Archive for the ‘photography’ Category

Some positive posts

All of us can add little more fun to our life. Whenever you are feeling down you can find better direction in life by reading/listening. Here is a list of stuff that I have liked over the time … 1. … Wear sunscreen by Baz Luhrmann …

2. … Calvin and Hobbes … amazing learnings :D

3. … Learn to live happily …



6. … overcoming fear in life



Creative Candid Wedding Photography … Dreams??

Creative Candid Wedding Photography Dreams

Creative Candid Wedding Photography Dreams

1. What should I expect from my first assignment? And what should I expect my client to expect from me?

A. Usually DVDs or printed album is the deliverable. And obviously Candid moments. As there are thousands of customs in India, you can expect a variety of clients.

2. Am I expected to take ‘contemporary or creative shots only’ or as a new-age photographer should I expect to be asked to shoot plastic shots?

A. Something that you have to be clear in the head. If you can manage both then go ahead. But if you cant then tell the client I can’t. Also some people will ask for plastic shots at the wedding. So as far as its not distracting your candid work, then go ahead and click one shot.

3. Equipment? Any must-haves you suggest. I already have a 50mm 1.8 prime along with a 18-55 3.5-4.5 standard zoom and 75-300 4-5.6 telephoto. Should I rent out a lens with a lower aperture?

A. Yes, you will need wider apertures. So rent/buy. A 1.8 aperture is good enough mostly.

4. Online I’ve always seen pro-photographers advising rookies of carrying an additional camera as a back up. Should I rent out a camera? It is my first assignment and my budget is tight, very tight.

A. Yes, having a backup is good idea. But obviously it depends on your budget. If its not falling in your budget then don’t. (a little bit of prayer should help managing with one camera)

5. Speaking of a budget, how much should I charge? I am planning to travel to Dehradun via train. Plus if I am renting out equipment, it would turn out to be an expensive affair. Considering it to be my first assignment, I was thinking of charging somewhere around the range of Rs 10-20K. Too much to ask? I am travelling half the country across to shoot this that is why.

A. I don’t think its too much to ask. As the amount of effort needed is a lot. And if you are planning to do it seriously, 10-20k per day will never look sufficient and eventually you will lose interest in it. If you are doing it for fun, its all bonus.

6. Lastly, presentation. I don’t know any place famous for such albums. Do you suggest me hunting for a place where they print good albums and send them a copy?

A. Canvera is a good option, but be sure to include costs of printing and designing. If you feel that album is too much of headache or its costly, tell your client straightaway.

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Finding Your Real Passion – Day 1

Finding your real passion

Finding your real passion

Recently I was asked few questions by some of my friends about the desire to switch from regular software job to photography. And they were at the cliff where I was standing 6months back. So I thought why not share my opinions with others. I believe that these question will apply to pursuing any passion.

Here is a small checklist,

  1. Do I have all the equipments already. If not, Where will the money to buy/rent that will come from?
  2. Have I decided what I want to click?
  3. Can I immediately get work (or at least enquiries) when I leave the job?
  4. Am I just running away from my current job? (I just want a holiday/break from my job. )
  5. Do I have people which will help me connect to others?
  6. Do I have dependencies in family or any other financial burdens? (parents, wife, kids, drinking … etc etc)
  7. How important money is? (When the cash flow stops it becomes a tough thing and not everyone can handle it)

These are the questions I came up with, for which there is no perfect answer as such. But they can be just food for thought.

So now coming to the questions that were asked to me.

1. I have the finance Which could probably last me 6 Months without a Job.
A. Sounds great. But I believe there has to be some money flowing from photography already. I would always prefer to not touch my backup money. Also when I calculate backup money, I also have to consider some hidden costs for equipments.

2. I am not too sure If I am good enough
A. I wish there was a medical test to tell ok now you are good enough to be a photographer. Sadly there is no such test. And only way to know is to show to some professionals and to review things yourself. Just ask that what makes this picture different from others. Can this picture be easily taken by someone else? What am I doing differently?

