Photoshoot for “enchanting COLORS”

About “enchanting COLORS”

“enchanting COLORS” is a premium, one-stop, fashion destination located in Sahakar Nagar, Pune, India. It offers elegant, handpicked apparels for women. It provides a range of exclusive and yet affordable women’s apparel including: casual wear, ethnic wear, western wear, and lounge wear.
The name “enchanting COLORS” reflects the magic of vibrant hues that make life special and lives with the motto – “Right apparel at the right value for every occasion with delightful customer service”.

The photoshoot

“enchanting COLORS” is launching their official website for which product pictures were required. They boast of a large collection of women’s wear, and the web site needed to have the right amount of representation of the variety they have to offer. Therefore, the photoshoot included two phases: an outdoor shoot and a studio shoot. 

Phase 1: Outdoor shoot

To have the right background in the pictures, it’s important to pick the right location. We selected “The Farmstead resorts” (https://thefarmstead.in/ ), located on Lavasa road near Pune – a nature filled, scenic backdrop for the pictures. Farmstead had the perfect scenery including streams, hills, trees, and a rustic India look.

The shoot started early in the morning at 6:30 am. We want to get a head start and utilize the natural and subtle sunlight before it got too hot. Of course, it starts with pre-shoot activities including: makeup, survey, selection of idyllic locations, and picking the perfect dresses to match the locations. In a day long shoot, the challenge is to block the sunlight from casting hard shadows. This is where a diffuser comes in handy.  We also use a flash with a soft box to balance out the background light.

Several dress changes, makeup touchups and accessory modifications were done along the way. We clicked the traditional ethnic outfits first and then moved on to the western outfits. Another challenge in the outdoor shoot was the sudden rains… and we had to pack up by 5pm. However, we had wrapped up quite a few outfits due to the early start.

Post processing

Despite our best efforts to keep high levels of accuracy in managing the lighting and angles, post processing is very important and necessary. There are several cleanups: skin touch up, removal of background noise such as unwanted leaves or items seen in the frame and unwanted distractions.

Shot by Kaushal Brahma

Phase 2: The Studio shoot

The second round of the shoot was conducted at the Arjun Dixit photo studio located in Anandnagar, Paudroad, Pune – https://goo.gl/maps/YJNsf6GRRi8AdrWaA

This was also a day long shoot with multiple dresses. Makeup was different from the outdoor shoot to suit the indoor settings and dresses.

Studio Lights

Focus on lighting is important in a studio to highlight the products and emphasize the colors. The lights used were two Elinchrom FRX 400 strobes along with an Octa and a Strip soft box.

Makeup

Makeup along with hairstyles was efficiently done by Gauri Maral and Naina Maral. In an outdoor shoot, makeup wears out fast due to temperature and sunlight. Plus, this shoot was in the month of April, when it can get very hot during the day. Gauri and Naina were on their toes throughout the day for additional makeup touch ups and fixing the hair of the models. Thank you to the makeup team for managing it incredibly fast resulting in minimum delays.

Styling

Styling is a key factor in making pictures attractive. While the dress is the main product, it needs to be complemented with the right jewelry, footwear and other accessories. All accessories and jewelry were perfectly coordinated by Himali Murumkar.

Models

The models for the shoot were Rutuja Chobharkar (left) and Tanvi Yedke.

The Team

From left to right: Naina Maral, Gauri Maral, Tanvi Yedke, Rupali Katke, Tanvi Murumkar, Rutuja Chobharkar , Himali Murumkar, Abhijeet Murumkar, Bhartesh Katke.

It was wonderful to have the entire “enchanting COLORS” team and family at the outdoor shoot. It was a fun family event combined with a productive outdoor shoot.

Studio team

From left to right: Arjun Dixit, Gauri Maral, , Chaitanya Chobharkar, Kaushal Brahma, Rutuja Murumkar, Abhijeet Murumkar, Himali Murumkar.

Piya Pawani – Portfolio shoot

An opportunity to shoot for a leading model? How could I miss it?

