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You can see so much more with one eye closed. Photographer Girish Jain believes art is present everywhere, and that one needs the right perception, an intention and of course a camera, to see it. Here, he tells us a few of his tricks that can get you clicking too.

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The Only Disability in Life is a Bad Attitude

Be the Fly on a Wall

As a street photographer, your first lesson is mastering the art of invisibility; wearing the invisibility cloak. Always try and find ways to keep your camera and yourself out of your subject’s sight while you photograph them. This is important because it helps you capture, raw and natural photographs without the person getting conscious of being watched. Photographers, who have mastered this ability, take the concept of candid photography to a completely different level.

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A Mysterious Misery
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A shot of people’s reflection in a puddle highlights how photographers like to see the same world differently.

Connect with the Subject

That’s the only way your photographs will stand a chance to connect with the viewers. A great connection is established when you wait for the right moment, when you are patient. That moment is so important because it will never come back in the way it was gifted to you. It’s the job of a good photographer to freeze that moment in time, by capturing it.

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An Approach to the Street as Canvas

See with your Mind

Learning to see is an essential characteristic of a photographer’s eye. Look around yourself. Observe the various elements in the scene. Discern the inherent details. View and review the scene. As you do so, you discover a lot of passive things, which never seemed to have caught your eye. Remember, composition is key. Think in terms of composition, lines, patterns, balance, and simplicity; they will lead the viewer’s eye into your photograph. Looking at things around you in this manner eventually leads you in discovering an interesting image from an ordinary scene.

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The meaning of street is the need for sharing life with others and the search for community
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Balancing elements to highlight the importance of image composition

Work the Shot

The perfect photograph could be a result of either great luck or great art. Professionals get the images they want by working the shot. It’s all about discovering the image. It’s all about composing and re-composing the shot by changing the angle of view, anticipating the moment, zooming in, maybe zooming out, subtracting some elements or even re-arranging them till you arrive at an image that satisfies the artist in you.

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A Warm Welcome

You are your Best Teacher

You can’t succeed by sitting on your desk, reading and researching about photography. You have to get outside to look, observe and experience the moments that you’ve been missing. And you’ve got to do it alone. Hold some private lessons with yourself. Photography requires a lot of concentration. And such focus can be attained when you practice the art by yourself, with no one but yourself to disturb you.

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A picture is complete even when the subject is not.
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Last but Not Least, Lose Yourself

The best things happen, when you give yourself up to the surroundings. Always remember there might be a limit as to what the eyes can see, but an artist’s vision is limitless.

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Published in Issue 19

A typography special, made up of not only Indian type designers or designers whose first love is type, but also few very talented international designers who open a totally new playground with sharing their insights and inspirations. This issue has exclusive interviews with Lucky Dubz Trifonas from Netherlands, Indian UI & type designer Sabareesh Ravi and Shiva Nallaperumal, who believes, type designers are the material providers to all the creative professionals. Also, includes a special making of Nirlep rebranding done by Elephant Design and an interaction with the ace product designer Aman Sadana.

 

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Fashion photography blends commercial photography and fine arts. After you understand the communication objective, it is important to understand the role of different elements as well to fix the final frame. Fashion Photographer Omkar Chitnis shares few techniques and insights that help in getting a visually dynamic fashion frame.

Choosing the Subject

The process starts with the subject. It can be a model, a product, a service, anything. The other elements should be used to support it. Magnification of the shot comes next. For example, if you are shooting for a clothing brand, you need to take a full-length shot. If you are shooting for makeup, you have to take a close-up shot. The background is a very important aspect of any picture. It enables you to complete the image.

Fashion Photography

Planning the Frame

Unlike Landscape photography, in fashion, you design a shot and accordingly go about models, magnification, poses, lighting, etc. The kind of lights, the distance at which they are placed, the shutter speed, the aperture etc. everything makes for the final frame. Keep in mind two key factors, the amount of light and the expected temperature of the image. Also, in the post-production, temperature and tones of the picture should be adjusted accordingly to justify the picture.

Choosing the Tone

There’s a vast difference in lighting for colour and black&white images. While shooting in colour, tone and intensity of colours matter whereas in black&white, grayscale of the colours matter. Some tones may look interesting in colour but flat in black&white. So, as a photographer, understanding the grayscale of every colour is important. Thus, clothes, accessories, background and even the hair colour of the model matters in a black&white shoot. Capturing a frame in colour and then making it a black&white is a wrong technique

Setting the Context

Expression and attitude of the model is really important to make an impact. But since fashion photography is also about clothing, you need to ensure clothes are not getting blurred or losing the colours, details etc. Make up and model should compliment the clothes, the subject of the shoot. Keeping the lighting soft gives soft results, retaining the softness of the skin and expressions.

