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For Anirudh Agarwal, photography is an exploration of human nature, personality and self-expression. His road to being a commercial photographer was primarily due to his foresight to develop personal projects that allowed both him and the world to establish his style and vision.

Photography by Anirudh Agarwal
Nitin Baranwal. Hair and Makeup - Myrra Jain
Photography by Anirudh Agarwal
Origami. Hair and Makeup - Myrra Jain

For Calcutta-born Anirudh Agarwal, photography had always been his calling. Observing his father make images during his childhood and then inheriting a film SLR at sixteen, motivated young Anriudh to create his own work. When you go through his body of work, commissioned and personal, you are drawn in by a unique sense of movement in his compositions. Combined with abstract posing, wardrobe, props, and production, Anirudh showcases a need to constantly push the boundaries of concept and art. In some cases, he seems particularly interested in the time between posed moments to capture an honest portrayal in the frame.

Photography by Anirudh Agarwal
Analog Files. Hair & Makeup - Myrra Jain, Headgear - Anirudh Agarwal

Drawing influence from photographers like William Eggleston, Nadav Kander, Cindy Sherman and Solve Sundsbo, and having worked with Farrokh Chothia, Swapan Parekh and Amit Ashar during his early years in Mumbai, Anirudh realised the importance of developing personal projects before diving headfirst into commercial work. After completing his studies at the Light & Life Academy in Ooty, he developed a series titled “Nysha and her Sunbeam Talbot” from 2011 to 2013.

Aisha Ahmed. Hair and Makeup - Morag Steyn, Styling - Aasia Abbas

The photographs follow a little girl and her kid-scale vintage toy car exploring various urban environments in Calcutta. The pictures are both an earnest depiction of a child understanding her world and an artistic juxtaposition in terms of scale, repetition, and “regular adult routines”, albeit scaled down. The photo series featured at the Angkor Photo Festival (Cambodia, 2013), an exhibition in Bombay with IKSA (2014), and an honourable mention at the PX3 (Paris, 2015).

Ashna Anand
Photography by Anirudh Agarwal
Dr. Z from Oculus. Hair Stying - Shefali Shetty, Makeup - Myrra Jain

Anirudh excels at portrait photography and makes it a point to learn about the person he has in front of his camera. Using background research or simple conversation, he aims to keep the subject comfortable and uses that information to define a unique look. In fact, some of his more eccentric portraits were conceptually motivated by the subject, which shows how important and effective the dynamic is between the photographer and the model. When asked about his process, he said, “To put things in perspective, in a session of say 1 hour, I would spend 45 minutes conversing while the actual shooting lasts only 15 minutes at best.”

Manga. Styling - Nayanika Kapoor, Hair Stying - Shefali Shetty, Makeup - Myrra Jain
Pia Trivedi. Hair and Makeup - Morag Steyn

His more production heavy portraiture takes form in “conceptual portraits”. Anirudh states that as an artist, he has always been drawn to the beauty that lies in the unusual, and he endeavours to create pictures that have a “quirk”. While these shoots may be inspired from the state of the world to conversations with his collaborators, there is extensive planning involved with a team he has cultivated over the years before shooting.

Burden. Hair and Makeup - Riya Nagda, Styling - Anirudh Agarwal

The concepts range from mental health, cultural figures, Japanese graphic novels, isolation or even interesting set props like origami-esque curtains. They are brilliant explorations in colour and form as well.

Photography by Anirudh Agarwal
Rabanne Jamsandekar. Hair and Makeup - Morag Steyn

While he notices a lack of experimental or abstract photography in the advertising, fashion or lifestyle sector, Anirudh is optimistic for its scope due to social media platforms and the requirement to target your audience versus a “one message fits all” campaign. While creators need to cater to the consumer requirement in these spaces, he thinks that new-age brands are developing unique communication strategies which accommodate uncharted conceptual waters. Some examples he quotes are Under25 (communication), Raw Mango (clothing), and Soak (fashion communication).

Irony. Hair and Makeup - By Anirudh Agarwal

Currently, he enjoys portraiture but is open to all genres of photography, and his next body of work is in collaboration with a graphic designer. This does not come as a surprise, as when you come across an image made by Anirudh Agarwal, you stay for the story.

Photography by Anirudh Agarwal
Chandni Sareen. Makeup & Styling - Chandni Sareen
Photography by Anirudh Agarwal
Bon Bibi. Hair and Makeup - Morag Steyn, Styling - Kritika Malhotra

Published in Issue 52

The pandemic has brought many different challenges for everyone. But educating our young ones is among the top priority. The issue focused on how design education is still possible while most of us are locked in our homes. We also interacted with illustrators and photographers such as Jasjyot Singh Hans and Anirudh Agarwal, who seem to stand firm with their uniqueness in this time of chaos. Overall this issue serves food for thought with visually stunning creativity on a single platter.

