The story begins in January of class 12th. Board exams were just 2 months away and I was already sick and tired of cramming up the boards syllabus. I had happily given up on the thought of being able to crack IIT-JEE (realist huh). That was the time when I ended up surfing the web for online galleries like DeviantArt and 500px and spending hours and hours just reading about how an image was created. What went in preparation, the set-up, the settings, the location,the post-processing, and on and on. The idea of being a photographer excited me. But, being a girl from a small town like Patna, I just wasn’t open minded enough to see it as a career option. There’s just Engineering, Medical, Law and for those who are really advanced, Journalism and Mass Communication. I happily took admission for Engineering in Computer Science at Amity University, Noida. Best Decision Ever!
Amity opened up my mind to various possibilities. There was so much happening all around. I am one of those people who has to try everything. I got in sports and liked it. I got into Dance and liked it. I met with a few budding photographers and was amazed. I wanted to create beautiful images as well. I was in my 3rd year when asked my father for a DSLR camera. After much pleading and crying and emotional drama (from Mom’s side as well, yeah she always supports me), I got my first DSLR Camera. It was love. I began toying around with it, not knowing what does what. Reading, experimenting, more reading, more experimenting.Watching YouTube videos for tips and tricks. All my friends became my subjects (for a nice profile picture, obviously). I began going to Photowalks and that’s where my area of knowledge began expanding (and college grades started dropping). I began meeting some of the most well known Photographers in Delhi at these Photowalks. I became a part of the Photographer’s community. There was so much to learn.
I was in my fourth year of college now. Placement season. I got placed at a well known MNC. It was a great company. Since, I was placed now, who cares what grades I get, I just need to pass the exams. All my time was given to Photography. That’s when a friend suggested, “If you want to get into this industry, start going to cafe’s and shoot gigs.” I randomly went to a gig and shot the band. They loved it. One thing led to another, and soon enough, I was pretty much known in the music scene. I loved clicking. I earned my first money though a photoshoot. The images made people happy. I was happy.
College got over. I went to Bangalore , the IT hub of India. Why to throw away a nice paying job? Only one problem, I hated it. I began searching for an escape in photowalks at Bangalore. That’s where I got an opportunity. A company was searching for a photographer for clicking newborn babies. I thought let’s give it a shot. they saw from my collection and loved them. They got me on board. Now everyday, I was a Newborn Photography Artist from 10am to 2pm and then a Software Engineer from 2pm to 9pm. A lot of photography offers were coming my way, but I couldn’t accept them because I had office and couldn’t give enough time. That’s when I realized, its not going to work this way. I can’t do both. A choice has to be made. Photography comes unasked out of me. Even at office, I was reading articles about photography on net. Coding would never come unasked out of me. I would never do it without any reason. Photography needs my full attention. I quit.
I decided to move back to Delhi for my journey from passion to profession. Best decision ever. Not a single day do I regret quitting engineering and becoming an artist. Everyone says it takes courage to do that. Honestly, I feel it was the easiest thing to do. Doing what the heart says.I am doing much better than I could ever have done at engineering. Learning everyday, meeting new people, new stories, new places. Initial few months were tough. I got easier eventually. I was fortunate that my parents supported me in my decision. They saw the scope as well. Every career has its own struggles. My job is not a 9to5 job with a boss pestering me. Its a 27×7 job where I am my own boss. I have the luxury of scheduling the shoots according to my time. However, there are times when I have to schedule 3 shoots in a day. Sometimes, I am shooting till 4am at a wedding. Sometimes, its waking up at 4am so that you reach the perfect location on time to capture images in the perfect morning light. I truly love all of it. There needs to be a balance between earning through your art and satisfying the creative side. Some highly paying projects may not be so creative. If I just keep running after money, I ll eventually start hating photography. Whereas, a project that is very close to my heart and has required days or even weeks in its creation, may not pay at all. But, it is required so that the creative side is well fed. One for the kitchen, one for the soul.
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