Photographers of Fashion, Music and Weddings

One must have the skills and an eye for being a photographer, here are three very different Photographers who are based in Vancouver. Meet Ami Sanyal (covers weddings and people), Jeremy Lim (covers the music scene) and Chris Naidu (covers fashion). Here is my interview with each of these exceptional guys behind the camera.

CHRIS NAIDU

How did you become a Photographer?

I think for myself, becoming a photographer was a result of having an interest towards it during a young age. I took that interest with me, let it grow, and eventually fall into its place. As time went on and I progressed as an individual artist (still very much am, may I mention!), I saw myself wanting to do more and more things. Photography is a life long journey, no doubt – so I think that to become, is to just “be”.

What lead you to specializing in Fashion Photography?

I feel as when my skills progress, they work in relation to the type of work I shoot. In the beginning, I was shooting sports and landscapes, but as time moved on, so did my knowledge and thirst to try new things. I’ve always been attracted to Fashion and Beauty photography, so I think it was almost inevitable to head into this direction. To this day, I still shoot landscapes and a bit of other work for personal books, but there is something about fashion and beauty work that just ‘gets me going’.

Growing up did you always have an interest in Photography?

I first became interested in photography somewhere between the ages of 11-12. My first camera was a Kodak that I received for Christmas, and I specifically remember it had this panoramic feature…I thought it was the coolest thing ever! I would take pictures of anything I could point it at (still oblivious to my love for the medium) – unfortunately, I also remember losing it while camping with my elementary school class! Around the same time, my brother also took up photography. I recall going through his black & white photographs from around the world, and I knew then, that I wanted to do more of this. From that point on, I’ve always tried to bring myself closer to photography.

Would you give a brief walk through your work flow?

My work flow is fairly straight forward. Like most photographers, I try not to over crowd it with too many processes from shoot to computer, that way it keeps organization, up, and time, down.

After we’ve shot one look, I will take the pictures from those cards and dump them on my laptop and into pre-prepared folders that show a name, date, and look number. I will also take the time to back them up to a second hard drive, in case anything happens to my main during the shoot. Once I arrive home to my main workstation, I will upload the pictures from my laptop to my desktop via crossover cable, and back them up onto multiple drives.

In terms of retouching, organization and simplicity is often still the mission – though, it always takes proper care and time. If mandatory, I start with minor color corrections in Lightroom or ACR (a RAW file type processor) and forward that to Photoshop for any required color work, blemish fixes, and final dodging and burning. Other than exporting and potential printing, that pretty much sums it up.

Are you a self taught photographer or did you have a mentor that showed you the ropes?

I am a self taught photographer, of course through trial and error. I remember my very first shoot, though a success, probably the most nervous day I’ve ever experienced. I think most photographers will agree with me when I say, you never stop learning. I wouldn’t say that I’ve had a specific mentor, but I do know photographers who have graciously been there for me and were always up for a helping conversation.

Do you have a preference for B/W vs Colour photos or vice-versa?

I believe that whether you choose B&W or Color for a photograph, really depends on what you feel when you look at it. Although, I’ll have to admit, sometimes one will simply look aesthetically better than the other! Most of my work is in color, simply because I’ve felt that it is best for those individual photographs, the same goes for my B&W work. Although, I think black and white work is also a lot easier to translate and grasp an understanding from. No distractions, no obscurities, just you, and the subject.

If you weren’t a Photographer what would you be doing professionally?

Honestly, For as long as I can remember there have only been two things I’ve loved and that I’ve wanted to pursue. Both arts (you could say I’m not much of a ‘math man’, haha), one being culinary, and the other obviously photography. All aspects of culinary arts interest me, and still do to this day. Although, having known that option, there is still no doubt in my mind that photography will always be my only choice.

What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Good fashion work, and I mean good. Emotionally, there is something about it that surpasses any ‘genre’ of photography out there. it’s filled with this roller coaster of feeling, and it inspires all the senses. Granted, I have many favorite shots that aren’t fashion, but I really believe that it’s the most inspiring of all.

What is the ONE lasting impression you want to leave in your photos?

I think real impression is indescribable and unique to each viewer – at it’s pinnacle. It has no words, no description, it’s just present. I want the viewer to look into a specific photograph and feel as though they’ve experienced something, they need to feel ‘it’. But most importantly, when they put my photograph down, I want them to walk away feeling that same unique experience the same way as if they were still staring at the subject. Describing an impression is one thing, but experiencing it is a whole other aspect – it’s much more personal.

What is your favourite camera and lens when taking photos?

I currently use a Canon 5D Mark II as my primary body, and most often a 50mm f/1.4 as my lens. I wouldn’t say that the 50mm is my favorite, but rather a 70-200mm f/2.8 more specifically used between 180-200mm for beauty work. For a while, I have been wanting to fall back on film and obtain a Mamiya RZ67, hopefully I’ll be getting one soon!

You can find Chris on Twitter @ChrisNaidu

JEREMY LIM

How did you become a Photographer?