Creating the Mood

Sometimes, shooting in low shutter speed helps you create depth and mood, being helped by a little-blurred hair. Shooting men is different from shooting women. One should decide the look of the model – sexy, confident, soft or blunt. Lighting comes to play here. Generally, a bit of contrast works in men’s shoot to enhance the sharp features. It’s important to understand the anatomy, nature and character of the personality. When features are a bit blunt, bright lighting helps you enhance the features and hide the flaws. Similarly, high contrast lighting creates drama.

Shooting in the Open

Outdoor photography is a different task altogether. If you are using only sunlight, you will have to be very precise about the time, the angle of the light and the location. A study of the light source helps you a lot. Sometimes you can use sunlight as a key light and use flashlights or continuous lights to fill the excess shadows or vice verse. When you shoot in just sunlight, background matters a lot. Remember to not let it overpower the model at all. If need be, light up the natural background as well.

Adding the Elements

Many a times, the fabric on the model creates drama. Keeping the overall image dark makes it more interesting. And a blurred background creates a nice depth. Using backlight can create a nice dimension. Having a bit blurry foreground creates mood in the picture.

Presenting it Perfect

After selecting the final shot, colour correction is a very important step. Just a tinge of colour helps you create a different mood altogether. Cropping the picture is also an important part. While shooting you should know what to shoot, but you should also know what should be kept and done away with while editing.

Published in Issue 10

With this issue, we are exploring yet another discipline of design – Web and UI. With the changing times, Indian designers are increasingly opting for this new medium. But are we really prepared to take the global challenge? What’s missing and what do we strive on? We invited few leading practitioners of the industry to deliberate on this issue. So, go ahead

 

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Portraiture, as an art form, is much older than photography. Great portrait masters have spent their lives learning this art. Vikas Sharma, a self taught photographer, finds himself in the same pursuit. He shares some of the rules of portrait photography, with the hope that one breaks them.

Eyes do the Talking

They are the foundation of a portrait. What do you want to do with them? Strong eyes, spontaneous, piercing, dull, happy or sad? Eyes looking away from the camera? Or closed, perhaps? Look at the subject’s eyes and decide what kind of story they speak. You can read the subject’s mind just by looking into their eyes.

Composing the Story

Just as an artist draws on his blank canvas, think about how will you compose within your viewfinder. Are you going to show the surrounding or just a blank background? Again, this will be dictated by what you want to show in your portrait.

No Talking at the Back

The strongest portraits are the ones, which emphasise the subject by using a simple blank background. Keep things simple, unless there is something really exciting in the background that complements the story. If you are unable to control the background due to the limitation of a studio, use a shallow depth of field to blur out the background.

Light-up Your Thoughts

While this is an infinite subject in itself and the most important one too, keep it simple. Keep it soft. Look at how great artists like Rembrandt have played with it. Think about what you want to achieve. Will it be flat? Is it low key? Or high key? Will, it has the dimension or will it have drama? Will it be warm or cold? Or perhaps a combination of all these. Whatever you decide make sure the picture is about the subject and not your lighting talent.

The subject of the Discussion

Know your subject, make them comfortable. They should enjoy and have fun. Nervous or uncomfortable subjects don’t make good portraits. Don’t even show them a camera unless you know they are ready for the picture. If possible meet the subject in an informal setting before the day of the planned shoot. Get to know them and listen to their stories. It will give you ideas on what kind of portrait you want to shoot.

Invest in a good portrait lens

• 60mm to 135mm is a good focal length range.
• Get a fast lens with the aperture of 2.8.

Pre-plan on lighting

• Be ready with a reflector if you are shooting outdoors.

Shoot a million pictures

• You definitely can with a digital camera.
• Try different angles, get high or down low.
• Focus on the eyes.

Use an aperture setting

• Between 1.4 to 8, depending on the lens.

Always shoot camera raw

• Do not apply any in-camera filters like contrast, saturation etc.
• Keep all those things for postproduction in Photoshop.

Learn Photoshop

• It’s your darkroom of the digital age. Commercial images today are 30% photography and 70% Photoshop.

Published in Issue 17

We tried to capture the time of chaos and confusion we all are in. How it inspires and influences creative thoughts. Starting with the cover design by Ankur Singh Patar, who captures the duality in the way we treat women. Followed by a conversation with Italian illustrator Giulio Iurissevich who explores beauty behind this chaos. And many more inspirational articles to explore.

 

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The word patience is synonymous with birds photography, which makes it one of the most challenging forms of the art to capture the beauties in feathers. A photographer has almost no control over the subject and the lighting conditions. In such circumstances, passion and preparation are the best ways for a good shot. Wildlife photographer Nitin Jain shares few valuable pointers.

Know Before you Click Birds

Know Your Subject

Both the words – bird and photography – are equally important aspects of this form of photography. To become a successful bird photographer it’s critical to know your subject well. You need to observe the behaviour of birds, their habitat, resting and breeding patterns. In case of migratory birds you should know their migration patterns and their preferred habitat. A good bird photographer can identify and predict location of birds just by listening to their calls.

