with my wife. We shoot and film weddings together as ‘Sam & Ekta’.
Along with wedding photography and films, I am also into street photography and documentary filmmaking.
I picked up the camera about six years ago and took to it like a fish to water. I used to sketch and draw as a child, and have also dabbled in music.
I’ve come to the conclusion that there has always been a creative energy inside me that has tried to find an outlet and, as a result, photography came into my life.
My favourite thing about photography and filmmaking is that it allows me to make sense of the world by helping me focus my thoughts. I love layering my photographs to include multiple stories in a single image. And when it comes to filmmaking, my language is more solid, stable and cinematic framing (see framing in photography here).
I believe one should be completely comfortable with their gear and know it inside out. There is no perfect camera, but as long as your camera feels like an extension of your body, you will be able to create good images together.
I have never had gear acquisition syndrome, and have always believed in travelling light. I believe in simplicity, and this reflects in my choice of equipment, as well as in my photography and filmmaking.
Canon 5D Mark IV x 2: Since I am into both photos and films, I prefer to use Canon for the colour tones and user friendliness. It also happens to be the system I started with, and I am very comfortable with it. I can operate the cameras blindfolded. My work requires me to be very agile with my cameras because moments occur in split seconds, and it is important for me to have a system I know inside out.
Fujifilm X100T: I got this for my general travel and street photography. It is a nice, light camera that makes me look like a tourist, which is extremely important when I want to be inconspicuous on the streets. It comes with an inbuilt Fujinon 23mm f/2 aspherical lens.
Canon 35mm f/1.4: This is my favourite lens for its field of view, speed and quality of image. If I had only one lens that I could take to a wedding for photography, this would be it. It allows me to capture the scene as it unfolds, and is also versatile enough to help me make creative portraits.
Canon 85mm f/1.8: I prefer this over the 85mm f/1.2 due to the speed and accuracy of focus. When I am doing photography, this lens acts as a great companion to my 35mm. The 35-85 combo is very comfortable for me. When it comes to filmmaking, this is my most used lens. Similar to the 35mm for photography, if I had to choose one lens for filmmaking, it would be this one. It allows me to layer the image and create depth in cinematic shots.
Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8: This is the lens I use if I want some crazy perspective on the dance floor, or if I want a super wide shot. It is my least used lens. On the 5D Mark IV, I can only use it at 16mm.
Godox V860 II with the XT-1 trigger: I love the high-speed Godox flashes. They come with Lithium rechargeable batteries, and I am super comfortable with them. I usually use off-camera flash, set up with my Godox XT-1 trigger. I am tall, so I usually hold the flash extended from my body (like they used to do in the old days with wired flashes). My trigger usually stays on my camera, and I can power the flash, set it to the required intensity and fire a couple of test shots in a matter of seconds.
Magmod Light modifiers – diffuser and grid: To use in situations where I want to diffuse or channel light respectively.
Strap – Peak Design Slide: It is my favourite strap for its sturdiness and ability to quickly fasten and detach, especially when I want to go from photo to video and back.
Bag – Lowepro Pro Runner BP 350 AW II Camera Backpack: Allows all my equipment to comfortably fit in one place.
Manfrotto MK055XPRO3-3W Tripod: Sturdy and reliable. One drawback is that it is really heavy, but I guess that’s a good thing for a tripod – especially because sometimes when I do video I leave a camera on it to record unattended.
Manfrotto Fluid Head MVH500AH: Easy to use and smooth.
Manfrotto MVMX Pro500 Pro 4 Monopod: I prefer this monopod due to the ‘bird feet’ as I like to call the foldable attachments at the end. When I do video, I usually attach one camera directly to this monopod without a head. It keeps my setup light and easy.
Hardware & Software
iMac 27 inch and Macbook Pro 15 inch based on whether I am editing in-studio or while travelling.
Photo Mechanic for culling, Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop for editing.
We’ve custom made our own presets using the DVLOP and VSCO presets we purchased.
Rode VideoMic pro and Sony TX 650 pocket recorders for capturing sound.
Always carry a set of spare clothes at weddings. Once I ripped my pants trying to climb a tree for a shot, and then had to shoot the whole day without a spare. I improvised by tying a jacket around my waist and that helped me. Since then, I always carry a set of spares.
While doing street photography, dress in the most basic way possible that allows mobility and also helps you keep a low profile. Look like any other tourist with a camera meandering around. Don’t look like a ‘photographer’.
Wear comfortable shoes, always continue to learn, and believe in yourself.