Photographers are shaping up the creative space in India. Among many photographers, one name that stands apart from all is Prashant Samtani. The photographer is a celebrated name among all the models, actors and celebrities. He was inclined towards photography since his birth and he carried a digital camera wherever he went. During school, he extremely loved painting and music. Samtani was pretty sure to make a career in the creative field. When he was in junior college, he flunked when he was in grade 11 in the commerce stream after which he decided to pursue a course in mechanical engineering with a hope to join his father’s business in the mechanical field. He did complete his diploma and degree in mechanical engineering but then joined a call centre in the suburbs of Mumbai as it gave him good money.
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Prashant’s life was all about trial and errors. However, he was not happy with what was happening and the constant search of discovering himself was on. The turning point in his life was when he made his fashion portfolio and that was the day he decided to become a photographer. Spending weekdays in call centre and weekends in photography classes, he was walking fast towards hos goal. He considers that all his jobs have helped him what he is today. While mechanical engineering helped him to be creative, his job at the BPO gave him good money by which he invested in a camera and other aspects of photography. In a candid interview with the renowned photographer, he reveals it all.
Excerpts from his conversation:
Q: How did you start doing photography? What got you interested in it?
A: The way I think about it, I didn’t decide to become a photographer, photography chose me. When I was about twelve or thirteen, I picked up a camera as that was my hobby. I was working in the mechanical field as I am a mechanical engineer, however, my interest always diverted me to make my career in a creative field. This seemed to be the obvious choice because it was my passion, and my life started to form around photography. This process involved getting smaller photography jobs and I was working as an assistant. Over time, smaller jobs led to much larger assignments and soon I was a full-time professional.
Q: Apart from sheer hard work, what would you say has been the main key to success?
A: I think the magic combination for success is talent, hard work, good business sense, and luck. I can say that interest and passion is the main key. Just work with your heart in whatever field you are, and you will surely reach heights with your full dedication in it.
Q: If not a photographer, who would Prashant Samtani be today?
A: That’s a strange question. Frankly speaking, I can’t imagine my life without photography. It’s like a body without a soul for me at this point in time. However, if not a photographer then I would be definitely in any other creative field like fashion designing or interior decorator or a painter.
Q: How important you think branding is for the models?
A: Branding is utmost important in our industry I can say and models have to understand each and every aspect they carry about themselves. Especially on social sites, casting people or agencies or coordinators do not search models but also understand the model behaviour, their body language from their normal and portfolio clicks. Most importantly, they judge the complete personality. Models and actors have to balance their profile in a very perfect way. Presenting them in wardrobes, enhancing their looks and physique, and better posing are some of the pre-requisites for every model.
Q: What advice you have for beginners who want to be professionals in this field?
A: Take time to learn the techniques properly. Either by taking a class, or a private workshop. I don’t skip the important steps; get to know the equipment well, get comfortable with it, and invest in some classes and workshops. And as with anything practice, practice and practice! Take your couple friends out for a casual session and play around with lighting and composition. There’s no pressure when you’re shooting for free, only the potential for you is to learn.