Thoughts on Rails

Riding the Train of Thought

Studio Photography

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PriyaFinally after trying to convince myself to just keep with nature photography, I decided to give studio photography a try. I’ve done it before for a friend, but that was the ‘first time’ and I was not alone – I was photographing in the studio of ‘Abhi Tak’ a cable news channel that runs in 4 districts of Maharashtra. Oh and though it sounds similar to a national news channel’s name, this channel has been running from long before!Thanks to Kuldeep Munde, the owner of Abhi Tak who not only encouraged me during the very beginning of my career in photography, but also has been giving me many opportunities to learn and gain confidence! Among them was the idea to introduce me to studio photography.

I was unsure about it all. I had always photographed nature… would I be able to adjust with faces in front of my lens? Unknown people. What would they think of me, sticking my little camera in their face? More than that, I was worried of being laughed at – for carrying a point-and-shoot into a studio!

It was en embarrassing thought, everyone else would be used to all the hi-fi professional equipment, and there I would be – with a tiny little camera, trying to make portraits.

NiveditaYes, I had a difficult time convincing myself; however I finally somehow managed to do it. On the d-day, I took God’s name and walked into the studio upright and confident. Luckily nobody was there when I triumphantly pulled out my Nikon – Nikon Coolpix 2000!

That was ok, now I was in the studio, with the camera in my hands and nobody else. Just then Kuldeep arrived with the model – his wife. He tried to make it easy on me – I knew the person I was going to photograph and it was nice to know that she is a professional in Katthak, a traditional dance form of India – and was comfortable with cameras.

We first chatted for a while, and then set up the studio while enjoying a few jokes and finally Kuldeep announced that we should start with the shoot. He brought out his camera and instructed me on the first few frames. He directed the whole show but let me choose my frames. The rest of the shoot was all fun and I almost forgot about all the anxiety I had in my mind!

PritamThe photographs came out pretty well; so much that even I could not believe that this small camera could actually handle it all! Since the light was not exactly bright – the lights were out and on the backup system, we could use only one halogen lamp. It was enough for their video equipment, but my camera was dying for bright light. Many photos came out blurred. But there were more good photos than bad, so no worries!

In the end, I was happy to have accepted his offer because there was a lot to learn in those few hours of friendly photo-shoot; many tips and a fair amount of experience too. Encouragement and trust was what I found most useful. Thanks Kuldeep!

Now, it’s been a few months since I did that shoot. I photographed a few friends outdoors and some indoors, but not in what you can call a studio environment. My camera flash to compensate for the lack of light isn’t studio 😉 Moreover I now have a decent camera. A digital SLR, nothing less!

Realizing that I would lose all track of the stuff I learnt previously if I didn’t practice, I sent out an invitation to my cousins to gather up on a weekend. Actually the credit for this idea goes to my mother. We had a rocking time with all the jokes and stories and the great food that mom served us. But more than that – we enjoyed a photo shoot that involved four models, one photographer and a very enthusiastic mom who helped everyone in stuff from make-up to holding the reflectors!

Priya, Nandita, NiveditaMy cousins Priya, Nandita and Nivedita and my brother Pritam were the celebrities for the day. Each of them took turns in posing for the camera while others were busy changing their look/dress. Mom was either helping them or holding the only artificial light source while I photographed.

Yes, we had only one light source – an 18 watt CFL lamp. I’m a sucker for artificial lighting! I just can’t do without sunlight. Ok… maybe I will be able to, but when available, I love the sun!

The setup was interesting – it was past noon and the sun was shining brightly on the floor from the balcony door. I looked around and found a small white table. It was about 3×3 feet and only one foot tall, perfect for a reflector! So I arranged it to reflect the bright light on the ceiling and on the wall behind me. We placed a wooden partition stand and wrapped it up with bed sheets, sarees – to make our makeshift background. A mirror was ripped from the wall and employed to reflect the diffused light to cover up some shadows on the background. The lone CLF lamp was used to light up the faces from the opposite direction of sunlight.

The weather was partially cloudy – and hence the sunlight was very unstable. It was diffused for a while, suddenly it used to become very bright and with the reflector – it would fill the whole room with light. Next moment, everything would be dark again.

NanditaChallenging and fun, that’s how we all love it! Turned on some music on the mobile phone and started the shoot-out! Next four hours went by so fast that nobody noticed! I had to download the photos to the laptop once and then start again – first time since I got the dSLR that I filled more than one whole gigabyte in one shoot!

Immediately after the session was over, we enjoyed a refreshing cup of tea and I started the post-processing. Everyone sat around the computer, joking about each photo as I pulled it up for editing. Some funny expressions and a few candid shots made everyone laugh out loud!

And finally after the white balance for each photo was adjusted, the levels fixed and slight sharpening added with a little glow in the end, we selected the good ones and watched a slideshow – enjoying each and every photo.

I’m more than happy today, because not only did I learn a lot more, but we all made memorable photographs!

Tomorrow, I have to select a few from the 200+ photographs and get the prints and dispatch them to my cousins – and while I’m at it – here are a few for the world to see 🙂


Written by hiway

August 21, 2006 at 1:21 am

Posted in diary, photography

One Response

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  1. hi there harshu,

    whats up?

    whos that girl???????

    i mean

    vishal paradkar

    August 30, 2006 at 2:26 pm

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