How Photography Changed My Life: Swapneel Sathe , Tax Consultant, Pune.

An introduction about who you are, what you do for a living and how you got into photography. 

Hello friends, I am Swapneel Sathe, a Tax Consultant by profession. I stay in Pune with my wife, two kids and my father. My other hobbies are – drawing, painting, listening to music, writing articles on music, writing poetry, translation work regarding Bangla language, etc. Since school days, I was very curious about cameras and photography.  In those days (1980s), having our own camera was a big thing. SLR cameras were not at all affordable. It was the era of film rolls.

How was your first experience with your camera?

The first camera that my parents bought for us was a point and shoot (Premier make) camera. Me and my siblings used it for several years during college picnics, family functions, etc. It was a basic point and shoot camera with almost no settings.

At that time, my uncle was a professional photographer in Mumbai. Earlier he had worked as a cinematographer in the hindi film Industry. Then he turned to industrial photography and currently he is engaged in videography of various medical surgeries. During summer vacations we used to visit his place. There I came across various camera models used by him. I don’t remember the exact details of those models. But my uncle was of a very friendly nature and used to show us how to operate various cameras. There, I have also witnessed various photography techniques and processes such as developing the negative in a dark room, printing the photos and mounting the same in the album. Most of the photographs in that time were B/W.

After completion of graduation (B.Sc.) in 1993, I went to Mumbai for doing three weeks apprenticeship under his guidance. There I received training in industrial photography which included taking photos of various products, plants, shop floors; mainly in chemical and pharmaceutical industries. These photos were later on used by the company for advertisements, brochures, etc. There were also contracts for making slides. A special kind of film roll was used for slides which after processing gives a ‘Positive’ as the final output (instead of a negative in usual film rolls). This positive (that is the slide) is then mounted in a paper frame for use in the slide projector. Those three weeks were like a dream and still hold great value for me.

After coming back to Pune, I wanted to start with my own studio set-up. But, due to some unavoidable circumstances I had to suppress my aspirations and join our family business as a ‘Tax Consultant’.

Few years later (about 1998), again my hopes were raised when my younger brother bought a Canon SLR (film) camera from USA. I enjoyed photography with a SLR at different locations like Mumbai, Kolkata and Agra. But in just few years the digital Era started and the film cameras became obsolete.

By this time, I was well settled in my profession and was in a position to afford my own camera. So, I bought my first digital (point and shoot) camera Finepix S1500 from Fuji Film and then two years later, Canon Powershot SX60HS.

What were the things you did to get better at photography?

I was really enjoying shooting using a digital camera. That time I used to take shots on ‘Áuto’ mode only. Everybody used to appreciate my shots. But, still I felt something incomplete in my photography.

About two decades had already passed for my apprenticeship with my uncle. In this period, the photography had undergone drastic technological changes. So, in the changing scenario I felt it necessary to search for a proper ‘Guru’ to refresh my knowledge. There I came across an advertisement by our mentor Kush Sharma from Creative Pad Photography. After completing the basic photography course (in May 2016), the need for DSLR emerged strongly in my mind. Finally, in August 2016 I purchased my own DSLR – Canon 700D with a double lens kit containing 18-55 & 55-250 mm lenses. Coincidentally, I received the DSLR from Amazon on 19th August – The World Photography Day 😊

With a DSLR in hand, my photography really picked up great pace and in last one and half year I have enjoyed clicking at least 7000 shots.

Your favorite shot of yours up till now and its details

Here is my favorite shot till today, taken last month (December 2017), near Gateway of India, Mumbai. It is the shot of a seagull which had just landed on the sea shore and its wings were still open. The image EXIF data is as under:

f/5.6, 142 mm, 1/1000 second, ISO-200

The shot is taken in both JPEG and Raw format. The image attached here with is the original Raw image converted to JPEG after some editing work.

This was my first experience with raw images. Right now, I am using Photoshop CS6 for editing the pictures. But, I came to know that it is not compatible for editing raw images and it is also not getting upgraded.  While searching for the solution on the net, I found that there is a software called ‘Digital Photo Professional’ by Canon; which is specially meant for editing raw images. Then suddenly I remembered that, I have received a CD of various software along with my DSLR. From the said CD I installed DPP on my laptop and the big question is now resolved.

What is your favourite type of photography?

As a photographer (and also an artist), Portrait Photography and Portrait Drawing are my favorite topics. I just lovewatching different personalities with different moods and catching them via the lens of my camera. In my opinion, beauty lies in each and every face, irrespective of gender, age and complexion. The only thing that you need is the right perspective and timing to capture it. In the last one and half year I have captured a number of personalities from various age groups.

Attached here, two of my favorite portrait shots. Details of these images are as under:

Image2: f/1.8, 50 mm prime lens, 1/125 second, ISO-100

Image3: f/5.0, 131 mm, 1/125 seconds, ISO-6400

What is the equipment that you use?

To implement this hobby-cum-profession I use the following equipment:

Earlier I only had a double lens kit (18-55 & 55-250 mm). While doing event photo shoots like wedding, etc, I found that it is not convenient to carry and keep on changing two lenses from time to time. Hence, few months ago I purchased the Tamron make 18-270 mm lens. I found this lens very useful due to its long range. It can be used for wide angle (Group Photos) as well as for individual portraits.

What are your future aspirations in terms of photography?

With the ever growing confidence that I received in the last year or so, now I am trying to step up into the field of professional photography. Since I am a self-employed person, I can definitely spare (or adjust) some time for this. (But, of course, right now I have no intention to give up my profession as a Tax Consultant 😊).

I have already opened my own Facebook page under the banner “ÇhitraNeel Creations” Some of you might have visited the same. In the year 2017, I have successfully completed some 7 to 8 assignments covering various events like engagement, wedding, get-togethers, family functions, sports events, etc.

I know, some defects, deficiencies are still there in my work. But photography is a continuous learning process and every time I am trying to improve myself. In the coming future, I would like to get mastery over Photoshop. Also, I am planning to take a more professional approach by adding a few more accessories such as reflectors, filters, etc. to my arsenal.

I still don’t have a tripod of a professional quality. The one which I have is of ordinary quality and purchased long back. One should not ignore the safety measures in photography. Because, the equipment that we carry is precious. Currently I am using the camera bag provided by Canon. But, with the increasing number of lenses and other accessories I have to go for a new bag which will take care of all the equipment.

