Susmita Ghosh is an amateur photographer from Kolkata, one of the most popular city of India.
In her words, “I click entirely out of love and passion. I am a self taught individual with no professional training.” She feels blessed with some wonderful friends who guide and help her when required.
I have not taken photography as my career, therefore I do not have any defined schedule.
She doesn’t use any high end DSLR or SLR, but instead relies on her handset (Redmi Note 4) and some of the external macro lenses that she owns.
She loves experimenting with her shots, however she mostly shoots macro. “Macro photography in the word of a layman is a photograph where the subject is magnified to life size or greater. This genre of photography showcases our everyday life in an extraordinary ways. Insect, fruits, flowers are perfect examples of macrophotograhy.“, she said.
How and why did you get into photography?
One of the reasons why I love photography is because of its ability to frame a moment that can last an eternity. At times I have also observed even the most ordinary subject can be converted to extraordinary one with some mere alteration of angle, light, color and various settings. Even just a beam of light can actually change the entire story of the captured moment.
These unique characteristics compelled me to conclude that this creative sector of photography is not only appealing but has become one of my obsession and its uniqueness is a reason for me to explore.
Though it is difficult to recall my maiden click but it will not be very challenging to share the interesting story as to why i fell in love with macro photography.
Every morning I used to walk my daughter to her kindergarten section and while returning home I used to click some shots of wild flowers with the help of my handset (Redmi Note 4).
It was only after close observation that I had started realising that these minute creations are immaculate and unique in their own way. It is because of their minute size that the level of perfection with which they are created goes unnoticed with our naked eye. This sudden realisation made me search for similar subjects in internet. And each time I was left speechless and I slowly got addicted to this world of indescribable flawless beauty that were so delicately created.
Finally, I decided to look for macro lenses which was quiet a difficult task keeping in mind there is only one macro photographer out of every thirty (or even more) around us. It was through one of the macrophotography group that I finally came upon a my first lens (second hand), a Lensbong 4.5 Indo prosumer.
What gear do you use?
- Camera body –Inbuilt Camera of Redmi Note 4.
- Lens –Macro lens from Apexel and Lensbong.
- Tripod – I usually use my hand and nearest object for
- Filters – I do not like interfering with the originality of any subject.
- Flash – I do not use flash for living subject.
- Camera bag – Matin
Do you have your favourite lens?
Though I have a few collection of macro lenses and the use of each varies depending on the subject I would like to frame. But if I can rank them in regards to “easy to use ” and “almost very good details” I would pick the 100mm macro lens that I had recently purchased from “The Apexel Store”, Ali Express.
The 100mm macro lens not only allows one to maintain a decent distance from the subject but is also easy to focus. And if you are lucky enough to have the perfect timing with the light in the background then it will not be difficult to capture a perfect Bokeh Effect.
You have a lot of great photos, do you have one that stands out in your eyes?
Now that is difficult for me to answer. It is just like asking a mom to point our your favorite kid.
But yes, if I have to answer this then I will point out one which happens to be my favourite. They grow like wild flowers and are absolute insignificant and negligible to human eyes,the dandelions. I find them in my garden. One morning I had decided to take a closer view.
As usual I was instantly in love with the subject. But when I had finally decided to click it, trust me it was even more difficult than a live and moving subject. The morning was sunny and windy.
In macro photography even the most light and shortest flow of wind can spoil the subject. We have a good number of mosquitoes in our garden as well. Thus making the work not only challenging but equally painful. However fighting against all the odds I was finally able to click a shot which went on to become one of the best in Mobile Phone Photography International.
Do you regret buying any of your gadgets?
Honestly, no. The reason being I am extremely selective and do a huge research and reading before investing even a single penny on any gadget. Luckily, I am not an impulsive buyer and therefore each penny I invest is worth it.
Have you every traveled abroad for photography?
I am yet to explore my own sub continent, India. I have never traveled exclusively for photography but yes where ever I go my lenses are my constant companions. I might forget my makeup kit but not my lens bag .
Do you have your favourite local area where you take photos?
Well, if I have to choose a particular location in that sense I have none. But I prefer locations that are less interfered by human movement and presence like any wild bush or small areas with wild plants. Those are the prime locations for my macro subjects .
Could you explain your post-processing techniques to your fans?
Yes, post processing methods and steps are extremely important for photography. I usually select some of the best photos and transfer them to my favourite photo processsing applications – Lightroom and Snapseed.
Personally, I believe photo editing is something that inborn and none can be taught apart from the few technical aspects. It is our eyes that are the best teacher in regards to photo editing accompanied by aesthetic sense.