When Piya planned to come to Pune for the DIVA event, Mrs. West India 2022, we planned a portfolio photoshoot for her. A special thank you to Anjana Mascarenhas and Karl Mascarenhas from DIVA pageants for supporting and encouraging us. Know more on DIVA pageants:

https://divapageants.com/

About Piya Pawani

Piya Pawani

Priyah Prakash Pawani, also known as Piya Pawani, was born in Chennai, grew up in Dubai and currently lives in Muscat, Oman. A dual MBA by qualification, she worked as an events coordinator and Financial Analyst in a reputed bank in Dubai for 4 years. Since her move to Oman, it had been hard to establish herself in the same field. She decided to go against all odds and pursue a new career in modeling and has since been in this industry for more than 10 years – shooting for big brands, designers, makeup artists and corporate clients. Be it photoshoots, ramp walks, Emcee, or endorsing a brand, it has been a very special journey for her even though she had no background or experience.

A life- changing experience for her has been Mrs. India – Empress of the Nation 2018 with Diva Pageants, where she emerged as 2nd Runner up. She has been the face of many known brands and has been recognized as a Social media influencer.

Recently, she has been working closely with Diva Pageants as a “photoshoot and portfolio pageant training coach” for Gruhlakshmi Mrs. India, Mrs. West India, Mrs. Maharashtra and Mrs. India – Empress of the Nation.

Her ultimate goal is to empower, inspire and motivate every single married women to explore the pageant world without any inhibitions and work towards their overall personality growth.

Setup for the Photoshoot

The location for the shoot was Hyatt, Pune in Kalyani Nagar. It is a wonderful venue with various backdrops for the photos. A perfect backdrop can add a certain mood to the pictures. We selected from a variety of backdrops, both indoor and outdoor.

As we scouted for backdrops and locations within Hyatt, the ideas for the right poses also started flowing into our minds. The right pose and perfect expression or look is vital to convey a complete picture. Piya being an experienced model, could give the perfect poses and looks for the pictures without much guidance.

The light setup was changed based on the pose and angle. Strobes are used even in outdoor shots to balance the background light. This is because the natural light can vary in an instant. Let’s say on a cloudy day, the sun can suddenly come out and it becomes brighter or then the clouds cover the sun in an instant reducing the brightness. If we rely on natural lights, we have to wait for the appropriate light and could get only a few seconds of it. So, the strobes help to balance this and give additional light effects.

The perfect lights setup is critical for close up pictures to have the right mix of highlights and shadows. In some cases, I have used one light as a spot light, and in other cases used two lights – one key light and one back light. The lights I recommend for use are Elinchrom FRX 400 with an Octa and a Strip modifier. For the spotlight effect, I have used a reflector.

All these pictures were taken on Nikon D750 with Nikon 70-200 lens.

Makeup and hair styling was wonderfully managed by Neetu Singh.

Read more about her:

https://www.instagram.com/neetusingh_artistry

Assisted by – Kaushal Brahma

A photoshoot requires assistance from multiple people; it is not always a one man task. There are many locations and setups, hence I do need help with moving the lights, setting them up and also in taking pictures with a different camera and with a different set of eyes. It was great to have my young assistant, Kaushal Brahma, a budding photographer and enthusiast, assist me making my shoot easy.

Piya Pawani with Arjun Dixit
Piya Pawani with Kaushal Brahma

Behind the scenes

Hind Sadi Centre – Ecommerce shoot

Products as seen on Flipkart

Product pictures on Flipkart

About Hind Sadi Centre:

Hind, is a brand that aims to redefine Indian women of every generation, in India. Hind offers a wide range of royal lehengas, chic Indo-Western ensembles and stylish kurtis, apart from traditional sarees.

Over the last 71 years, the brand has seen brides across the world adorning its exclusive bridal collections.

With two stores (Hind Sadi Centre & Hind Creations) in the heart of Pune city, Hind aims to craft a distinct identity for every woman across the globe.

Online product shopping and Photography:

These days, more and more people are buying products online. No matter what we are buying, the first thing we look at are the product pictures. Be it clothes, home appliances, footwear or groceries. The quality and attractiveness of the product pictures draws our attention and helps us engage with the site and search further for our needs.

About the apparel shoot:

The products were a range of beautiful salwar suits for women. We chose 4 models to pose for them. As a photographer, here are some points to remember for an apparel shoot :

Pick a wide range of clothing types, colors and sizes. The models also to be selected as per the clothing styles and sizes.

