If you like fashion photography you’ll love the strikingly beautiful portraiture of Kolkata based fashion and art photographer, Kaustav Saikia.
He is credited with shooting some of the innovative campaigns for many reputed fashion designers and leading apparel brands in the country. Interestingly, a chance assignment to help the juniors from his Alma Mater propelled him into the world of photography. In fact, the combination of his passion for design, along with his love for creating pictures, enabled to kick start his career in a big way.
On Fashion Photography:
Oh! because I always wanted to be ‘in fashion’ industry… On a serious note, I had a fashion degree so it was easier to visualize and execute fashion concepts and this was the real trigger that launched me into fashion photography. In addition, there was a serious vacancy for good fashion photographers in Kolkata while I started out.
Make up and Props:
Fashion pictures are not taken but created. It involves meticulous planning and attention to the minutest of details. The whole team of stylists, makeup and hair experts would come together to execute the perfect look. The stylist is the most important person in the team who will bring about the final look, almost like the creative director. Good styling + good makeup + perfect casting of models is the mantra to a great fashion picture. But at the end of the day it is the photographer who will be at the helm of matters and help in the control and execution of the assignment.
Also fashion shoots typically have the largest budgets compared to any other genre of photography, especially if the shoot warrants an exotic location or celebrity endorsement. And there is zero tolerance to any goof-ups.
Technique and Lighting:
Technique is important but not the ultimate deciding factor in my shoots. I put a premium on capturing the moment correctly rather than being technically flawless. I prefer to shoot in a photo-journalistic style, and is best described as ‘intimate’ or ‘personal’.
Nature has given us only one light source, the sun; and I believe in the same minimal usage of lights. I prefer to use available light because that best matches my shooting style, and if the situation warrants I add in a reflector as well.
My dream project would be to do a full fledged fashion shoot in space! Think of the constant f16 light, and the perfect black backdrop.
For a typical shoot, I use both Canon, and Nikon systems, and multiple SanDisk Extreme flash memory cards. I shoot up to two cards simultaneously (one for RAW and the other for JPEG). It is important to shoot RAW because it gives a lot of latitude in terms of control for post processing. Visit www.hauteshots.in for Kaustav’s complete work.
His Favorite Image:
The lady in this shot is the famous Hollywood actor, Radha Mitchell. The shooting was for a Fox Studios production which was shot at Ajimganj, near Kolkata. With news spreading about the shoot, a sizable crowd of curious onlookers turned up at the station. During the lunch break, Radha decided to mingle with the crowd for a bit. I followed her with camera in hand when this candid frame was captured.
I love this shot on many levels. Firstly, the look on everyone’s face, the calm and the poise, betraying the fact that is was a very chaotic situation on that day. But this picture underscores the importance of the comfort zone a photographer and the subject needs to positioned in, in order to capture an intimate moment. The camera used was Nikon D90 with a 24mm/2.8 ISO 400.
Most technically challenging frame:
This image was shot for FTV-Ibibo Calendar 2010, at Vagator Beach in Goa. This particular shot was the last shot of the day. But unfortunately the flight transporting the model was delayed and there was no choice but to complete the schedule on the same day. It was decided to use the setting sun as the backdrop. Easier said than done with the equipment and crew already packed. Even the tide had really gone back, so it was a long walk along the waterfront with camera, tripod, octa and battery pack in tow. The image was shot at around f/4 with the octa providing the main light. This shot was captured from a makeshift rig and shows how fast light can change in extreme conditions.