Sunday, July 27, 2014

"With my camera, I try and look at the world differently, see beyond what is normal, what is standard and what is expected," says Seema Thakur..

We had done this interview of Seema Thakur - One of New Delhi’s leading women fashion photographer on April 1st, 2011. As an ode to Fashion Photography and to the spirit of Indian Women, we are re-posting this interview. 

Seema Thakur
Seema Thakur is one of New Delhi’s leading women fashion photographer. I saw her work for the first time – a model’s folio and was really taken in by the sharp details. Looking at the finished results I was amazed at the spontaneity and superb technical quality of the images - Using the same basic lighting set up - a studio flash and softbox. I later got to know her through Facebook and we kept constantly interacting at times while also combing through her vast body of work. It was during such occasions that I began to trace the outlines of the woman behind the camera and found that Thakur’s work is dominated by a strong creative yet colourful vision that manages to be both empathetic and investigative at the same time. Naturally, I wanted to know more about this woman photographer and asked her for an interview. She gracefully acceded to my request and I was fortunate to catch her between whirlwind encounters for an unexpectedly candid phone interview. 

Films & TV: How long have you been a fashion photographer and how did you get into it?
Seema Thakur: I started Fashion Photography in 2008,. Earlier I used to do Photography as a hobby but later took it full time and made it my profession. It might sound a bit strange that at one point, I was myself the muse of the photographer as I was in modeling. It was during such assignments incidentally one of the photographers from the industry remarked that Fashion photography is not everyone's cup of tea and is not an easy task that every body can do. I have never let a challenge just pass through. I took this challenge seriously and lo, here in no time I shifted from nature photography to fashion photography. Speaking of training, you can say I am a self-taught photographer as I never did any course in photography - leave alone fashion photography where the muse has to look outstandingly brilliant. But I had that strong determination and I persisted in this field. However, I also wont deny the fact that fashion photography came easier to me because of my earlier modeling experience. Its also strange that a photographer who herself has not undergone any formal teachings, today teach photography and take workshop on weekends.
Films & TV: What sparked your interest in photography?  What was the first photograph that you remember making an impression on you?
Seema Thakur: I was a Model and Actress earlier and was working since childhood as a theater artist. I basically belong to Solan a small Town in Himachal Pradesh where I was always surrounded by nature and wildlife. The natural setting of the beauty of Solan and other places always mesmerized me and I wanted to showcase and share this beauty to the world. But I was not financially strong enough to purchase even the basic camera. After working a long time in the media field, I purchased my first Point and Shoot camera – Yashica MD-35F and that’s how I embarked onto my journey of photography. After that, there was no limit to clicking. The first photograph that I remember clicking was of Shimla - Kufri mountains covered with snow. The view was not only wonderful but mesmerizing and I still vividly remember that view which I captured on my camera for posteriority.

Films & TV: Was it challenging to find your niche in the industry after you started off on your own?
Creative concept shoot
Seema Thakur: I started as a Hobby photographer because I loved capturing moments. But for never did it cross my mind that one day I would be making a career in Photography. However, as soon as I started doing photography I realized that I always kept searching for not only challenges but also wanted to deliver the best. I do agree that photography is a challenging job but at times when you don’t get the right settings and the mood, it does affect. However, I always enjoy doing my work and its core to my heart also. Im very thankful to Arpit Gupta ji (Advertising Photographer) and R. K. Paul  saab (Photographic Society of America) who have given me the correct guidance and the boost that propelled my career.

Films & TV: 
What attracted you to fashion photography?

Seema Thakur:
 While working as a Model with different photographers, I realised that the photographs they clicked sometimes were not upto the mark or according to the theme and concept. Also, in fashion photography you need to have a good knowledge about styling, the make-up and a good fashion sense which I found were lacking sometimes. I also kept wondering that had I been a photographer I could have done the same job in a different and dedicated way as I always keep thinking of new concepts in every shoot of mine.

Films & TV: How important is the role of a make up artist when it comes to fashion photography?
Seema Thakur: Make-up plays an important role when it comes to Fashion photography. As the role of the make-up artist is to make the models face look good and correct the imperfection that the models face has because presentation is much more important so u present them beautifully.

Films & TV: What role does styling play in making a good portfolio?
Seema Thakur: Styling also make an important role to the photograph as styling means to re-arrange the things (outfits, dress, props) beautifully in which it should depict a Fashion Statement.  

Films & TV: What types of fashion assignment do you enjoy most and why?
Seema Thakur: I enjoy working with the team and mostly which depicts Creativity, Glamour and Fine-art style because I love colors. I try creating an environment accordingly and work to give my shots a different take each time. As far as possible, every time I visualize and try creating an image and capture it onto camera for posteriority.

Films & TV: What are the special qualities required of a fashion photographer?
Shot the way its seen here and is not edited
Seema Thakur: Fashion is not constant - it keeps changing. So it becomes imperative of a Fashion Photographer to keep oneself updated with the new changes around and adapt it well. A good fashion photographer should not get stuck to one thing or idea, but rather be like the deep sea diver where the fashion photographer can go deep and come out with new concepts and ideas. Also, what works in the west might not work in the east and vice versa. So one should also not blindly borrow a concept and straight make it work her. Rather, they can borrow ideas and adapt and indianise it according to the requirements, the culture and the mind set prevailing in this society.