Arm Yourself Right

Birds are very shy and swift. To capture desired images, a photographer must have at least 300mm focal length of lens. Fast lenses (with wider aperture openings like 2.8) will help you achieve fast autofocus and will also help shooting in low light conditions. While buying DSLR body look at fps (frames per second), high ISO results, AF (autofocus), system’s accuracy and weather seal as these play vital role in bird photography. Invest in a good quality tripod. A tripod without center column can be laid flat while shooting from ground level. Using a bean bag helps a lot in stabilising the lens in various situations.

Light Your Ideas

Best times to shoot are early mornings and late afternoons when the light is angled, soft and its temperature is conducive for photography. It brings out true colour and texture of birds plumage. Morning light with a little cloud cover acts like a soft box. Try to have the source of light behind you and slightly to one side as it creates a three-dimensional effect on the subject. You can also experiment with backlight for silhouette and rim light effects.

Beauty In Four Corners

Try and avoid placing any subject at the exact centre of a photograph. It is much more visually pleasing to see the bird off to one side, facing inward the frame. Also, avoid placing the horizon line in the middle of a picture which cuts it in half. It’s better to frame the horizon in the top or bottom third of your photograph. Read more on the rule of thirds to understand this concept. For composition, avoid unnatural elements, like electric pole, fence etc. in the frame. It’s a good idea to show bird habitat as well. It makes them feel natural and your portfolio non-monotonous. Sometimes using few out of focus elements, like rock, grass etc., in front of your subject also creates aesthetically rich results.

Take The Right Stance

In bird photography, you should look for interesting angles before taking the shot. Eye-level is a preferred angle where you try and bring your camera parallel to the ground and at bird’s eye level. There are many
ways to do this. One of the techniques is to sleep flat on ground and rest the camera either on a bean bag
or on a fully flat tripod. This also allows you to get out of focus background. Another advantage is that if
you approach a bird on foot, it might notice you and fly away.

Freeze The Moment

It’s very important to understand birds’ behaviour so that you can predict certain action and keep your camera setup ready to shoot. It also helps to use remote shutter release so you can see bird coming more easily than from view finder. For birds in flight, you need to shoot in AI Servo mode (AF-C for Nikon) as you need to continuously track the moving bird. If you’re just starting out, then you can practice with larger birds as they move and fly slowly as compared to smaller birds. For perched birds, use manual focus so that it doesn’t shift on click of shutter release button while keeping the camera pre-focussed on the branch. Another important factor is fast shutter speed. Open the lens aperture to maximum and increase the ISO to achieve shutter speed of more than 1000. Set the camera in shooting mode to high speed continuous shooting.

Get Closer To The Action

There are few techniques people follow to get closer to shy birds, like wearing camouflaged clothing, hiding behind bushes, crawling slowly on the ground etc. While approaching birds avoid sudden movements and approach very slowly. Sometimes using blinds/hides (small tent) also works very well. You can create folding hides from mosquito nets which are sold roadside. Reaching on spot before sunrise is also a great idea. You may also use your car as the hide. Shooting from inside the vehicle is fine and easy. You can rest camera/lens on the window of the vehicle using a bean bag. Keep it ready before you approach the bird or else sudden movement of taking out a big lens will fly the bird away.

Make The Best Of What You Got

The most important quality of a good photographer is to make the most of whatever is available. One can try experimenting with creative blurs, compositions with patterns, tight close-ups etc. The key is not to get disappointed with your camera and lenses. But to understand their advantages and work towards it, instead of trying to achieve what that equipment is not capable of.

Be Ethical In Whatever You Do

Birds are wonderful and delicate creatures. When you are taking photos, make sure that birds are not getting harmed. It is advised not to photograph birds near nests. The life of bird is more important than a photo. Enjoy your share of surprises and excitement. But let them have their peace and life.

Published in Issue 18

This issue features Beard Design studio who exclusively work for start-ups. They stay loyal to their own aesthetics while delivering creative solutions for their clients. On the other hand, there is 22Feet Tribal Worldwide, a digital agency who believes digital is beyond the website and try to bridge the gap between offline and online design. We also have few promising individuals from the UI design arena who are fast making their marks. And to top them all, a discussion on the raging issues of digital in the country by few leading names of the industry. So, go ahead

 

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The photographer Jasminder Oberai shares quick tips and tricks to capture the landscape in better frames.

Capture Landscapes in a Better Frame

Understand Light

The first and foremost requirement of good landscape photography is light. One has to understand how light behaves and must be able to ‘see’ light. Nothing will work if the quality of light is not good. Light is the soul of your image and it will always be the differentiating factor between a dynamic or lifeless image.

Capture Landscapes in a Better Frame

Being There at the Right Time and Moment

Life of a studio photographer is a lot about f/8 and 1/125, but it’s a jungle out there for a landscape photographer. There is only one source of light i.e. the sun and that is what makes the life of a landscape photographer most challenging. You must keep in mind that light continuously changes in intensity throughout the day. The sun will rise and set at different angles and different times.

