Pradeep Chamaria is a travel photojournalist, blogger, and a keen photographer, also known under the name Pahadi Photographer, coming from Delhi, India. He has been trying to make average places look desirable to other travelers through experimental Travel Photography and Travel Writting.
He loves to travel to places he’s never been before and exploring vistas all over the world, and beeing an avid nature lover, he never misses the opportunity to capture nice views, people, sounds, and stories of the places he visits.
Although he believes that smartphones can help you take pictures on a daily basis, he still relies on his DSLR.
Is photography your hobby or a full-time job?
It was a hobby that used to provide me with the extra money that I needed during my student life and also later on in my professional life. I love travelling into the mountains and during my professional life I utilized all my leaves for travelling and photography.
Also on official trips I used to carry my camera and lenses with me and used to shoot during evenings, weekends, and breaks.
Now full time into photography – travel and food. I shoot destinations, properties and food for my earnings
What kind of photography are you into?
Travel/Nature/Wildlife, Food/Lifestyle, and Glamour.
Do you have any pets, kids or a signifacant other, that you take with you when you go on your shoots?
No pets though, but at times my nephews and siblings who accompany me during my travel.
Other wise I prefer travelling solo, and concentrate more on photography rather than taking care of my colleagues or romancing with my beloved.
My camera is my beloved when I travel.
What appealed to you about photography? When did you start / take your first photo?
Photography lets my artistic instincts flow out and give me an eternal satisfaction as I find it to express my innner self into my style of shooting.
I think photography helps me bring out the best in me and as I dont talk much it helps me in expresssing my feelings.
I started shooting some 30 years back when I was in school and the first pics I took was that of a wood plaque that I have made – the plaque with a to view of a lotus flower carving was going to be displayed in an exhibition at International Children Museum Moscow.
Getting a photo clicked at a studio was too expensive those days (in 1977), so I took my uncle’s camera and took a pic myself. It took 5 months for me to get the print – but I loved the experience and that hooked me on.
What kind of gear do you use? Do you have your favourite lens?
- Camera body – Canon 60D, 5D mark IV
- Lens – various
- Tripod –Manfrotto
- Flash – Canon
- Camera bag – Indian make
18-135 as it gives me great pictures without much changing my lens during travelling.
For wildlife – 100-400
For protraits – 50mm and for glamour – 85mm
Which of your photos is your favourite?
Every photo of mine is a favourite, I just try to use the avaialble light and angles.
But there is one which I love – its a sunset photo shot in Gujarat when I was shooting for TATA Chemicals plant.
The photo is set against the Factory silhouetted and the orange effect is great – have sold this pic at least 10 times.
There is one more – of Fireworks show at India Gate.
This was shot on a day when Japan was celebrating trade ties with India – and this amazing pic also has been sold 5 times
Among the gadgets that you own, is there something that you wish you hadn’t bought?
Not really. I did buy a Nikon camera once – but sold it within the first week.
Did not like the colour saturations in the shoots , I prefer earthy colours in my photos – so guess Canon is good.
Have you ever travelled to another country for photography purposes?
Yes a number of times – have travelled almost all over the world in last 30 years. I love the pics from my Singapore trip
I did my graduation from NJ USA, and attended a lot of graduate study programs during my graduation – held all over the world.
So I got a chance to travel all around and have vivid memories of many European countries.
Was working as a consultant in Singapore – so had a chance to cover lot of spots in Singapore, loved the island – Pulao Ubin and have shot a lot of nature pics there. A story appeared recently in newspapers – have attached
Do you have your favourite local area where you take photos?
Himalayas in India – I am a trekker/paragliding pilot. Have trekked almost all over the Himalayas – from Tibet – Nepal to the eastern section.
I have also one book by me on Kailash Manasarovar pilgrimage in Tibet. Attaching a pic of the cover.
In my spare time – I usually go out to the monuments in town and also to the crowded markets and shoot candids – its so lovely to see pics of peeple busy with their work.
Which photo editors do you use for post-processing?
Mostly Adobe Photoshop Essentials. I don’t edit much – just minimal for social media posts, otherwise its up to my client to do the editing depending on their end use.
For my personal pics and pics that I use on social media and with my stories – I use Adobe Photoshop. And do minimal editing like brightness control and also contrast control at times.
How do you improve your photography?
Experience, use of light direction and my unique angles. People hate me because even when they are shooting with me, I normally work around my angles and my pics are liked more than theirs.
Do you have any formal training as a photographer, and have you worked in a professional studio before?
I was taught taking pics by the grandson of great Rabindrnath Tagore of India – so no regrets.
Yes as mentioned above. Worked for a few studios in fashion shoots to gain experience and guidance of fellow photographers .
Traveled with groups like Youth Hostels, college groups and others to learn from fellow photographer and then later as solo photographer – used to take help of locals in knowing the best time to be on a particular spot, where is the possibility of sighting a tiger and shooting him – Ooops with my camera, folks, and not with a rifle.
What details do you believe make the best photographs?
I think its your perception that makes you take great pictures. And of course a sense of lighting which I guess is very important.
You see when you are shooting a sunset – there are many many others who also are waiting for the sun to go down.
But if you have the right angle and the right spot – you get what you want.
I will narrate an incident here – we were shooting a Chinese model in Nepal last year at a popular tourist spot.
The model was posing but the surroundings were disturbing and also everyone was just getting the model in frame.
I tried to be different and shot a kid – of labourers working near by. I got the kid a packet of wafers and the happy kid made me get frames different than other photographers.
From your point of view, what makes a good photo?
A perfect combination of light, composition, emotion, framing of the subject and story telling are the key to good pictures.
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?
Theres a problem with me, my fingers don’t work till I get the desired frame that I have in my mind – in my viewfinder.
I try to get my pics to be as much as natural for outdoors, and again for indoors – it all depends on my clients on what they want. But I still prefer in more of fine art shoots
Whenever shooting I carry some toffees/chips packets etc in my backpack – and when I offer these to kids around me or to my models – they instantly turn into friends – their confidence in me grows, and they become normal – start obeying my commands and give me great poses
What makes a good photo in your opinion?
The ones which my clients, fans and customers like.
For me – a good picture should be sharp – have a properly balance frame having the main subject in focus.
Also – the other objects in the frame should not be disturbing the main subject, the colours should be appealing and in case of monochrome pics – the shades of grey should give eye an soothing effect instead of being too contrasty.
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?
Normal updates on internet, attending group meetings of fellow photographers , going out on group travel with photographers.
Also online membership of various camera sellers, photography schools and lessons keep me updated.
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?
I still think a professional photographer who has a sense of lighting is better than a hobbyist and a smartphone photographer.
A hobbyist photographer takes pictures to please himself and show off to his friends and near dear ones.
A pro takes pictures to make money, to please hundreds and thousands who will be seeing his in any commercial usage.
Also a pro takes pain to travel to a location, or arranges for models / products to be shot – in a nutshell he makes an effort to make a picture – lot of thoughts, planning and hard work goes into a shoot, whereas a hobbyist just points and shoots.
Most of a professional’s pictures come out amazing whereas a few pictures only for a hobbyist come out good
What, in your opinion, is most important to consider while shooting portrait and landscape?
I guess while shooting people – their relaxation and confidence in me is very important. They must understand me, believe in me and not feel awkward in front of my camera. For me the model has to completely show confidence in me and follow my instructions
For outdoor shoots – I don’t mind spending time and days to get what I want and you see, this is very important in wildlife shoots.
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