3. I am quite Mercuric in nature, so dunno for sure What is good for me.
A. Every artist is Mercuric, they like some things at one time and hate it other time. I don’t think that it can be answered by anyone. (sounds too philosophical .. but can’t help that)

4. how could One Identify the true passion ?
A. I wish there was one medical test for this too. The way I would do it will be to ask myself following questions, the answers to which can not be a perfect yes/no
a. What I enjoy most (currently )?
b. Can it pay me, if not immediately then in future? (with onion prices fluctuating randomly, you would want to earn well immediately)
c. How good I feel I am at it compared to the competition in the market? (identifying competition is the biggest challenge here)
d. Do I have people to help me with my decisions?

These questions can decide feasibility of a passion. Like when I was doing theater I liked it a lot, but it failed at b,c.
So when I decided to quit my job, I can tell you my condition,
a. 100% yes.
b. 75% yes. (I was confident that I can take out my monthly expenses out of photography)
c. I had no clear answer to this, as I did not really know who my competition was. I just wanted to take a break and try out things.
d. 100% yes. At various stages of my life, I had friends who questioned my decision to quit my job. But when I decided to quit, my Brother-in-law and my sister were biggest support. My parents never opposed my decisions, they questioned it but still they did not force me to take decisions. Also I had people from fashion industry who had noticed/liked my work. So I had HOPE of getting work from there.

5. One thing I know is : Praise gives me happiness, even if doesn’t earn money. but then again Money is Necessary, One can not live off Pure fame.
A. Praise gives happiness to everyone. I think the answer to this question is done in 4th question.

6. Can i start part time and see how the response is with the time and when i gain confidence i can quit my regular job and go pro?(I seriously think of this ALL the time :) )
A. Obviously confidence and part time work go hand in hand. On one fine day I can not just say that I wish to be a photographer. For some people time to gain confidence takes time, for some it never comes.

7. For how long this business would survive?
A. Business?? What business?? I am just following my passion. Well, When you quit your day job and start something on your own then it does become a business. I have never done a course on business management. So I am still getting a hang of “How to get more business”. And frankly I do not know how long this will survive. I do ask/think about questions like, what if everyone becomes a photographer tomorrow? You might get such dreams too :D . (I still keep getting dreams about the theft of my old camera ;) :( )

So unless your business is something that is necessity of people, and will keep growing, it can end any day. Also one thing I would like to mention is that people might/might not get you business, but they would surely get you thousands of ideas :D .

8. What if it didn’t worked out for me after some time say a year or so?
A. You need to think about getting an alternate job, which is not an impossible thing. When I had quit my job, I had given myself a timeframe of 1 yr. And post that I would have joined another software job (I would have hated myself and others too :D , for it).

I still think I would become Papa in one of Ekta kapoor serials in case photography doesn’t work for me :D . (I will Just try)

9. Should i have some backup plan too in parallel of this?
A. Everybody would love to have more money. So if I have cash flow coming from somewhere else. I would be more than happy. I would have loved to have the software job which would just take 3/4 hours a day and rest of day would be for me only. But sadly there is no such provision.

I think the final answer always lies within you. That should I do this or not?
So I hope this solves some of the questions. In case you have more questions, feel free to ask me.

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Traveling to Madurai Dev style- Day 1

After missing the flight once on my Mumbai trip and almost missing it second time on the same trip, I have decided to see the airport bus timings beforehand (hope I maintain this practice). So for the Madurai trip I reached a little too early(almost 1.5hrs before).

I was flying to Madurai for the first time and Kingfisher red was the airline. I took a print of the ticket at the airport and rescheduled the return flight to a day before. And the process took a little too long than expected. The lady at the ticket counter tried to search the key for the cash box, everywhere in her shirt. It reminded me of the small towns where women keep valuables inside their blouse, here the pockets were outside(Not really sure if the shirt design was part of marketing strategy). Then eventually she figured out it was not there. And asked her colleague to handover the key to her. Finally my ticket got rescheduled.