 

It is important to do homework before going for the shoot to ensure you do not get disappointed. Go through the weather forecast, find out exact time for sunrise and sunset and time your visit to perfection to maximize your chances for great shots. Missing the right moment makes you miss a great shot.

Understand your Camera

Apart from being able to see and understand light, you must also know your camera like the back of your palm. Light changes very fast and rarely does it give you sufficient time to fiddle around with your camera settings. If you are not familiar with your camera, you are going to miss that golden moment and it will show in your final output.

Master your Exposure

It is the key to good landscape photography. You must understand how meter works in different lighting situations. For instance, while clicking snow, the biggest challenge lies in camera’s metering system. Brightly lit and fresh snow is about 1.5 to 2 stops brighter than 18% grey which is what your camera meter expects to see. This will result in snow appearing grey in colour. You should compensate with putting your meter setting to +1/3 or +1 stop to make it look perfect white. However, be careful that it does not blow out the details from snow.

Play with Light and Shadows

Where there is light, there will be a shadow. Understand the play of light and shadow and chose your angle and composition carefully to bring out a nice contrasting relationship between the two. Presence of shadows adds depth to the image and they add life to otherwise dull and flat images if composed and exposed well. Take care to leave some details in shadow areas.

Clicking in the Twilight

It is one of the most interesting landscape photography techniques. Do not leave the scene after the sun has set. Instead, take out your tripod and shutter release to shoot most interesting landscape photographs. The low light landscape photography poses its own challenges but the results make the efforts worth every penny. The best time to shoot twilight landscapes are around half an hour before the sunset and may last around half an hour after the sunset. To get best results, minimize the chances of camera shake. Mirror lock option adds to the quality of image produced.

Panoramas Capture the Expanse

There is no better way to show the vastness of a stunning landscape. No wide angle lens can ever do justice. Keep the camera at the same level to shoot all pictures to be used for the final image. Overlap your images at least by 15% to 20%. Meter the entire scene manually to ensure proper exposure. Finally, do some post-processing before stitching the images to create the final panorama.

Compose it Well

To create an image that is aesthetically pleasing to the eye, understand the rules of composition. It always helps in creating visually pleasing landscape images. Never put the horizon in center. Use Rule of thirds to place the horizon properly in your image. Leading lines take the eye of the viewer from one point to another, thus helping the viewer stay longer on the image.

Know the Rules to Break the Rules

Rules may give you a starting point, but they do not determine the ultimate effect of your image. Do not be afraid to break or ignore them. As in own words of the celebrated photographer Ansel Adams, “There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs”

Published in Issue 13

Coming from a country of stories and storytellers, Indian animation professionals are sitting on a gold reserve. Yet, we are miles behind the Western world. We spoke to few leading names to find out the reason and understand the Indian animator’s sensibilities and practices The house unanimously opined that we need to develop more original ideas and also create exclusive stories for animation, rather than going the other way round…

 

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From mountains to rivers and deserts to seas, the beauty that nature presents before us is mesmerising. At times jaw-dropping and other times breathtaking, landscape photographer Ron Kahlon shows us how he captures the most photogenic model in the world – Mother Earth.

Landscape Photography
Landscape Photography

Capture Varying Attitudes Of Longitudes And Latitudes.

Landscape photography is a great way to bring the world to people. Many wishes to travel, however, it’s only a hand few that are able to travel extensively to see the world for what it is. Capturing the Earth in its pure and natural form is surprising for the audience because there will always be something they would never have seen. Like a shipwreck by the side of the beach or a melting glacier that’s constantly moving at 4cm/s. There are so many costumes the Earth likes to flaunt; whether it’s creased mountains to glittering waves, there is never a landscape photo that will look the same.

Landscape Photography
Landscape Photography

A Patient Eye Makes One Go My My!

One of the greatest virtues of a landscape photographer is patience. The patience to wait for the clouds to clear to reveal the sun-kissed mountain top or to wait for the moment when the pastels in the sky are just right at sunset. Nature is forever changing its poses, giving you surprising shots to capture. Once in the wild, you can’t plan. It can start to rain or you’ll have a flat tyre. It’s all about timing. For example, if you’re clicking Mount Cook in New Zealand, you need to spend several hours trying to get the best shot. And you need to do that every day, till you’re satisfied you’ve got a shot that captures the landscape with a dramatic story. You need to change the way you look at the subject It’s a wrap then.

Landscape Photography
Landscape Photography

It’s Like A Picture Book.

The composition is probably one of the most critical factors in landscape photography. You don’t just capture a tree but the tree in its surroundings. That’s how the story happens. One can use composition techniques like rule of thirds, leading lines and even patterns to capture nature’s plot. Timing, especially capturing landscapes during the golden hour helps establish drama and character

Landscape Photography
Landscape Photography

Get Into The Right Gear.

