Read this before your first photoshoot as a photographer

Hello, my photo maniacs. I have brought you my first ever fashion photoshoot experience and how did I actually planned it, processed it, the mistakes I have made and things I have learnt etc. I was going through my google drive today and found my first ever fashion photo taken from my beginner Nikon D3200 camera. It was in 2012 I joined a short term fashion photography course in Delhi, which was my first professional introduction to photography. I am going to share all the details with you that are important to start your career in photography.

How I Started: I was a little confused and lost in choosing my career that really loves to do. I have always been a person of my will. I just cannot do what my heart doesn’t allow me. My parents wanted me to either get married or make a career that involves studying. I tried doing MBA as they requested me to do but somewhere knew that I am not interested. After wasting my 1 year I understood the value of confronting the desires we have. After a point, I told them (without knowing what it takes to be a photographer) that I want to do photography.
When my parents said “YES” to pursue photography, I started searching for photography collages in Delhi and I found an institute that was providing a short term course in fashion photography. I somewhere knew that I am always interested in the Fashion field when it comes to photography. When the short term course of 2 months was over, the institute has arranged a photoshoot for us with a model, makeup artist and wardrobe stylist. They have made us work for everything that is required for a photographer to know.

Studio work (Before shoot): We were paid a limited amount by the institute to buy something to make a creative background. My fellow student Tejal and I went to Lajpat Nagar, a very famous market in Delhi to see what can be done with that amount of money. We found some shiny table mats and thought they would be good for the background. We got some chains, guns and hats as well for the prop. We brought everything to the studio and started attaching each background together with the black tread that we bought with the background. We kept attaching the table mats together until the background was 9 feet in length and 6-7 feet in width, this took us hours.

Shoot Day: The shoot was the next day. We prepared the background a day before and kept it hung on the background stand in the studio that our institute own. The model came in and the makeup process started, the hair was done and it took around one hour. Tejal first started shooting, I was watching her direct the model and getting warmed up for my turn. As students, we could not say much about makeup and hair. Actually, we did not have much knowledge and opinion on that anyways. It was completely a new experience for us. We were free to change the lighting the way we want to because being a photographer that’s our basic job and that’s what we have learnt in the last two months. We used loop lighting and butterfly lighting a lot, as these two are very good for portraiture photography. Rembrandt lighting also gives a great effect in portraits. I did not expect myself to be directing the model and talking to her a lot about the moods and poses that I want, I was more of a quiet kind of person when I was learning. I guess I get active only when it is needed. My teacher was also surprised to see that side of me. He used to say that I can’t be a photographer because I used to move a lot while modelling for him. Well, I am still into photography and getting better and better at my work.

What did I learn: Learning is a lifelong process, especially when it comes to photography. If you practice lights every day, you might surprise yourself every time you pick up the camera. There are certain things I realised instantly after the shoot.

  1. Never use cheap looking props, it’s better to not use the props at all instead. The Gun and Hat is looking so fake and ugly.
  2. High budget shoots speak for itself.
  3. Know the rules before you break them. I was trying to do a lot with the lighting and framing which ended up exhausting the model and myself as well.
  4. Always talk to the model and make him/her/them comfortable so you get the best out of them.
  5. Every photographer has their own way of shooting, do not compare yourself with others and learn the way that suits you.

There are certain things I understood now looking at this shoot:
I did decent lighting for a first-timer. I did not like the styling and I would personally not go for red lipstick and nail paint on a black dress. The Red and black combination is very old. If I can, I would change the entire styling and makeup now. Maybe excluding the hair, I liked the hair. Also, Of course, I would do way better editing and lighting now.

I wish I knew this before: Before getting into this, I should have done the research about how expensive this field could be if you want to do it professionally. Photography pieces of equipment are expensive and need an upgrade all the time which will cost you a lot of money. However, the good news is, renting the equipment is an option now. You can have one basic kit with you to practice all the time and you can rent other pieces of equipment according to the client’s requirement. Also, you need a studio to run the business and practice studio light every day. If you are living in a city like Mumbai, real estate is very expensive, which again involves the money part. Costing is the only drawback I could find for this industry, otherwise, it is the best profession one could ever imagine. You create your imagination through the camera. Also, you need to know it’s teamwork. Being a photographer your core job is lighting and handling the camera. For the rest of the job, you need people to do it professionally. If you are a team player too, you should go for it.

By the time I recognised my style of photography. I love shooting people and especially fashion and portraits. Styling is very important for me because you can time travel with just one photo and give a different feel to every image. I almost love capturing everything related to humans, especially Indian or foreign vintage, feminine, glamour, Indian woman fashion, emotions, merging fashion with landscape etc.

I hope this article was helpful in some way. Comment below your photography style. See you soon again.

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