 

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Fashion can be presented in various ways but understood by an individuals the way they wish to see it. Richa Maheshwari has explored the digital lens to create still imagery, conveying an artist’s thoughts to the public through photography.

Photography

Avocation to Vocation

Not really sure of which field to specialize in her final year at design school, Richa had luck by her side to be guided by a professor in choosing photography as her major. It did not stop there. She very easily transformed her passion for photography into her flourishing profession.

Photography

She started freelancing while pursuing college. Having no godfather in the industry or having assisted no photographer, she learned everything by hit and trial, watching tutorials and self-practising. Taking on various projects boosted her confidence and helped her establish her own style and techniques.

On the Job

Richa uses photography to translate her vision into reality. She feels communicating the idea of a fashion designer to a commoner in a comprehensible style while retaining its essence is the job of a fashion photographer.

Photography

She defines fashion and lifestyle as her main subjects for photography and provides the entire shoot production from conceptualization of an idea to final print or digital realization. Her client list spans from ad agencies and fashion houses to individual artists and designers.

Photography

An Artist’s Ideology

I want to give something back to society, Richa used her skill-set to make documentaries and done photography on various social issues, many of which have been used as fund-raisers by different organizations. According to Richa, an artist is fully satisfied when he utilizes his creative best with full liberties. But sometimes, commissioned and client works come with a restriction on the imagination. She overcomes these restrictions on creativity while working on personal and social projects.

Photography

Stumbling Blocks

Photography is a very strong medium of communication that comes with its own set of limitations. The content portrayed to the masses should be crisp, clear and innovative, devoid of complexities and philosophical connotations. Producing work in a multi-cultural country like ours, one needs to respect the sentiments and emotions related to various beliefs and ideologies that are followed.

Photography


Motion-graphics today constitutes the peak of communication systems. But Richa is of the opinion that the still medium of photography is of much more explanatory worth than a motion-graphic.

Photography

Garnering professional experience while studying absorbed the survival pressure for Richa, which would have otherwise existed. Hence, she had the cushion to work upon all the technical and professional mistakes and keep growing in her field to become the success she is today.

Photography
Photography

Words of Advice

For the budding professionals of the field, she has some quick tips to keep in mind:

 

1. Be original with your ideas or even if you are drawing inspiration, do not replicate.


2. Develop your style and stick to it.


3. Don’t blindly follow rules. Be creative and as experimental as possible.


4. Be open to learning and keep researching about the latest happening in the industry and technology.


5. Never be satisfied or you will stagnate your growth.


6. Take calculative risks.


7. Give something back to society.

Photography

Published in Issue 45

When celebrations are all around for the new year, everyone is curious about what this new year will bring. So, the rounds of looking back to the past year and trying to predict the new one starts. We started the same exploration through this issue by reaching various experts for their take on the trends for their respective fields. So, go ahead.

 


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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

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

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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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.

Portrait by Vikas Sharma
Portrait by Vikas Sharma

1. 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.

Portrait by Vikas Sharma
Portrait by Vikas Sharma

2. 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.

Portrait by Vikas Sharma
Portrait by Vikas Sharma

3. 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.

Portrait by Vikas Sharma


Portrait by Vikas Sharma

4. 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.

5. 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.

Also if you are a beginner, then make sure to:

a) 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.

b) Pre-plan on lighting

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

c) Shoot a million pictures

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

d) Use an aperture setting

– Between 1.4 to 8, depending on the lens.

e) Always shoot camera raw

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

f) 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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Generating stories and translating them into photographs doesn’t seem like a cakewalk, but Avinash Jai Singh’s work makes it look like it. Illustrations supported with compelling messages and eye-catching colours and visuals appeal (photography) to the youth and engulf the audience.

Photography

Many times, the influences and the exposure one receives as a child, gives one a certain direction in life. Something similar happened with Avinash, a photographer and an illustrator from North India who carved his own path to success.

Photography
Photography

He grew up in Panipat, the hub of the textile industry and his observations of the colours around him generated a love for visual arts and gave him a perspective to understand lighting, forms, shapes and portraits. Avinash was always fascinated by lifestyle magazines and his world changed when he started his actual learning process in a college in Delhi. Finally, he had his aha moment when he was on a trip to Kashmir doing a series on the lives of people, where he realised that photography was what he wanted to do all his life.

Photography

For Avinash, the story and mood behind a picture take the lead and is as important as the technical factors involved. He believes that they are interdependent and essential if there’s a story, the mood can be captured and if there’s a certain mood, a fresh story can be generated. He hears the conversation of visuals in mind and his way of story-telling comes out in the form of photographs depicting bold shapes and forms. Always careful about the colour pallet involved, he doesn’t like to add too much colour and rather believes in using it in proportions that add an edge to picture than causing distraction. Except for this, even lighting plays a major role especially in black and white photography, where the subject dictates the mood and mood dictates the lighting.

