A tête-à-tête with Beej Lakhani

By Sejal Mathur

Using a camera, lighting up a set, and taking that brilliant shot is what makes a photographer, correct? Well, that’s not it! Understanding your client, dealing with the agency, juggling with budgets, meeting the deadlines, and still keeping your mark is all part of this game! Beej Lakhani spills it all in this interview with Book A Workshop.

Do you also have that innate urge of capturing the perfect shot? Are you also eager to learn what magic you as a newbie could do with that DSLR of yours tucked away? Are you someone who wishes to ditch that 9 to 5 desk job and chase your dream of photography?

Well then, here’s a chance for you to look through the lens of one of our host Beej Lakhani and discover how photography is not just an art, but also a business!

Who’s Beej Lakhani?

Beej Lakhani

Beej Lakhani

Photographer & Cinematographer

Beej Lakhani, a budding photographer, and cinematographer who’s in his late 20s and has already etched a mark in the industry! His interests lie in street photography, product photography, and portraiture. He is based out of Mumbai.

How Beej Lakhani unfolded his passion into a profession

He started from scratch at the age of 23 when he took up his first job. He has been an independent advertising photographer for over half a decade now. In this period, he has shot for leading brands and has realized his urge for understanding bigger cameras and the art of lighting on a grander scale. He also took a sabbatical to assist I.S.C. Ravi Varman on films to learn cinematography.

The young man has stints of working on multiple assignments with many production houses and advertising agencies in addition to the occasional editorials. He has shot for leading & popular global brands including Mercedes Benz, Indian Express, and fashion brands including Dior, Steve Madden, Christian Louboutin, Estee Lauder, H&M, Ajio Life, Reliance brands, Nykaa, and the like.

Having had the opportunity to work with some phenomenal people in the industry, he’s directed shoots for B-town celebrities including Alia Bhatt, Ranveer Singh, Karan Johar, Shibani Dandekar, Athiya Shetty, Aditya Narayan, and such other faces in the film industry. Join him as he walks you through his journey and unfolds a step-by-step process of executing a successful shoot!

Who inspired you to take this up as your profession?

My father.

Who was the most difficult BTown star to shoot for?

Shooting any influential person is difficult, not because they are difficult with you, but because they are very very short on time. Given their busy and hectic schedules, you barely get any time with them to get that perfect shot. It’s always a race against time when you’re shooting celebrities or such influential personalities.

Did you undertake any formal training before pursuing this profession or is it purely your passion that drove you?

Yes, I did a 1-year diploma course in Digital Film making and Photography, and assisted photographer Gaurav Sawn for almost 2 years alongside my course. But of course, it was the passion that drove me to photography!

What equipment is a must-have for you no matter where you are going to be working?

A good high-resolution camera, a few fast/prime lenses, and 1 or 2 strobe lights that support high-speed sync is what you need!

How do you educate yourself to take better pictures?

Websites of master photographers, following their work….Instagram is also a constant source of inspiration apart from photography blogs, books, paintings and cinema!

What details do you believe make the best photographs?

This is subjective; the play of highlights and shadows created by light – natural or artificial, and of course the thought behind the image you have taken (the message or story it conveys)!

What type of editing software do you like to use for your completed photographs?

Photoshop! (there are a few phone apps too that I enjoy using, including VSCO or the inbuilt iPhone editing software)

How long would it take for a person to learn photography and handle shoots?

You can learn how to use your camera and do shoots within a few months but to gain that confidence to pull off a shoot is an ongoing process. So including photography school (if you choose to go to) and your assisting phase, 2 years is a good amount of time before you go independent.

How much on average could a newbie in this field earn?

As for a newbie, you can begin with around INR 10-15,000 per day and multiply it with the number of shoots you manage to bag in a month!

Learn how you can turn your passion into your profession by learning from experts and industry insider on Bookaworkshop.in

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