Nayantara Parikh // ©Chloe Walker
Nayantara is a fashion and portrait photographer based in New Delhi.
Inspiro India: Tell us something about yourself and how did you start creating?
– My background and training are in film and cinematography. I loved movies and at 16 I decided I wanted to be behind the camera. The love for shooting developed in college – where I quickly realised I had no interest in directing movies and only wanted to shoot them. When I moved back after 8 years, I made the shift to still photography and started specialising in portrait and fashion rather than feature films.
Inspiro India: Can you talk a bit about your stunning portraits and way of working?
– I like to keep the mood light on set, but I am not a fan of people talking too much while we are shooting. It’s important to maintain a good mood, even if you’re having a bad day- your mood can affect the subject and the entire shoot day. Your subject needs to trust you. Taking a picture of someone can be very intimate.
Inspiro India: Did you face any kind of problems while pursuing this field? How satisfied do you feel after working in this field?
– I have constant issues with my health, but that’s a good reminder to anyone that when you have a physical job you must keep in shape. And by in shape I mean strengthen the muscles you use every day – it sounds simple, but by not doing so one can be in a lot of pain (trust me, I know!). The schedule of working constantly can be gruelling, so its good to make rules for oneself- otherwise you work every single day, all hours of the day and night. I try to not take work calls at meal times or after 9pm.
Inspiro India: What is it about Fashion/Portrait photography that interest you the most? What are your top three favourite photography locations? and Why?
– I love shooting faces, they are full of stories. I had promised myself to not work in Fashion when I returned from the States (because of the hectic schedules), but after one fashion shoot I knew that’s where my strength lay. I have no favourite locations as such. I love shooting people in their homes. I assisted shooting a movie in Tulum, Mexico a few years ago – we shot in the Cenote. It was absolutely stunning and I would love to go back and do a shoot there.
Inspiro India: If not this, What would have Nayantara been doing?
– I wish I could bake and ice cakes all day. Or I would go back to my original path and shoot movies. I can’t really imagine a life where I’m not behind the camera.
Inspiro India: Natural light or Studio Light?
– I almost always shoot with natural or available light. I augment that light with LED light panels if need be. I can’t think in a studio when I see a white wall- my brain goes blank. Because I learned lighting for film, I am very attached to constant light sources and I try to never use strobes.
Inspiro India: Who is your all-time favorite model to work with?
– I’ve shot Rodali a lot and I absolutely love shooting her.
Inspiro India: Could you tell our readers how to reach such excellent results in fashion photography? What are you looking forward to purchase next?
– I am tired of renting and I want to buy my own LED light panels. If I could purchase anything I would get 2 x 4 bank 4 ft Kinos with tungsten and daylight bulbs. I also need to add a variable ND filter to my kit. It is important to plan ahead 85% (with your stylist, make up artist, etc) and leave the rest to the magic that happens on set. It might sound cheesy, but one can’t control everything when one is shooting. I’m also a firm believer in practice makes perfect. Don’t over shoot, don’t over process, and wait for the right moment to press the button. Even though most of us shoot digital these days, I try to treat it like film (which I learned on), measuring when to take a shot as opposed to taking a burst of images.
Inspiro India: What did you want to become as a child? What dream is still on your bucket list?
– I wanted to be everything from a lawyer to an usher to a businesswoman. But for now its a dream of mine to shoot feature films and has been for many years. When the time is right, I will go back to movies I hope.
Inspiro India: Out of all the photographs you have ever taken, which is your favourite and why?
– I can’t choose one! In terms of my series’ I love the Berlin Series. It’s the first thing I shot and it is very close to my heart. Not only because the subject is my sister, but because it was the first time I felt that maybe I was good.
Inspiro India: Describe your post-processing work flow? What camera/s do you shoot with? And your favourite lenses and other equipment that you use?
– I shoot handheld with a Canon 5D mkiii. I am obsessed with shooting on a 50mm, and I like to shoot wide open. I had a canon 50mm 1.8 that is extremely light and a terrible lens (the focus is awful- if you’ve used it, you know) but I love it. I recently switched to the canon 50mm 1.4 and I am incredibly happy with it. I download raw files onto my drive and import into Lightroom. I have several presets that I am attached to, however for each shoot the look is adjusted according to what the client has asked for and the brief they’ve given. Then into photoshop for additional colur corrections if needed and touch ups. I back up to two drives and I don’t delete anything – even the stuff I hate, so I can remember how and where to improve.
Inspiro India: What advice would the artist inside you like to pass on to our readers?
– Practice every day. If you aren’t shooting then read about it, if you aren’t reading about it then look at images of the masters, study how the are lighting, framing and exposing. There is always something new to learn. It’s better to admit you don’t know something and learn it, than to pretend you know something and f*ck things up.
Inspiro India: What do you think about Inspiro India Magazine?
– I think its amazing to have a resource for photography and the arts in India, especially one that respects newer artists and content coming out of India. We need a platform to showcase our work, and there are definitely enough people working in creative fields for us to have sufficient content.
Check out her full feature in November Edition of Inspiro India Magazine issue#33 – Download Free.