Click your way to SUCCESS
Commercial photography is a sought after and rewarding profession. Unfortunately, most people want to take up this profession, just because they think it makes them look cooler. However, soon they get a reality check, and they venture into some other business. So, in order to be a successful photographer, you got to be passionate about photography, that’s where it all starts. And yes, there’s no time guarantee. You should be prepared to struggle your way out.
Actually speaking, photography itself is a combination of art and science. But commercial photography also involves another very important variable i.e. business. Today, it’s perhaps the most important factor. You should be able to market yourself and invest in relationship management. And once you master this rather tricky combination it is a rewarding life long career that promises adventure, fame, money and an enviable life (sometimes).
At this moment, many would suggest you work as an assistant to a successful photographer. But that approach could take years to learn the ropes. So it’s always better to learn basic photography in colleges and workshops at a modest fee. In fact, I have just recently collaborated with Hindustan University in Chennai, to launch a photography college—HITS Academy of Photography.
Whatever genre of photography you choose to work in, the foundations remain the same. That is why it is important to get a sound knowledge of the basics. A good understanding of shutter speeds, depth of field, lighting and composition are the basic tools you need to make (or break) a photograph.
Karthik Srinivas, the brand ambassador for Sony Alpha Camera series, explains a thing or two about professional photography.
Once you have mastered these, the photographic world is at your command. And today, digital technology has made the learning process faster—you no longer have to wait for negatives to be developed to checkout your own work. So it becomes convenient to plan and create a portfolio and pitch for work. You just have to be sure about your field.
Advertising photography is probably the most popular genre with photographers, because working with an advertising agency means working with other creative people who know exactly what they want from a shoot. The photographer is often included in the planning and conceptual stages of the shoot. Meetings are held, creative briefs are given, mock shoots and drawings are sent across the board. The photographer has a voice in all of these stages, and he is also instrumental in selecting the right models for the job. And on the day of the shoot, the photographer is of course the captain of the ship! You need to supervise and approve the hair styling, make up, set, props and so on.
With digital technology now playing a major role in every aspect of photography, advertising shoots are sometimes planned, keeping digital manipulation in mind. This does not mean that photography is always enhanced using digital techniques, it means that the boundaries of what we can portray through a photograph have expanded. Take for example dream-like images, or photographs that show levitation or flotation—digital makes this possible. So, when an art director or a photographer is conceptualising a shoot today, his creativity is only limited by his own imagination, not by technology!
Shooting celebrities is as glamorous as it can get. They are already used to being photographed, so you get the right feel and the right poses with ease. The challenge here can be the time frame—sometimes you get only a few minutes to shoot a celebrity, and you don’t get a second chance to get the lighting right! When a group shot is required, it is even more difficult to get multiple celebrities at the same time, so we end up shooting them individually and then combine the images to make one final photograph.
Fashion photography is the dream of many an aspiring photographer! No doubt that fashion photography has a certain aura of style and popularity attached to it, but there is so much more to it than that. Fashion photography is all about two creative minds coming together to express a message though the garments and through the images. The fashion designer and you, both need to see eye to eye on what the design is trying to convey, and the images that you make need to be in line with it. The rewarding aspect of fashion photography is the fact that it is an end to end creative process, and you are constantly working with other creative people who know their job.
Product photography is a joy to work on, because you can usually work at your own pace, give the utmost attention to detail, and you can get your perfect shot. Shooting watches, jewels, and other tabletop subjects is a specialised field in itself, which demands an attention for detail that only a trained eye can perceive. When shooting products, the photographer has to have a good knowledge of white balance control, especially where garments are concerned. When products are depicted in brochures, catalogues or web pages, the color tone needs to exactly and accurately match the product.
So, there is practically something for everybody where the genres of photography are concerned. Some may not be very comfortable working with people, which eliminates the option of portraiture or fashion, but then there are always other genres of commercial photography such as product or catalogue photography, interiors, automobile photography…the list goes on. So, if photography is your calling, pick your category carefully.