Landscape photography utilises great skill of the photographer and the camera as well. Using professional full-frame DSLR with a 16-35mm wide angle lens is one great way to start a photography journey. Using low ISO ranging between 100-300 and a small aperture between F9-F16 during daytime is one way to get apt images. For nights, using an ISO of around 800 is ideal. Focusing manually via the live view of the scale on the lens on hyperfocal distance and not focusing on optical infinity is one way to go as well. Photography techniques like applying focus stacking or vertical panorama (refocusing in different frames) are also some ways to enhance the landscape experience. For instances where the land is dark, it’s best to expose the land separately and then merge it with the background using Mask in Photoshop.

Landscape Photography
Issue-37

Published in Issue 37

The issue includes interactions with Preeti Vyas from VGC on ‘How to pitch for clients or retain the existing one’ and Ashish Deshpande from Elephant on ‘Challenges of working with a startup’, along with some best freelancers like Archan Nair, Shreya Shetty and Paul Sandip, sharing their knowledge of working with various clients. Also, Sachin Puthran from Thatzit.com gave a 10-point no-nonsense guide for studios to handle their finances. A must read, if you are planning for the financial year ahead or worried about your handling your money matter, this issue can give you much-needed insight and guide you to a better financial health of your business or freelancing. 

 

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It’s easy to watch a sixty-minute play, stand up and clap or look at a painting or portrait for hours and be spellbound. In such cases, it’s not only exemplary execution that excites the viewers, but also the impeccable composition that makes for the perfect picture. Aman Chotani, a renowned travel photographer, shares the tricks for compiling the right shot that’s more than just a photograph.

5 Tips for Capturing the Talking Portrait

01. Focus on the eyes

Eyes are the main element in a portrait because there’s a reason why they’re called ‘the window into the soul’. Eyes can make or break your story and thus it’s advisable to always take them in sharp focus.

5 Tips for Capturing the Talking Portrait
5 Tips for Capturing the Talking Portrait

02. Use elements and depth to highlight your subject.

If elements were worthless, we’d frame our passport photographs and hang them on the wall. This only emphasises how the use of elements like reflections, shadows and patterns in your composition can make a shot more attractive and exciting.

 

If you want your subject to be the main focus in the image, create a shallow depth of field.

5 Tips for Capturing the Talking Portrait

03. Choose your subject wisely

It is but obvious that a professional not only knows the best process but also understands what raw material makes for a perfect masterpiece. Needless to say, this goes for a photographer as well, when working with portrait shoots, selecting an important face is a quality that is mastered with time and experience. Like good actors make the movie better, similarly amazing and interesting faces make your shot interesting.

5 Tips for Capturing the Talking Portrait

04. Let the light guide you.

The most important tool is to follow the light. Play along with nature’s incredible phenomenon, for it gives you the perfect colour palette and hues to work with. Make your subject pose according to the light; keep them as silhouettes or bathe them in the golden beam. After all, “controlling light is photography”.

5 Tips for Capturing the Talking Portrait
5 Tips for Capturing the Talking Portrait

05. Talk through metaphors

Metaphors are considered a powerful tool in language. It can also be employed in imagery where you can use one image to suggest something else. This is really hard and takes time to master because it’s a fine line between corny and effective.

5 Tips for Capturing the Talking Portrait
5 Tips for Capturing the Talking Portrait

Published in Issue 25

Creative Gaga kicks off the year with an issue that asks the important questions, is it the web that’s leading the brands or the other way around? With 2014 witnessing an increase in brands investing in digital marketing, 2015 will only be bigger. We can say India has accepted the revolution, where more and more people are opening browsers to e-commerce, literally window shopping, and setting up shops online as well. The issue brings together renowned designers with digital experience, who discuss and throw light on the pros and cons of this change and where we possibly are headed with this in the future.

 

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The fashion photographer Sharon-Nayak lists down the essentials to capture those moments that make an occasion special.

Photography Occasion
Photography Occasion

01 Set the stage

Preparation is key to a good photo shoot. The authenticity of wedding costumes, background, and type of props being used, all add to the realism in the image. It is helpful to keep varied samples of expressions and body language references handy. Show them to the model in case they get stuck in getting the right expression. You never know where the motivation is going to come from.

Photography Occasion
Photography Occasion

02 Be ready for the occasion

Have a fair idea of the picture frame when you pull the shutter. But be open to experimenting with different angles and approaches. Never try to force a composition on your shoot. If something doesn’t work, for instance hair, background or a prop, it should be changed or replaced. Bridal shoots, by nature, is a dynamic process. The right moment and frame can crop up from places you never imagined.

Photography Occasion
Photography Occasion

03 Light up the mood

Lighting plays an important part in capturing the right emotion and mood of the setting. Plan the kind of mood you would like to capture. Then experiment with the lights, playing with their intensity and angles. It will allow you to find the most interesting way of expressing the subject. For example, a more chiaroscuro effect sets the mood and create a beautiful play of warm earthy tones.