Films & TV: Which was your first commercial break?
Seema Thakur: My first commercial break I distinctly remember was when I was hired to do a catalogue shoot of "Little Tomato". This was done with International Child Models and that was a real task getting the best out of them – one of my best jobs that I really enjoyed working with. One thing then led to another and later I shot with many with International models for quite a lot of different brands.

Films & TV: How much work do you do in the studio as compared to on location? Which do you prefer and why?
Seema Thakur: I regularly shoot on studio and sometimes on Location, as u can say that we shoot 60% on studio and 40% on Location, Both have different advantages. Whenever there is a requirement and where you want to give the feeling of the ambience than we shoot on location- be it outdoor or indoor. And in Studio you are more comfotable and in a controllable environment but in Location things may be not in your reach.

Fashion redefined
Films & TV: How much does location and light influence each other?
Seema Thakur: Location and Light both are important in the photograph. You can give them different moods, feelings, theme or concept. It is more about Visual Communication.

Films & TV: Do you prefer the artistic or the commercial aspect of fashion photography, and how do you try to achieve their unity?
Seema Thakur: Well it depends on the concept and situation that I want to achieve. Mostly I prefer the artistic aspect rather than commercial but being in a field that’s more commerce oriented, I have to see the commercial aspect as well. However for my artistic talents, I shoot stuff that are non paying and those are purely artistic jobs and not for any clients.

Films & TV: Do you feel that your identity changes when you lift the camera to your eye? Do you act differently?
Seema Thakur: I feel proud when I lift up my Gear and get ready to execute the shoot. As for change of identity, I always act the same as I am with or without my camera, but others might see me differently. However, when I am with my camera, I try and look at the world differently, see beyond what is normal, what is standard and what is expected.

Films & TV: Are your shoots spontaneous or well planned?
Seema Thakur: Some of my shoots are spontaneous as I always keep cool myself and once you know that what you are going to shoot than it is much easier. At other times and in some circumstances when the shoot is more crucial, I tend to be more careful and plan accordingly.

Radhika Bridal wear
Films & TV: Who is the most famous model you took pictures off, and who is the most exceptional one?
Seema Thakur: There are many whom I have worked with. Some of the renowned names include Anjali Arora (Contestant-Pantaloon Femina Miss India 2011), Rohit Arora (Gladrags Man Hunt contestant), Priya Sharma (South Indian Actress), Elite Models - Karan Singh, Sunny and Rohit Raj, Rodhika (Ramp Model ), Gaurav Nanda (Bollywood Actor), Silkina Kaur (Miss Punjaban - Perfect Bride) acted in Zee TV in ' Yahaan Main Ghar Ghar Kheli', Purnima, Neha and Vikas (Dadagiri), Vriti Khanna (Axe your Ex), Tanya (Print Model), Chitra VJ (FM Rainbow), Deepika Saxena (Print Model), Himanshu Gandhi (Ibibo- Ihunk Model of the month- Feb), Abhishek Anand - upcoming Bollywood Actor are some of them which I have shot till now. All my models are very really good and they all know want kind of shots I want and they act quickly as we have a good rapport and tunning with them.
Just Naturally...
Films & TV: Who are your favourite photographers? Whose works have influenced you most?
Seema Thakur: Some of my favourite photographers are R.K. Paul (Photographic Society of America), Chandrakant Shah (Artistic photographer), Daboo Ratnani (Bollywood photographer), Vikram Bawa (Celebrity photographer), Atul Kasbekar (Commercial Photographer), Arpit Gupta (Advertising photographer), Simon Gerzina (Fashion photographer-USA), Nagender Chikara (Documentary Photographer), Suvo Das (Dada) and many more. They all have different style of work and I am greatly inspired by them.

Films & TV: What do you wish you’d known about the profession before you entered it?
Seema Thakur: Though I am a self taught photographer, sometimes I feel that things would have been much better had I had some formal training and worked with some renowned fashion gurus. But I have no qualms about it. I entered this profession with two basics - Dedication and Justice towards my work.

Films & TV: What sort of equipment and software do you use?
Seema Thakur: I use Canon Rebel T1i Digital SLR camera and 5D mark II a 21 Mega  pixel DSLR and they are my favorites. There are many image editing softwares available and as everyone is aware of, Photoshop is comonly used for Image Editing. 

Films & TV: What is your opinion on post-processing, especially enhancing pictures?
Seema Thakur: I feel Every DSLR image needs to be post processed according to the requirement of the shoot. Enhancing the picture is much more important. In earlier days during the times of film photography, the shoot negatives were sent for developing and then prints were made out of it. And in glamour field, before the prints were delivered, the transparencies were sent to touch up artists who worked on those to make it even better as well enhance the quality of the images. These days due to the advent of technology, the same are done at Digital post-processing studios by means of Image editing Software.   