I met Sammir Dattani aka Dhyaan, an actor. Also saw Kannada actress Sanjana. Now I headed to security check. Simple process as usual. The security personals at Bengaluru airport don’t promote you to do modeling/acting(like police guys at Mumbai airport do). For them everybody is a software engineer.

A good thing about Bangalore airport is you can dine with Sparrows. There are lots of them, and they hover mainly around the south Indian food counter, I don’t think they have taste for continental food and burgers. Having lived in smaller towns, I am used to seeing them and like their presence. After hogging biryani I headed for the flight.

A small airplane, I saw it for the first time. And it was also half empty. I heard few people talking in english with rolling tongue, and it made me feel like I was already in Tamilnadu. One gentlemen had come from mumbai and was traveling to madurai via Bangalore, he was quite worried if his luggage will reach Madurai or not. I told him not to worry, Kingfisher is usually good at their services.

In the flight they served some sort of veg cheese sandwich. I spotted one hair inside the pack, and reported it the air hostess. And she was like sorry, sorry, sorry.
Though I have long hair which sometimes come into my mouth(which is indication for me to have hair cut), I don’t really like eating hair, I think nobody does. When the flight landed on Madurai airport, the airhostess asked me for my visiting card and told that the customer care will call me regarding the hair which was found in the sandwich pack. I am not sure if Kingfisher gives some kind of HAIR-SPOTTING-AWARDS.

The temperature outside was 36degree Celsius. And since I had running nose, I found this weather very pleasant. Madurai seemed like a big town from the flight with lots of water bodies. And I took a taxi from airport to the hotel where I was supposed to stay, Grands Central (Not really sure why they could not manage with the name Grand Central itself, must be some kind of copyright issues).

Madurai seemed like city of God (God=Rajanikanth). His recently released movie Robot had presence all over the city. And there were many big big banners with all local politicians on them, I find these kind of posters funny, as they put 10-20 heads side by side making it look like Ravana’s head (Politicians==Ravana??). And also I could not figure out what contribution these politicians had in the movie.

I checked-in the hotel, Grands central, and decided to take a single room. A decent hotel (not the Jab-we-met types decent), but a complete contrast from the hotel from my last assignment (Lakeview Grand Ashok, Bhopal). And I was pretty much sleep deprived and slept for long time. After waking up in the evening, I decided to head out in the city. And figured out that Meenakshi temple was very close to my hotel (300m). I think the good sleep gave me too much energy, and while locking the room, the door knob came into my hand. And I had to shift to a double room.

I walked towards Meenakshi temple, and when I was just about 50m from the temple. It started pouring like mad, and it reminded me of bangalore. As it flooded the space very soon. And it rained for a long long time. And to protect my camera and my running nose, I could not afford to get drenched. And I could not visit the temple. Also one gentleman helped the flood by making his son susu in front of one of the restaurant. I saw one shop selling Mecca Medina paper weights there, a symbol of national integration.

After the rains became lower, I decided to walk back to the hotel. But took a cycle rickshaw instead, the guy asked me for 30Rs. Listening to figure of 30, I immediately agreed. Being in Bangalore, you get a habit of listening to figures of 100s from the auto guys. Once I got into the rickshaw, I realized that my hotel was just 300 meters away, and that almost made it 100Rs/Km :O. This became the costliest ride of my life by moving my ride in Haridwar to second spot. (The earlier one was in Haridwar, at 100Rs/1.8Km).

Coming back to the hotel, I turned on the TV. And saw Discovery and Disney channels in Tamil, and came to know the power of the language. It reminded me of my bus trip from Salem to Bangalore, where I got a chance to see Harry Potter in Tamil.

So nothing to watch on tv, and no internet, I decided that I should start blogging about my trips. So this completes Day-1 report.

IITian who can click!

Disclaimer: None of the characters/incidents in this article are inspired by 3 Idiots.

