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My First 10,000 Photographs


    My First 10,000 Photographs

    I don’t really recall my first experience with photography but I’m pretty sure I was around 8 years old at the time. My family had recently purchased a digital camera – I think it was a Canon PowerShot S45, and it resembled a small, silver brick. I didn’t really take notice of it until my dad asked me to hold on to it one day because he had a lot of stuff in his hands. And instead of just holding it, I took it out of its case, and started playing around with it. That was the beginning of a summer of filled with photography – if you could call my experiments with the camera ‘photography’. I just took photos of things I liked. I barely changed the settings and when I did, it was only to make sure the lighting was alright. Otherwise, I’d just point and shoot. Funnily enough, I considered myself to be a prodigious photographer though in hindsight, I realize I was just fortunate that my surroundings were so beautiful that they masked the fact that I had no photographic talent whatsoever. I must have taken 10,000 photographs that summer and I doubt any of them had any real artistic value. Of course, at the time, I thought I was revolutionary (oh the innocent confidence of children), and with every click, I thought I was making masterpieces.

    I’ve taken a look at my photos since then and they’re average at best but honestly speaking, those pictures are the ones that give me the most joy. I spent hours photographing everything and nothing, right from my stuffed animals to my family members. The emotions and memories associated with those photos can’t be matched. So in a way, they are masterpieces. And they’re some of my most cherished photos.

    Many people may say that getting the perfect shot is a very frustrating process at times, and can really test your patience. Chasing that perfect shot can cause you to lose sight of why you started shooting in the first place – not for fame but for the love you had for the art of photography. Of course, getting a perfect photograph is an amazing feeling in itself, but in the meantime, if you’re having fun and making memories, all your photographs are perfect in a way, right? Henri Cartier-Bresson said that your first 10,000 photographs are your worst, but for me, they are my fondest memory.



    The Art of Photography

    To be honest, when it comes to photography, I’m more of an enthusiastic layman – someone who isn’t really familiar with the intricacies of photography, but someone who can fully appreciate it all the same. Photography is one of those things that appear to be straightforward and simple but in reality, is quite complex. There’s no denying it – photography is hard work. It takes passion – vigorous passion – and unwavering commitment. It’s not a frivolous hobby reserved to assuage the boredom of the elite (unlike golf – a sport I can never get behind). So if you’ve any preconceived notions about photography being the pastime of the extremely wealthy – with its sole purpose to indulge the people who sneer at outdated iPhones, and seemed to perennially be eating brunch – you’d be incorrect.

    One thing many people don’t seem to realize about the art of photography is that the make of your camera has little to do with the outcome of your photos. Granted, having the best camera, the best lighting equipment, the best tripod, and the best accessories in the world (we at Srishti Digilife can help you there!) would definitely greatly improve the quality of your photos but a photographer, a really good one, can work with anything that’s available, because, at the end of the day, your unique perspective is what makes your photos spectacular. So a photographer’s true merit, lies not with their equipment, but with their point of view. It’s not just about photographing an already picturesque scene – a great photographer can take an ordinary, mundane view and transfigure it into something extraordinary.

    It’s like Patrick Demarchelier said, “When you are a photographer, you work all the time, because your eye is the first camera”. However, the feat of transforming what your eye sees into a beautiful photograph is another task altogether because what you see, and how you see it, is not how a camera sees it. So a photographer also has to envision how something would look through the lens of a camera. And then begins the endless cycle of adjusting the ISO, shutter speed, aperture, and a whole lot more, in order to make each photograph perfect.

    What I’m trying to say is that photography takes a lot more work, perseverance, and innovation than you may think! So if you’re an amateur photographer, don’t be disheartened! Keep at it, and remember, your eyes and your perspective, are the most important equipment you’ll need.

    Dramatic Natya Portraits with Amar Ramesh


    Amar Ramesh creates portraits of a classic Indian dance with a modern twist.