Apart from photography, Avinash is also an artist with a quirky vibe to his illustrations. Contemporary designs which deliver a message with a touch of modernity and minimal colours popping, he creates illustrations which have an impact on the audience. Collaborating with other artists as well, he strikes a balance between his art and the way he captures it through his camera’s lens. Crisp and neat lines with bold and chic colours, catch one eye immediately. Avinash also develops art-series which talk about a particular topic accompanied by his interpretations through art and photography.

Photography

One of them is the gender bender series where he has captured images depicting humans as a “genderfluid”, taking an important stance for the decriminalisation of sec 377. Backing up his work with powerful and effective captions, the overall effect of the art is noteworthy. The series showcases a person who sometimes a boy, girl or someone in between but ultimately a human who is equal and respectful. Avinash’s personal favourite works include Downtown and Google.org which have an amazing visual impact on the audience. His varied portrayals of love, photography shoots for Jabong and a poster campaign for MTV display regular things with a blend of art and photography.

Photography

Avinash uses software like Photoshop and Capture One to enhance his photographs and takes inspiration from artists like John Everett Millais, and Wong Kar Wai who changed the way he comprehends things in his work. He feels that one should keep trying and making bad copies of the imagination one has, until the right one is achieved. Although it is tough to turn the images in your head to reality, he reckons that it is the only way to keep going.

Published in Issue 46

This issue is focused on, how to design for kids, bundled with articles full of inspirations, advice and unique point-of-views from the veterans of the animation industry, illustrators, photographers, artists and many more. So, order your copy or subscribe, before print copies run out and enjoy reading this issue!

 


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It’s no question that Google is one of the top search engines today. The company has cemented its place as a website where people can type in their queries and get relevant solutions.

In today’s Internet age, knowing how to increase your visibility on Google is crucial for businesses. Optimizing websites for this search engine can help organizations gather leads, which can convert to paying customers with the proper digital marketing strategy.

One way for a company to gain more clients is to publish photos of its merchandise as well as the interior and exterior of its physical store. This can help businesses increase their foot traffic.

If you have a company or are already working as a photographer, getting Google-approved can boost your authority as a leader in your industry. Not only can you help enterprises build their brand, but you can also help your community by showing tourists the best spots in your locality.

Here’s how becoming a Google-trusted photographer can help you:

01 Gain More Leads

You go into the photography business because you want to earn an income. When you receive a Google approval for your photos, you increase the chances of getting hired for more commissions.

Most photographers earn by shooting portraits or products. Some are hired to capture happy moments during special occasions.

Aside from these traditional routes, you can shoot 360° photos for businesses, which they can publish on their website and Google My Business page. With this, you can get more customers and earn more money.

If you’re wondering how to get Google to approve your photos , the process is relatively straight forward. You just have to download the search engine’s Street View app and publish a minimum of 50 360° images on it.

There are perimeters that you have to follow for your photos, though. Indoor photographs must be captured one meter apart from each other while outdoor shots require a distance of three meters. Moreover, 360° images must be at least 4K resolution.

02 Establish Your Credibility

One of the primary purposes of getting certifications, such as the one from Google, is that you set yourself apart from your competitors. Google Maps has a rating system in place for contributors, where you can earn a Local Guides badge when you reach 250 points.

Upon the successful publishing of the 50 photos on the Street View app, you become a Level 4 contributor and earn a digital badge on your profile. This is proof that you’re a Google-approved photographer.

It serves to enhance potential customers’ perception of your authority as a professional photographer, which increases the likelihood that they’ll hire you to shoot their business’ photos in the 360° format.

03 Get Promoted by Google

Aside from automatically getting a Local Guides badge, you’ll also be featured on Google’s Street View trusted pros list . This further boosts your reputation as a photographer because the top search engine itself has promoted your work.

Businesses can look up professional photographers in their area who’ve earned Google’s certification with ease and hire them to take photos of their establishments. If you’re on the list, you can expect to receive emails for paid jobs for publishing Google My Business content.

04 Help Your Community

More than earning an income, you get to help your community by showcasing the best spots that tourists can visit. In building your 360° portfolio, you can focus on taking snaps of holes-in-the-walls, like local restaurants.

With this, you give tourists a feel of what it’s like to walk around your area. Travelers today typically look up the places that they’re planning to visit online and plan their itinerary according to the activities that they want to do, which is why Google Maps photos have become valuable resources.