Them: “What was the reaction of your parents?”
Me: “They were speechless, and are still speechless”
Them: “What happens to the knowledge you gained in IIT?”
Me: “IIT teaches you lots of things, not only technical stuff.”

Though I was always inclined towards creative fields, I opted to appear for JEE, which is the best engineering exam in the country. And like every kid from a mid-size town, IIT was a dream. It still is a dream.
When I got through JEE, my heart used to say, if not computer science then I will choose architecture branch. But while filling the options, mind won over heart. And I chose the standard options – Computer science, Electronics and mechanical. There was no architecture in my list.

After getting into IIT, you are treated like a king by your family/friends/city. But once you reach the college, everybody is an IITian. And the race to gain the technical knowledge from the best professors in the country begins. Sometimes the mind just refuses to gain the knowledge. But after surviving an exam like JEE, you get the confidence (confidence rating=75%) that you can pass all the exams. And this confidence actually works (may not get you the best grades though).

I also got a chance to nurture my art skills at IIT. Various competitions related to arts specially the Diwali celebrations more popularly known as ILLU and Rangoli started the creative itch in me. Years passed by. I graduated from IIT with some more knowledge in Arts. Like most of the students, I also got placed into a good MNC. One of my friends had predicted that I will stick to the same MNC all my life. I said “maybe”.

Job security is a prime concern in India. We prefer security. And my job gave me lots of job security. It gave me enough money to enjoy life as well. And I made it a point that I enjoy my life. Most of people in India want to keep earning for everybody else in the family/society. And forget to live for themselves. I hope that changes in the future.

Once I moved to Bangalore, I got more chances to do some creative courses. I started learning animation and I decided to go to US for studying animation. My family was shocked when they heard this. My mom asked me “what happens to your IIT degree?”.

Anyway, after analyzing the financial viability of animation, I dropped the idea of pursuing it. (Confidence rating=70%). At the same time, my bro-in-law had bought a digicam and I started doing photography, people liked my work. I got inspired by two friends of my friends Anupam and Gaurav, who used to maintain a daily photoblog. I also started my photoblog on flickr. I used to write a small interpretation/story associated with each picture. It was well received. And this gave me more motivation. (Confidence rating=90%)

I bought my first camera (DSLR) when I was on a business trip to South Korea in Sept’2007. And then the journey started. I started doing more and more photography. Some people used to comment on my photographs daily. There were many people who silently followed my work, and would tell me once in a while that my photographs made them happy. This would bring me a sense of satisfaction. (Confidence rating=95%)

Arts related jobs are not very highly rated in India, so a decision to move into photography was still a far dream. Many people have the habit of commenting without looking at your work. “You want to move into photography from a software job? Are you mad?” this is something which you might hear often (confidence rating=85%). Anyway I used to compare myself with myself. And I wanted to keep improving on my work. (Confidence rating=95%)

In between I also attended some theater workshops, which gave me some nice friends who supported my creative side. And this gave me more confidence.

Time moves very fast, and it was already 2 years that I maintained my photoblog. The response became better. I had never tried to sell my photographs. (I still haven’t). But there were some people who hired me for some assignments. (confidence rating=100%)
The turning point came when I was selected to cover 2010 Kingfisher Calendar Launch event. My work from the launch event got me some more fans. It increased my confidence to make a career switch. (Confidence rating=150%, confidence threshold exceeded). I decided to take a tough decision. I decided to quit my job.

There is a big difference between “what you can do” and “what you wish to do”.

When an IITian decides to do an MBA just after IIT, nobody really cares that what part of his knowledge from IIT he is going to use. But when the same IITian goes to a non standard path, people start raising eyebrows. But what I feel is if you have the passion, then there will be results, maybe slow maybe fast. But there will be results.

