WHO: NIKITH NATH
It all began during my second year of college when my dad gave me my very first DSLR – the Canon 1100D (the most basic of Canon’s DSLRs at the time). I was interested in photography from childhood when I used to play with my dad’s digicams, but I never dreamt that become a professional photographer.
So, just like everyone with a DSLR in my college, I too started photographing nature, trees, mountains etc. until one day when I came across a video tutorial on YouTube by ace British photographer, Karl Taylor on fashion photography. That video resonated in my head and made me think it was time to try my hand at fashion photography. I conducted a few photo-shoots and became the first fashion photography in my college. I was lucky that that my friends and college-mates accepted my work and photos were shared on social media too.
After university, I came back to Abu Dhabi, where I was born and raised, and started working as an Electrical Planning Engineer at an oil and gas company and doing photography part time after work. I did not want to let go of photography. It was then that an event manager, Dorian Paul Rogers, approached me with an inquiry for an event that gave me my big break in nightlife photography. Starting with just one gig a month, I went on to cover 5-6 events for him in a month, shuttling between my day job and the events I had to cover. Soon I was referred to other event companies and ended up shooting nightlife spots in Abu Dhabi. I also started getting inquiries to shoot for designers and other brands based in UAE. I couldn’t help thinking of photography all the time, even during my work. Then one day I watch a video by Prince Ea, the motivational speaker on following one’s passion, and that was when I decided to turn my passion into my profession. It took a year to convince my family, and then I quit my job and became a professional fashion, events and nightlife photographer.
TURNING PASSION TO PROFESSION
I believe in following your heart. Everyone has a passion. It may be photography, or painting, or dance, or anything at all that makes you more happy doing it than anything else in the world. When you discover it embrace it and find a way to make a career out of it.
Once you have discovered your passion, the next step is to have confidence in yourself, and that comes from the hard work you put in your chosen field. Find articles, tutorials and videos that will help you improve your skills and inspire you to be the best you can be.
Once you have gained confidence in yourself the next step is to convince your family and your loved ones. You have to teach them to trust you and support you. All of this takes time. It may even take years, but once you have achieved it, you will not be alone in your journey. You will have an army of loved ones behind you inspiring you to keep going forward.
Just like any other profession, the UAE offers opportunities for photographers in nightlife, corporate events, exhibitions and also models and designers portfolios and fashion look-books. It’s all about building your portfolio and sending them out to prospective clients. The key is not to be let down by rejections but to take feedback to improve your works.
NIKITH’S TIPS FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS
- Walk around your city
On an off day, grab your camera, whether it is a DSLR, a digicams or even your mobile phones, and go visit a nearby market or walk through the busiest street in your city and observe the people. See what they do, how they interact, and see the beauty in spaces… the lighting, the shadows and the potential for unique compositions. You may find your talent as street photographer.
- Go for a weekend trip
Plan a trip with your friends and be sure to take your camera with you. Along your journey capture the roads, the scenery and the candid shots of your friends. You may find the travel photographer within you.
- Browse the Net
Watch music and photography videos to discover a genre in photography that interests you, and to find an established photographer who inspires you.