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FO2 Stage | Pooja Parikh

by Team FO2, 22 Jun 2023

Having been into two different professions till now, I never thought I would be part of industries that would require me to be surrounded by people and very communicative all the time. It’s the opposite of who I think it was a decade ago or so.  The photography world, especially for weddings, was a bit challenging for me initially as I wasn’t a very skilled “people person” that usually a client expects. With time, patience, and practice, I overcame those obstacles and got better with each day passing. Weddings, being one of the most important days of people’s life, have this wide array of emotions, waiting to be captured at the most unexpected times and places. The opportunity to capture those moments that need to reincarnate again and again, is what led me to candid photography for such important events. 

My journey with photography started with a digital, state-of-the-art camera I received as a present from a friend about 11 years ago. It was the perfect gift for someone who was excited about photography and had the willingness to learn what it takes to be, not just a photographer – but one with her own identity. I enrolled in a photography institute, learnt the basics, and became part of a group who would plan trips for shooting sessions. We’d click, observe, and discuss our pictures and then learn more about things by reading blogs and watching videos.

 After juggling both work and this newfound obsession with my camera, I realized I’m not utilizing my full potential in either physiotherapy or photography. So, after pursuing it as a supplemental job for 6 long years, I decided to take a plunge and bid adieu to physiotherapy, as a fulltime job.

 In the last few years, a lot has changed in photography mainly due to the exponential growth of handheld devices that people have and the ease to upload them on social media. This creates a lot of pressure on us folks in this industry to deliver photos in a really short time and make them the talk of the town. But on the brighter side, people now understand how many creative and people-appealing skills are needed to make their photographs look one of a kind.

This pandemic was hard for a lot of people in this industry, including me, owing to a lot of weddings and events being cancelled or pushed out indefinitely. Even on the busiest dates, there were last moment cancellations. This was heartbreaking for me and my team, but we were constantly hoping to see the silver lining of being able to go out on the field again. For the weddings that were not canceled, we went above and beyond to accommodate them by wearing 3 masks for everyone’s safety, making sure to follow all the pandemic protocols and such. This has been one of the biggest learning experiences for me yet.

Even though the pandemic was a little setback, I cannot forget the love I got over these years from the clients who treated me like a part of their family. That is what kept me going throughout. Once at a wedding, we were doing a little introductory video of the bride’s parents but couldn’t get authentic words and emotions from them. It didn’t take me long to read the room and understand the situation and promptly moved them to a place with little more privacy and that so far is the most emotional interview we have ever had. Such are the skills that we learn on the job by paying attention to the tiniest details that makes me better with each assignment I have.

I also do maternity and kids photography. It gets a little tricky with kids as their mood is very unpredictable but looking at joy when I deliver the final product is worth every tantrum. I recently started box photography where I tell the subject's story by creating frames inside a box. So far it has been a great experiment forcing me to be more creative and think outside the box. The timing was perfect for this initiative as the restrictions around public places and crowd control were exactly needed to try something new.

Like every artist needs to, giving in all you have and pushing your limits is what it takes to have a successful shoot. You learn new things with every opportunity and see the industry emerge into untouched and unexplored territories. Calculated experiments, a little bit of creativity and realistic outcomes will bestow you with great results and enough motivation to spread your wings a bit more the next time.

- Pooja Parikh

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