Other shots that you would like to show

As a photographer, I personally don’t like to restrict myself to a particular category only. At least in the initial stages one should try and enjoy all kinds of photography. Though portrait photography is my favorite subject, I have tried some other categories (like landscape, nature photography, etc.) also. Here I would like to share three such images pertaining to nature, landscape and kids’ photography. The details of each image are as under:

Image4: Nature Photography – f/5.6, 250 mm, 1/200 seconds, ISO-800 (The shot is taken at Hanging Garden, Mumbai)

Image5: Landscape photography – f/11, 18 mm, 1/80 seconds, ISO-125 (The shot is taken at Jain Temple, Ahmedabad)

Image6: Kids’ Photography – f/1.8, 50 mm, 1/160 seconds, ISO-125 (The original shot was in colour. I have changed the same to B/W)

How has photography changed your life?

As a hobby-cum-profession, photography has given me not only immense pleasure but has also helped in building some beautiful and divine relations, that I could have never imagined. Before I conclude, I would like to share one such touching story of mine with you. This is an extract from one of the articles written by me.

Divine Relation – A Must Read Story:  

Brother & Sister – perhaps the most beautiful relation in the world. In case of siblings and cousins, there exists natural love and affection and bonding between them is quite obvious. But, sometimes this bonding goes beyond the blood relation, caste, religion and language to connect two souls from the different parts of the globe; as if they are real siblings. How does it happens? Only destiny can answer. But, such Bro-Sis relations are really divine and more pleasant. Today, I am going to tell you one such (real life) story. If you love your brother/sister then you must read it  🙂


HE is a Marathi guy and an upcoming photographer. SHE is a Punjabi girl married to a Bengali gentleman and staying in a distant country. HE & SHE introduced to each other on a social media group and become good friends. Music is the common connection between them. Few months later, they personally meet each other in one of the musical event. As a photographer, HE is highly impressed with her photogenic but humble and decent personality and took so many snaps of her. Soon SHE becomes an inspiration for his photographic work.

The event is over and they both proceed to their respective home cities. After editing and finishing work, HE posted whole of his photographic stuff on their social media group. All the photos, especially of HER’s, received a huge admiration from all.

Then one fine morning, while looking at her snaps, HE realizes that …………… the magic lenses have discovered a pretty young SISTER for him. Being so delighted, HE shares his feelings with her. SHE is too, happy with the finding of the lenses.

Now, HE loves to call her by adding ‘di’ to her name – a typical Bengali term which represents – a mark of love and respect.


An Interview With Deep Achtani, a Kids and Baby Photographer from Pune

We met with Deep Achtani, a popular kids and baby photographer from Pune, to discuss his journey into the world of photography and to get a close look at the nitty gritty of being involved in this exciting and ever-growing genre of photography.

Tell us something about yourself

Hi there. I’m Deep Achtani, a kids and infant photographer from Pune. Though I travel a lot, my life is mainly confined to the cities of Pune and Mumbai. Predominantly I’m a Sound Engineer by profession and I’ve worked in a couple of Bollywood films as an audio engineer. That time, I was in Mumbai and in 2009, I made the move to Pune to set up my own education institute. Currently, I’m working as a Director with Seamedu, a media school and film making institute in Pune.

How did you get into photography?

Photography has always been something very personal to me and I do it because I absolutely love doing it. I’m self-taught and have never done any kind of courses or even workshops. Before doing it commercially, I used to take my camera everywhere I went and slowly but surely, I started to take this hobby more seriously and started researching and learning from online tutorials and YouTube videos.

One of my relatives had a 70-200 f2.8 lying around that was meant for a Sony mount so I was fortunate that I was kind of forced to buy a Sony alpha series DSLR straight away and that has of course made a massive difference to my work.

Did you specialize in kids and baby photography right from the start?

As a matter of fact, I did not. I actually started off with wedding photography. In 2011, two of my cousins were getting married and I shot both the weddings. The reviews I received from their friends and relatives were very positive and that really encouraged me a lot. That’s how I got into wedding photography. For most part of 2012, I was just doing wedding photography by travelling all over India and somehow managing to balance my job and this new-found profession.

A couple of years later, my daughter, Zara, was born. This was the time when I started shooting her exclusively on a very frequent basis. Almost every month, I would create a studio set-up in her room and dabble around with different aspect of lighting to get the desired shot.

I was absolutely loving this, both as a father and as a photographer. Since most of my friends were also in a similar age bracket as me, they too were having new-borns and that opened up a plethora of opportunities for me as I started shooting their kids and babies too.

By the end of 2015, I was only doing kids and baby photography and 90% of subjects were in the age group of 0-1.

In the last two years or so, I have only been doing this type of photography and become a specialist in it.

Do you do photography as a full-time profession or do you have a day job too?

I actually call myself as a hobbyist professional in this industry. The reason being that I don’t do this full-time. I have a day job that I mentioned earlier and to be frank, I prefer doing photography this way.

Most of my weekdays are occupied with my job related duties. I usually dedicate time for my photography shoots during the evening time on the weekdays or during the weekends.

Having this balance is critical to me since I want to enjoy doing photography too and doing it totally full-time would, I feel, put a sort of burden on me which can make it slightly less enjoyable.

What were the initial challenges that you faced when you started off with kids and baby photography?

First I’ll talk about the challenge with respect to the subject and then I’ll talk about the challenges I faced from my own end.

The thing with this type of photography is that it does not work like a planned project. With other types of photography where you are shooting “mature” subjects, it’s easy to coordinate things since the communication is two-way.

But with kids photography, all your plans usually go out of the window pretty soon because kids and babies behave the way they want.

For instance, there was this shoot where I traveled from Viman Nagar to Wakad three times for a shoot just because the first two times, the baby was not feeling well and the shots were not coming out good.

You have to understand that you cannot force a baby to pose the way you want. It’s you who has to adapt to the situation and sometimes that can mean cancelling the shoot.

And I totally understand these situations since I deal with these on a daily basis with my own daughter. I believe this helps me empathize with the parents of the other kids that I shoot.

From my own end, the challenge I faced was that I had done majority of my photography outdoors. So I had little experience with studio set-ups.

