Last Updated on August 12, 2021 by PixelPluck
Get inspired with Fine Art Portrait Photographer – Chandni Dua
Our Spotlight for this week features the talented Chandni Dua. She is a Weddings, Fashion, Lifestyle, and Fine-art Photographer based in India. You can follow more of her gorgeous and inspiring work by checking out the links at the end of this post.
1. How and when did it all start? How did you learn photography? Tell us a little about your background.
Since childhood, I was very active and curious about just using the camera or clicking myself. I have silly pictures from our old Kodak camera when I was young and did not know how to just get better pictures of myself. So I used to overexpose mistaken clicks, I used to click sleepy selfies, and so on.
But then one day I clicked with my cousins when they were just having fun in the early morning sun. Everyone appreciated those pictures a lot. So much that my family got those photographs framed. The fact that I helped them capture some of the best memories for them that they actually liked made me happy. Since then I started clicking regularly but never thought of it as a profession.
I finished my schooling in Delhi and when I started my graduation in animation after shifting to Ahmadabad, I got introduced to this whole new world of big cameras and never-ending inspiration on the internet (till then Orkut was Internet for me :P). Then I took it seriously and I started practicing and I am continuing.
2. Do you think the talent for photography is something a person is born with?
I have never thought about it that way. Irrespective of the fields, I have always seen struggle in everyone’s life to be what they are.
So even in Photography, I don’t think anyone is born with the talent or born for it. They work and hard to be where they ultimately are and prove themselves. People say photographers have a different eye & a different vision. But I believe we all just build our sensitivity to notice and see things that are usually ignored by others.
3. How much work goes into the preparation of your photography? Where do the ideas come from?
A lot. From idea to inspiration, from gadgets to location, from make-up to posing, retouching, the actual shoot, and then the post-production.
I write down lots of ideas all the time and then when I have time to shoot and the light is generous, I take a page from my ‘book of ideas and execute it. But ultimately then everything needs to be executed in very little time as the good light conditions are not going to stay for long.
4. Where do you get the inspiration for your work? Do you follow any other Photographer’s work closely?
Yes, I follow a lot of artists which includes photographers, poets, painters & illustrators. I think all kind of art, my situations, and lifestyle inspires me in different times. Movies inspire me a lot.
Some of my favorite photographers whom I really admire are Annie Lebovitz, Derren Versoza & Anastasia Volkova. There are many more.
5. What camera and lighting gear do you use for a typical shoot? Which ones are your favorite?
I use a Canon 5D Mark II with a kit lens and a 50mm 1.4 lens. I use only a free source of light.
My current favorite is an 85mm lens.
6. How important are the photo processing skills? How should one learn and develop the skills?
For me, post-processing is really important and helpful but not a necessity every time. Post-processing works best when you have a thoughtfully clicked and have a perfectly lit picture to go with it. It is good to have post-processing skills even if you are not that much into editing.
The only way to get better at post-processing is to keep practicing regularly. Keeping your basics clear and updated is important.
When I do surreal work, post-processing is the most important thing. But when I do portraiture, it’s like a secondary thing. So yes, it depends on your style of work too.
7. Has fine art portraiture always been a major focus of your photography? If not – why is it something you seem to focus upon so much?
Yes, always. Fine art, surreal, and self-portrait photography have really helped me discover and explain myself and I honestly wouldn’t have had taken photography as a profession if it wasn’t for this. That’s how I started and it’s something I am never going to stop doing no matter which genre I specifically indulge in in the future. Fine art is always going to be a primary genre for me. To me, it’s like poetry or like writing a journal.
8. What are the typical challenges you have faced as a Photographer in recent years and how do you overcome them?
Well, there are struggles in every field. But I do not like to complain about it.
9. Could you share one of your favorite images with us and talk us through the idea and how you shot it?
This is one of my favorite images if you ask me today. It may change tomorrow.
It is a double exposure experiment I did with two drastically different images and those images were not planned and shot for this thing. But they just worked well together.
I have shot the portrait in natural window light with my Canon, indoors at my place and the second image was shot with my Nikon around 3 years ago during sunset that one is also in natural light conditions. I merged and adjusted them during post-processing in Photoshop.
10. What would be your message to the many aspiring photographers? How to develop a unique style?
Everyone has their own unique style, which they will realize sooner or later. When you stop comparing yourself and your work with others, you will start noticing that. This one thing will help you bring your most creative colors out. Most Photographers these days are copying work and trying to recreate the same output. It’s very unfortunate and it doesn’t help anyone to explore their creative self. So instead, everyone should concentrate on creating unique work and ideas.
Constant experimentation, regular shooting, staying updated about equipment & accessories, researching about new techniques, being open-minded, meeting new people, inspiring yourself every day, and traveling will help you develop your own style.
11. Five years from now, Where do you see yourself as a photographer?
I wish to travel and shoot for most of my time so I want to accomplish that. Till then, I wish to meet and shoot with the people who inspire me today. Most importantly, I see myself spreading more respect for my Profession.
All images © Chandni Dua
Weddings | Fashion | Lifestyle | Fine art Photographer
You can find her work on Instagram @indianfootprints