Journey towards professional photography

Srikanth had sent me an email with subject line “Free art is profitable”.   He often sends me links to very interesting talks on TED, which I watch them quite instantly.   Probably because of the subject link and non-familiar URL link, I moved the email into TO READ LATER folder, to read later in the week

Few days later Srikanth asked me if I watched it.  When I said, NOT YET, he immediately opened his Mac and played 6-minute video of Kalyan Varma’s talk at INKTalks.  Like most of the viewers, we were also quite impressed with his success story and enthusiastic speech.  Then we learned that Kalyan does workshops on “Art & Science of Photography”, and next workshop was just few days away, requiring weekend travel to Bangalore. Being photography enthusiasts, we booked our slot and the tickets to Bangalore within 24 hours

There were about 30 photography enthusiasts in the class. Pretty much all of them were from Bangalore, except me, Srikanth and one more person.  Total session was about 16 hours spanning across 2 days, with ahout 3 hrs in the field.  There wasn’t a boring moment during the entire session.  Kalyan was enthusiastic and passionate covering his favorite topic on the art & science of photography.

First part of the day 1 covered science, which gave in-depth insight on how to leverage 3 pillars of photography, which is Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO.  Second part of the day 1 covered art of photography.   This was most interesting part, with Kalyan displaying several dozens of images (his own, and several snaps from legendary photographers) and art and the story behind each of that snap.  He also covered in detail about various types of camera models and lenses out there, and their distinct advantages and limitations

Amount of learning one would get by reading dozens of books, and years of self learning, exceeded what we were able to learning in 2 days.  In short, we got fully baptized in Photograpy in a period of 2 days.   I am sure that this session has forever changed the way we would look and take the photos. Kalyan’s enthusiasm was contagious. His tone. pitch, and enthusiasm was consistent during the entire session.  He was passionate, humorous, philosophical, and encouraging through out the session in the class and on the field too

On the day 2, we assembled at 7AM at Lal Bagh for field training.  We were asked to implement both art & science techniques learned on the day 1.  Assignment was to capture one photograph, which captures the essence of Lal Bagh.   At end of the assignment, we were given tips on portrait photography.  Later, we were asked to pair up and take portraits shots of each other group member

We returned to the hotel after few hours.   We were given crash course type of training on Photoshop CS 6.  This was another cool part of the workshop.  We learned cool and quick tips & techniques on enhancing photographs (without actually cheating) to give the viewer TRUE representation of the scene that we intended to capture.  Kalyan did caution several times on tendency to abuse Photoshop and quoted famous dialogue form Spiderman, “With great power comes great responsibility”

Kalyan gave several data points on how to take the photography hobby to next level and possibly make a serious or sole career out of it too. Kalyan and his professional photography buddies arrange wild photography camps to several exotics location around India and the world.  I am sure I will be in one of those camps in the coming year.

Until yesterday, I was just a DSLR camera owner.  My journey to being a professional photographer has just begun.

Here are some of the snaps from today and yesterday

Kalyan Varma in the class

Fellow participants

Assembling at Lal Bagh for field session

My snap for the assignment

My snap for the assignment

My portrait by Raghu

Srikanth’s portrait in the field

Above -> Kalyan teaching us how to take a portrait
Below –> Me using Picture in the frame technique in the aperture mode

Raghu’s portrait in the relax mode

Above ->My portraits by Raghu and Srikanth

Above — Kalyan making our model jump up and down 10 times, to get him to relax 🙂

Below –> Our model for portrait class

Below –> Words of wisdom from Kalyan

Kalyan Varma @ INK Talks

7 thoughts on “Journey towards professional photography

  1. Sai,
    This is Rajendra Varma, i am the other guy who attended the work shop from Hyderabad. Your article is very impressive and your photographs are very nice.


  2. Hi Sai… your article is an interesting read! All the best for your journey!.
    – I’m assuming I’m the “one more person not from Bangalore” in your article 🙂
    – Chetna Kardak


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