    Talking about the experience, Amar opened up candidly, “I always wanted to shoot the portraits of a classic Bharatanatyam dancer, but by adding a modern touch to the 2000-year-old traditional dance form. Here is how we created dramatic dancer portraits with a little technique and lots of imagination.

    The Idea

    I have a strong inclination towards everything that is culturally Indian, especially a special love for the Bharatanatyam dance. And, I wanted to create something unique for the Bharatnatyam dancer. Bharatnatyam dancers, through their body language and meticulous movements, have carried the soul of this 2000-year old traditional dance through the time. I have shot Bharatanatyam events, but there is very little control you have when the dancer is on the stage. As a photographer, I wanted to make pictures of the dancer but from a different perspective.

    The Art of Collaboration

    My dream was to add a modern touch to it but without disturbing the core essence of it. I started with the costume and saw how it can be modified. I had this image in mind where the dancer is in her free-flowing meticulous expression and I wanted to freeze the movement like a painting. My belief in pulling out such creative projects always lies in the strength of collaboration. A brilliant dancer, state-of-the-art lights from Profoto, an experienced makeup artist, and my passionate team at Studio A came together and we kick-started the effort. The BTS video above shows a full run of the process.

    The Setup

    It was a simple three light set up. We used a Profoto D2 as the key light from the top, a B1X as the fill light from the side and the Profoto A1 as the backlight. The body movements are dynamic so we had a Sony α7R III to capture all the action with the fast shutter and frame rate

    Experimentation and Perfection

    It was all about playing with the light. We took a lot of trial shots and improvised. Once we had the set of images, a great deal of time was spent in the editing desk in bringing out a paint-like feel to the images. It is always a delight to go beyond the obvious, experiment and come up with something new. I loved the results. Here are a few pictures from the shoot that follows. 

    About Amar Ramesh

    Amar Ramesh is a Chennai based photographer who shoots weddings predominantly, but when he does not, he answers his calling to capture the culturally rich traditions of India. And he considers Profoto his best ally when he wants to bring out the artistic language in to the frame. His recent shoot Natya is a classic example of that.

    Ankita Asthana Overpowers the Sun with the B10


    Ankita Asthana took the Profoto B10 on a personal trip to New Zealand and took self portraits with her husband! Check out the video to go behind the scenes with her.

    When Profoto gave me their latest light for testing, I was headed to New Zealand for a personal trip with my husband Akash. I decided to make some good old fashioned self portraits, for millennials, the original selfie! Used a tripod, trigger and light stand to setup the Profoto B10. Akash helped me shoot the behind the scenes video, basically this took over his entire holiday!

    I was told that this light can overpower the sun, I thought to test it out in some of the harshest light conditions. I took it out at odd hours when you wouldn’t even think of making a photograph like at 12 pm and tested it’s limits on a glacier covered in snow.  For a few photographs, I kept the sun behind us and took photographs with the Profoto B10 as the main light. I think the light has performed very well in such harsh conditions and it has been so easy to travel with. I love the new app: it was very useful to control the light from a distance. It’s small yet powerful. Can’t wait to explore what it can do in the wedding space.

    Check out more images shot during this trip below!

    About Ankita

    Ankita Asthana is the founder of the popular wedding photography & filming company WeddingNama.Her expertise is in capturing natural moments in an epic manner. 

    She has completed her post graduation in photography from the reputed National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad. Part of her training as a photographer was conducted in the University for the Creative Arts (UCA), Farnham in the United Kingdom(UK). Her background in architecture helped her understand design & composition. Her passion for capturing the most beautiful timeless frames keeps her going. Apart from shooting weddings, she loves other genres like wildlife, travel, documentary.