Happy New Year 2010 and THANK YOU

He came .. He asked for Votes (read as begged/ spammed with mails) … and he won the Kingfisher Calendar Contest … And he vanished … And became a big politician …

Stop Stop … I’m no politician and I can never be one (even if I am good at begging for votes) …

Well then the next question would be … why not a thank you mail as well? I wanted to say a BIG BIG THANK YOU … and with some more goodies …

1. Treat (If you can catch hold of me :D )

and there is only one right now.

December 2009 was a busy month, even though I was on vacation. I was busy like never before … since I was working on two small projects … and they had to be done nicely … One of them which you already have seen is my new blog .. (isn’t this where we are right now? ) where I will be writing about some useful stuff and my life … my old blog which some of you must have gone through … is in hibernation like Kumbhkaran … and I don’t have any food to offer to him …

So what is the other thing? I have finally accomplished one more dream, of having my own website, partially designed by me. So here I present the link to the website
and there is one more project for which some of you have seen sample and received too. But others have to wait for some more days. Mostly a week.

But this still doesn’t answer for the NON-BIG BIG THANK YOU part. Well, I wanted to club the launch of the site with the thank you with the HAPPY NEW YEAR.

The cool thing is now a days you can wish people for the festivals 3 days in advance or 3 days later too, depending on the festival. (This margin is just one day for birthdays of course). So this implies I am well within the limits to wish you HAPPY NEW YEAR. Wish you a very happy and prosperous new year.

For Girls:
May god shower John/Ranbir etc etc on you. (One at a time)
For Guys:
May god shower babes of Kingfisher Calendar on you. (All at a time)

And BIG BIG THANK YOU to all of you for increasing the photography itch in me. I hope it will result in better pics in 2010.

And if you find that my mails are close to spam, then please let me know. I will remove you from the BUG-LIST, oops I meant TO-BUG-LIST.
Also since my flickr has been dormant for past few days, does it mean it has hibernated too? Nopes, it hasn’t and the services will be resumed soon.

Please forward the BIG BIG THANK YOU to people around you(All who were made to vote for me). And some HAPPY NEW YEAR wishes too.
Any feedback on the design of the site, the quality(Good/Bad) of pictures there is WELCOME.

Also as I’m fasion freak and creating a fan page on Facebook is in fashion. So I have created one for myself too. my Fan Page. THANKS.

A Journey Through Glamour with Kingfisher Calendar Launch

It was all a dream, definitely a dream till it turned a reality. I wonder how it begun though; never fathomed a dinner with a friend who told me about the contest by Kingfisher looking for a photographer to cover the calendar launch event, would be it. Yes, that was it. But I came to know about the contest only on 7th December. I had deadlines at my workplace to take care of before my vacation from 9th December 2009 kicks in. So I had to finish my work before that.

Irrespectively, the journey began. I made my profile on the website (My Contest Profile) and started asking (read begging) for votes. I spammed inboxes of all I knew to vote for me and coaxed my friends to spam their respective friends. It worked. Very next day I reached 10th Rank. And the day after that I was in top 5.

As I was about to travel on 9th and my access to internet would have been limited, I decided that I will carry my 4 years old 4 Kgs laptop to browse. I saw myself spending my travel and time thereafter asking (read again as begging, from an expert beggar by now) for votes. Some people who liked my photography also started getting votes for me. Within no time it was a close contest. I moved to first spot in few days and stayed there for good 2 days. But last three days of contest saw a tough competition and I finished second in the number of votes. Yet, I hoped I will still be selected because of my photography skills. When results were declared on 17th, I was there on the list of winners. It all felt like a dream. As a photographer I had some plans, but this was “THE” opportunity for any photographer.
And a BIG BIG BIG thank you to people who had the confidence in me and made me reach there.

I came to know that the event was in Mumbai at Dr. Vijay Mallya’s house. I was already on vacation and about to roam in Mumbai. COINCIDENCE. Isn’t it?

In the dreams, you are supposed to be well dressed and look as best as you can. But the dream was over and reality was so close; I tried shopping for the dress code Calendar-ish, which was kind of confusing. Help came from a friend Yash in finding the good areas in Mumbai to shop. And we zeroed in on a designer shirt and black trouser and some accessories.