How do you educate yourself to take better pictures?
Patience, persistence and ability to accept constructive criticism are some of the most essential qualities to educate oneself in any field.
Initially, I became member of some of the macro-photography groups and started following the works of almost everyone. After a while, I personally got in touch with few of them and started sharing my pictures and asking for suggestions.
The fun behind macro photography is we capture those which are not revealed to naked eyes. Thus like every other creative work this sector also requires minute observation and patience.
I used to watch specific editing techniques from various you tube channels and then practice the same on my shots.
Initially, I had a problem in regards to focusing the subject which I slowly overcame by controlling my breathe while taking the shots.
There were several times when even my favourite clicks were nullified by them. I started taking them sportively no matter how disappointed the experiences left me.
Who has been the most influential person in your photography-learning journey?
Being a learner and a student I do not believe in restrcting my admiration to anyone in specific. Instead I prefer to have an unbiased mind and learn from each. Therefore I cannot name one in partcular as my favourite. In other words, the subject inspires me and my inputs are the result of my continuous learning and observation of various photographers and their works.
However during the early days I was still ignorant of various technical aspects of post photography. One of my friend Dharmesh Padhiyar was always there to answer my queries from framing the subject to photo processing techniques.
Patrick Mendoza, a friend from Phillipines is also a wonderful macro photographer and a brother whose work I thoroughly love .
What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?
As a naive and an amateur I used to get amazed with the level of perfection attained by the experts. But over time I realized that only continuous practice and dedication are the key to this level of dexterity. It is some thing no one acquires until they initiate the desire to learn.
Over time I realized that love and passion alone cannot help. I always had an idea that only expensive lenses delivered jaw dropping perfection and results. However over time I realized a continuous trial and error method blended with practice, passion, love and hard work can yield best result even with medium quality lenses and handset.
What details do you believe make the best photographs? How do you go about focusing on them in your work?
The best photographers are those who clicks not to influence the thought of others or to receive appreciation. Instead they spend hours after a specific subject absolutely out of love and passion for the work they do.
Dedication and preservance to attain perfection are the next factors that makes you the best photographer.
Creativity ,aesthetic sense overpowers technical knowledge. It is God gifted and one excels with that along with hard work.
How do you as a photographer make sure that the thing, person or landscape you want to shoot looks the way you want it to?
As a photogapher my preferred subjects are those which are the most insignificant to human eyes. Therefore I always want to make sure that I get suffcient amount of natural light to frame them with absolute accuracy and least interference from sudden winds and movement.
The position of the subject within the frame is another important factor which I make sure prior to framing the subject.
From your point of view, what makes a good picture?
A perfect combination of light, composition, emotion, framing of the subject and story telling are the key to good pictures.
Since the photography techniques and equipment change quickly, it is important to stay up-to-date. What do you do to always keep up with the times?
It is extremely important to stay up to date about the techniques and equipment. I usually follow the you tube channels and pages that have regular updates.
Nowadays almost everyone has access to devices with which it is possible to take pictures. What do you think is the difference between a professional photographer and any other hobby photographer?
An Amateur Photographer is driven by passion, self interest to discover and who continuously seeks to learn only and not aim for financial benefits or for any business purposes. In another word an amateur photographer is one who is not completely professional or confined to a definite subject.
A Professional Photographer has a good level of guided and trained expertise in photography, and does it for living or financial benefits. Some confined to a particular genre and seeks to attain perfection in the same.
But every professional photographer was once a hobby photographer, it is his/her passion, dedication and hard work that converted his/her passion to profession.
What, in your opinion, is most important to consider when shooting macro?
The important consideration in regards to macro photography are:
- The ability to comprehend whether the captured moment will be pleasing to eyes. In other words an unique way to identify and select one particular subject that is worth to be captured.This can only be achieved with an aesthetic bent of mind alone.
- To capture a moment one needs to see the same from a different and unique angle.
- You need to choose a good macro lens with a longer focal length (specially for living subjects).
- It is essential to customize the background to attain better depth of the subject.
- Pay attention to details.
- Natural and adequate light is best for macro subjects.
- Planning and determining the point of focus is of primary importance.
- To develop an eye for perfect framing (ambience).
- Be patient.
In your free time, what kind of pictures do you like to shoot and which ones do you avoid?
I usually try to frame simple moments and subjects that will stand out to be extraordinary after the final touch. For example tiny dew drop on a grass blade or sugar cubes from kitchen cabinet.
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