Gender Bias in Photography or Male Gaze / Man Gaze - Research

Those of you who follow me, know that for the past few weeks I conducted a research. I mentioned this on my instagram. This research was about gender bias in photography. And how it still remains and some more interesting facts I learnt through this small scale research.Read more


White backgrounds and their versatility

The White background is one of the most versatile backgrounds for photography. Let's have a look at two setupsRead more


Her - Behind the Scenes (Video)

Behind the scenes video of a recent project, I shot "Her". In the video, you can watch, how I use just one light and a reflector to achieve acceptable results.Read more


How to find your personal style in photography? (or any creative field)

Have you ever seen a painting or photograph and thought "This might be (artist name)'s work" that is personal/signature style!

A written signature is unique to every individual, although it's a, written form. When it comes to creative work, like photography, painting, drawing, designing etc. a signature is as unique, except it's not a written form. Consider it more as an invisible stamp of the artist representing very well that it's their work. You might have that horrifying friend who eats the pizza from the back, that's their signature style of eating. When you see a half eaten slice, you'll instantly recognise it's them! Just kidding :P



Though this post isn't about why personal / signature style is important in photography, (hopefully ill write about its importance soon) personal/signature style is why people would follow, recognise and appreciate your work. And even hire you for it.

If you are reading this post you are probably wondering how to create your own signature style in photography. Although it doesn't come overnight, rather takes years to develop and to be honest comes automatically. But there are some exercises you can do to understand your personal style and hone it further.

Collect Photos

Collect about 150-200 photos that you like from various photographers. Google and Pinterest are very helpful for this. Once you have them, edit them to the best 10 you like. You may do this in several passes, editing down from 200 to 150, 100, 80, 40, 20, 10 as you go in passes.

Edit your own photos

from all the photos you have ever shot, edit them down to best 10. Just like you did for the previous step. it's best to have old photos here so you don't have any emotional attachment to the recent works you may have created which would pollute your decisions. Like the recent pet photo, you made which you cannot get over. On that note, if you have a cat snapshot in your portfolio, while you are a portrait photographer, you should sell your camera immediately. B&Hphotovideo or Adorama are good places. Yes, I even linked them. You're welcome :P

Study these 20 photos

By now you should have 20 photos. 10 of various photographers and 10 of your own. let's start with the other photographer's works.

Study these 10 photos in detail. Lighting, composition, colour grading, elements in the photo, expressions, clothes, literally every little detail in the photos. and note them down photo by photo. for example

  1. Straight face, black shirt, hard lighting, plain grey background, closeup
  2. black shirt, laughing, closeup, natural light
  3. closeup, hard lighting, straight face
  4. etc

Now do the same with the 10 photos from your own work.



Study the commonalities

By the end, you should have every photo described in a very similar fashion to how you would keyword photos. These are the details you saw in those photos and it may differ from every individual. This is what describes how uniquely you view certain images compared to how any other individual would. Remember that friend who views the pizza slice wrong side front? exactly!

You will have similarities in these keywords. Like in the example above, closeup exists in all the three photos. So most probably closeup is what I like. Or whoever wrote those 3 as an example. I did, isn't it? no, I didn't! I don't know who did :S :P Yes I did!

These similarities are what describes your style, your passion and your way to see and make photos. Uniquely you, uniquely your style.

Do let me know in the comments if this helped you. Have a great weekend and hope that helps. As always, thank you for reading!


What is a timeless photo? How do you make one?

What is a timeless photo?

Timeless according to Cambridge Dictionary

Something that is timeless does not change as the years go past

Hence a timeless piece of art, as a photograph, is something which would have the same viewing experience always without time and years effecting its value.

Read more


In this age, Cameras are a "Personal Choice" - How to choose the best?

We live in an age of technical precision. Almost everything is machine made, carefully calibrated to almost perfection. Designed and manufactured with the highest level of detail. More so when it comes to Electronics and Gadgets.(Even foods!). So how do you choose the best camera? its more personal and logical than you think!

Read more


How and Why you must learn to say NO

Whether you notice or not, we all take decisions so often. You breathing is a decision of your brain when to exhale and when to inhale. Lets take this concept of decision into photography and its business!

Read more


Her - Personal Project

Inspiration

For this project, I wanted to create portraits that resembled the paintings of Masters of painting. The idea was to highlight the beauty of women not specifically highlighting their curves, skin or what they are wearing (even though all of this is equally important when making these photographs) but to create a story and highlight their beauty by their personality & expression.

Read more


Why its important to have another source of income when starting out in photography or even when established

Even though this post is more focused on photography, it would apply to most of the creative professions. Most of us start photography as a hobby and then into a business. At least I belong to the same. When starting out photography as a business, most of us go through the confusion whether to continue their other job, or to quit and take up photography as a full time profession. Many of us also fail to recognise exactly when it is right to quit our other job / Source of income.