The models need to give the right poses to flatter the clothing. The pose should flatter or highlight a key aspect of the garment. For example, if there is colorful embroidery on the dupatta, the pose should highlight it, or if the kurta has a beautiful flare, then the pose can accentuate the flare.

Models for Hind shoot:

Yashoda Pawar


Kajal Jain


Karishma Kothari


Shweta Oswal


Preparations prior to shoot:

  • Ensure that the clothes are properly ironed.
  • No labels should be showing.
  • The dress should be the proper size for the model.

Styling for the shoot:

Styling is an important aspect of an apparel shoot. Styling involves selecting the right jewelry, footwear, makeup, hair style for the dress to be shot. The look of the dress is enhanced with the right styling. Here are the stylists for this shoot:

Makeup and Hairstyle:

Too much makeup can take the focus away from the clothing to the model. So it needs to be subtle and yet enhance the look of the model and the garments. The makeup should suit the garments to be photographed.

As there are many products to be shot in a day, there is no time to change makeup for every product. A neutral makeup is best, if the clothes are of different colors and brightness. Here are the makeup and hair artists for the shoot:


Shooting angles:

While shopping online, the customer needs to see the dress from multiple angles before the buying decision is made. Each dress requires 4 to 5 pictures in different angles. These are shown when the customer looks at the details of the product.

Lighting setup:

Lighting is key to any product picture. Remember that for an e-commerce shoot, the background is mostly white.

As the key light and fill light are focused on the model, the exposure is set according to that. These lights are not enough to make the background white. It will appear grey due the fall off of the light. For the background to be seen as white, additional lights are required to illuminate the backdrop.

The product color needs to be seen exactly as it is by the customer. Over exposed or under exposed images will not represent the right color of the dress.

Arjun Dixit Photography Studio

There should be enough light so that the aperture can be set to a higher number. When we shoot at f10 or f11, the entire product will be in focus, as the depth of field is wider.

Post processing of pictures after shoot:

Editing is an important aspect of the making the pictures look attractive. Some of the aspects to pay attention to during editing are:

  • Apply appropriate color balance so that the color of the dress in the picture is as close as possible to the actual color.
  • Clean up any spots on the background
  • Iron out any creases on the dress using editing tools.

Group pics of the entire team:

Photoshoot for Vidushi Sahana Banerjee – Sitar player

I had the wonderful opportunity do a photoshoot for one of the best sitar players – Sahana Banerjee.

About Vidushi Sahana Banerjee

Sahana Banerjee is one of the most accomplished and outstanding female sitar players of India belonging to the Rampur Senia Gharana. She learned to play the sitar under the tutelage of her father. She underwent many years of hard training.

She won the Pandit Nikhil Banerjee Challenge Trophy at the Dover Lane Music conference in the year 1990 in Calcutta and was conferred the “Best Instrumentalist” award.

Apart from being an A grade artist of the All India Radio and Television since 1995, Sahana has given many prestigious stage performances nationally and internationally.

Sahana Banerjee has received a national award, Ustad Bismilla Khan Yuva award (2013 -14) awarded by Sangeet Natak Academy, New Delhi in the field of Sitar.

She won the Pandit Nikhil Banerjee Challenge Trophy at the Dover Lane Music Conference in the year 1990 in Kolkata and was conferred the ‘Best Instrumentalist’ award.

To read more about Sahana Banerjee, visit: http://www.sahanabanerjee.com/

Planning the Photoshoot

I was introduced to Sahanaji by the famous flutist and my flute teacher – Milind Date. Incidentally, he also did a photoshoot with me in my early photography career days and is a patron of my photography.

More about Milind Date – http://www.milind.date

After multiple planning discussions, we finalized a day for the shoot.  An important aspect of a shoot is the planning. Apart from the dates and timing, planning involves deciding the dress code, make up and looks. A key aspect is to know where and how the pictures are going to be used that will determine the type of pictures to be captured and the lighting effects to be used.     

Planning for makeup is very important as it will vary based the attire and jewellery. It is an essential part of creating the perfect look for the artist.

Makeup artist for this shoot – Gauri Maral.

Shooting angles

When capturing portraits, especially of performing artists, the camera angles are key to getting great pictures. The angle varies based on the type of instrument that is being played by the artist. Some angles can be difficult to shoot without getting into awkward positions on the floor, on the belly and all fours.