So learning studio photography on my own proved to be a challenge and it took me sometime to properly understand two and three light set-ups and other intricacies involved in studio shooting.

Describe how a typical day looks in your life the day you have a shoot.

One of the most important things you have to plan ahead of time in a baby shoot is to know the sleeping time and pattern of the baby from the parents. You really don’t want to disturb a baby’s sleep for the shoot as it can only mean you having to do the entire shoot again. This is usually not a problem though since you will always be mutually deciding the time with the parents beforehand.

If it’s an outdoor shoot, it’s relatively easy. We just meet at the venue that we have mutually decided upon, like a society garden or a public park.

If it’s an indoor shoot, then I usually have to have some extra time at hand because I carry my studio set-up to the client’s place and do the shoot there. I’m slowly building a large studio setup at home since the last few months and once that’s in place, it would not be possible for me to carry all that and I will be doing all shots at my home.

Managing my own time is sometimes a challenge since I do a job. If it’s weekdays, I usually do the shoot in the evenings, but I prefer doing most of my shoots during the weekends.

Also, I don’t work with any intern or assistant. I do everything myself.

What kind of equipment do you use for your shoots?

I use a Nikon D750. I primarily use two lenses – the Nikon 24-70 f2.8   and Sigma 85mm f1.4.

The 24-70 is perfect for me when I do shoots in a small home-based studio set-up since the limited space is not conducive for using a telephoto lens. I still get the desired background compactness when I shoot at 70mm.

For outdoor shoots, I love using the 85mm one.

I’ve also rented the 70-200 f2.8 on a couple of occasions.

I use a Manfrotto Compact Action Aluminium Tripod With Hybrid Head.

For my light set-up I use the Elinchrom FRX-200 kit. Since I shoot in compact spaces, I don’t need too much power so these lights do the job well for me. Another reason I don’t like to use high power strobes is because a baby’s eyes are very tender and sensitive to light. In fact sometimes if the natural light is good enough indoors, I even avoid using strobes.

What kind of a light set-up do you use?

With kids, I like to keep my lighting flat and not dramatic. So I usually use two lights, one on the left and one on the right and I fire them at the same ratio to keep things even. This gives me a nice soft look that goes well with babies.

What camera mode do you use?

I always shoot in manual mode since I like control over both the shutter speed and aperture.

What system do you use to charge your clients?

I keep things very simple. I have different packages based on the number of hours I’m required to shoot and whether the client requires soft copies or prints. The one thing I never do is to negotiate. In fact, I’ve mentioned this right on my website so if anyone approaches me from there, they are already aware of this. I value what I do and lowering rates just to land a shoot is not how I want to approach photography.

How do you market and advertise yourself?

I have my Facebook and Instagram pages and these help me in increasing my brand visibility. But the most important outlet for me is Google. Majority of my conversions happen when people are searching for kids and baby photographers via Google and they land on my website from there.

Being into the marketing field as a part of my job, I’m also aware about the different techniques required to rank on top. For instance, I have made sure that my website uses the right keywords and is SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) friendly.

I have also used Google Adwords on some occasions. Another important thing I’ve done is to register my business with Google My Business, which helps me in reaching clients close to my location.

In your opinion, what are the things in India that have to change so that semi-professional and professional photographers, and the art of photography in general, begins to receive more respect?

I think it’s unfair to think that photographers always don’t get respect. According to me, one of the reasons why people might feel like that is because what is happening nowadays is that photography has become a very accessible art. This is a double-edged sword for photographers. On one hand, it enables more people to get into photography. But the downside is that anyone holding a DSLR in their hands starts to think they are photographers. This means more competition to people who are genuinely good at photography and also that there are a lot of not-so-good photographers who deliver inferior work to their clients.

Also, as a result of this, many photographers are willing to undercut their prices just to get jobs and I strongly feel that this should be avoided. This spoils the whole scene and you see this happening a lot in wedding photography especially. Of course you cannot solely blame the photographers for this since many of them are newcomers and they would like to get shooting opportunities. The solution can be to have some sort of a standard which establishes that someone is a professional and someone is not. Maybe the government can initiate a licensing system for photographers to make things more structured.

Who are some your favorite photographers?

One of the photographers who inspired me is Shruti Moghe, a Pune-based kids and baby photographer. Looking at her shots was what inspired me to start taking pictures of my own daughter and that started off the whole thing.

Show us three of your favorite shots

The first which is very close to my heart is that of my daughter. This was taken way before I even planned on becoming a kids photographer. This was just taken on a white bed sheet using a bounce flash with no studio set-up at all.

The second one from a shoot I did for one twin infants. Shooting twins and that too infant twins is one of the most challenging things a baby photographer can do. Basically with twins, it’s a double-trouble scenario and getting them to coordinate is a major challenge. But I enjoyed it a lot.

The third shot which I really like is one below of a baby named Kabir when he turned one. I had earlier done the maternity shoot for his mother and later clicked him when he was six months old too. Just like the shots above, this is a simple set-up with natural light and not shot in a studio set-up.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

To be frank I haven’t thought about it much but one thing that is on my mind is to make my studio set-up more professional. I’ll most likely continue to do it at my home unless I feel I need more space.

Though I will most definitely continue to be a kids photographer, I have some plans to try my hand at underwater photography too since one of my favorite hobbies is scuba diving.

Also, I don’t plan on becoming a full-time professional since I like the balance I currently have with my job. It allows me to do photography in a way that it doesn’t hamper my creativity and does not make photography a monotonous affair for me.

Deep, how can people find you and get in touch with you?

You can go to my website

You can also find me on Facebook on Deep Achtani Photography and on Instagram on deep_achtani.


How Photography Changed My Life: Mudita Chaurasia , IT Professional, Pune.

An introduction about who you are, what you do for a living and how you got into photography. 

Hello Friends!!

This is Mudita Chaurasia and I am from Madhya Pradesh, working in an IT Firm in Pune and a photographer at heart. My hobbies include dancing, exploring unknown places and of course capturing the beauty of expressions i.e. photography.

As far as the question of how I got into photography is concerned; to be very honest it’s not me who initially thought of doing photography, it was my husband (Gaurav Verma) who believed that I can be good at it. I still remember, he bought our first Camera (Nikon D3200) on EMI to let me take my first step into photography and that’s how I have been introduced to photography which now has become one of the reasons of my happiness.