Photography Occasion
Photography Occasion
Photography Occasion

04 Read the lips

Bridal photography is all about capturing the unuttered thoughts. The expressions of the subject should talk about emotions that make us stare and connect. Each moment is a story that may talk about happiness, nervousness, bashfulness even awkwardness or any such emotion. Try to capture these moments without making it look staged.

Photography Occasion

Questions you should ask yourself before a click

  • Is the subject in focus?
  • Is the light creating the desired effect?
  • Is the subject interesting?
  • Is the image composed with balance?
  • Does the frame emphasize the subject?
Photography Occasion

05 Present it perfect

Treatment of the images holds a lot of importance. During postproduction, be ready to change tones, manipulate colour and composition and alter moods altogether. After all, what you present as the final frame is going to sum up all your thoughts and efforts.

Photography Occasion

Published in Issue 11

This issue also explored the Jewellery Design & Wedding Photography with some cool techniques to learn from experts in Gyaan section.

 

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Revitalising your creative spirit can be challenging at times. Watching photography documentaries can be extremely effective to break the rut. These documentaries are visually stunning, insightful and often depict the photographer’s journey in overcoming the struggles in his work and life. This ultimate list of documentaries ranges from some of the most influential to eccentric photographers, giving us a glimpse of what really makes them tick.

1. Edward Weston: The Photographer (1948)

This film chronicles the life and work of one of the most influential and innovative American photographer, Edward Weston. Although the photographer lacks his legendary energy in the documentary due to Parkinson’s, it depicts Weston revisiting some of the locations he made famous and follows him at home and work. A voice-over commentary sheds light on the remarkable photographer’s personality, inclinations and creative process. This documentary is an insightful record on one of the masters of the 20th century.


2. The Salt of the Earth

Sebastiao Salgado is recognized as one of the camera’s great artists. The man has traveled through continents and witnessed major events in the recent history in his career span of forty years. Following the body of work of this exceptional photographer, this documentary is enriched with the monochrome footage of Wim Wenders and the color footage of the photographer’s son, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado. The visuals are enticing and the film is a true ode to the prolific photographer.


3. Varanasi, India: “Beyond”

Continuing his photo series, ‘Holy Men’, the young photographer Joey L. Set embarks his journey to Varanasi with his assistant Ryan McCarney and filmmaker, Cale Glendening, timing the trip with ‘Maha Shivratri’ for which numerous sadhus gather in the city every year. Unlike many others, this exclusive documentary portrays the trio’s experience in an intimate setting as they bond with the small group of people, build relationships with the people they photograph and engulf themselves with the surroundings to give a fresh perspective of these wandering monks capturing an amazing portrait.


4. Natural Lighting Tips from Bob Holmes – Natural Light in Travel Photos

Award-winning travel photographer, Bob Holmes shares tips about natural lighting in the Marc Silber Show – Advancing Your Photography. With his extensive knowledge and experience by working outdoors, the photographer gives the insight to use natural lighting to get splendid shots in this interview.


5. Annie Leibovitz: Life Through a Lens

The documentary traces the life of one of the most prolific photographers, Annie Leibovitz. Directed by her sister, Barbara Leibovitz this film is close and personal as the photographer shares her aspirations and trajectory in creating some of the iconic photos. The film even provides personal insights through interviews of the photographer’s subjects, mentors, and colleagues.


6. The Mysteries – In Pursuit Of The Perfect Shot

The documentary features adventure photographer Krystle Wright chasing her dream – a single vision – to make it a reality. The inspirational documentary showcases the irrevocable photographer as she relentlessly pursues her dream, even after four and a half years to make it a reality. This intimate journey is engaging, motivational and thought-provoking.


7.  Entering New Worlds Through Photography

”What is that magic dust that sprinkled on a certain image that makes it more powerful than another image?” Thus begins Entering New Worlds Through Photography. Professional photographer Christopher Anderson is candid about his work and life-altering experience aboard a Haitan refugee boat that sank in the Caribbean. By capturing the spontaneous expressions of the fellow passengers at the brink of disaster, the photographer discovers the magic of perfect photographs.


8. Everybody Street – New York City Photography

Strapping a camera and roaming on the streets with a keen eye to capture the vivacity and present it to the world, this is the spirit of street photography. Paying a tribute to the same through a cinematic exploration of New York City, director Cheryl Dunn illuminates the lives and work of some iconic street photographers. The documentary portrays the perseverance, passion, the visceral rush and sometimes the danger customary to these photographers.


9. The Many Lives of William Klein (2012)

Do you want to know more about the most influential and the pioneer of art street photography? Then watch The Many Lives of William Klien to discover the charismatic personality behind the most striking fashion photographer of the 20th century. This hour-long film includes the first-ever documentary about Muhammad Ali and a brilliant satire of the fashion world.


10. David Yarrow Reveals his Photography Secrets

David Yarrow is an acclaimed photographer for capturing the beauty of remote landscapes, tribes and endangered animals. This documentary showcases the man himself revealing his unique methods and his penchant for monochrome images as we explore his photography of animals.