    Check out more of Ankita’s works on her website, or follow her on Facebook and Instagram

    Profoto in India is marketed and distributed by Srishti Digilife Pvt Ltd

    Lighting up Kumbh Mela with the B10


    Bharat Bhirangi takes The Power of Small to photograph the largest religions festival in the world

    No other event in India is more important than Kumbh Mela. It is widely believed that by bathing in the confluence of the sacred Ganges, Yamuna & the mythical Saraswati rivers, one can cleanse themselves of sins and avoid temptations, or even achieve salvation from the cycle of rebirth.

    To put into perspective how Kumbh Mela is one of the most widely attended religious festival in the world, an estimated 350 million visitors had congregated at Prayagraj when the festival wrapped up on March 4.

    Bharat Bhirangi, photographer and Associate Director of the Bharati Vidyapeeth’s School of Photography, braved the crowd with the Profoto B10 and B1X to bring back some amazing shots of the festival.

    Q) Bharat, how does it feel to be photographing one of the most important religious festivals in the world?

    A) It’s awe-inspiring! The scale is something that one has not seen or dealt with before. During the Kumbh, you are in the most heavily populated place on the planet ,square foot for square foot! You are amongst people not just from across India, but also from all over the world.

    Q) How did you prepare yourself before photographing such a large-scale event?

    A) Almost all of my work is in the studio & on the view camera, in a controlled environment. Nothing was under my control at the Kumbh! Coming to terms with that was what I had to prepare for. Dealing with law enforcement agencies, getting access, etc, were other things that one needs to look at.

    Q) Many photographers have covered Kumbh Mela in the past. How will you say you have shot this year’s Kumbh Mela differently from them?

    A) I didn’t want to come back with images that have typically represented the Kumbh., such as Nagas with their chillums (smoking pipes). I was more interested in some of the rituals which have a recorded history of more than 2000 years. Access to these ceremonies is usually restricted and/or difficult. I got a chance to be part of an initiation ceremony where over 1500 people took a vow of Bramhacharya – a vow of renunuciation & celibacy. Men & women from ages, from 13 to 80, took this vow while symbolically performing their own final rites. MBAs, doctors, professors, engineers & businessmen were amongst those made up this group!

    Another aspect I was looking at was of the pilgrims on their way to the ceremonial dip at the confluence of the rivers (called the Shahi Snaan, meaning the Royal bath) & returning after they had successfully taken the ceremonial dip. Their eagerness to take the Shahi Snaan is only rivalled by the sheer joy they feel after having finished taking the bath. The feeling of contentment & satisfaction they exhibit is amazing to see.

    Q) Where do you draw your inspiration(s)?

    A) Irving Penn has been a huge inspiration. A lot of my inspiration comes from my students. I always feel that I mentor about 60 students every year but end up learning from all of them. Some of them have been really inspired me.

    Q) How has using the B10 and the B1X changed the way you approach photographing Kumbh Mela?

    A) Portability was a big factor while shooting at the Kumbh. I was shooting a lot of posed portraits and there was just no way of getting any kind of power supply. The battery life on the lights is really good too. I could take off for the day safe in the knowledge that the batteries would last me till the end of the day. The LED on the B10 is brilliant if you just want to switch over to continuous light, which I did use for a few images. The ease of using the 3 modifiers that I used – the Magnum reflector, OFC Beauty Dish & the Umbrella Deep XL Silver with the B10 and the B1x is phenomenal. TTL functionality was a big plus especially in situations where getting an image in was difficult.

    The light at the Kumbh is a mix of colored LEDs, mercury, sodium vapour lamps & halogens. Then, you had multitudes of people & structures blocking that light. The B10 & B1X let me light up a large portion of my frame without it looking like it was from a smaller, harsher source.

    Q) What’s one indispensible tip you will give to any photographer who wants to shoot the next Kumbh Mela?

    A) Respect local customs & beliefs even if you personally dont believe in them. Don’t make people uncomfortable by shoving a camera in their faces. We saw quite a few photographers do it & get soundly thrashed by the Naga sanyasis! Know your equipment really well since there will be no time to ponder over settings.

