Monday, September 12, 2016

Event Photography In The Age Of Smartphones And Instagram

As we entered the new millennium, the internet and digital space exploded. Films cameras were replaced by digital cameras. And over the next few years, everyone was holding smartphones fitted with fairly descent camera as a standard feature. This lead to a revolution in photography world. Photography became accessible and relatively. People who would have never tried their hand in amateur photography, started liking and clicking the pictures. Social media has a great impact in our lives today. It has changed the way we think and even our shopping habits. People are clicking pictures and instant sharing them through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. Smartphone photography is enjoyable thanks to the ease of use and auto mode which gives you fairly good quality pictures. Add those filters from Instagram or from your favorite app and the image gets a nice makeover. Most of these editing apps are free to use. The instant gratification seeing pictures as you click gives you a high. And if you are not happy with the composition, go and click another one.

As a wedding photographer, I travel all over for covering all sorts of cultural weddings. One thing which is common in all weddings, is guests taking wedding pictures with their phones. As professional photographer at such an event, it does spoil my compositions with one odd hand with phone coming into the frame. Sometimes few enthusiastic go little over board to and would frequently come in my way to get their favorite composition. So it does hinder my work sometimes. The bride and groom now realize this problem and are requesting to guest on their invite to just enjoy the wedding without using their cameras. On the other hand there are couples who are sending invites from new age wedding apps to share all the images through wedding app. This allows them to share the wedding images on smartphones privately. All those wedding websites are being taken over by wedding apps.

Smartphone photography has grown in leaps and bounds in last 5 years. People are always online and are sharing images instantly. Many are upgrading themselves from phone photography and are buying digital cameras. Smartphone cameras generally works decently in day light but struggles in quality if you are shooting in the night. The sensors in smartphones does not match with the regular digital cameras. But this aspect of technology is also rapidly changing.

Smartphone cameras biggest advantage is the size and ease of use. But they have generally fixed wide lens which limits your photography options. For example you are going to miss those favorite bokeh effects when you compare with DSLR photographers. But this limitation help you improve your composition skills. You understand and accept the limitations of phone photography. Stretch your creative mind and you can get satisfying photography results. There are quite a few people including professional photographers taking phone photography very seriously. Last year, ace photographer Raghu Rai launched a book with photographs clicked only with mobile.  Smartphone provides the ease of anywhere photography. Just flip your phone and your phone turns into camera. Once you start shooting regularly with phones. It becomes an addiction sorts. Its a great tool to save those precious memories. Going through those pictures , a few years later is quite a fun. Those smiles on your face are precious when you are flipping through your pictures.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Online and Offline Experiences Affect Us

This after noon I was at a public sector bank for some regular work of my own account. I have been delaying it for a week or so. In India it is bit of struggle to get work done specially in public sector banks. But I noticed something nice they were doing. It affected me directly and indirectly. I had an experience in a way that I liked. I wanted my bank passbook to updated which is a minute job as everything is computerized. After finishing my actual work I thought of getting my passbook updated. I usually give it a pass as everything is available through internet and updating a passbook seems a waste of time. But being little traditional in sense and bank still following paper passbook. I do tend to get get it updated once in a while.

Online and Offline Experiences Affect Us

As I went to the desk where passbooks where getting updated. I noticed there was a blind or a girl who could hardly see was doing the job. I felt good that we as a society are growing and opening up doors to one's who are almost as capable as we all are. All they need is just a push or opportunity to prove. All fair all good. But I begin to get restless as time required will be more than normal. She was little slow as she would hear the account number and than efficiently key in number without delay. But that fraction of seconds and not so usual process was making me restless. We are use to have handing over passbook and wait till gets printed. So that delay was not a good feeling. May be I was feeling agitated inside. But soon something struck inside me about how we are courteous and vocal on facebook and twitter bought how we should help and take people into normal stream of life. Now it is a kind of opportunity to be part of that system and I am feeling restless. Soon the calmness prevailed and I felt privileged to be part of this "process". All we need is little mindfulness of the situation. I guess my presence on social media world did affected me to be mindful. The better sense will prevail. Just give some time to the situation. It helps not to the person in front of you but to you in the long run.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Wedding Inquiry - How To Write An Email To Wedding Photographer

A few days back I was part of online discussion of wedding photographers. An agitated photographer was ranting about an email he had received. The email was a wedding inquiry from a perspective client. He was in the bcc list of the sender. Photographer are emotional peeps. He was feeling offended in a way because it was addressed to him specially with all the standard elements of praise of the photographer. I think I can resonate with the thoughts what he was feeling. In-fact many photographers commented that they have received the same email as he had shared the screenshot of email hiding email and contact details of sender. In a matter a minutes the so many photographer came on-board of the thread

So why did the client send such emails. Why would a couple send an email to multiples photographers putting everyone in bcc or sometimes even in to list. Probably they are saving their time to send email to all the photographers. They wanted to check with multiple photographers about their offers which is fine. I think the approach can be little different. Lets try to see how ?

