Telephone photography for tourists in Charminar

For ₹10, these photographers will click a photo of you in front of the Charminar, with your mobile phone

For ₹10, these photographers will click a photo of you in front of the Charminar, with your mobile phone

Charminar is THE selfie spot in Hyderabad with no shortage of selfie takers and those posing with the monument in the background. It’s always fun to see visitors trying to get the perfect shot, stalking each other on angles, oblivious to photo bombers (it is, after all, a crowded tourist spot). Often, when groups of visitors fight for the right frame or selfie takers are seen reviewing their photos on phones with dissatisfied expressions, Dinesh Gajelwar, Gajanand Kondiba Jagadale, Ahmed Moin and Mohammed Wajid step in to offer “Should I help you take the picture on your phone?” Are they just good Samaritans? No. They are photographers from the Sajan photo studio near the Nimrah cafe. The studio provides photo prints for those seeking photos in front of the Charminar.

Dinesh

Dinesh

All photos taken by Sajan Photo Studio team are taken on Charminar front facing Shah Ali Banda. As Dinesh starts snapping photos on an iPhone 13, he asks the phone’s owner to tilt their head slightly to the right, “shoulders back and twist the hips a bit.” He asks the person to hold the pose until they see the frame is clear of the photo bombers. Then he suggests, “Now a walking pose.” Once done, the “customers” review the photos on their respective phones and pay for them as they wish. “If they ask us how much we charge for taking pictures with their phone, we tell them ₹10 per click,” says Dinesh.

Mohammed Mateen, who now runs Sajan Photo Studio, says: “Our main customers are tourists. They love to take printed photos with them. Locals don’t like photo prints. Dinesh adds that the tourists who request photos on their mobiles are those who are not interested in prints of photos taken with the studio’s camera.

Bindu Tomar, a customer at the shop who is waiting to shoot a photo, explains: “It’s more like sweet memories. On the phone, photos can be deleted by accident. I brought my in-laws from Rajasthan to see the Charminar. They will have a photo with the Charminar to show their family and friends when they return to the village. I took two prints, one for me and one for them.

Street fruit and jewelry vendors near Mecca Majid take inspiration from photographers at Sajan Photo Studio. Wajid S, a tissue seller, says, “Visitors are fascinated by the Charminar and willingly hand over their phones to take pictures. Some customers pay well themselves, some buy handkerchiefs. Money or no money, even a compliment like “accha photo hai” also makes me happy.

Gajanand at work

Gajanand at work

As we discuss the quality of the paper (the studio uses digital and paper to print photos), the types of phones, and the confidence visitors give their phones to studio photographers, a group walks in to take pictures. Pictures. Gajanand takes the camera and takes action. Mateen says, “When customers come to us to take pictures on their phone, they know they can trust us. This studio is over 30 years old and we are still here thanks to our honesty. Most of the boys have worked with us for over 15 years.

Gajananad says he learned all about photography at Sajan and spent 15 years in the studio. “I started working in the studio as an errand boy, then my boss asked me to learn photography; he made me a photographer.

Gajanand

Gajanand

Who, according to Dinesh and Gajanand, is more picky about their cellphone photos after they’ve been taken – men or women? Dinesh says, “Men are more adventurous with poses. They see new angles on Facebook and Instagram and ask us to click the same. Women like simple photos with “full” Charminar in the background. During the festive period or during Ramzan, many people come to see the Charminar during the day and take pictures on their phones.

Did they have to learn how to take photos on different camera phones or camera apps? “Not really, because all cell phone cameras work the same way. When someone wants a specific shot, it shows us how it should be done. What they do before posting to Facebook or Instagram is all in the filters or how the person chooses to edit it,” Moin explains.

How many photos do they take on cell phones? Gajanand replies: “At least 15 lean days. On busy days, the number rises to 25.

At Charminar

At Charminar | Photo credit: special arrangement

Why do they think visitors are asking them to click on their photos on their respective phones in the age of selfies and selfie sticks? Md Mateen says: “Selfie is not a photo you want to print and keep. No matter how expert you are, the angle is never right. When a selfie of a group is taken, only the other members of the group look correct. Only the face of the person clicking the selfie is visible and the angle is never good.

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