Ami and I have a mutual friend from high school, Mikey Valdes, who, to this day, remains my camera guru.  (He’s an engineer, so if you have any technical questions, he’s your go-to guy.)  In January 2008, Mikey started showcasing his photos, and I was blown away by his work.  After months of late-night, “Dude!  Check out my new photo!” and “You should buy a camera!” messages, I caved, and bought a used Canon 30D off of Craigslist – my first camera ever.  Photography’s changed my life; I can’t thank Mikey enough.

What lead you to specializing in Music Photography?

Outside of photography, I spend the rest of my time as a music producer, DJ, and marketing consultant.  You could say music photography is the perfect match for me; I take photos of people I admire, while listening to great music and raising my profile at the same time.

Growing up did you always have an interest in Photography?

I’ve always enjoyed taking pictures, but without any real camera, the interest didn’t carry far.  I did invest several hundred dollars in a (then) ground-breaking 2 megapixel camera phone; to my lament, that didn’t help much either.

Would you give a brief walk through your work flow?

Stylistically, I’m a big fan of using ambient light to set the mood (thanks largely to another Vancouver club photographer, Kuna), so l start by surveying the venue for all of it’s light sources.  Once that’s done, I make my rounds, photograph the crowd, and stand on lots of chairs to capture the life of the party.  After the show, I take my photos home, select the best, tweak them to match my visual style (or the performer’s brand), and upload them to social media sites (Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, ClubZone, etc.) en masse.

Are you a self taught photographer or did you have a mentor that showed you the ropes?

While I’ve had many teachers, Mikey carried me the furthest.  I’ve learned a lot with Ami on-location as well.  (e.g. When diving for a falling light stand – don’t catch it with your head.)

Do you have a preference for B/W vs Colour photos or vice-versa?

Colour!  Black and white photography is a wonderful art, but music comes in a million different colours – so should the photos that capture it.

If you weren’t a Photographer what would you be doing professionally?

I’d be taking on more marketing clients and stop neglecting my album that’s been on hold since 2007.

What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Human connections.  I love people, and when the party’s alive, so am I.

What is the ONE lasting impression you want to leave in your photos?
Wherever my photos are taken, good times are had.

What is your favourite camera and lens when taking photos?

My current setup – a Canon 5D, 24-105mm f/4L, and a 430EXII.

You can find Jeremy on Twitter @JeremyLim

AMI SANYAL

How did you become a Photographer?

I discovered my passion for photography at a time when I was unhappy with my job in a finance department.  I decided to take a reckless plunge and see if I could succeed!

What lead you to specializing in Wedding & Portrait Photography?

This year one of my plans is to divide my services into two separate companies: one for commercial/editorial photography, and another for wedding photography.  The common thread between both companies is the focus on capturing people.  I’ve always loved observing human behavior and my camera helps me to connect with people in such a unique way.

With wedding photography I capture emotions, actions, tradition and celebration.  With my commercial and editorial photography I’m often able to influence feelings and actions in a more direct way.  The cool thing is when my experience in one field proves to become an asset in the other.  For example: my ability to light and think creatively enables me to make unique images for my wedding clients.  My ability to interact with all sorts of personalities allows me to put my commercial and editorial subjects at ease–which allows me to get more from each shoot.

Growing up did you always have an interest in Photography?

No, it was actually an inexplicably sudden passion.  I never tried my hand at it until I was around 20.

Would you give a brief walk through your work flow?

My workflow depends on the project and look that I’m trying to achieve. After capturing my images I upload and back them up on my Drobo.  I use Lightroom as my library and primary editing program. If the post processing is more intensive I’ll throw the file into Photoshop and get to work with my Wacom tablet.  I never use actions to bulk edit–even for weddings where I can take thousands of photos.  I’ll go through each image and correct as necessary so that nothing is missed. Client satisfaction is as important to me as creating quality work.

Are you a self taught photographer or did you have a mentor that showed you the ropes?

Hm…I guess both?  I never took any art classes in school; I was always more interested in music.  When I discovered photography I learned as much as I could as fast as I could. That mostly meant scouring the internet for information and dissecting every image I came upon.  I’ve also have some great friends and mentors who showed me the ropes: Martin Prihoda and Jennifer Kirk to name two out of many.  The photography community in Vancouver is constantly surprising me with how open they are.

Do you have a preference for B/W vs Colour photos or vice-versa?

Nope! Whatever looks best is my preference.

If you weren’t a Photographer what would you be doing professionally?

I could have been an accountant who wished he were a rockstar.

What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

The basis of my spiritual beliefs is reliant on connectivity.  Creating a portrait entails working intimately with another person; for me that’s a constant reminder of how connected we all are.  This also helps keep my ego in check, as I can only claim a tiny responsibility for a good image.

What is the ONE lasting impression you want to leave in your photos?

In a world saturated by so much media, my goal for my photos is to HAVE a lasting impression.  The reason for that impression is fluid.

What is your favourite camera and lens when taking photos?

A Canon 5d Mkii and a 24-70mm f/2.8 would be my first choice.

You can find Ami on Twitter @AmiSanyal

By: Richard Wolak


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