Photography came to my life as a vision of looking at things that I couldn't see through my bare eyes. I was very fascinated by macro photography. I used to click photographs of nature (I think most of us started that way). I started exploring photography from the mobile phones that my friends used to buy, things were going well. In 2015, I got into an engineering college. I had no idea we needed to give entrance exams because I was not at all into studying, so I took the admission on a percentage basis and didn’t really care about it. I used to go to college and I wasn’t really interested in the classes so I used to go out and click pictures. That’s when I started taking photography seriously.
I started clicking street photographs while exploring Mumbai. As the first semester ended, I realized that it’s not worth the time. I told my parents about wanting to pursue a career in photography and surprisingly they agreed to it. My dad even bought me a Canon 1200D. Even though it is a basic camera I still find it as one of the best as I have learned everything on that camera.
Now that I had a camera, the biggest challenge was what to do with it? How to approach professionals for technical knowledge. Around this time my cousin told me about a photography diploma in his college. The fee was affordable but it was hard to get a seat. I decided to give the entrance exam and to my surprise, I secured 3rd rank in the entrance exam. As I finished my diploma, I was the Topper of my batch. My father showed his faith in my photography which was an achievement for me. It was sort of a validation that my parents were convinced that I can do good in this field.
I started doing a few portraits, commercial shoots, and video editing. People didn’t really believe that I could click those pictures through my Canon 1200D. I saved up to buy a better camera and bought a 80D through my earnings as a photographer & video editor.
I actually started posting my work on Instagram in 2019. I had my social media account but I was not very active and never really paid attention to it. I never knew it would be so beneficial for my work and act as a portfolio. It took me a year to gain 1000 followers and honestly I didn’t really care about the numbers. I used to click street photographs from way before but didn’t know what to do with them. So, I chose Instagram as a medium to post those pictures.
Most people know me for the way I play with color tones. I have a thing for the cinematic world. Soon, I started posting reels which gave me more engagements. People started recognizing my work and I motivated myself to post everyday. Eventually, hard work paid off and people started appreciating my pictures and many pages started featuring me.
As a photographer, you need to manage your finances too. Street photography is great but it doesn’t give earnings at such an initial stage. I did fashion and wedding shoots to sustain. I love photography and I want to earn through my photography no matter what the genre is, I always enjoy my time with the camera.
I shared a video on world photography day and I got a lot of DMs to make a tutorial of it. I have watched a lot of tutorials in my life and I wanted to make something different and hence I made an IGTV tutorial on Instagram. Last year, I also started my own channel. I love making videos for fun.
Posting every day is good for your social media but don’t go gaga over it. You also need to maintain the quality of your pictures. Do not mess with your good pictures by posting anything just to maintain the everyday post things because at the end of the day it’s your work that is going to speak and not the fact that you post them everyday.
Pandemic made me realize how important it is to sit back and relax. It gave me time to look back at my previous photographs and posted them. It also made me realize how far I have come. I had around 45-50k photographs from 2011 till lockdown. I got time to review my photographs and maintain the consistency of my timeline. Sometime later, my hard drive got damaged and I lost 1.5 TB of my photography data. Now what remains only with me are 2011 & 2012.
One of the biggest things that happened during lockdown was that I was invited as a guest speaker in a college event zoom session to teach some basics of Mobile Photography and composition. There were around 85+ students in the session, it was a 45mins session but me being me, I took the session to 1.5Hr and 65+ students were still in the session. It was the first time that I was mentoring on a big platform. I was nervous to talk in front of many people and you cannot really see people’s reactions online but I’m glad it went well. Some of them texted me later that they enjoyed the session and I have cleared many concepts for them. I always like to help people whenever they ask for feedback or anything very honestly.
As a photographer, I used to go to many streets in different cities but never really explored my own neighborhood! As unlock 1 began, I went to my neighborhood and saw the things from my camera and wondered why I never explored it before. I posted a few pictures on my Instagram and one of the pictures turned out to be my most liked picture from 2020.
Once I was clicking pictures at CST station and there was a Muslim family. I clicked their group pictures and then I saw one girl among them, whose eyes were looking so good in their traditional dress. I asked her if I could click her picture and she agreed. Later, her mother came to me and said that it was ok that I clicked her pic but she didn't Want it to be posted on social media. It has been my best portrait till date but to maintain my ethics I never posted it anywhere.
As a photographer, I would like to tell everyone to keep exploring. It is the most important thing in the world for a photographer. My motto is always to “Keep exploring & experimenting”.
- Shubham Sharma
- Blog by Harshita Sharma