5 things to remember when shooting portraits

As I take more portraits, there are number of things that are standing out as important for a good portrait shot:

1. Model has to wear something that stands out – wearing bright colors helps. A different type of attire (eg: saree or pretty jewellery) can also add that zing to an otherwise bland shot.

2. Model has to feel comfortable to give natural poses – I almost think it helps a lot if you have another person with you whose sole job is to engage the model and put him/her at ease. Posed shots rarely look good, unless you’re shooting a professional model. Going for a short coffee before the shoot to put him/her at ease with you is a great idea.

3. Shoot early in the morning or at sunset – The light is beautiful and gentle at this time and adds a lot to the overall shot. 10am onwards, it starts getting harsh, more overhead, and creates unnecessary shadows.

4. Have a theme in mind for each photo – each photograph should tell a story. Having some pre-decided themes before the shoot goes a long way in getting interesting frames during the shoot. It’s great if you can keep these themes in sync with the model’s personality. Think lots of flower shots for someone very feminine, and a more edgy shoot for someone more tomboyish.

5. Try a lot of different angles – I usually go through a number of samples online before a shoot to get new ideas. There are so many angles from where you can shoot a person – up, down, sideways, front, close-up, far off, etc etc etc. Try all of them!

Here are the photographs of my friend Nidhi Srivastava, whom I photographed just a few days back:

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Abstracts at the Lotus Temple

Today I went to the Lotus Temple for a short while. A Bahai House of Worship, it is a beautiful structure made of marble, and open to all religions. Shaped like a lotus (and hence the name), it is a nice place for a quiet little evening.

Given its shape, the Lotus Temple is a great place to shoot some abstracts. I do feel that someone who has spent some time studying buildings and architecture could have done much more justice to it!

Lotus Temple front face

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lotus Temple Petal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pigeon on Lotus Temple leaf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lotus Temple Side View

The magnificent Qutub Minar

I am back in India again and so of course, visiting some of the historical sites in Delhi was on the cards. A few days back, I went to Qutub Minar. It is strange the number of times I have passed this monument on the way to numerous places in Delhi, and become so used to its presence, never considering that it might be a structure worth visiting and admiring. However, with my relatively recent photography bug and the desire to enjoy some sun in this chilly winter, Qutub Minar was chosen as a good destination.

There is much more to Qutub Minar than just a minaret. While the minaret, tallest of its kind in India, is of course magnificent, there are a number of beautiful corridors and arches surrounding the Minar. If visited during the early hours of the day, it is a lovely sight to behold. Near the Minar is also the famous Iron Pillar, a pillar whose metal composition has somehow not rusted since its time of construction! Rightfully so, the Qutub Minar has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

I took few photographs – going in the middle of the day offered plenty of sunshine but limited photo ops due to the multitude of tourists at the location.

Qutub Minar close up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inscriptions on Qutub Minar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Qutub Minar

Photographing babies

A few days back I tried to take photographs of a little baby girl I have come to know over the last few months. Very cute, and an exceptionally happy child, I thought it would be a piece of cake.

Of course, it wasn’t.

Photographing a child is really really hard. First of all – they will never do what you want them to do. Ask them to sit on something, or stand in some place, and of course, all they can do is try and press the buttons on your camera. So, Tip No. 1 – have another person with you, whose sole job is to play with the baby and keep him/her engaged. Second – babies never ever stay still. If they’re sitting, they’ll keep shaking their heads and hands. If they’re upright, of course they’re running. So, Tip No. 2 – use sports mode, in the hope that one of the shots will turn out great.

And overall Tip No. 3 – have a lot of patience. I guess that goes without saying, given that we are combining photography and babies 😀

Here are some of my more successful attempts at an otherwise fairly hopeless endeavor 🙂 –

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A visit to Old Delhi

It’s been an eventful trip to India. First year of MBA just got over and I am back in India for a bit to visit family and friends after one whole year. Much has happened…things have changed, people have changed, I have changed. New perspectives have been gained. A chapter in life has ended and a new chapter has begun. Life can indeed take unexpected turns.

Having spent most of my vacation coming to terms with this realization, I finally went out to do what I knew I loved – photography. It’s a shame that despite being brought up in Delhi for the most part, I’ve hardly seen any monuments in this historically rich city. And so I decided to pay Old Delhi a visit.

The Metro of course made the trip so much more delightful than it would have been earlier. I personally love taking the metro (I’m only 4 trips old though :)), and reached Chandini Chowk in air-conditioned bliss :). The stark contrast as one comes out of the metro station is perhaps something unique to India – from the clean, cool, and modern environ of the metro station, one enters the chaos of Chandini Chowk. As I threaded my way towards Jama Masjid, I passed a trash yard, a Nirulas cart, a ‘thela’ selling masalas, and rickshaws that would not stop even if you were standing right in front of them.

But, despite its quirks, contrasts, heat and sheer number of people, I still love India. Or maybe that is what I love? 🙂 I miss India there, and cannot wait to get back here, soon.

I did not really take many shots. The heat eventually did get to me, and maybe I was too lost in just looking around to bother much with taking photographs. Even so, I am sharing some of the better photographs I took. The monuments are Jama Masjid and Red Fort.

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