An Interview with Light Painting Photographer & Artist Abhishek Patel

Abhishek Patel is Mumbai based Photographer. He Started his photography as a Hobby with his Mobile Phone. He always had a desire to learn new things and the journey of Light Painting Photography begins…!

Read the full interview and get to know more about his journey.

1. Tell us about your background and journey.?

Well to start off… I was just a mobile photographer before all the way back in 2017. I always had a desire to learn new things about photography and get deep into it. I bought my very first DSLR Nikon 7200 in July 2018 and started exploring different genres of photography one by one. I tried streets, I failed. I tried birding nature and macro which I still do as a hobby. But here is the best part. I always had an attraction towards long exposure photography so had to dedicate my work to it. And I always wanted to do differently in long exposure which is my own kinda thing. I was fond of eric pare’s work and wanted to try it for myself. I enjoyed that so settled for light painting. I never knew that this hobby would be converted into a part-time profession as well. Throughout the journey, it’s always been self-learned things. Never went to any classes or so. Watched a lot of youtube videos and tutorials to gain knowledge and then putting it to execution.

2. What was your career path? How did you get from being an aspiring photographer to actually doing it full time, for a living??

Academic wise I am a post-grad i.e. master’s in commerce. I work in an audit firm for my living and also I shoot weddings and events as a part-time photographer for an extra source of income.

3. What technology/software/camera gear do you use to keep focused on what you do best, as you photograph?

I use Nikon 7200 camera for all my shoots. My kit includes the camera with different lenses (Nikon 35, 50, 70-300, 18-140, and Tokina 11-20) for different purposes and my light painting kit. For editing, I use Lightroom and Snapseed.

4. How do you get paid to do what you want to do with your photography?

As I mentioned earlier that I shoot weddings and events, that’s where I get paid for. And nowadays there are many people who prefer light painting for their pre-wedding shoots. So I get hired for the same.

5. How do you get a candid photo of someone while still getting their permission to take a photo of them?

Well, that’s a tricky question. Candids are purely taken when the subject is in his own zone and should be completely unaware that I am clicking them. Only then it would be called a candid. That’s because if we take the permission of the person they might get cameras conscious and won’t give those natural expressions which we look for in candids.

6. Among the gadgets that you own, is there something that you wish you hadn’t bought? Why?

Buying a full-frame mirrorless camera is always a dream for all my fellow photographers. Nobody can deny that. But I say I am happier with whatever I have right now. But I have the biggest desire to own eric pare’s full light painting tubes collection in my kitty. Those tubes are no less than tressure to me. The main reason to have those tubes in my collection is the level of output and color variants they provide is at a whole new level which is not easily available in DIY options or ready-made in India.

7. What kind of tools do you use for post-processing? Explain your workflow.?

Honestly, I try to keep my workload to be minimum. I always try to get the best output in the camera itself by adjusting the camera to a proper exposure of light and ambiance. I barely work in post-process in my photos. In my light painting, I sometimes make some color correcting adjustments so that the colors pop out to make the image stand out. Rest I only do some cleaning process to remove unwanted things in my frame(if we shoot at the beach we have trash everywhere. So I heal it out. That’s all.

8. Whose work has influenced you most?

For my light painting, it’s one and only Eric Pare(@ericparephoto). Also, there are many light painters like Russel Klimas(light lense), Zach Allen(@zshtx) who inspire me for light painting. We have a huge community of light painters and we help each other and grow together.

Apart from light painting its Zaid Salman(@yourworldmylens) and Pratik Talreja(sadak_chap) who are an amazing person and as a photographer, we all know how their work is. It speaks for itself. There are many other people like Nimit Nigam(@nimitnigam), Navaneeth Unnikrishnan(@navaneeth_unnikrishnan), and many more other artists whose work is amazing and inspires me to shoot the same.

9. What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?

I honestly don’t know how to operate photoshop. Though I edit my pictures in lightroom. But photoshop takes the editing process to a whole new level. Anyways it’s never too late to learn something. I am learning that day by day.

10. What advice would you give to an amateur photographer wanting to change their passion into a full-time profession?

I would suggest that don’t follow the trend. Just workout with yourself and create your own trend. Like I noticed that during this covid situation everyone was into macro photography as they didn’t have a permit to shoot on locations. As per my thinking.. explore every genre of photography. Then finally settle for one or two genres for what you are best at. If you do something different on your own That helps you to stand out in the market. Shoot as much as possible. Explore places. Capture and freeze those priceless moments.

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