Today, let’s welcome Ravi Dhingra, one of India’s most prolific Architectural and Interiors Photographers, who is also the Brand Ambassador for Canon India. He shares an insight from his exciting journey of Photography career and his thought process, work flow and important tips for beginners pursuing Photography as a career, specially in Architectural and Interiors Photography.
LAA: How did you get into Photography and what made you choose it as a Career? Has Photography been your family business or Profession?
Ravi: Photography was always a hobby since school days. Though I had my own camera much later in my life, I was always interested in looking at photographs in books and magazines. Started my career in Finance after finishing my education in Commerce and specialization in Cost Accountancy (ICWA). Spent around 13 years in this profession and bought my first SLR camera during this time. Got more involved with the camera, bought a few books for learning but the books were not much of help. Joined a photography course at Triveni Kala Sangam under guidance of Mr. O. P. Sharma. Nobody in my family was involved in photography as profession, my father & my brother both were in Army.
Finance as profession was getting very monotonous and the urge to express through a creative medium was always there. Some friends who knew that I have a good camera and have learnt photography offered photography assignments and the first ever assignment I did was shooting the interiors of an office. Space designing is another area which fascinated me and the chance of shooting spaces really got me into the profession.
LAA: This question you might find it as the toughest of the lot, why architectural & interiors Photography? If you ever have to shoot something other than Architecture & interiors , what would it be?
Besides the two genres mentioned above,taking photographs of people(portraiture) is one area where I want to work more both commercially as well as a personal project.
Ravi: One of my favorite assignments has been taking photographs of some UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India which included Hampi, Konark Temple, Khajuraho, Kanheri Caves and Warangal Fort.
LAA: How often do you have to Travel for your photography projects? Dream location that you would like to travel to take pictures?
Ravi: When I was learning photography, Internet was non-existent. Main source of information were books and magazines. Here also the options were limited, so self teaching was not easy. I learnt photography from Mr. O. P. Sharma, at Triveni Kala Sangam, New Delhi for 1 year, did both the modules – Basic and Advanced. He is an excellent mentor and all the credit goes to him for making me understand the camera and photography techniques. After a certain time when I got familiar with basic techniques, for areas of specialization like Architecture, Interiors, Food & Portraiture, self teaching came into picture. At this time, I was not buying photography learning books but I started buying books with lot of excellent visual content related to my interests & areas of specialization. With these books I learnt about the ‘Look of a photograph’ which meant lighting, composition, etc. Since, I was a late entrant in photography, no established photographer took me as an assistant. This is one thing I sometimes miss, not working with an experienced photographer.
Ravi: For my architectural & interiors assignment, my photography kit besides a Canon 5D2 body includes a wide angle zoom 17-40, a sturdy tripod,few LED lights,a remote cable release. Right gear can make or break a photograph. A professional photographer will never compromise on the quality of equipment. Choosing a favourite photograph is a difficult thing to do. There are so many of them which are my favourites but I am still waiting for the game to change,something like the Afghan Girl photograph which was a game changer for Steve McCurry.
LAA: How do you plan your shoot and how important it is to plan the shoot in advance?
Ravi: For architectural shoots planning is must, all depends on the direction of light. Early morning,late evening or twilight,the time of shoot is decided in advance after doing a survey of the site. Even in interiors photography where outdoor ambience has to be included along with the space inside,planning in advance is very important. Most of the time,a checklist is shared with clients citing the requirements for photographing the project so that at the time of shoot things are in place and no time is wasted.
Ravi: Go out and shoot as much as possible. Start seeing and observing things around you even when you are without your camera. Take critical feedback from experienced photographers from time to time and the most important advice, do not ever stop learning.
We are glad to showcase some of his mind boggling works from his great collection:
As part of Light Art Academy, we will be interviewing and featuring world’s top most Photographers whose work pushes all the limits to create an image that is creative, mesmerizing, emotional, edgy, unique and above all original. Whether you are a professional or an amateur, we are certain that these interviews will help you in exploring your own photography landscape to achieve the best in whatever genre you shoot.
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