    You may view more of Bharat’s works by connecting with him on Instagram. Alternatively, you may also visit Bharati Vidyapeeth’s School of Photography’s website to see more courses they offer.

    Tranquility with the B10


    Ram takes the Profoto B10 to the outskirts of Chennai to find a piece of tranquility.

    Profoto has always been a part of my photography. Starting from their Acute series, I have used the D2, B2 , D1, B1, A1 and now, the B10.

    But, is the B10 really worth the hype? I doubted if this small tool could help me bring life to my big ideas. During a meeting with Srishti Digilife (the official representative of Profoto in India), they asked me to try out the B10 in the field and without any hesitation I seized the opportunity like a hungry lion.

    Tranquil is the name of the fashion series I had in my mind for quite sometime now. It is a series that is meant to be done out of the city where the subject interacts with nature and my job is to just present every frame to the viewers in the best possible manner. I wanted a powerful light source to overpower the bright sun in Chennai and also wanted the light to be small and mobile so that it will be easy for my team to set up the light in any tough terrain. So when I got the hands on the Profoto B10, I immediately knew that I could test its potential to the fullest in this shoot.

    My Impression

    The moment I started testing out the Profoto B10, the first thing that surprised me was its form factor. Profoto really had put some extra thoughts to make this device as small and compact as possible. But the best part is that it is compatible with their huge range of light shaping tools that we all have, and we can use them without a converter or any extra attachments.

    The B10 is almost as powerful as the Profoto D2 500 AirTTL, which was hard to believe. The difference between the them is just one stop, which, to me is negligible, as the D2 is neither as compact nor lightweight as the B10, and also it always needs a power source. With the help of the Magnum Reflector, I was able to get 1 more extra stop of light. In addition, with HSS (High Speed Sync), I was able to overpower the harsh sunlight and expose for the sky and the background.

    With a single B10 and the Magnum Reflector, I was able to mimic the sun and create such a beautiful yet hard light on my subject.

    The feature I loved the most was the battery life. I just used one light for the entire day it started from 9am and went on till 6 pm. With over 350 shots during the shoot, I still had 60% of the battery left in the B10. To me, this is the best considering the compact form factor, weight and compatibility to use all of Profoto’s light shaping tools.

    The new Profoto App allowed me to control the light from a distance without having to manually dial down/up the power on the light, which is great. It is now available for iOS users. But as an Android user, I expect Profoto to bring the app to Google Play soon.

    The next best feature that amazed me was the power and versatility of the modelling light. Now, with the B10’s LED modelling light, we can use it as a continuous light source for our video. Being able to adjust the colour temperature of the light in the device itself is icing on the cake.

    The modelling light on the B10 is definitely not a powerful light source that can replace your ARRI or any other dedicated continuous lights. So, if your majority of the work revolves around video content production, this is definitely not the one I would recommend. Also, using the modelling light for a fairly long time drains the battery quickly. It is always better to have the B10 connected to a power source when you want use the modelling light for longer duration.

    Final Thoughts

    Now with this short review, I hope you are be able to visualise the power of just one B10. With just half its power, I was blown away with the results. As a photographer, I always look for products to make my shoot time stress-free and simple. Every time I test out lighting products of different brands, I always ask myself, “Is this the one?”.

    After testing the B10 I now finally say that, “This, is the One!”

    About Ram

    Ram is a celebrity and fashion photographer based in India with over 5 years of experience. He has gradated from New York Film Academy and that has helped him learn the art from the best in the industry, namely Chris Knight, Valerio Spada, Late. Nitin Vadukkul, Dawit L Petros, Laura Barisonzi,etc.

    He believes that every image conveys a story and behind those images, there is a process which is a compelling story by itself.

    You can check out more of Ram’s works on his website, or follow him on Facebook and Instagram

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    Tranquility with the B10

    Ram takes the Profoto B10 to the outskirts of Chennai to find a piece of tranquility. Profoto has always been a part of my...