Charmi Pena is a skilled photographer who has captured many vibrant Indian and Southeast Asian weddings. Charmi has found the perfect balance between a fulfilling career in wedding photography and a happy family life.

Full Disclosure This story was brought to you by Imagen.

Pena, who hails from New Jersey, spent 16 years building her photography career. She has also been a Nikon ambassador and an industry-leading educator. These titles have all helped Pena become the person she is today.

Pena said that she is “obsessed” with emotions and that it shows in her extensive and highly-acclaimed portfolio of weddings in India and Southeast Asia. Pena’s photographs feature bold colors and poses as well as intimate moments between people. There are soft touches between the couple as well as powerful emotions on the faces and faces of their family and friends.

Indian Wedding

She tells PETAPIXEL, “The weddings that I shoot, there’s very, very happy times and very, very sad occasions so you really are covering the emotional range of humans.” “It’s fun.”

Pena says, “I enjoy to observe, and I am a people-watcher.” “Southeast Asian weddings allow me to do all that. I can observe chaos which is what I love, because my brain is chaotic. Add to that, a lot emotions. That is what I love.”

The high-energy, four-day weddings can prove exhausting and mentally draining. Pena used to photograph 30 four-day weddings per year, but she has decided to slow down and limit her coverage to 12-14 bookings per year.

Indian Wedding

She says, “You work for hours and hours.” Even if I insist that they take a break, it is still very tiring. It can be difficult to remain emotionally engaged when your body tells you it’s done. It’s a challenge.

Pena recalls, “I was so overwhelmed.” Pena says, “That was too stressful for me. This is not how I want to live my life.

Pena was able to spend every weekend with her children during the lockdowns for the first-ever time. She realized that her children are growing older, and she didn’t want to lose out on the opportunity to make memories with them as they mature into adulthood.

“I made the decision that summers belong now to us. She says that summers are not just for me but for all of us and our family. “I also lost my grandmother in Covid. All of this made me realize that although I love my career goals, being ambitious, and doing all that I want, I also have a whole life, relationships and memories that I want. There’s so much more to life than just work.

AI Editing App that Learns Your Style

Pena believes that she must have been complaining a lot about her work load when an Instagram advertisement for Imagen, an artificial intelligence (AI), editing app, appeared. Although she wasn’t sure the software would work, Pena decided to give it another shot.

This standalone editing app works with Adobe Lightroom Classic. It uses AI to determine the editing style of the photographer based on photos that have been post-processed. Then, it applies edits to new catalogs as appropriate.

Imagen users have the option to either use an existing Talent AI Profile or create their own profile. Photographers must upload at least 5k edited photos to create their own personal profile.

Indian Wedding

This helps the AI to learn about the editing style of the photographer and allows it deliver edits that are in line with its current editing style. Presets, which apply global adjustments regardless of the lighting or contents of the frame, don’t allow for this.

Pena spent 16 years perfecting her editing style and so she immediately created a personal profile. It was easy to upload the required amount of photos with so many weddings in her portfolio.

She recalls, “The first wedding was returned 20 minutes after I sent it. My second shooter and me were looking at it and we were both blown away.” “And it will only get better.”

Indian Wedding

Imagen offers a fine-tune feature that can be used after each gallery is finished. This allows the software to learn the adjustments made and keep up with the photographer’s editing style, which may change over time.

How to get time back for things that matter

“It gave me back all my time once I began using it.” Pena says that although I had previously outsourced some of my weddings to an editor, even that editor could not be within my brain.”

She adds that it would take three weeks for the catalog to be returned and that I would still need to make changes because I wanted what was in my head. Imagen created a software program that matches my brain.

Indian Wedding

“The timing was perfect because I wanted a lifestyle that allowed me to be all I am, not just a photographer. I want to have the time to be a mother, a wife and a woman. I also want to be an activist. I care for my parents.

Since Pena introduced Imagen to her workflow in photography, she has been spreading the word to her industry contacts, including Susan Stripling, who joined Imagen as the foundation of one of the Talent AI Profiles that other photographers can download.

Imagen approached Pena after she gave a talk at the Wedding and Portrait Photography International Trade Show. Pena said yes. Other photographers now have the option to use Pena’s editing style, “Cinematic Luxury”, as a base for their post-processing workflow.

Pena states, “If my talent can help people live better lives then that’s great.”

Indian Wedding

Pena believes that her unique identity as photographer is strong regardless of whether editing is done.

She explains that “Your voice is in this photo.” When you’re culling, your voice is in the selection. Editing is a process where you can form your voice, and it can be repeated. It doesn’t matter if I edit one photo or if someone else edits the rest.

Editing is part of me, but it’s a less defined and variable part of my voice. It doesn’t matter if I give it away because I am still responsible for finding a feeling. I’m still the one who decides the composition. I still look at a series of ten images and choose the ‘one.

Indian Wedding
Indian Wedding
Indian Wedding

Pena has mastered lighting and composition skills over the course of her career. Pena’s confidence and ability to capture the right moments in the right way has helped her to feel more comfortable outsourcing editing to Imagen instead of spending hours manually.

Pena states, “I don’t have any backlogs.” Pena says, “My Saturday wedding is complete. I don’t worry too much about deadlines. I’m very careful with cards. I don’t ever wipe them after I send the wedding. It’s all uploaded before I shoot any other wedding so I don’t need to worry about it.

Take steps towards a balanced but rewarding business

Pena has reduced the number of weddings, freed her from spending hours in front of a computer editing screen and saved her weeks of work. Pena also offers studio and corporate maternity work.

She explains that she can do more than a corporate wedding on Tuesdays from 9 to 5 and can return home to be with her children. Although it may not be my passion, the studio is my lifestyle passion.

She says diversification has allowed me to live the life that I want. We are fortunate that we love our jobs. You don’t need to be passionate about 100 things all the time.

Pena has been able to avoid burnout and repetitive work by making recent changes in her workload. Pena is now able to return to her life and do fewer weddings with Imagen, so she can be ready for each wedding and full of energy and creativity. She also knows she will be there for her family after work ends.

You can find more of Pena’s work on her website or Instagram.

Imagen brought this story to you. Imagen is free to use, with 1,000 AI-powered edits and $0.05 per image thereafter. Imagen-AI.com offers all the options.