I understand that you are a businessman trading in steel. How did you get into photography?
I was interested in photography since my childhood. At an early age I had to join my father’s business, which did not give me time to pursue my passion, but it never died. I used to shoot on Sundays and holidays, and would attend workshops and weekend classes. I would never miss an opportunity to go and shoot.
What all do you keep in mind when photographing your models?
There are few things which I always consider while photographing my models.
a) I pamper all my models.
b) I see to it that their comfort during shooting is the top priority.
c) If my models are relaxed and stress free, then I can get the best out of them.
d) I talk to them during the shoot and try to make the atmosphere light and lively.
Do you prefer studio shoots or outdoors? Do you place greater importance on lighting or the dress or on the way the model poses?
I prefer outdoor shoots, the reason is that I get ample space to move around and get different angles to shoot. All three aspects play an important role during the shoot. Light plays a major role, and thanks to the modern high-tech cameras, I can shoot in low light without resorting to flash.
In my opinion, the most important is the body language of the model. The more the model is comfortable in front of the camera, the better she will pose.
Obviously, all models are not the same – some are born graceful and pose without being directed, while some are difficult to direct. How do you deal with such models?
Well I was an amateur too when I started doing photography! If people would have discouraged me, I would not have reached where I am today. Same goes for the models who are new and raw to this profession. I meet up with them couple of times before the final shoot, discuss the concepts, show them some reference images and let them understand what I want from them and thus try to gain their confidence. Once a model has that trust in the photographer, she is easy to be moulded. In any case, professional models are far more confident and know how to deliver what’s needed.
How difficult was it to establish yourself as a fashion photographer?
I too have gone through rough times and have seen ups and downs like any struggling artist, but the passion and love for photography kept me going though I could not devote much time. But as years passed, I planned out a way such that I could maintain a balance between my passion and my bread- earning business, and not neglect either of them. As people started appreciating my commercial work, I felt much-needed satisfaction and I could proclaim to myself “yes, I have been able to establish myself as a fashion photographer”. The journey was fun-filled.
What is your advice to newcomers in this field?
Learning the basics of photography is very important. Success does not come overnight. I have been doing photography since the last 25 years and only after this long journey, have I been able to reach this stage. Buying a D-LSR doesn’t make you a photographer. Once you are strong on the basics, you can start experimenting by looking at fashion magazine pictures and try to emulate them. Every photographer should have his own visualisation before taking a shot.
How important is make-up and hairstyling?
Make-up and hair-styling play a very important role in glamour and fashion photography. It enhances the beauty of the model, hides minor defects, and offers an edge in making the final product more pleasing to the eye.
How do you plan your shoot?
I am glad you asked this question. I plan my shoots months in advance. If its my personal shoot, I work on the concept and try to express my thoughts through my pictures. If it’s a clientèle shoot, I have several meetings with them, try to understand what the project is all about, share my views and ideas with them and short-list the models as per the concept’s demands. Then comes the styling, dresses, location and other work according to the client’s budget. I plan out every minute detail about the shoot. The schedule is jotted down and a check-list is made. I never compromise on my vision and have full confidence in my talent.
As told to Rohinton Mehta