The pandemic has shaken the world to its core. Caged inside our homes, we’re all searching for something to keep our spirits up. For many of us, it is creativity that has been helping us sail through the tough days. Taking out your old sketchbook and materialising that colourful picture stuck in your head since long sure perks you up. The ukelele that had been lying in a corner of the room is now out and about. But who thought there was a thing as virtual photoshoots? Sukriti Singh, a 17-year-old based in Noida, did not let her after-boards photography plans be deterred by the lockdown. Creativity knows no bounds and with technology at our disposal, there’s nothing that can halt us from realising the ideas flooding our minds.

SheThePeople.TV talked to Sukriti, who told us how a FaceTime photo shoot challenge led her to explore virtual photography and practice portraits while at home. She has done five shoots to date, one of which was with the same model in three different outfits. Here’s her story of beating the lockdown blues with a camera.

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Discovering virtual photoshoots

Virtual Photoshoots
A photography-enthusiast, Sukriti had been capturing animals for a while now. After clicking her dog in every possible angle, she was looking forward to practicing portraits but then, the unforeseen turn of events ruptured her plans. She came across FaceTime photoshoots but was skeptical about the whole thing and felt that it was only for iPhone users. She said, “I wasn’t sure if everyone would be willing to use Zoom or whether this was the right way to go about taking portraits for the first time ever. Finally, when a friend of mine suggested that I should try out online photoshoots I took it as a sign and read about it a bit.” She started working with ‘Duo moments’, a feature on Google Duo.

Challenges

She revealed, “A major challenge that I faced during these virtual photoshoots was that of getting my desired framing, composition and angles. Since the “camera” particularly was not in my hands and I couldn’t really explain how certain things need to be, I felt a little insecure. But luckily we were able to work that out as all my models were really cooperative and I had read up a lot on making people pose.” Yet another hurdle that the young photographer overcame was managing the noise, that is, the grain of the photographs. She had practiced a certain type of editing before the scheduled shoots which improved the quality of pictures that were clicked with normal android devices. She played with warm and cool tones to give her clicks a “certain vibe”.

Virtual photoshoots

Communicating with the models

Calling communication the key to good photoshoots, she said, “I told all my models beforehand to choose a place with good natural lighting; I did the shoot at a time convenient to them however I still asked them to ensure that they choose a time when sunlight is present at their chosen location. I asked them for a photograph of the potential places that could be used and helped them select the apt location accordingly.” She used things like pillows and plants as props. She had a clear idea of what kind of photos she needs from a particular shoot and thus basic instructions were enough to achieve the desired result.

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A learning experience

When asked about what she learned in the shoots, she said, “One should always try out new things because they act as lessons, even if they don’t go exactly how you had imagined them to. I also learned that technology sure does play a major role in bringing us closer because these photoshoots went as great as any in-person shoot could have, even though we were quite restricted.” Moreover, she feels that this experience would certainly help her communicate well with her future models, “communication is difficult with a certain distance and since I got a run at it, I think I’ll be able to do a better job ahead.”

A win-win

While on the skill front, it helped her accept the fact that she won’t always have the conditions she likes but that doesn’t mean she can’t get good photographs. Other than that, she said, “These 45 minutes to hour-long photography sessions mixed with small, general chit chat was refreshing. By planning these I gave myself and a few of my friends something to do in this rather depressing time. It made me happy when they got a chance to dress up and were excited about the same. And fortunately, the photographs I took made them happy too, so it was a win-win.” 

Accomplishing moments

In a happy tone, she remarked, “I loved the smile on all my models’ faces when I told them how beautiful they looked or how great the picture came out to be, right after I clicked one. I also loved how all of them told me that they had fun. Most of them were worried and anxious before the shoot because they did not want to ruin anything for me but as the shoot went on I could actually see their tension melt away. I felt truly accomplished in those moments.”

Also Read: Photography with a twist: Meet some of the best women photographers in India

Saavriti is an intern at SheThePeople.TV. 

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