PHOTOGRAPHY From being unthinkable to becoming one of the most sought after professions. Kunal Daswani throws light on this glamorous and fulfilling career. RIA SHAH
Photography in India is a very viable career option these days. Earlier, it was almost unthinkable to pursue it full time, people thought of it more as a hobby. But now there are vocational courses which give you all the technical knowledge you will need but after that you will need to assist an established photographer and learn on the job because there is a lot more that goes into photography than just taking pictures. Indian photographers are making a name for themselves internationally as well, be it through advertising campaigns or high fashion shoots for international publications. They have widened the scope for up-and-comers and people have realised that it’s not just a glamourous career but also very fulfilling as it marries commercial success with creative satisfaction.
Well a passion for photography is obviously very important. You can pick up all the skills you need but your creativity is what will get you projects and appreciation. There are a few reputed institutes in India where you can specialise in photography like the Light and Life Academy started by Iqbal in Ooty, and Shaari Academy in Mumbai.
Most people ask me this same question and I always say the same thing. Photography is not just about what equipment you have. For me personally photography is all about light. The literal meaning of photography means “writing with light” (Photo – light, graphy – writing). So it’s not about having the fanciest camera or the latest lighting equipment, you can create great images with just a camera phone and sunlight. Pictures that I have shot with the iPhone have been used commercially on CD labels, brochures & lots of online media. As they say, ‘the best camera is the one you have with you when a photo opportunity presents itself.
Types of photography
(Photo: Kunal Daswani)
There’s so much you can do with photography these days. Commercial – or advertising photography is when you work with an advertising agency based on their clients’ requirements. So under that there are specialisations like automobiles, food, product and fashion. Fashion photography, in fact, is a whole different field where you shoot fashion spreads for editorials. There’s also portrait photography, nature and wildlife photography, interiors, etc.
A good photographer can earn anything from Rs. 50,000 a month, depending on his shoot charges. Of course, it helps when you have a few steady retainer clients. And if you’re really good, well, then there’s no limit to how much you can make
A day in your life…
A B.Com graduate, music producer, former banker. I tried my hand at various professions before finding my true calling - photography. Inspired by a picture’s power to capture moments and tell stories, I left a stable nine to five job to train under one of the best names in the business – G. Venkat Ram.
A year later I started off on my own. With a handful of loyal clients I built up my roster to include Airtel, Mehta Jewellery, Florsheim and Gaitonde; agencies likeJWT, O&M and Fingerprints; boutiques like Chamiers, Brass Tacks and Azure and the some city’s favourite restaurants like Zaras, Chinatown, La Boulangerie and Copper Chimney, to name a few. I’ve also worked on editorials and shot for magazines like Taxi, Frappe, galatta cinema etc. There’s a lot more I have to offer though, so watch this space - I’m just getting started.
I think the best part about being a photographer is that there is no such thing as a ‘typical’ day. Some days start as early as 4:00 a.m., when I leave the house for a shoot, just so that I can capture the perfect light of the rising sun. Shoot days are crazy hectic, sometimes I don’t even stop for a lunch break because I get so caught up in what I’m doing. Shoots can go on till all hours of the night, and I stop only when I’m convinced I’ve got that illusive ‘perfect’ shot.
The days I’m not shooting are no less. There’s always something to keep me on my toes which is why I enjoy it so much. From meeting agency heads to making client presentations, meeting models, coordinators and stylists, deciding everything from hair and make up to sets and props for upcoming shoots - no two days are the same.
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