The different angles can help focus on the artist or the instrument by bringing it into the foreground. Slight changes in the angles can give a different perspective to a picture. The light angles also have to be changed accordingly.

Here are some of the pictures:

Light effects

Various lighting setups can be used to get a different look. The choice is to use either broad lighting – where the side of the face, facing the camera is lit up, or short lighting – where the side of the face that is away from the camera is lit up. I have also used a back light or separation light for highlighting the hair.

I personally prefer to have short lighting setup for a black and white photo for a dramatic effect. For the B/W picture, I generally use only one light. Take a look…

Brahma Kumaris – Jagdamba Bhawan shoot

About Jagdamba Bhawan architecture

Archicon Design, Pune are the architects for the Brahma Kumaris meditation center called “Jagdamba Bhawan”. This center is located in Undri Pisoli, Pune. This retreat is a focal point for all year round activities of the followers of Brahma Kumaris in Pune.

View the architect’s website here: http://www.archicon.co.in/.

The shape of the building is derived from the Brahma Kumaris logo. The logo is like the sun, the source of energy with the rays radiating positive energy in all the directions.

The building is made in such a way that it feels like the sun has descended from the heavens and settled down on this beautiful terrain. The facility is designed with a circular main meditation hall in the center. While the wings house all other amenities such as prayer rooms and mini auditoriums. To enhance the radiating effect, corridors, spaces between the wings and the terraces are thoughtfully landscaped with trees and greenery.

The terraces provide natural day light and fresh air into the building. A corridor goes around the meditation hall having large windows. It is specifically designed to be at a distance from the wall of main hall.

The main meditation hall is designed to accommodate a large number of people for meditation and other events. The interiors are thoughtfully designed to ensure the best acoustics.

The open amphitheater that can accommodate approximately 3000 devotees is located behind the main building. It is the highlight of this complex. It is wonderfully landscaped with steps for seating. The center stage is designed such that it is visible from all corners of the amphitheater.

Tips for photographers:

Understand perspectives

  1. It is important to understand the creative vision or intentions behind the architectural design so that it is reflected in the pictures. Have conversations with the architect to understand the intention and perspective of specific design elements. The details might be obvious for the architect, but dive deeper with questions before you finalize the angles to shoot from.
  2. Understand the perspective of the people using the space and the angle from which they will be seeing it.

Preplan the shoot

  1. Before the shoot, study the location and direction of the building to decide the time of the day for the shoot. The sun can cast hard shadows on the building and hide a lot of details.
  2. Plan for evening shots to highlight any external light effects on the building.

Carry the right equipment

  1. Preferably use a wide angle lens. It could be 24mm or wider on a full frame camera to capture a wider angle.
  2. Use a tripod so that you can reduce the shutter speed. It is also required so that you can take multiple exposures and do bracketing.
  3. Flash or a strobe, if you want to add in more light in some area.
  4. Circular polarizing filter to reduce the amount of reflections.
  5. Tilt shift lens – if you have one, which can help in removing the distortion.

Correction in post processing

  1. When we take architecture shots, the vertical edges of a building or a room appear to converge. This distortion has to be corrected in post-processing using tools such as Photoshop. There is a higher degree of distortion when a wider lens is used.
  2. When shooting indoors, the camera will not capture objects outside the window because it is too bright. It requires multiple exposures to be taken using techniques such as bracketing, to get the required outside view so that the pictures can be merged later to capture the interior as well as the outside view.
  1. Bracketing helps take multiple shots of the same object with different exposures – one under exposed, one over exposed and more, so that they can be merged in post processing later for the right effect.
  2. While shooting buildings, the surrounding areas may have several unwanted objects and these need to be cleaned in post process. A keen eye for detail and cleanup is required. All objects that do not add value or create a sore look need to be removed.

Here is an example – can you spot the differences?

Mrs. India 2019 – Photo shoot

About the Event

DIVA pageants is a benchmark in the pageant category for married women. I was fortunate to be chosen as the photography partner for Mrs. India -Empress of the Nation 2019. The event was held at Hyatt Hotels, Pune. It was contested by 42 finalists from across the country.

DIVA pageants is the brain child of Anjana and Karl Mascarenhas.