How was your first experience with your camera?

I clearly remember when I held the camera in my hand and the first thought was “How interesting it looks”. However, I was totally scared and felt the camera as some kind of a fortress. I was looking at all the buttons, trying to understand the different modes and the letters written all over the camera.

The feeling was a mixture of excitement and fear, though the experience was satisfactory and rewarding to the soul. Of course, it got more fun eventually.

What were the things you did to get better at photography?

Initially, I had gone through a lot of YouTube videos and loads of blogs to understand the functionality of a DSLR camera but was unable to understand them fully. And then one day I came to know about Creative Pad Photography through Facebook , went through their Google reviews and without a second thought I registered for their two-day weekend basic photography workshop.

On the first day of the workshop I was nervous and was hesitant to communicate. But Kush sir, I must say is a great teacher as he clearly understands what a beginner goes through while learning photography and answers each and every minute thing very clearly. He made me feel at ease.

After completing the workshop, I felt confident and had a better understanding and since then I tried my best to not shoot in the “auto mode”.

I faced many challenges while clicking pictures in manual mode. My shots were blurry, noisy and over exposed but I did not stop myself at trying the various combinations of aperture, shutter speed and ISO and after continuous practice I started to feel more confident and comfortable.

Another thing I started to do is to never go outside without camera (except office; p) which allowed me to do more hands-on practice and I was able to capture some candid portraits, expressions of people and street photography.

Also, reading different blogs of travel bloggers, photographers and explorers gave me a better vision of photography.

I soon started following different photography pages on Instagram and Facebook so every time I opened Insta or FB, I was able to see new photos with a completely different perspective.

Your favorite shot of yours up till now and its details

I always wanted to take this kind of shot with light falling on the right place on my subject. And I got that opportunity in Seattle, Washington in a theme based photo shoot.

What is your favourite type of photography?

Initially I used to capture everything I liked, but gradually I have developed an interest in portrait photography and maternity shoot.

I loved the emotions, the energy, the mood and feeling I was living within this genre and I couldn’t think of anything else I wanted to photograph more!

But again I don’t want to limit myself and want to try my hand at wedding photography too. I know its weird but weirdness is good right 🙂


What is the equipment that you use?

Nikon D3200 with basic kit lens combo i.e.18-55 mm and 50-200 mm lens.  I recently upgraded to the 85 mm f/1.8 lens.

How has photography changed your life?

Photography has certainly changed my life for the better. It made me a good observer and a good person within. My perspective of looking at things has changed a lot. I found beauty in almost everything; a leaf lying on the road, a small reflection of tree in rain water, colorful hangings on the street, sun rays falling on the floor from windows of my home, a child playing with parents or a person selling bangles to his customer. Each and everything around me looks beautiful now.

Photography made me believe that “Beauty lies on the eyes of Beholder”. It gave me a different direction and introduced myself to the other side of me.

Each and every click of mine till now has given me plenty of memories, experience, new people, and new stories.

Photography is like a companion to me who helps me in expressing my thoughts and my creativity through the shots I take.

What are your future aspirations in terms of photography?

I want to get even better at the technical side of things. I am looking forward to opt for photography as a full time profession.

I want to do and learn portrait photography with different lighting set-ups and keen to click portraits in low light. I know it’s harder to shoot in low light, but the results are much more rewarding. It creates some dramatic and extraordinary pictures.

And somewhere in future I want to get into new born and wedding photography too.

And last but not the least I want to open a small studio for me (I guess I am not that far as I have already planned to turn one of my rooms into my home studio ;)) . But seriously, may be one day I will have my own space for studio where I will be able to create memories, spread smiles and find a newer and better version of me each day by experimenting with different aspects of photography.

Other shots that you would like to show

Anything else that you would like to add

Yes, I would like to thank Kush sir again and Creative Pad Photography for the guidance and help in understanding photography better. The interesting point of being a member of CPP is you clearly know your progress, you know where you are standing right now and what are the areas of improvement.

Thank you, thank you so much for all the learning.

In my life, I have left many things in middle and did not complete it due to some or the other circumstances, but I will not leave photography for sure. It will be forever with me throughout my life.

Photography is not only a passion; it’s an emotion for me.





How Photography Changed My Life: Yusuf Dilawer, IT Professional, Pune.

An introduction about who you are, what you do for a living and how you got into photography. 

From being a Mumbaikar for around 21 years to now officially being a Punekar for 3 years, I am an IT Professional. I am highlighting some beautiful experiences in my journey of photography with the help of this blog post.

How was your first experience with your camera?

The first equipment that I got for photography was a huge Nikon Camera (The ancient one) back in 2012, that needed a roll. It was my father’s camera, and there were only a few shops in Mumbai that still used to sell a camera roll. I loved capturing pictures with it but was never fascinated with the way it worked, multiple buttons, an external flash, etc etc.  I had no idea that time what was the use of it. So I sold it to a photo enthusiast. Later when I started clicking pictures with my phone and they were appreciated, I felt I should try using a DSLR.  That time I had just joined a company as a fresher in 2014 and was always empty pockets. Later in 2016 October the first thing after I switched was buying a Canon 1300d. Initially struggled with it too for a few months, either high ISO or blurred pictures was the outcome then.

What were the things you did to get better at photography?

I started watching YouTube videos of different photographers but that too did not work as I was not aware about the terms that were being used. Few of my friends were already into photography so took help from there but that was not a forever solution.

I saw the Creative Pad Photography basic photography workshop advertisement somewhere on Instagram and was eagerly waiting for the next dates. It is a basic photography workshop and unlike others it is actually from scratch. Just after day one immediately after reaching home I lit a few candles, took the dial to manual mode, clicked the picture with one candle in focus and others helped creating an amazing BOKEH.

After that whenever I click a picture I first think of what was told in the workshop and then go ahead.

Your favorite shot of yours up till now and its details

I’m still working on my photography skills, but what I love till now, is the image of the Grey Hornbill that I clicked from my window. It was featured in Pune Mirror as well.

What is your favourite type of photography?

I love to capture birds and nature. Here are some of my shots:

What is the equipment that you use?