I was all set to attend the party; my friend from Kingfisher side was Sambhav, who had the invites for me(The babe on invite was so hot). He had also arranged for the flight back to Bangalore (thanks to the contest). I woke up early in the morning to get ready on time and reach the venue on time. The event was supposed to start at 1pm, but got delayed a little. I like a kid in candy shop arrive a bit early and was lucky to get the glimpse of the calendar girls; their posters were already put up which were not covered by any photographers by then. Not many people around at that time also made me click the pics peacefully (you see, arriving early at times helps). The pics are there in the end of this blog (READ the blog and then only jump to them :D ).

On the entrance of the house, there were beautiful babes, who welcomed the guests. It would be a sin to address Dr.Vijay Mallya’s house as house, so from now on I will refer to it as a PALACE. And Dr. Vijay Mallya as the KING. On the entrance there was this big poster which depicted all the Kingfisher hotties over the years, truly Kingfisher and Hot girls are like twins. This followed calendar preview, wherein the models came and posed.
Inviting :D
Babes receiving the guests

Mallya, I mean The King and no signs of Booze. That’s Blasphemy, so there was a counter with all UB products or call it drinks adorning it (for free of course).
Good times ...

As I heard from a passer-by, the guests list comprised of all big names of Bollywood, it was quite exciting to speculate who all will arrive. The calendar was brought to the stage at around 1:30pm and it was beautifully wrapped in yellow. It itself made a perfect picture. The King arrived at around 2pm and so did the models from the calendar. I started getting some shots of the models and followed each one of them, and they were sweet enough to pose for me.

And suddenly someone appeared … any guesses …. ???
DEV.D (Abhay Deol)
Abhay Deol
So this Dev.P was in front of Dev.D or vice-versa, I just started clicking him …click click click … and got some nice shots … and then focused back to the models …

Others to make their presence felt were Madhur Bhandarkar, Mandira Bedi, Simone Singh, Purab Kohli. I was getting all confused by now as to whom to click … hot models around me or the Bollywood celebs … and then Nagesh Kukunoor arrived and I clicked him … one more good shot …

Cyrus started a funny game at around 2:30 and it involved five teams of two guys each, YES GUYS … and partner A had to get a drink from a lady in the audience and partner B had to drink the drink in a milk bottle meant for babies… here there was some cheating from all the teams and Siddharth Mallya was declared the winner, the reason given by Cyrus was that he was the son of the King :D .

After the event was over I was going to the drinks counter, to get some fruit juice but then I had to stop … why… why … why … because Deepika Padukone was sitting inside the Palace. and I got two candid shots of her… and then later on I mustered the courage to go inside the palace and get a click of her … but then she said I will be back in some time … and then later on I got some more good shots … one with the Prince too …
Too Exclusive

And then Kunal kapoor made his entry … and I went very close to him and I think he felt I was a stalker … I almost appeared so with my big camera :D … and click click click … few more good shots … meanwhile Cyrus had started his question answer session for the hot models … questions involved their english accents, about their funny names, height and etc etc … and ya their relationship with Atul :D
Kunal Kapoor

In the end the Ace photographer Atul and the King gave their speech … and Deepika arrived on the stage … there were just click sounds thereafter … She was looking billion bucks. She unveiled the Calendar. I think I was clicking more of her pics than the Calendar…

Post launch Deepika was posing with the new Calendar and thus started the mad rush. Every photographer was stepping on each other to capture Deepika. Glad that I had got much better candid shots earlier.

I had a morning return flight from Kingfisher. I didn’t sleep at all and was uploading some pics on Facebook/flickr … It was really a life changing experience … and I think it is an experience I will cherish for my lifetime …

And here are some hot pics from the Calendar … You can ask me for the full size images…
Kingfisher Calendar Launch 2010

Kingfisher Calendar Launch 2010






More to come

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