The elite jury comprised of famous stars and personalities including Ashmit Patel – Actor, Mugdha Godse – Actress, Dr. Aditi Govitrikar – Actress, Dr. Rachna Sharma – MD : The Body Clinic, Dr. Gaurangi Shrawat – Mrs. India 2018, Simran Godhwani – International Classical Dancer, Kamal Sharma – Hyatt Pune and Karl Mascarenhas.

The host was Dilruba Pandey, internationally acclaimed anchor and singer. While the co-host was Farha Anwar.

Pre-event grooming

The contestants were groomed by DIVA on how to give their introductions, voice modulation, stage presence, and how to answer in the Q&A round. These pre-event training sessions were expertly guided by Anjana and Karl. DIVA also conducted grooming sessions with eminent trainers on all aspects from physical fitness to meditation.

The famous choreographer, Pooja Singh did a fabulous job of training the participants on how to walk, stand and present themselves. Posing tips and techniques were shared by Arjun Dixit.

Tips for photographers:

These pre-event sessions require photo coverage and most of it is candid. Taking these pictures while the contestants are in action requires movement, involvement in the proceedings and choosing the right positions and angles to shoot.

Ketan Gulhane, my co-photographer did a splendid job of covering these events.

Talent round

The talent round was held on the first day of the 4 day events. Participants showcased their talents on stage. There was dancing, singing, poetry and several other talents showcased.

Tips for photographers:

While shooting live performances, a photogrpaher has to be very alert and ready with the camera, so as to not miss a great shot. This requires a lot of anticipation of the performers next move. One has to keep a watch on the expression and eyes of the performer.

Fast movement in dances means that the hands could cover the face or eyes could be closed. Noticing this through the view finder can be extremely challenging. Keeping the Back button focusing configured on the camera helps to keep focusing and clicking actions separate. It allows for a faster response time.

Keeping a high shutter speed is advisable. Avoid using the flash as it will disturb the performers. Most of the time, the stage is dimly lit so a balance has to be maintained between shutter speed, aperture and ISO. I choose a fast lens to help with this!

Individual Photo shoot

The second day of the event was reserved for individual photoshoots for all 45 contestants. The makeup team (isas) started early to help get the contestants ready with makeup, hairstyles and dresses. As and when the contestants got ready, they proceeded to the photo shoot location.

Each contestant got a chance to pose and get pictures taken. The setup used was strobe lights with modifiers as deemed most suitable for the shot, such as Octa, Strip and reflectors.

Tips for photographers:

Photographers need to guide the models to pose and change the light setup based on the pose. Speaking with the model helps them to relax and pose with ease in front of the camera. Choose a variety of poses that flatter the dress, face and body of the contestant.

The Finale

The final event was a grand show with a backdrop of creative LED panels. There was a lot of movement and fanfare.

Tips for photographers:

When the camera is far away from the stage, a long lens is needed. I used two lenses namely 24-70 and 70-200, both f/2.8. My camera was setup at the far end of the hall, so there was no communication with the people on stage. It was all upto me not to miss a single moment.

Even when the stage is fully lit, keep the shutter speed high. The lights may increase or decrease in intensity based on the music. Quick adjustments are required to the aperture or shutter speed to compensate for the fluctuating light.

You may not have enough time to set an accurate exposure. Get the shot anyway so that the moment is captured and adjust in post processing.

Take a large number of pictures so as to not miss out on any of the poses or expressions.

Make sure you have plenty of charged batteries and spare SD cards handy.

In group pictures, it is difficult to get everyone looking at the camera. The contestants do not see the camera because of the focused spot lights. It is a good idea to ask the host to guide the contestants and guests on stage as to where to look.

Winners in the Silver Category (20 – 37 yrs) : Chaitalee Patil – Winner ; Monica Reddy -1st Runner Up ; Kamal Mongia – 2nd Runner Up
Winners in the Gold Category (38 – 55 yrs) : Nishtha Karkhanis – Winner ; Archana Shah – 1st Runner Up ; Dalia Dutta – 2nd Runner Up

Photography Team

This shoot was possible because of great team work. A lot of planning and team coordination is super important. Sit together to understand the sequence of events and plan your moves and responsibilities . Make sure your team sets the equipment up as per the needs since there is very little time to move things around later once the event starts. Planned and coordinated moves with good communication helps to make the team effort a success. A shout out to my awesome team of co-photographers!