I have a Canon 1300D with Kit Lens and a 55-250 mm Zoom lens.  A Simplex 333 Tripod.

How has photography changed your life?

Photography has surely got me to know more and more people around. People are amazed when I discuss the technical details around how a picture was taken. Also, I contributed for my company’s Coffee table book by clicking some pictures of the activities and events there. I am glad to be a part of it and even the higher management people now know me as a person who can be called upon whenever some work related to photography comes up.

What are your future aspirations in terms of photography?

I want to get better at clicking portraits so I can do photo shoots, be at an event where there is a requirement of a photographer and setup a side business. Till then I will keep clicking just for the love of it.

Photography is close to my heart and this is all I do in my free time when I am not at work.

Other shots that you would like to show



How Photography Changed My Life: Divya Kanwar, IT Professional, Pune.

An introduction about who you are, what you do for a living and how you got into photography. 

Originally a pahari from  Himachal Pradesh ,I  have been staying in Pune City for the last 9 years and currently working as an IT Professional. With this article, I am extremely obliged to share my journey of photography.

How was your first experience with your camera?

Hilly roads, sharp curves covered with dense trees taking me through the endless mountains always had inspired me to capture the beauty of nature. My first camera was the Kodak one which used to come with roll of limited count of pictures. This is all I remember about initial connection with photography in my childhood days.

Later on, as my journey continued, technology grew too.

in the harsh winters of Delhi, I was welcomed by my elder brother and he gifted me the small Nikon camera and that ‘s how I spent  my college vacations and college farewell.

Gradually it was an add on in my hobby list consisting of painting and drawing. In March 2016 I got DSLR 700d as my birthday gift from dear brother.

The first time I got to hold the masterpiece, my hands were literally shivering and I could sense the weight of it.

So the first picture, I clicked was undoubtedly blurred, unlikely to what i had always imagined it to be. That was the moment I realized it would need my time, hard work and patience.

What were the things you did to get better at photography?

In retrospect I wonder how confidence of knowing nothing inspired me to get up early in the morning and just made me to click on pictures for so many months.

I started with reading  articles and blogs and also got few copies of smart photography, better photography magazines. Also Instagram/Facebook  have numerous pages /accounts wherein one  can see the trending pictures and yes need to mention I seriously never  believe in the idea of promoting my pictures or profile. Whatever the pictures are, even if they are bad or worse they are mine and I being a beginner photographer don’t  appreciate the idea of promoting my captured pictures by paying some third party. My idea of creating an Instagram profile was for myself so that I could  keep a track of my progress graph. Moreover one can get in touch with the ideas and the different styles adopted by other photographers around the world.

No doubt Google was the saviour of any confusion and any problem I had. But still I was missing out something and I found out what it was after attending Creative Pad Photography’s Photography Workshop for beginners that takes place in Pune which is conducted by Kush Sharma.

It is a basic photography workshop which will guide you perfectly and clearly and I am so fortunate to attend it. Otherwise it is a pestiferous job to click pictures randomly without knowing what are you exactly looking for and what is the basic solution to the problems you own. Undoubtedly, I could myself identify so much of difference in my then and now photography.

After attending the workshop, it was the fire that was burning inside me for the perfect shot.

Your favourite shot of yours up till now and its details

Most of you will find it hard to swallow but I cant still find my best shot and this is the reason I should  admit that I have not captured my very best shot yet.

So one  of the amazing things photography has gifted me though obliquely is the immense zeal of travelling and which has been turning out to be an addiction now.

What is your favourite type of photography?

I love to capture nature and portraits. Here are some of my shots:

What is the equipment that you use?

With time I realized I got a new homie in my bag and thats my DSLR 700D with its kit eyepieces and recently i added the STM one.

How has photography changed your life?

I would not say photography has changed my lifeMy life is still same but with numerous and glamorous  colors  added in it, more excitement and it feels that destiny has given me this hobby at the very correct time when I was at the verge of  boredom. It was once a solution to my boredom or bored IT professional with mundane tasks, but it has shown me a new self and made me a better person. It has given me a new eye to look at normal things differently.

Secondly and most importantly, I feel myself as a complete person wherein I really don’t need anyone to entertain me or accompany me. I am not anymore dependent on anyone to cancel or make the plans. Now that dependency link has been demolished from my life and I rule that life .

What are your future aspirations in terms of photography?

Photography is my best mate forever and I have been putting in work to be better at it so that I can make it as my bread and butter completely.

Photography is not just a hobby, it’s an art to see the life , witness the beauty and the lull , present your concepts in your own way and last but not the least it teaches you that nothing is achieved within no time. Everything needs improvisation and time blended with patience and optimism.

Surely, my amazing experience has taught me many things and and to end it this article, I would like to share a quote that is close to my heart:

”It takes time for a plant to come out of the seeds, similarly it takes time for every beautiful goal  to be achieved..”

Be patient and do the right thing to achieve the goal.

Happy Clicking !!

How Photography Changed My Life: Pooja Ambilkar, Finance Professional, Pune.

An introduction about who you are, what you do for a living and how you got into photography. 

Hello Everyone,

For the starters, I am not sure of an inspiring story, but I am super excited to share my thoughts and little experience that I have of Photography. I hope I can reach that out to you.

My love for pictures starts way back since I could even remember. I am a huge fan of Art and Artists in general. Art melts my heart.

I am a deep thinker in nature and my brain works both in numbers and in Art.

Photography is a huge part of me because it is the best way I am able to express myself. I always keep saying “I wish I could click pictures through my eyes, since everywhere I see is a photo opportunity and beauty which needs to be captured for lifetime.

Photography for me is poetry, story and soul!

How was your first experience with your camera?

I bought my camera back in October 2014 so I could have high quality images and to fulfil my hobby wishes, I had no idea what I was getting into.

Trying my hands on my DSLR for the first time gave me Goosebumps. The fact that I could now turn my imagination into reality blew my mind and I immediately shared the first few clicks on Facebook. I was totally bought by all the wonderful things my camera could do and decided this is how I will be sharing my story with everyone – through my Lens.

What were the things you did to get better at photography?

Frankly speaking I understood the techniques of photography very late compared to the time I bought my DSLR.

I research a lot online and then move out on the streets to practice it.

