Like many photographers, 2020 has been a rough year for me. I got a lot of cancellations of projects. I had bought a new camera setup just before lockdown and only I know how I managed to complete the 6 month EMI.
I have never thought in my life about photography, not even subconsciously. It was during my engineering diploma in 2012 when my friends and I decided to go on a trip. I had a Sony Coolpix at that time and I clicked many landscapes and pictures of my friends. For 2 years of my diploma, it was just a casual thing for me. In 2014, when I was in the last year, I had to make a choice for my further education as well as a job. To get better opportunities in both segments, I decided to move to Ahmedabad. I used to live in a hostel and got a lot of free time which I invested in photography. In Gujrat, we have festivals on a grand level so I started clicking pictures and explored the city for two years and uploaded those pictures on Instagram.
Since I had the experience of two years, I thought if I could invest in a camera it would really step up my photography game. For that, I started doing a part-time job at a call center for a year and by then I had enough money to invest in Canon 700D. I also had a love for traveling and there are a few traveling companies here who organize camping trips. I got in touch with them and I clicked pictures of their trip and the traveling was free for me. It has been a good opportunity for me.
By the end of 2017, I also started to shoot videos, some b-rolls from here and there just to practice if I can do something in it. I used to edit those videos on my phone just to see how it works. It was going well but my camera wasn’t good enough to give justice to the skills I was developing with my experience. It was time to invest in a new camera but by that time my engineering was also completed and I got selected in Hitachi for a job. I had a choice to make but since I have mostly worked for free the job sounded like a better offer at that time. I decided to take it and do photography side by side.
I made the decision but it was a hard one, I used to wake up at 6 in the morning and get home by 9 in the evening. It was exhausting and after three months it started getting worse. During that time, I met one of my colleagues in a theatre event where I went to click pictures. He told me about a course he did in mass comm. and that I should give the entrance exam. It resonated with my interest as I knew that I just couldn’t do a job. On weekends, I was also doing a project with UNESCO, their heritage program. I was in a different city a day before my entrance exam but I made it.
The day I got to know that I got selected, I gave my resignation and within a month I joined the college to earn 2 years for myself to explore things. I explored 31 cities and 8 states in just 6 months and all of that from the client’s money. I started doing weddings for income and my tuition fee as this was the choice I made. I like every genre of photography and I am living my dream.
I started wedding photography as a freelancer and after doing that for two years, some photographers became such good friends that we started our own company and did all the projects together. We made the BTS of a wedding and it has reached more than 2 Lakh views on YouTube, that was really a turning point for us. It got us projects from pan India and also fulfilled our hunger for traveling.
As a photographer, every day it’s going to be a new struggle but keep creating new stories out of that. Even if you don’t have the gear, you can give time to polish other skills which are necessary along the way. Develop the skills and then invest your money in it. Be consistent and look for getting more experience. Everything will come along.
- Satyam Shivhare
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