05 Expand Your Services

If you’ve established your expertise about the places to visit in your city or town, you can expand your services and become a local guide that tourists can hire for tours around your area. You can even take photos of them professionally and hit two birds with one stone for that particular outing.

Conclusion

Google My Business allows enterprises to boost their SEO and show clients how to get to their shops. Becoming a Google-trusted photographer and focusing on this type of content can help you build your credibility as a leader in your industry, which allows you to gain more customers and earn more money.

You’ll also be promoted by Google itself through the digital badge that they’ll automatically publish on your profile and by including you in their trusted pros list. With this, you can expand your business and provide photography services as well as local tours for clients.

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One might think how hard could it possibly be to capture an object? Little do they know that product photography is an in-depth field that has a lot of science, technology, physics and dynamics being controlled by the master-the photographer. Clicking for a purpose, like a project, only adds to the pressure. Devang Singh, a product photographer, understands the basics and the tricks. Here, he shares his lens and his vision.

The Photographer

1. Understand the Brief and Your Subject.

Before the physical production of a photograph, the shoot needs to go through a mental process, regardless of whether it’s a 50 Cent Solitaire or something as large as a washing machine. During this process, ask yourself the following questions like ‘What is the scale of the product?’ because this will help you visualise the space required for shooting and lensing. Also, ‘How many sides/facets does the product have?’ as this will enable you to get an idea of the number of lights required along with the framing. This is followed by questions like ‘What is the surface material, whether it is metal reflective, matt, textured etc.’ and ‘What are the styling requirements of the campaign.’ Such a Q n A session with one’s self helps give direction.

The Photographer

2. Prepare a Mood Board for Yourself/Client.

Once answers to the above questions have been obtained, start making the mood board to help bring into perspective your thoughts that enables team mates understand your vision. It helps in keeping all stakeholders on the same page leaving no room for miscommunication.

The Photographer
The Photographer

3. At Shoot.

At the time of the shoot, equipment that you will need is a 35 mm DSLR, 24 mm, 35mm, 50mm macro or non-macro, 85mm and a 100mm macro lens, minimum four light set up- 200W to 500W, light meter, light modifiers that include soft boxes, reflectors strip boxes, bounce boards- white, silver and gold, mirrors for concentrated reflections, a black chart to cut out extra light, a sturdy tripod with a sandbag and finally a laptop to tether capture and observe all details.

The Photographer

4. Understand Camera Settings and DOF.

If shooting in a controlled environment, like an indoor studio, it is important to keep a few things in mind. It is preferable to shoot custom white balance using a grey card. It’s also important to control shutter speed. For example, always shoot below 1/160 when using staple light setups of Profoto or Elinchrom FX/RX series. This is to make sure the camera syncs with the light and doesn’t give you a black band at the edge. If you are shooting splashes or moving subjects which demand faster shutters, take a wider shot and crop the black band or use a speed light at low intensities like 1/32 or 1/64.

The Photographer

5. Two Scenarios You Shall Face.

If you are shooting products for a catalogue which requires shooting the product in focus through and through, then maintain a distance of at least four feet from the product and try shooting at apertures from f/11 up to f/16 from a 50mm lens.

The Photographer

When conducting a stylised product shot which demands the product to be separated from the background and other props, then there are various ways to deal with it. One can go as close to the subject using wide lenses with wide apertures like f/1.8 and blur the background. Another option is to use a telephoto till 100mm at mid apertures f/5.6 – f/8 to avoid compression of the frames and make the product look smaller than it really is. Finally, one can also use low angle with forced perspective, head on, side or even a 45 degree top down.

The Photographer

6. Understand Lighting and Light Attachments.

Light plays the most important role in creating a spectacular image. It’s best to pre-plan using lighting diagrams in order to avoid any surprises on set. Use soft light for reflective surfaces and cut light with cutters to create gradation. It’s also important to understand highlights and shadows and to always have the final image in mind. The treatment in post-production should already be in your head while you shoot. Another point to add is the use of hard light for rims if required to separate subject/product.

The Photographer

Essential Tricks:

1. Carry a polarizer to minimize highlight and to get details in burnouts on reflective surfaces.
2. Carry a dulling spray to make glossy surfaces matt. Please note that excessive usage of the same can result in a wrong representation of the surface of the subject. Hence, use carefully.
3. Lock down your tripod and maintain a frame and add things to make the image.

The Photographer

Published in Issue 27

This issue explores one of the widely discussed product design and automobile #design which is very close to our heart. We spoke to few leading names to find out the future of product design and understand the Indian designer sensibilities and practices. Everyone believe that it’s not just functionality but also the visual appeal of the product which plays a crucial in the success of a product. This issue is a bundle of inspirations and insights from the well know product and automobile designers. A must read which you will enjoy for sure.

 


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