11. Join a Wildlife Photographer on the Hunt for the Perfect Shot

Joining Belgian wildlife photographer Michel d’Oultremont in his quest for the recently introduced Bison in Romania, the documentary gives a glimpse of the process or the wait to capture the animal in that microsecond to capture the perfect shot in the wild.


12. Climbing Ice-The Iceland Trifecta

Pushing boundaries, photographer Tim Kemple sets on an ice adventure with world-class climbers to document and attempt the impossible – climbing an iceberg, the vault of an ice cave and ice crevasse. The documentary captures the stunning beauty as the master climbers and the photographer scale the frigid crags of Iceland leaving things to chance and exploration.


13. Arctic Swell – Surfing the Ends of the Earth

Extreme surf photographer, Chris Burkard takes pleasure in working through the misery as he braves the sub-zero temperatures in the Arctic Circle along with professional surfers Patrick Millin, Brett Barley and Chadd Konig to catch a wave and tackle the next frontier. The documentary shot over a two-week period is sure to give the viewers an itch to explore the unfamiliar!


14. Tales By Light

As a six-part series, Tales by Light follows five photographic storytellers as they embark on a journey to explore the unchartered terrain throwing light on cultures, wildlife, and landscapes. Told from the eye of a storyteller, this visual expedition is a treat to watch as they unite photography, exploration and the natural world in one.


15. Frame By Frame

Frame by Frame follows four Afghan photojournalists: Farzana Wahidy, Massoud Hossaini, Wakil Kohsar and Najibullah Musafar in their pursuit to build free press post-Taliban regime. The feature-length documentary directed by Mo Scarpelli reframes Afghanistan to the world by navigating the dangerous media landscape through cinema vérité, intimate interviews, powerful photojournalism, and
never-before-seen archival footage shot in secret during the Taliban regime.


16. Imagine-The Colourful Mr. Eggleston

The Father of Color Photography, William Eggleston is an enigma despite his legendary status. Imagine, directed by Alan Yentob is an extraordinary film following the shy and elusive Egglestone shooting in his hometown, Memphis, Tennessee. This documentary is a must watch for generations of young photographers who have tried to follow the influential photographer.


17. Cindy Sherman – Nobody’s Here But Me (1994)

This documentary is an intimate portrait which records the working process of the American photographer, Cindy Sherman. One of its kind, it delves and showcases her motivation in the creation of unsettling and provocative images revealing unexpected sources and explores her interests. The controversial photographer talks unabashedly and reflects on the themes of her work including her pivotal series, ‘Sex Pictures’.


18. Finding Vivian Maier

This is the life story of Vivian Maier who earned a posthumous reputation as one of the most accomplished and insightful street photographers. The intriguing documentary directed by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel trace her career as a nanny in Chicago, France, and New York City by passionately documenting the world around her. The documentary is compelling with never-seen photographs, films and interviews with dozens of employers which evoke questions and sheds light on the photographer’s life.


19. Ansel Adams: Documentary Film 2002

The biographical film traces the life of the renowned American photographer and environmentalist Ansel Adams. Exploring the meaning and legacy of his life and work, the director, Ric Burns creates a captivating narrative by examining the inspirations of the photographer with interviews from biographers, historians, family, and peers.


20. Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters

A striking documentary filmed with unprecedented access over a decade exhibits the meticulous and elaborate creative process of the acclaimed photographer, Gregory Crewdson. Known for taking fantastical pictures that seem real, this documentary bares the artist’s process while sharing details of his past.


21. McCullin Brothers

This terrific documentary takes us on a journey with Don Mccullin, the greatest living war photojournalist, to the three disastrous war-torn decades of his career when he was working for the Sunday Times. Mccullin gives us an insight to the moral implications and even sheds light on how the ethos of journalism has changed throughout his career.


22. Bill Cunningham New York

The film profiles the veteran cultural anthropologist, Bill Cunningham who has been recording street fashion trends with his candid photography for the New York Times for decades. Cunningham’s enormous body of work is on display which reveals the astute observation and dedication of the photographer with a tint of humor. This heartening documentary is truly a feast for the eyes.


23. Genius of Photography

The genius of Photography is a six-part series dedicated to trace back the 170 years of art through the lens. Featuring some of the most well-known photographers, it explores their work and gives an insight into various aspects such as daguerreotype, portrait, digital, photojournalism, art, and advertising. This inspiring and knowledgeable documentary even features interviews and encounters with some of the notable living photographers today.


24. Underfire: The Untold Story of Pfc. Tony Vaccaro (HBO Documentary Films)

This is the story a 21-year- old Tony Vaccaro, a WWII combat infantryman on the frontlines who smuggled his camera to record the intimate footage of the war with roughly eight thousand pictures. With a compelling narrative, the film deals with the sheer difficulty of survival in such tense situation and the contemporary issues regarding combat photography and the ethical challenges faced.


