One of the most beautiful moments in life is when two hearts become one. A magical and memorable moment that instills love that would be cherished with time. A single flash or click can frame that moment, placing it within the grasps of cupid.
Our story today is about a self-made entrepreneur who took up photography at a very young age and like most curious minds this bloke decided to meddle around with a professional camera but little did he know that he would end up founding ‘Cloud Attic’, one of the country’s most sought after wedding photographers. This gentleman is none other than Akila Peiris.
A humble and sincere individual who hardly interacts other than with a smile of acknowledgment while at work eventually shared some insights on who Akila Peiris is.
Born to a family with a business background Akila, fondly known as Aki realized his passion lay elsewhere when he turn down his marketing job and ventured into the world of photography. With absolutely no knowledge of the field at the time he realized he’d need to hone his skills and what better do so that on YouTube he says.
“I learned everything on my own from YouTube and advice from established photographers. It’s been 11 years now and I can’t imagine doing anything else.”
A product of Lyceum International School and Australian College of Business and Technology (ACBT) Aki’s childhood has somewhat been that of a mischievous child, claiming to have been involved in a lot of trouble and drama in his youth, he chuckles as he reminisces. Well, not everything during his youth was cumbersome, Aki was a part of ‘Hollow’, which won the 2007 TNL Onstage competition and ‘Mass Damnation’ at Wacken Metal Battle in 2018.
The ‘Cloud’ Forms
“Cloud Attic was always my goal, I could have used my name and started a company, but my goals were bigger than just establishing a name for myself, it was about putting together a great company. So, ‘Cloud Attic’ was established when I got together with my friend Pavithra Jovan de Mello (who was an excellent photojournalist at the time) he as my business partner we decided to take on a fresh style of photography in Sri Lanka. At the time Cloud Attic began, we were one of the first to take pictures using natural light and the fine-art style light and airy natural wedding photos.” Says the wedding photography maestro when probed as to what made him start Cloud Attic.
Photography is a special skill, which requires creativity, anticipation and an innate skill at making the most out of the ambience. Aki and his team have mastered this art over the years. Don’t take our word for it, just scroll down and see for yourself.
Intrigued by their style of photography we shot some questions hoping to get some tips and tricks to try out for ourselves.
Q: What type of camera, equipment and lighting does Cloud Attic use?
we use a mix of DSLR and mirrorless cameras, our go-to cameras are Canon 5d Mark IV and Nikon d850, we use minimal to no lighting depending on the situation. We try to take all our images in natural light as this gives much more character to the images.
Q: Do you pay close attention to details?
Absolutely, I am also borderline OCD. So, details are everything.
Q: What’s your favourite lens?
I’m strictly a prime lens guy. Fixed focal lengths and wide apertures give me exactly what I’m looking for. The 85mm 1.2L or 1.4L is my favourite lens of all time for portraits and the one I use almost all the time. So, it’s definitely my favourite. Apart from that 35mm, 50mm.
Q: What makes the great pictures stand out from the rest?
I think any picture that makes you feel something inside of you when you look at that is a great picture, sometimes it might not even be from a fancy camera. Emotions behind images are what makes a great picture stand out from the rest.
A perfectionist who pays heed to all the minute details when it comes to his work Aki still feels there’s always room for improvement despite all the compliments.
“I learn something new every day and I make it a point to spend some time doing research on new techniques and styles to see how I can improve and take better pictures. So, I feel like maybe my best is yet to come.” Assures Aki
Cloud Attic isn’t about all work and no play, although playing on the job may not be an option, Aki and his team have actually implemented a limited wedding shoot policy where only a certain number of shoots will be accommodated per month. This he claims ensures that the team has sufficient time socialize, spend time with family, friends or do whatever they please thus leading to more creativity and productivity.
So, if you plan on tying the knot, you’d better consider reaching out to them, way in advance.
Q: What sort of dedication is required to run Cloud Attic?
I think running your own business is a lot harder than going to work, mainly because you are responsible for yourself. So, the amount of work you have, how much you earn, how much time you have for yourself all depends on no one else but you. So, being extremely disciplined and focused is absolutely important. And the work never stops, there are no hours, you are basically working on-call all the time.
So, having clear goals and discipline is very important. But at the same time, it’s very rewarding and the freedom you have to make your own decisions is the best thing ever.
Q: Which brand of cameras do you prefer?
I personally prefer canon cameras, and Pavithra prefers Nikon. But to be honest, it’s just a tool. I’ll take any camera as long as it gives me the quality I’m looking for.
Q: What is the most rewarding part of being a photographer?
It’s never boring. You meet new people every day and especially being a wedding photographer, you are part of a celebration every day. Which is great, it’s tiring but we get great opportunities to work with some fantastic clients here in Sri Lanka and some time abroad too.
Akila’s Tips on Capturing the perfect photo:
“I don’t think there is a sure-fire way to capture what you may call a perfect photo but you can take some steps to make sure you’re ready to take that picture when it comes before you.”
Being dedicated to your art:
Humble yourself as a student of photography forever, you will constantly learn from people who are more established from you and sometimes even from younger photographers too. So, being open-minded will get you very far education wise.
Being prepared and focused at all times:
This keeps you ready to get that perfect shot, because it’s only there for a split second, when it’s gone it’s gone.
Don’t think of it as work:
The main thing is not to consider it work. If you consider it work then your creativity will automatically get drained. Keeping your mind focused on the artistic side is important.
Get inspiration from others but don’t try to replicate:
We gather inspiration from so many other photographers and artists, but what will make your pictures stand out is your own originality towards it. Never fear to do something new.
Running one’s own business isn’t always an easy task but it most certainly seems like it has its rewards, especially considering the growth that Cloud Attic has achieved since it’s inception. Aki leaves us with some final thoughts on his achievements as he prepares for his next big ‘shoot’.
“As a self-employed photographer, I can say it’s a very rewarding occupation to have. But it does require a significant amount of dedication, no one came to where they are overnight and it takes years of learning and sacrifice.
So, if you are going to do anything on your own, you must give it your all, and that is absolutely no 1. Your entire day needs to be dedicated to what you believe in until you get to where you want to be.
I would encourage anyone to try and do something on your own, everyone is blessed with unique skills, you must try new things every day and one day you will find what you love. And maybe you can turn that into your occupation.
Don’t chase money, always chase happiness and freedom. You honestly don’t need a lot of money to live a great life. But you must be smart too. Focus on earning enough and focus on doing something you love. If you love your job from the bottom of your heart, the money will follow.”
Akila Peiries, is the Co-Founder of Cloud Attic, an established wedding photography service provider based in Colombo, Sri Lanka. If you wish to reach out to them you may contact them on +9476 717 5544
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