Initially working in the customer support domain after completing her engineering exams, photography for Sameerra came up quite unexpectedly. Along with continuing her daily job, she promised herself to try to learn a new skill or develop her existing knowledge about a particular domain. In the pursuit of learning new skill sets, food photography happened for her. 
To know more about Sameerra and her photography journey, stay with us till the end of this interview article.

How did your photography journey start?

Being a foodie at heart, Sameerra said, “I love food and coming up with new recipes. So, I started capturing those dishes with my mobile phone and posted them on Instagram. My husband saw that I was very keen and interested in photography. Hence, he got me a DSLR camera and that was how my journey started.” Apart from food, what other photography genres are you into? “I am doing food and product photography currently. Apart from that, I have also worked with brands like Realme, created content for Swiggy food, and done much more.”

When was your first commercial job?

Going back five years, Sameerra replied, “It was 2017 when I was approached by the brand ‘Street Gourmet’. I had around 1500 followers back then on Instagram and I was a little surprised when they offered me a paid assignment. At that time, I was still learning, understanding my camera, and exploring my photography style. My first assignment was a stepping stone in my photography journey and since then I have done a lot of commercial assignments.”

Which are your go-to types of equipment when it comes to photography?

“I use a Canon 80P. Most of the time, I use 50mm prime because that does the job for me. Along with these, I also own a zoom and Sigma lens and use them as and when the need arises.” There have been many instances of image manipulation when it comes to food photography. 

Talking about her shoots and assignments, Sameerra said, “Most of the brands that I have worked with want real food and not something that isn’t true. If you are well-acquainted with the advertising guidelines, you would know that image manipulation is a big no-no. To make the food look appealing here are some tips that can work –For a vegetable biryani/sabzi, don’t overcook it. To make the pancakes look soft and fluffy, use oil and butter. When shooting for fruits, use a combination of water and glycerine to give them a ‘fresh from the farm’ look. Earlier, ice cream brands wanted food photographers to use look-alike artificial ice creams because the real ones melted faster in the presence of lights.
Now, these brands too want real images. Hence, to tackle such situations, the best solution is to freeze the ice cream beforehand. When shots need to be taken, scoop out the ice cream the way the brands want, refreeze it, and then use it. As the presence of social media is humongous, fulfilling the audience’s demands and needs is important. Thus, we too figure out ways and come up with new techniques so that our work is appealing to our audience.”

What are the challenges that you faced in your journey?

Expressing her tough times, Sameerra replied, “Sometimes, the brands approach you just for the pricing without actually telling you what they want from you. For me, it is very important to understand the brand story, and audience, and get a mood boat from the company. Until I don’t understand what you want, I cannot give the pricing because I feel creating something that resonates with the brand is very crucial and that can happen only when you know the brand well. Not only this but there have been such instances also where the brands themselves don’t know what they want. They come to you with a blank slate simply because they like your work. At such times, as an artist, it is important that you just don’t do what you like but know the brand’s audience, its story, its USP, and every other minute detail. Once you are clear about the brand, create a mood boat and let the clients know why what you are recommending works in their favor. Only then go ahead with the project.”

What are your future plans when it comes to photography?

“I am doing photography part-time now. I want to do it full-time soon. I also do a lot of training sessions which unfortunately have been stopped due to the pandemic. I wish to start with them soon. Along with that, I also conduct food photography and styling workshops. When I started my photography career, there were limited resources where real-life problems were not at all discussed. There are not many Youtube videos available that go into giving you solutions for your problems. Hence, I design my workshops in such a manner that my students get a hands-on learning experience, understand the detailing and its importance. I believe in giving them the right practice so that they are aware of the lighting, food, and also what can appeal to their audience when they click food photographs.”

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