The journey: I was introduced to a DSLR camera by my uncle. He never used it, so I took the camera. I was part of a theatre company and they wanted me to shoot some behind the scenes rehearsal pictures. We used to shoot all day long till late night. I was randomly shooting everybody, all the actors, director etc. and the person who handled light eventually ended up leaving the light section and got to play the lead role. He asked me if wished to handle the light. I had no clue, but the light technician was helpful and taught me the basic light functions. That guy Saket was my first mentor. On the day of the show while we were setting the lights, I had a camera in my hand while I was shooting and setting the lights too. The way we were putting the spot lights, rim lights, and darkening the stage and putting the lights again, it was so dramatic and magical, that I decided to work with lights. Light is something that makes me who I am. It was because of the drama of lights that I chose to be a photographer.
Passion for Photography: Lighting made me fall in love with the whole art form. I could literally manipulate lighting and modify it the way I wanted to. Exploring with lights kept my interest going. I also like to shoot in natural light but with the natural light also, I keep figuring out how to make it interesting, how the light is falling and reflecting back. I use Sony camera equipments and Profoto lights.
People: I feel lucky and blessed that I get to shoot with some of the most beautiful, talented and intelligent celebrities and models. The best feeling is when they sit down and listen to you and you’re the commander of the photo shoot. One of the most memorable shoots was in Delhi when the designer literally told me – I have 15 outfits -burn them, put them in water, I don’t care, but I want a next level photoshoot. I like people who want the best and trust you for it. I was also lucky to shoot with Miss Universe Harnaaz Sandhu and travelled with her to Chandigarh for a few days for her homecoming before she went for Miss Universe. I also shot with Manasa Varanasi, Miss India. I have also shot with Tamannaah Bhatia many times and every time I shoot, she gives me complete freedom.
A piece of advice: Photography is very interesting and one of the most amazing professions, but at the same time it is expensive. Every single lens is worth a few lakhs and the memory cards and the hard disk too are also expensive and so is data management and the laptop too. So, if you want to collaborate please do it on your own terms and write down your terms and conditions. Get onto this website kavyar.com that helps you to publish your work and gives you an idea on how to proceed with work. It gives a lot of references. You can make money so don’t do anything for free. You can make money as fashion weddings are booming too. Do collaborate but make sure you have your own terms and you get something out of the work you do. If you’re not getting paid, get something which is going to help you grow as a photographer.
– As told to Namita Gupta