Attending the workshop with Creative Pad Photography was the time when all my questions about photography were answered and all my anxiety fell into place. Kush makes Photography sound so easy – I am sure we will all agree.

I also follow the best pages suggested by Kush, they’re all eye openers.

World is full of best photographers, there cannot be just one! I admire everyone, But I am a big fan of Chris Burkard (Facebook, Instagram) and I follow him religiously.

Your favourite shot of yours up till now and its details

This is my favorite shot Freedom.

Details :



Exposure : 1/1600

Focal length : 120mm

What is your favourite type of photography?

I love to capture People and Nature the most. People interest me and nature is Surreal.

The rawness on the Streets inspire me too.


What is the equipment that you use?

  • Nikon D3300
  • Nikkor 18-55 lens
  • Nikkor 55-200 Lens
  • Memory Cards : 8GB, 16GB, 32 GB

How has photography changed your life?

Photography gives me a purpose. It has changed the way I look at life. I am at utmost Peace when I am creating pictures.

I want to influence positive thoughts in the world and photography is helping me achieve that.

Other shots that you would like to show

What are your future aspirations in terms of photography?

I want to be a Portrait Photographer.

I want to capture what people can’t speak about, to create photographs from Art, People, Nature and Music.

Through Photography I want to spread positivity, send good messages and bring my imagination into reality. That’s my dream.

Anything else you would like to add 


One Quote that always inspire me to keep moving ahead :

“Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.” – Henri Cartier- Bresson

For me, “Photography is how you can use the light in the best possible way and convert your imagination into reality.”

I have a profile dedicated profile on Instagram called Another Dream Photography, do check it out and follow if you like me J

How Photography Changed My Life: Suhas Jogdeo, Insurance Professional, Pune.

An introduction about who you are, what you do for a living and how you got into photography. 

Hello Clickmasters,

Meet Suhas Jogdeo, an Insurance professional and an ardent Angling & PG Enthusiast.

Suhas was introduced to photography in his school days, by his cousin, working then as a Part-time Finisher, in a studio. When Suhas visited the darkroom of that studio for the first time, he was affrighted and was churned up with the impregnable olfaction of chemicals in white trays. Negatives were hung, no light was allowed inside. The nausea still prevails.

B&W was the only choice. Colour photography came later. A shaving blade was used for pp or finishing. To reach the viewfinder, the photographer had to shove his head into a dusty black cloth. That looked entertaining.

The first camera he owned, was Kodak, in 1981, then Yashika Electra 135. Then he bought Nikon FM with a standard prime & a Vivitar zoom, in 1983.

He pastes ‘L’ sign on his cams.

How was your first experience with your camera?

Leave aside expertise, neither knowledge nor info was handy; nor was it required either, as the first camera was just view & shoot. However, perhaps ‘ my own viewfinder ’ helped me isolate myself from the crowd..

Those were the ‘film role days’. Kodak roles, with ASA ratings like 400, 100, etc, were popular and expensive; and printing costs were prohibitive. Deleting images was out of question.

What were the things you did to get better at photography?

Took membership of The British Council Library and read plenty of books on photography. Google was not even dreamt of during those days.

I still remember the book ‘The World’s Best Photographs’. All the photos therein, were B&W. This book spurred my exuberance in photography.

Post DSLR, hunted for photography lessons on web, Google & Youtube, subscribed to Digital Photography Secrets, Digital Photography School, etc

And most importantly … proved myself to be lucky enough to have been associated with Cool Guroo Kush Sharma aka CGKS !

Your favourite shot of yours up till now and its details

Nikon D5300   f/5.6   1/125 sec   ISO 200


What is your favourite type of photography?

Candid – Unlike the other times, getting caught unaware, is fun also. The more fun is in catching the unaware. At occasions, it could be humorous, annoying, surprising, pleasing, embarrassing. It could make or break the relationships as well. Inter alia, it is most satisfying. To me, in non-candid or posed photography, people become conscious, delusory, kitschy. They hide their genuineness, wear a burka. Celebrities lead the gang.

Nature & Wildlife – I believe, all Nature & Wildlife photographs are candid; and hence, one has to be equipped, opportunistic, uncompromising.

Portrait – A yet another ‘self’ish ballgame. The logic is very simple. If you have attended a wedding or an event, and you happen to see its photo album, you linger over a leaf, in which you are seen.

By and large, Portrait photography, unfortunately, is commonly correlated to human beings, rather human faces. That is not the case. A portrait of a lion or a squirrel display the same qualities as of a human race.

But, one thing for sure, a nice portrait of a person brings the subject very close to the photographer. My acuity in Portrait Photography facilitated three Writers and a renowned Poet to publicly announce me to be their Official Photographer. No wonder then, why celebrities value photographers. Sateesh Paknikar and Gautam Rajyadhyaksha are my role models in this sector.

Macro photography – just OMG ! Challenging your everything. It stretches one’s patience to the extreme ends. Lot of technicalities, awkward body movements, limitations, lighting conditions, composition, framing, focusing for sharpness, uncertainties, everything could be against you. And still you have to capture the nervures from the eye of the smallest creature. That is your achievement. It is extremely satisfying, once you are done up with.

All the above give me immense pleasure and satisfaction.

Frankly, wide angle / landscape photography has not yet been seriously attempted by me. Still, it is in the back of my mind. Credit goes to Sunil Damle.

f/5.6   1/25   ISO 2000

f/22   1/2000   ISO 1280 (theme photography)

What is the equipment that you use?

Nikon D5300 with 50 mm prime, 18-140 & 55-300 Nikon & 4 extension rings. (The 50 mm is underutilized.) A heavy duty Benro tripod. three memory cards of 32 gb each, 2 of 16 gb & 8 gb, 4 of 4 gb & 2 batteries. A polythene bag is always available into my kit, for use in case of unpredictable rain & storm. Also, the moist absorbent bags. Of course, my laptop for viewing, pp & posting.

How has photography changed your life?

Photography taught me patience, persistency, practice, experimenting. Incidentally, these qualities helped me in Dramatics as well. For photography, I indulge in exploring new locations, talking to strangers, street-smartness, petty adventures, introspection & self-retrospection.

Prior to taking up photography, I was much lazier than today, impatient, inconsistent; and so on.

Also, Photography took me into the laps of the mother nature, explained the importance of meditation, how to meditate, how to enjoy the becalm.

