FO2 Stage | 093 | Faisal Shaikh

I like to call myself an engineer turned into a photographer. I was in the 2nd year of my engineering when I started photography and as soon as I had graduated from college I knew that I wanted to pursue photography as a career. I started with small paid projects and I still remember my first ever paid project was a simple portfolio shoot and then I started progressing in other niches too.

When I was just a beginner, I got a proposal to shoot for a restaurant but they wanted to see my portfolio first! I had no pictures of food back then. I remember going from restaurant to restaurant and asking if they wanted to shoot and promote their business but I didn't have a lot of luck there. One cafe finally agreed and they loved the pictures. Later, I worked with them for many shoots.

That was the beginning of my career as a food photographer. After a while,  I started my own firm at the time and we called it the klicker360. The 360 meant I had a vision of looking forward towards everything in a 360 Degrees angle from all the possible ways I could convert every possibility into opportunities. By clicking and getting knowledge of each and every genre of photography but Food photography was my most favourite. I used to carry my gear and lighting along with me for every shoot that we got a booking for and that was truly an excruciating phase. But soon enough, we grew out of it.  Later, when uber eats was just emerging in India, they were looking for photographers to shoot restaurants and their food in mass quantities. They approached me and I was absolutely up for the challenge. If I remember correctly, we shot around 40-45 restaurants in just a month!

After this project was over, they offered me a job to shoot most of their restaurants pan India and without a doubt, I took it. The pay was good and I was free to experiment with my creativity. I soon invested in a house in Mumbai for me and my family on an EMI basis and that was a big step for us. Unfortunately, uber eats was losing its audience and after a while, I had to withdraw from my job. It was quite a difficult situation for me, since I had made bigger commitments financially and now I had to find work actively to be able to figure it out.

I started promoting my work well and the more I worked, the stronger my network grew and I grew with my skills and talent hand in hand. One thing I learned during this process was that mouth publicity in this field of industry is the most important thing. While I was working and networking, I learned that the more I connected with people the better I was able to understand the industry and its people and what they wanted. To match their requirements with my expertise was quite a challenge because it took a lot of time, but at the end of the day, it was all worth it.

There have been some instances and experiences, when I worked for a certain project and the work was extensive and crucial, but I didn't get paid for any of it. Those were some times that really made me feel quite unmotivated towards my work and vulnerable too. It made me question myself and my work too, but to come out of it was one of the strongest things I have done so far and that truly makes me feel very proud. 

If it weren't for the support of my family, I don't know if I would have been able to pursue what I am doing today and the heights I have gone to, and the high jumps that I have taken. Despite having studied engineering, and pursuing photography instead, was not an easy thing to accept but the way my family always supported me and believed in me, was absolutely precious. I am a successful photographer today and I like to give my family just as much credit. I have shot 450+ F&B brands and they have all taught me something new every time. This experience has been enriching.

Also During covid, I have Started my own production house called “Local Logic Media” with 2 business partners. As soon as the idea popped up, we started working on it. We built the website overnight and the work we get to do makes me so happy. Along with this, we have also created “Insight of Stars” for our wedding photography projects. Initially, it was just us but now we are a team of 8 passionate people.

Believing in yourself and having self confidence is the most important thing that an artist can carry with themselves and they definitely should. There will be times when you will question and doubt your work but if you stay true to yourself and if you stay organized with your work, you will definitely succeed and move forward. Have faith, and keep going. It does not get any simpler than this. 

- Faisal Shaikh

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Editor: Harshita Sharma

Written by: Sayoni Walujkar

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