  1. Avoid sending exact same emails word to word.
  2. Don't use bcc/to list for sending emails.
  3. Avoid fancy praise of the photographer about how much you love his work. Be honest and praise only if you genuinely do. Photographer do sense that.
  4. Don't be too precise by sending one liners about packages or pricing.
  5. Share about when, where and what events you want it to be covered
  6. To engage or create interest for photographer, let him know how you find him/her. What aspect of his photography you liked or may be just share a line or two about the couple.
Photographers :

For photographers, even if they get not so friendly emails. They should try to take it calmly and understand that its okay to receive once in a while such email. Be professional and start conversation on email with relevant question about events, dates and/or about the couple. At the end of the day, it is still an inquiry and we value that.



Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Traffic Besides Me

As I walk down the street on the footpath the noise of the traffic is passing uninterrupted through my ears. The vehicles running down the streets are trying get my attention with their head lights. But somehow they are unable to do so. There is a pleasant numbness in my body which usually is not the case. This is my regular 10 mins daily walk from office to home. I took a major decision in the office today. Is it the affect of what happened today in the office ? or I am just too exhausted to feel anything around me. I am able to move forward without any effort. It is so confusing. Who he was, who  just passed by me and said "Hello" with a smile. Why I just stared at him without emotions. Before I could react or understand, we just crossed each other. I don't remember if I knew him. But it seems he knew me well !

It is starting to drizzle very slowly. Drops of water are running down my face. Everyone around me has an umbrella but I am not carrying one. Why I should be carrying an umbrella ? It is an unexpected drizzle at an unexpected time of the year. Guess what I forgot my laptop in office. That is the only thing I carry daily. How can I forget that. But I am finally just few steps away from my building now. I just need to cross this road. This heavy traffic is unusual but I will be able to cross. I don't know when I stepped out of the footpath and I am on the road from nowhere. I stood puzzled and could not react. The light of the traffic pierced through my eyes. The sound of horns rushing from  one ear to the another. Suddenly someone pulled me back to the footpath or may be I instinctively did that. Damn ! I was about to run over by that speeding bus. I wanted to thank the unknown but couldn't. May be I was blinded by headlights or I was just panic stricken. I saw a silhouette just mingled into the crowd. It was strange. I don't know when I crossed the road with a thought on why I couldn't see that stranger. All of sudden I was on the other side of the road. The road that divide the world into two halves was still busy. I am now on the other side of the road, in-front of my building. The drizzle had stopped. The breeze has almost dried my face. The skin of my face was cold but clean. My office and the road was behind me as I entered my building.

There was no one in the corridor. There was no one in the lift not even the security guard. I could hear the my own steps. The sound of me walking. As I was fumbling with my door key. I could hear a faint sound of a child crying or sobbing or may be I was assuming. As the door opened, it was a child sobbing and talking to someone. I moved closer to that room to see what was happening. The sobbing child was my son. He was talking to the picture in his hand. He was sobbing "why did you leave me papa !" .. and I just smiled and said "hey I am back !". But he didn't notice me in the room. I slowly went close to him. Gently tried to take that picture away from him but I couldn't. I tried to talk with him but he was not responding. My face was wet again but this time it was with sweat or may it was always a sweat. "Oh I think I am in a bad dream .." "I need to wake up" In-spite of my efforts I am still in that dream. I need to talk to my son but I couldn't. May be it is not a dream !

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

How To Bring Focus Back Into Our Lives

How To Bring Focus Back Into Our Lives

So many times we end up tired and exhausted at the end of the day. We wondered what did we achieved and there are many days when are just exhausted mentally. We find issues in our time management and setting priorities. But there is one thing which goes unnoticed which add to the feeling of unfruitful day. Most of us are lacking focus in our daily lives. We are not able to focus on the present moment in whatever we are doing any given moment of time. Our mind is constantly wandering from one thought to the other. Its normal for our mind to wander. But we need to build an ability to focus on the present moment. It helps us to focus fully on task in our hand. We not only enjoy more whatever we are doing but as we can focus better, we end up doing it more efficiently. We will real happiness when we internally we know we given our best shot.

Let me share few simple tips on how to bring focus back into our lives

  1. Meditation & Mindfulness : Start your day with simply focusing on your breath. Try to do first thing in the morning. Spending 10-20 minutes is not a big ask on your own well being. You mind will wander when you meditate but bring back your attention to the "feeling" of breath through your nose. Don't be judgmental and guilty about mind wandering during meditation. Its normal just gently bring back your focus to breathing.
  2. Smartphone : Smartphones have become integral part of our lives. But they are major distractions as well. Turn of those notifications from various apps. We have become use of diverting our focus to those notifications. Our mind has become accustomed to frequently diverting to our phones.
  3. Internet : Internet is a biggest time consumer today. Refrain from staying always in on mode. Don't check email first thing in the morning. Have designated time for checking email or social media accounts.
  4. Enjoy your food : Make sure you enjoy your food and you are not distracted towards any conversations, thoughts or television. Feel the food you are eating in terms of taste, texture and chewing of food. You are focus on the food. It is a sort of meditation.
  5. Music : Listen to music to calm down and relax. Identify the instruments playing in a song. Enjoy the rhythm.


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