Photography made numerous moments of my life, lively, e.g. covering, for 2 consecutive years, the 3-month life of a Bulbul pair & their 3 chicks – from selecting a safe place for weaving a nest to see the independent kids flying away. Photography also offered me opportunities to capture the glimpses of 18-odd joint family members’ memorable moments. All these things rejuvenate me to the fullest extent.

Last, but not the least, with the grace of Freddie, my daughter also has landed in the wonderland of photography. Freddie handed over his spare Nikon D5200 to my daughter, so that she could attend Kush’s Basic Photography Workshop; and she was happy to do it.

Yet another thing … Fishing & Photography go hand in hand; and I have my soul deeply sunk in to the both !

Other shots that you would like to show

f/5.6   1/800   ISO 3600

My garden gives me lot of opportunities, on a daily … no … on an hourly basis, to explore my camera and the garden as well. This birdie was captured in a summer, when lot many used to visit my garden to quench their thirst.

f/4.5   1/800   ISO 5000

The trio of Sunil, Freddie and I never give up. Freddie got caught by me in one of such sessions in Konkan.

f/5.6   1/640   ISO 800

Macro photography is hypnotising.  This is one of the crazy creatures from my garden. This tiny chap was trying to escape, but I proved to be smarter.

What are your future aspirations in terms of photography?

Would Luv to work with NatGeo!!

So far, they have adopted two of my photographs on their website. They run a prize winning “Daily Click Contest’, to start with. I am sure, a day will be there for me, when I will come out with flying colours in it. Dying hard for that.

Media / Press photography – Very challenging. It requires content writing skills also. This can cause enmity against the mighty as well.

Now a days, many newspapers have developed their own apps for their readers to become digital journalists. They also appeal their readers to email photographs of common public interests, news items having potentials to penetrate social awareness, social interests. At this juncture, enough light has been thrown on what journalists are undergoing.

Videography and video editing … hmmm !

Anything else you would like to add 

Upon buying my first DSLR, I read the camera manual umpteen times, plenty of visits to Google & Youtube, lot of net searches, but all in vain. I was scared of even touching my DSLR. Tried to change some settings, but the results were awful, disappointing, frustrating. Auto mode became my favourite, but then, ‘ why DSLR ? ‘ was a trillion sterling question for me.

Used to sit with my DSLR in front, staring at it for lot of time,  every day, wondering, why did I buy a DSLR at all ?

An attempt to google for an effective photography training programme/s in Pune & Mumbai dumped me at the feet of the Cool Guroo Kush. At a very early age, his knowledge in photography, style of teaching, patience, his dedication towards the students, mentoring, support,  … everything has changed my photography.

At occasions, Kush appears to be an alien, as Guroos with such qualities are becoming rarest of the rare !

Once the 2 training sessions are over, he doesn’t throw his students in to the world. He has created a wonderful Facebook platform, Creative Pad Photography Members, where we can exhibit our work, discuss the issues, seek guidance, express views, et all.

Moreover, the CPP has gifted me awesome photographer friends like Freddie Desai & Sunil Damle. Many strangers ask us, the 3 Musketeers, if we are class /schoolmates. What else we could say, but “Of course” , albeit we know each other for not more than 3 years !

A suggestion : Like painting exhibitions periodical theme-based exhibitions of printed photographs by CPP members could be held at different locations, to start with, in Pune.

CGKS, I take this opportunity to record my sense of gratitude towards how much you care for us. Without your appeal ‘to write’ I won’t have bothered to peep into the past and attempt, what I think about photography, about you, about camera, about Sunil & Freddie, what are my future aspirations in terms of photography, how photography has changed my life … Please keep it up !

How Photography Changed My Life: Ankit Goyal, Student, Pune.

An introduction about who you are, what you do for a living and how you got into photography. 

Hello,  to all the photography enthusiasts   . I am Ankit  Goyal , a beginner photographer and I am currently pursuing 12th Commerce at Ness Wadia College, Pune  .

I developed a urge of  clicking pictures right , since I was 10 , I used a  Sony Cybershot at that time and loved almost every image I had clicked  , but I got serious about photography after my trip to Ranthambore in April 2016 , where I saw many people were using those huge lenses and cameras , I also wanted to give it a try , so after that trip , I got my DSLR and after joining Creative Pad Photography’s workshop in June 2016, which I consider to be the best decision of my life so far , that’s when I realized that photography is more than just clicking a shutter .

How was your first experience with your camera?

I purchased my DSLR in May 2016   , my first experience was really painful  , starting right from trying to attach the lenses , then figuring out the functions . I remember , the first  shot I clicked with my camera turned out to be extremely overexposed , and suddenly I had  thoughts like “ Is something wrong with my camera?” and all the curiosity of exploring this new gadget .

I remember on the first day of the workshop  , I was quite nervous and intimated by the fact that I may not be able to cope up with the other students because of my age and was quite skeptical about starting a bit too early for my age , but all those thoughts were gone by the time we reached to the end of the first day of the workshop , thanks to my mentor Kush , who explained every single thing about photography in the simplest means possible .

The best part about the workshop is that it Is totally based on practical understanding and application of photography.

What were the things you did to get better at photography?

I watched hundreds of Youtube videos regarding differents aspects and explored photography in every mean possible. I read many articles about photography written by Kush , followed many best photography pages in the world  . And the most important part , I practiced everything I saw on the internet in order to replicate atleast 50% of it . I learn a lot from all the members of CPP everyday  , who guide and help each other In learning this art to its fullest .

Your favourite shot of yours up till now and its details

The settings for this shot are – ISO 250 , f-8, SS 1/60.


This is my  favourite shot till now . This was shot in Rishikesh . I like this shot because of its mood and feel , but also it was highly appreciated by all the respective members in the group , which made this even better close to my heart .

What is your favourite type of photography? 

I used to shoot everything which forced me to remove the camera out of my arsenal and frame it . That included wildlife, street , landscape, events , etc. But the kind of happiness I get after shooting portraits was incomparable to anything else. If u can make someone smile in front of your camera and build a connection with the person , that’s the best feeling . And that’s the beauty of portrait photography for me .

I mostly shoot fashion portfolios  , pre-maternity portfolios and environmental portraits .


What is the equipment that you use?