From the left: Rajat Walunj, Kaushal Brahma, Arjun Dixit, Ketan Gulhane

And… a big thank you to DIVA for choosing me as their photography partner!

Nikhil Kanetkar Badminton Academy – photo shoot

The NKBA website – www.nkba.in

About the shoot

Olympian - Nikhil Kanetkar.
Badminton player from Pune.

I had the opportunity to conduct a photo shoot for the NKBA website. NKBA was launched on the 11th April 2011 for developing world class badminton players. The academy is based at the Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune. Nikhil Kanetkar who is an Olympian, is the chief coach at NKBA, with a dream to develop champions.

The photo shoot discussions started with understanding the objectives of the site, the coaching process, and the kind of photos required to represent the process steps appropriately. Nikhil Kanetkar and the other coaches were involved in the discussions right from the beginning for defining the web site, along with the website development company – Webworx – www.webworxindia.com.

NKBA management team profile pictures.

The requirements for the pictures were very clearly defined and the shoot was planned. The coaches took enormous efforts in coordinating various activities with players. One part was the profile picture shoot of the coaches. The second part was taking pictures which represented the six step coaching process at NKBA.

NKBA - 6 step champion program

As planned, the coaches worked with the players to conduct the exercises that represented the steps, which helped me shoot great pictures of the players in action. These pictures give an overview of the activities at NKBA, as a banner on the site.

NKBA Banner picture
NKBA banner picture

These pictures represent the wonderful efforts taken by the NKBA team in bringing up champions. You can see them in action here:

Here are some points to note for any sports shoot:

Preparing for the shoot

Shoot locations will always have surprises. It is important to take a look at the location before to be prepared for the shoot, and get appropriate gear. Take a note of the places you have access to and the distance between the place and the players. Plan for using wide angle as well as zoom lenses. If you are far away from the court, you will need a zoom lens. Plan for various angle including some from behind the spectators to include the ambience.

Understand the game

It is important for the photographer to understand the game he/she is shooting. As I played badminton myself, and also have been fortunate to be coached by Nikhil sir, I could anticipate the shot of the player and be ready for my shot. I knew when the player is going to jump for a smash, or pick a drop at the net. Photography for sport requires fast reflexes. With one eye on the view finder and the other closed, you have to watch how the player is moving and be ready to capture the moment.

Shooting at high speeds

Shooting at a high shutter speed will freeze the motion of the player to get a clear picture. Use a slower shutter speed to get some motion blur. If you are shooting for a live tournament where the light may not be enough for a high shutter speed, and you also cannot use a flash, a fast lens is useful. In a sport like badminton where the players are moving very fast, anticipation and continuous focusing is of great help. Use the back button focusing to focus and click faster.

Haier product shoot

Good Product shots are important to conduct any business on an E-Commerce platform – whether it is Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra etc.. A good product picture makes the product stand out from others and makes it sell. Research shows that visually attractive product pictures get more consumer eyeballs and clicks during online shopping.

I was approached by the marketing team for an e-commerce shoot for the launch of a new line of Haier washing machines. This shoot was held at the Haier India Pune factory in Ranjangaon.

A few notable points of a product shoot such as this:

A washing machine cannot be placed on a table to click its pictures. It needs to be placed on the floor. It is made of shiny metal and glass making it catch reflections from all over the room. It is extremely important to avoid the reflections. So a lot depends on the angle from which you shoot.

An e-commerce shoot requires pictures to be taken from all angles. These show up as different views for the consumer on the shopping site as they make a decision for which product to buy. The pictures are also used to depict the product dimensions and colors, and highlight the most important features of the product that make it worth a buy! Take a look at some of the shots:

Kingshuk Roy

I had a very good photo shoot with Kingshuk Roy. It was planned in a day. Kingshuk has been acting in serials and with Kingshuk’s experience, went like a breeze.

These are the pictures for which black background was used. The black background gives flexibility in using the light in various ways. The separation light or the back light, gives a nice separation of the model from the background.

Would like to thank Abhiram Tilak for using his painting in the picture.

Some pictures were taken with the white background. Kingshuk was fantastic in posing either standing or sitting.