An Interview With a Landscape Photographer – Amit Vakil
August 19 is celebrated as World Photography Day and so to celebrate the diverse, extraordinary and versatile world and culture of photography, we shall celebrate the whole month of August with articles dedicated to Photographers. WeekendTrivia exclusive interviews with world-class photographers as well as a photography contest shall be running on as well as all other social media platforms. So dive into the fest!
A Doctor who is an amazing Landscape and Travel Photographer, Amit Vakil has a lot of achievements in his kitty. Hailing from the Hills, this wonderful person took o time to talk to us. Read on to know more.
Follow him on –
P. S. – Copyright of all the captures in the article lies with ©Amit Vakil
Q1: Would you kindly introduce yourself to our reader? Along with the genre of your photography and on which project are you working currently? What do you consider your greatest achievement?
A: Based in Chamba, Himachal, I am doctor by profession and a photographer by passion. I simultaneously tried my hands on my dad’s film camera along with a point and shoot camera during 2008- 2010. Gradually, this hobby turned into passion and it entered my blood as a deathless frenzy in 2010 when I bought my first DSLR. Since then, I have been weaving incredible stories through my camera & lenses. Initially, I started capturing pictures in almost every genre of photography; landscape, abstract, travel, still life, food photography, portrait and street. But gradually, I found myself extremely intrigued by travel, landscape and storytelling pictures (pictorial). Recently I worked with Nat Geo Traveller India, Vivo Phone & Gujarat Tourism. Till now my greatest achievements are when I won in “Colours of Macao” Photography Contest organized by “Nat Geo Traveller India” in 2016. Again, my endeavors bore fruits as one of the pictures which depicted the life style of Gujjar community won the prestigious “Artistique” Photography Contest organized by “Asian Photography Magazine” under the theme Black & White, 2017-18. In Jan 2018, I received 1st prize for winning the “7th National Photography Competition” from Mr. Jual Oram, Minister for Tribal Affairs, Govt of India, under the theme “Tribal Customs & Heritage”.
Q2: What attracts you to your genre? Whose work has influenced you most?
A: Being from Himachal I was always surrounded by the mountains & I love to shoot these huge landscapes in different weather, times & months of the year. When I started exploring these places only Then I realised that I want something different as well and then I started taking pictures of travel, culture, people and street to name a few. Steve Mccurry and Henry Cartier Bresson are the photographers who always influence me.
Q3: Is it important to have any professional training to be a photographer? Did you have any at the time you set of your journey?
A: No I don’t think so you need any professional training to start your photography journey. If you are dedicated towards your work and are keen to learn from your own mistakes as in my case you can do wonders with your pictures. Though it is very important to keep learning whatever medium you choose be it a photographer friend, Google, YouTube or your mentor.
Q4: When you go in one of your photo-shoot which one is your favorite lens and why do you prefer it?
A: I always prefer to shoot with one lens only most of the time. It gives you the liberty and focus to concentrate on the composition / moment part rather than wasting time to change your lenses. In the past I have used 24-70mm very often with my Canon 5D Mark III but now a day I prefer Canon 16-35mm quite a lot.
Q5: How do you as a photographer make sure that the thing, person or landscape you want to shoot looks the way you want it to?
A: To be honest composition is the most essential part of photography after getting your hands to the technicalities of the camera & settings. For the perfect composition you need to know the photography rules, your choice of subject to use them & plenty of practice. When you master these things you get to know from within what composition suits the best for your subject. Develop your own vision to see things differently.
Q6: Can you explain to the budding photographer what makes the good picture stand out from the average? How do you choose your vintage point for your photographs?
A: Certainly the story telling value of the picture along with composition and technical perfect picture stands out from the average. For these one needs lots of practice and great vision to implement in his/her frames. If I am shooting a landscape I always observe the surroundings to add some extra punch into the image, be it a foreground element like rock, grass, snow or anything which can add to your final output.
Q7: From all the places that you have travelled, which one is your favorite and why?
A: Leh for its vast landscapes, Varanasi for its rituals & culture, Barsana for its Holi.
Q8: A “Good Camera can make a Picture perfect” do you believe this myth? Do you believe a Mobile Photographer can make a picture perfect?
A: Not 100% true. You can make award winning pictures with ordinary cameras too depends upon your choice of subject and genre. Off course for some serious Astro/sports photography you need a full frame camera and a better lens to get the maximum out of it but one can make great pictures with any camera and lenses. Same is the case with mobile cameras too by paying attention to composition, moment and storytelling value of the frame.
Q9: How important is to know a place before you go out for shoot? What are the challenges that faced so far?
A: This is me. I always planned my shoot in advance sometimes six months before I go to that place actually. It is always important to know the place before as it helps me to visualize the pictures I want to capture of that particular place. In landscapes the only challenge is the weather as it’s not in our hands. But you cannot plan in street as you have to be spontaneous in this genre.
Q10: In a picture is “Digital manipulation” really require to make it perfect?
A: I am not a great believer of digital manipulation. One should learn the difference between the Digital Manipulation and Post Processing. In Digital Manipulation one can add or remove any object from the frame. In wedding and product shoot you have the liberty to do so. While in Post processing you don’t have the liberty to these things. And I am a great believer of the latter.
Q11: Which post processing software you use for your pictures?
A: Adobe CC
Q12: Many of the photographers ask us where they find out about the salon news or exhibition news. Can you please give them some idea?
A: once you participated in a salon, your name and email address stored in their database and you will get the information for the next one. Nowadays you can find about the salons in social media also like Facebook and Instagram.
Q13: Name the last photography book/journal that you read.
A: With internet going places these days I hardly get any time to read photography books but I am very much found of photography magazines. Infact in my early days some ten years ago I was huge fan of Better Photography magazine, Asian photography magazine, Smart photography magazine and many others. I learned a lot from these magazines.
Q14: Nowadays almost everyone has access to devices with which it is possible to take pictures. What do you think is the difference between a professional photographer and any other amateur photographer?
A: The only difference I found between the professional photographers and amateur are the hit ratio of the good pictures are higher of professional photographers than the amateur photographers. Practice, experience and dedication are the only factor with which you can be a professional photographer some day, but it requires lots of patience.
Q15: Any quick message for our blog? Wish you a very happy world photography day! Thanks for your time!
A: It is a wonderful blog. You guys are doing great job with your content. I wish you a great career ahead. Happy World Photography day to you all.
Thank you Amit, for taking out time for us and letting our readers know about your wonderful journey so far. We look forward to seeing more of your wonderful work..!