Beatuy of eyes..
Films & TV: What advice would you give to people who would like to become successful fashion photographers?
Seema Thakur: As I was told initially in the beginning that being a Fashion photographer is not everyone's cup of tea. Same I would like to highlight and tell people wanting to enter in this field. But at the same time, I would like to say that "Impossible is only a word." The rules can be changed provided you have the penchant for it. I would ask all those interested to make a career in fashion photography to  not only Observe, Think, Study the compostion, but also to have a Good Fashion Sense, Know about styling techniques,  know more about good corrective lighting, and overall you should be a good artist and open minded And overall a good human Being as  that is what is going to reflect in your images. 

Beauty shots...
Films & TV: What books do you recommend to people hoping to learn more about photography?
Seema Thakur: Well there are many photography books available in the store but in my knowledge It all depends whether one wants to read about advanced photography or the basics. If one is keen to learn more about advanced things, I would highly recommend Billy Pegram.

Films & TV: What are your strong points and what is your weakest point?
Seema Thakur: My strong point is that I never give-up in any circumstances - once I am challenged - I prove to be the BEST. But by heart I am very sensitive and a simple person.

Films & TV: Three words that best describe you.
Seema Thakur: Joyful, Versatile and Sensitive... these best describe me as a person.

Ya, even we too agree with Seema. She's a real gem of a lady - a 
sensitive simple person and down to earth. We wish her all the best in all her endeavors.


  1. Congrats Seema, Excellent Job...May u keep doing these wonders like these...God Bless You

  2. nice work .cool . great work
    geourges work with ur hot models

  3. thanks a lot arpit and sunny ...liking my work ....

  4. really impress able interview. nice job

  5. wowww !!!! amazing write up baby u can do more wonders n yeah we really need a female photographers to known in the industuriessss u can be a role model to the other aspiring female photographers ...i was almost amused reading ur interview thanks for sharing this with us lovely sweetieee way to go many more all the very best for ur CLICKS .lov ya

    1. many thanks anika for the blessing and wishes are a good girl.....thanks for the all comments ....

  6. very nice dear keep it up God bless you

  7. thanks so so much everyone .....liking my interview and my work .......this is only your appreciation and blessing ... love you all friends ......

  8. An interesting read, Sim... that you got your heart open to! Keep going, girl..

  9. Wonderful insight ..thanks for sharing this... ur work is very good too..i enjoy it Seema,may b we should do ssome joint venture...keep it up. :)

  10. PG thanks ....for your blessing ....and @divakar thanks u also .....liking my work i m very happy .....thanks a lot to all friends ....

  11. I dont have word's to comment on..the perfection itself speaks a lot. Remember your goal, ur efforts ur love & heart..
    Pepole who are with you, will always walk with you no matter what the circumstances never look behind only see even looking down head up..chin up with confidence..eyes shud be on the goal & target....& leave behind the world. Work hard earn hard & live freely. Remember 'people should be known by you..not you should be known by the people' Zindagi tum se ho..tum zindagi se nahi.., Zindagi kahe ki mei tumhei jeeti hoon, na ki tum zindagi ko jeeo.. rest love will always remain same with respect..& of course with best wishes..Lots of love & respect..always take care..

  12. Heartiest Congratulations for your work being recognized .. You have actually proved that nothing is impossible if done with dedication and full discipline

  13. wow mam.. so proud of u... amazing.. so happy for u...

  14. thanks a lot @mandeep ji ....aapi and rahul .....thanks a lot both ....

  15. Seema, your work speaks a lot... keep the good work going... Its an inspiration to the woman of this genre who are making their mark in the field dominated by Men...

  16. I am proud of u to be a Indian Woman , a great beautiful soul , I read ur interview . I am 100 % impressed . May God bless u. My heartly good wishes always with u . I want to see u link a SUN .Become Arising STAR of this UNIVERSE . Dear my blessing are always with u...

  17. Hello
    and thank you.....

    for sharing your great moment. keep it up.

    wishing you Good Luck for Next Click.


  19. congrats mam... keep it up.

  20. heartiest congrats once again.....May u reach on the top of this world and success in making your dreams in to reality..

  21. thanks so so much arpit sir .....this is only for u .......thanks for the appreciation ...and your good wishing ......I Like your Photography also ....You are a very good Photographer ....and very nice parson .....

  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. @chetan thanks for the appreciation me ......

  24. Lovely !!!

    Great writeup showing write spirit.. Congrats Seema and all the best for future !!!

    Chakk de Fatte !!!

  25. thanks @vj ......for your blessing .....

  26. awesome...lot more to earn....nd u will surely....all d best keep it up...

  27. himanshu gandhi : vry nice , god ful fill ur each dream :)

  28. thanks himanshu and shantanu .....

  29. Nice ....One...........

    you are very passionate abut work..

    May God Bless U........

    1. thanks for the beautiful comment ambanna ....and liking my work

  30. thanks @Paras , @Ambanna and @Sumit .....

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  32. i am impressed for this artical