In this post, I would like to speak about why its important to have another source of income when starting out, or even when established as a photographer.

1. Photography as a full time profession

Photography as a business works on the principles of any other business, falling in the service industry, whether its a shop, product, service, all businesses operate on certain principles of business. Sure, there are minor differences, but as a whole, the general structure works the same. And just like any other business, starting out is not so easy. Especially if you don't come from a business background or your studies don't relate and wish to earn your total income through this business.

Looking at the established professional photographer, it sure seems that its a profession where we can easily survive, but we mostly fail to consider the amount of marketing, hard work and most certainly the amazing talent these photographers have put forward for years, which made them catapult to the position they are in right now.

As honest as I can be, any business starting out will not be able to suffice your total expenses. And especially in the creative industry, its even more tough as there is always an "uncle" or "cousin" of the client who can do it for free. (I am sure all of you creatives must have encountered such clients :p). This presence of that "uncle" or "cousin" pollutes the perception of clients in favour of saving money, failing them to understand the experience and talent that goes into each creative person's work. And in this age when a DSLR is so easy to acquire, its even more competitive.

My point is, its possible but very tough to earn all your income from photography alone, even for numerous established photographers.

2. Equipment

Almost every creative profession needs equipment which does not come for free! but when selling this, no client seems to consider these costs. Photography is no exception, the cameras, lights, tripods etc etc the list would just keep on going, are EXPENSIVE! now I am not saying you need the best & most expensive equipment. Sure, its the photographer not the camera and all those motivational lessons, but to be honest, equipment has its place and sometime or the other you would definitely need to get good equipment to improve your quality of work. Its the move from 98% to 99% quality that makes all the difference. And not to mention, their service and maintenance charges.

Having another source of income would most certainly help you in this and upgrading your equipment sooner.

3. Your style

Every photographer, or creative, is hired for their style of work. Aesthetic, creative sense, or however you want to put it, basically for the stamp that represents its them! Now, there are many ways to develop your style and the internet is filled with that information. The easiest I can tell you is you need to understand that everyone of us is unique, our DNA is our stamp of uniqueness, and when you listen to your creative brain speaking, thats when your work is your style.

How does this relate to having another source of income? as previously said, when starting out, most of us fail to recognise a proper time to quit their regular job, and mostly, its very early and hence we are now in a situation where we have to pay our bills and we have no other source of income. This mostly leads us to take up every project that comes our way, to survive. And in developing our style, and making our name in a business, its as much important to know when to say "NO" and when to work for free to build our portfolio. Taking up every other project that comes your way will honestly, not help you in making your mark! and if you have another source of income, you won't be clouded by the worry of bills and will better be able to judge a project for its value to your portfolio and being true to your creative self.

4. Personal Projects

When working as a commercial photographer, of course, you are hired for your style. and for your service. When a client needs something from you, you sometimes have to bend a little according to their needs. Sure, the work still looks and feels yours, because its you in the end photographing, your DNA! but again it is with a mix of someone else, your client, their products, their faces, whatever your subject is.

Personal projects on the other hand is 100% you! of course you would need a good team for it too. Maybe for the makeup, hair, model etc etc. but in terms of concept, the look of the final photograph, the project itself is you, in all your glory and creativity. And personal projects are in my opinion the purest form of self expression for an artist.

Having another source of income will most certainly help you in funding for these projects, without as much limitations. Especially when starting out.

5. Gaining experience to include in your own photographic journey

You should know that commercial photography is not necessarily solely client paying you for a photoshoot. There are hundreds of streams of income in a photographic service. Prints, retouching, books, etc.

Having another source of income, job, business, will help you gain experience in how industries and departments connect. In understanding the common ground where various industries and departments meet, which can be your marketplace as a photographic business/service.

A short example would be, you can be an editorial photographer at the same time offering retouching services to a high end fashion brand at the same time offering fine art prints to art collectors. Maybe!

 

Summarising, having other sources of income is definitely helpful and beneficial. I have different sources of income myself even though I can survive and pay my bills solely by photography business. But it never hurts to earn more right?

let me know in the comments what other ways of income you have, how you merged two departments finding your common ground for marketplace.

Cheers & have a great week!


Do you need a light meter?

Many photographers starting out with Studio lighting get overwhelmed by so options, settings and controls. And looking around we notice the "pros" using a light meter. And we mostly jump to the conclusion that this wonderful gadget it what is essential to make the perfect photographs. But do we really need one?

In this short video I try to explain why you would and why you wouldn't need a light meter.

I will shortly write about how you can go about without a light meter.