25. Eclipse

One of its kind, this documentary chases the dream of Reuben Krabbe, an adventure photographer, to capture a mind-bending photo of a skier with a backdrop of total solar eclipse. Embarking on the impossible task, Salomon Freeski team follows the photographer to the Arctic for an event that was only going to last a couple of minutes and the fate of which was solely dependant on the weather conditions. This documentary inspires you to chase your dream and shows how eclipses are much more than a mere visual spectacle.


26. Naked States

This film documents the quest of Spencer Tunick, a professional on mass nude photos who sets to travels the U.S. in search of volunteers to pose nude for his out-law photo-shoots. It records the photographer’s struggles, his brushes with the law and the mindsets of the willing subjects who are ready to bear it all in front of the camera.


27. The Mother Project

The Mother Project is an intricate portrait of Tierney Gearon’s as she photographs her manic-depressive schizophrenic mother. The remarkable documentary shows the photographer’s journey along this personal project and is a layered exploration of unconventional family relationships and the photographer’s distinctive thinking which has a subversive beauty that emerges amidst the madness.


28. Waste Land (2010)

The profoundly moving film follows the modern artist Vik Muniz to Jardim Gramacho, the world’s largest landfill on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro with only one objective – to use art to transform the lives of catadores. This uplifting movie encourages people to see the dignity of the poor as Muniz picks six subjects to pose in a series of photographs that mimic famous art using recycled materials picked by them. By auctioning the art, this film comes full-circle transforming the lives of these scavengers and recycling the mindsets of the people.


29. BBC LOMO Documentary

A riveting tale on the Lomographic society and movement with trivia about the camera and its influence in the history. With interesting interviews and good imagery, this documentary is a must watch for all Lomographic fans!


30. Masters of photography – Diane Arbus (1972)

The half-hour documentary explores the work of the photographer, Diane Arbus by showcasing multiple viewpoints of her daughter and closest friends including her own thoughts as recorded in her journal. The narrative is illustrated with various photographs that depict the often neglected stratum of the society that makes one think and wonder.

Fashion is not something that exists in dresses. It’s in the sky, street and each idea that decode the way we live and respond to what is happening around us. A storyteller of dreams, characters, aspiration, fairy tales and more, fashion photographer Vinod Wakkchare, reflects on how he weaves those tales through his lens.

Fashion
Diya Mirza
Fashion
Giah

Shoot a story, not a picture

Fashion photography gives you a chance to create your own plot, to choose your own characters and tell stories. It’s a medium through which you can portray your interpretation of the world. These ideas are stories that connect to the onlookers, engaging them in a conversation. As a fashion photographer, you have this unique ability to define how you see the world.

Mandira Bedi
Jean Paul Gaultier

Design the elements of your story

For a fashion photographer, it’s important to treat the shoot as a performance, where various elements play a vital role. In a fashion shoot, the camera is not the only element that decides the final outcome. And even though the subject is really important, the lights, colour, environment, and technology equally are. Create a comfort zone where the subject trusts you. It helps him or her bring out the best. Amidst all this, however, it’s also important to not let anything overshadow the protagonist.

Pride
Screem

Every click is a challenge

Whether it’s an inanimate object or a celebrity that you shoot, every subject comes with its own set of challenges. It might appear that it’s easy to shoot inanimate objects, but it’s not. As you can’t instruct them while shooting and that’s where it’s important for the photographer to be extremely patient. Shooting famous faces is a challenge too. Because they’ve shot with various photographers thousands of times, making your shoot an entirely different experience for them is what you have to keep in mind.

Nude
Fashion
Glitzy Gloss

Creativity can’t be incidental.

A deep frantic process with lots of hard work and patience is the key to fashion photography. Because the process includes various steps and professionals, planning becomes mandatory. Right from pre-production to post-production, meeting the client, brainstorming before the shoot, understanding the requirements of the shoot and deciding the look of the models to the actual shooting and then retouching the image, all with the support of art directors, makeup artists, hairstylists and designers, a lot goes behind that single click.

Silk Touch
Fashion
Male Wrist Watches

It’s a one man classroom. 

There are various photography courses available these days. However, you don’t need a degree or a diploma in order to practice fashion photography. What matters more is practical experience. You will find various books on photography out of which great learning can be derived. Also, follow famous photographers’ work. There is a lot you can absorb through their various style and techniques. Try to work with a photographer as the knowledge gained through such an experience sticks on with you forever.

Blue-Black
Blue-Black

Open your eyes and then your lens.

That square shot is your blank canvas and you can include in it whatever you want and feel like. But before you peep into that camera, peep into the world. Look around, observe and come up with new ideas. Keep experimenting with lights, camera and different aspects of photography. And remember, you can’t win if you don’t fail. Keep trying, keep exploring, keep discovering and keep shooting.

Fashion
Alter Ego

Published in Issue 11

This issue also explored the Jewellery Design & Wedding Photography with some cool techniques to learn from experts in Gyaan section.

 

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