Currently I own and use the following:


I currently own and use the following  :

CameraCanon EOS 700D

Lenses – 18-55 mm wide-angle lens .

55-250 mm telephoto zoom lens .

Canon 50mm prime f1.8  .

TripodJoby Gorillapod

Vanguard ALTA Tb-19

Strobe light / Speedlight – Digitek DFL-200Rt

Simpex 100w studio kit .

Retouching TabletWacom PEN&TOUCH .

And I use Sandisk 32gb memory cards and 2 extra batteries , wireless shutter release button.

How photography has changed your life?

Photography has completely changed my life in a year  . It has not only helped me to live my life to my own terms but also , now I have a new meaning to my life and I am really fortunate to be able to take photography as a profession after my basic studies .

Photography has taught me to admire the smallest changes in the environment around me . The chirping of the birds , the sunrise & sunset , such small events which happen everyday didn’t matter to me when I wasn’t a photographer ,  but now I cherish these moments thorough my camera every single day .

The biggest possible change in my life because of photography is the overwhelming amount of love and appreciation I receive every-day  from all my photography peers and friends   .  It feels good when people call you photographer instead of your name   . And I am really grateful for the title of “ Little Magician “ given to me by Kush sir ,  and all of this is possible because of CPP .  As I said before , CPP is the best thing that has happened to me in my life and career .

Other shots that you would like to show


What are your future aspirations in terms of photography?

While standing by the shore , I can see an entire ocean left to swim ahead of me in terms of photography . I want to learn as much as I can about this life-changing art  . My main aim is to become a Fashion Photographer and also becoming an expert in other forms of photography . I am looking forward to get a degree in photography and take this overwhelming passion to another level . I still need to learn a lot about the business and retouching of images .

Anything else you would like to add 

Other things being apart . Thanks to Kush and all the 1000+ family members  of CPP , I am really grateful to all of you in every manner .  A big applause to Kush , for founding CPP and giving an opportunity to me and many others to join you in your workshops and sharing this art with us .

I am a proud member of this group . I can’t express the degree of  change that CPP and Photography has brought in me . Thanks to every single person who read this article  .

Happy Clicking .

Cheers .

How Photography Changed My Life: Umang Sagar, Senior Manager at ICICI, Pune

An introduction about who you are, what you do for a living and how you got into photography. 

A warm hello to all the creative souls at Creative Pad.

I am Umang Sagar, an artist at heart, Senior Cluster Manager at ICICI Direct, Pune by profession.

Since the advent of camera phone most of us have the artist in us come out, even a VGA camera was thrilling in those days, before I graduated to a digital camera much later. However, when my daughter was born, that was when I thought I need an SLR to ensure I capture the memories, a decision that eventually turned out to be one of my most favourite passion.

How was your first experience with your camera?

The first 3 years with my Canon 600D was all about being into AUTO mode and occasionally let the camera make me look good behind it……

I was thrilled whenever a good pic came out, probably the only thing I practiced was keeping my hands still and ensuring my artistic heart was working in identifying the moments to capture.

Whenever I saw a stunning pic from someone else, I would think the equipment must be very expensive, hence such pic!!! Till last year when I joined Creative Pad Photography’s basic photography workshop.

What were the things you did to get better at photography?

After considering myself a photographer for 3 long years, finally a year back, for some reason I just googled what are the options to learn photography in Pune? Thus I landed at Creative Pad Photography, one of the most rewarding decision I have ever made.

I was very sceptical to begin with, as I thought others who would come to the workshop would be BONDS and I would end up making a fool of myself. I can safely say after the first 45 min or so, our mentor Kush ensured that all our nerves and self-doubts were settled and we enjoyed the two sessions immensely while learning the nuances of what photography basics were.

End of the session when Kush asked to go back to all the pics we ever clicked and post the one which we thought was our best, I could hardly find any, some disobeyed the rule of 3rd, some were over exposed, some had some other flaws !! The flaws were evident and my photography journey had started eventually that day on….……

Your favourite shot of yours up till now and its details

The one shot which I feel really warmed my heart most is actually not shot from my DSLR, but my mobile…It is of two birds flying (below) and caught in a moment that made me tag it as tango in the air. For me, the moment was serene and beautiful, hence I added back flares in editing to add to the aura of the moment. If I had the same pic shot using DSLR that would surely be on my wall.


What is your favourite type of photography? 

I enjoy shooting anything that I can capture well and is not just a run on the mill shot, but I have always enjoyed shooting animals most. I rarely needed to worry about bad hair or bad expression, improper make up, shut eyes or other stuff that becomes a nightmare while shooting humans!!!….just kidding, I just feel more comfortable shooting animals and I feel their shots come out more natural and reflect the most serene and beautiful side of nature for me, the side where there is no rush to outrun anyone for no reason, where there is no reason to be lesser than what I was born as or meant to be…

What is the equipment that you use?

Currently I own and use the following:


Canon 600D EOS DSLR


50mm Prime Lens 

18-55 mm Lens

70-250 mm zoom Lens

10-20 mm EFS Wide Angled Lens

150-600 mm Contemporary Lens from Sigma



Neewer Speedlight 580

Tripod :

Photron Pro Tripod

And Of course I have additional battery and 32 GB * 3 Cards with 10x Speed

How photography has changed your life

Photography has brought sea change in me, it’s not just overtaken all other hobbies that I had, but made me look at things differently. A lot that goes around me, I try to visualize how my lens would capture it. The beauty in the smaller things are more evident now. There certainly are more colours to things around me. Nothing gives more satisfaction than being able to capture a moment in its grandeur, capture it in its full bloom and glory.

Other shots that you would like to show 

What are your future aspirations in terms of photography?

There are way so many things I wish to achieve. Among generics I would learn to get better at editing pics, click better portraits and be more creative while shooting landscapes. My all-time dream is to capture through my lens, the beauty of the Grand Canyon and some underwater shots.

Anything else you would like to add 

Above everything else, thank you Kush for being much more than an awesome mentor. You have no idea at what levels you inspire us all. I am very thankful for this opportunity to share my little journey and to you all for patiently reading it all. I am looking forward to read other journeys and learn from them. I am a proud CPPian and I am so glad to be a part of such amazingly gifted artists’ fraternity. Keep clicking…..