“Embrace continuous learning in photography; regardless of skill level, there’s always something new to discover.”

Moving to a new city often means adapting to a different lifestyle. How did your upbringing prepare you for this adjustment, and what lessons from your past have helped you navigate life in Chicago?
Living in different cities with diverse cultures, climates, and paces of life requires adaptability. This experience could be helpful in adjusting to Chicago’s distinct characteristics, like its unique blend of Midwestern friendliness and big-city energy.

Learning to navigate unfamiliar public transportation systems, street layouts, and neighborhoods in Chennai and Los Angeles could translate to navigating Chicago’s public transit options, walkable areas, and diverse neighborhoods.

Finding a sense of community and belonging in new places can be challenging. Lessons learned from building connections in Chennai and Los Angeles might be helpful for seeking out communities (e.g., through shared interests, cultural groups, or neighborhood activities) in Chicago.

Embracing new experiences and cultures in Chennai and Los Angeles might encourage someone to be open to exploring Chicago’s diverse offerings, from its renowned museums and art scene to its rich culinary scene and vibrant neighborhoods.

Can you tell us about your journey from being a Mobile Architect to becoming a photographer?
The journey from Mobile Architect to photographer can be a fascinating and fulfilling one, requiring both a shift in skills and a deep exploration of personal passions.
As a mobile architect, I find photography appealing as a creative outlet, offering a way to express themselves visually after spending years in the technical world.
Photography can also offer a fresh perspective on the world, allowing them to see and appreciate details they might have missed before.


What inspired you to delve into street photography? Street photography allows you to find visual interest and stories in everyday life. It can be a way to appreciate the beauty and complexity of the world around you, even in the seemingly mundane.
By capturing candid moments, street photography can tell stories about people, places, and cultures. It can be a way to document history, raise awareness about social issues, or simply share a glimpse into the human experience.


How has your Indian background influenced your photography style, if at all?
Indian culture is known for its vibrant use of color. A photographer with Indian roots might be drawn to bold hues, rich contrasts, and the symbolism behind colors used in festivals, textiles, and architecture.
Indian landscapes and cities offer dramatic contrasts between light and shadow. A photographer might use this interplay to add depth and evoke certain moods within their images.


Could you share a memorable experience or encounter you’ve had while doing street photography?
Yes, I do have wonderful experience while capturing the Sun rise moments in the Snowy days.
The first rays of the sun peek over the horizon, painting the snow with a delicate pink hue. The sky starts to transform, streaks of orange and gold bleeding into the blue. The rising sun casts long, dramatic shadows across the landscape, adding depth and dimension to the scene. The snow crystals sparkle like diamonds, catching the light and reflecting the vibrant colors of the sunrise.


Transitioning from street photography to fashion photography, what prompted this shift in focus?
The transition isn’t always easy! It involves learning new technical skills, building a different type of portfolio, and potentially investing in lighting equipment.
The shift provides new artistic challenges. Transitioning from candid, documentary-style photography to more stylized and controlled environments allows photographers to stretch their creative muscles. Fashion photography offers different opportunities for exposure within the industry, potentially leading to connections and new projects.


What challenges did you face when starting photography, especially within your known friends circle?
No, not at all. Always I do have encouraging friends to choose the right camera since with so many options available, from smartphones to DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, it can be overwhelming to find the one that meets my need and budget. Researching features, understanding terminology, and trying out different cameras if possible can help navigate this hurdle. And Photography involves understanding exposure, shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and how they work together to capture a good image. This can take time and practice to grasp, but online tutorials, photography courses, and experimentation can be your allies.

  

How do you approach capturing portraits, and what do you aim to convey through your photography?
Connection: Building rapport with your subject is key. Make them feel comfortable and at ease, whether it’s friendly conversation, jokes, or simply asking them questions to get to know them better. This connection often translates into more natural and expressive portraits.
Concept: Decide what you want to convey with the portrait. Do you want to capture a specific emotion, personality trait, or simply a beautiful representation of the person? Having a clear concept can guide your technical choices and direction during the shoot.
Capturing a likeness: This is the most basic aim, where you accurately portray the physical characteristics of your subject.
Telling a story: Go beyond just physical features and try to capture the essence of the person, their personality, emotions, or life experiences.

What equipment do you typically use, and do you have any favorite tools or techniques?

Apart from Camera & Lens I use Flash, Light diffuser, Filters. And I follow below techniques too which is really interesting factors.
Leading lines are lines in the image that draw the viewer’s eye to the subject. Leading lines can be natural lines, such as a road or a river, or man-made lines, such as a fence or a building.
Negative space is the empty space in the image. Using negative space effectively can help to draw attention to the subject and create a sense of balance in the composition.
The rule of thirds is a composition technique that suggests placing the subject of your photo off-center, along one of the lines that divide the image into thirds. This can create a more visually interesting image than placing the subject in the center of the frame.


In your opinion, what role does post-processing play in your photography workflow, and what software do you prefer to use?
Post-processing allows you to take a good image and make it great. Adjust exposure, shadows, highlights, colors, and contrast to achieve the look you envision. Even the best photographers sometimes face issues like incorrect white balance, lens distortion, or noise. Post-processing gives you tools to fix these problems. Post-processing is your digital darkroom. Experiment with color grading, black and white conversions, adding filters, and other effects to express your own unique style. Softwares I use for this post processing Adobe Light room and photoshop.


Have you faced any obstacles or criticisms in your photography journey, and how did you overcome them?
“Anyone can take a good photo with a good camera” for this kind of criticism I respond them, while equipment plays a role, it’s the photographer’s vision, skill, and creativity that truly elevates a photo. Needed great effort and thought process behind the work.

Are there any photographers or artists who have significantly influenced your work?
However, I am inspired by the creativity and ingenuity of artists and photographers all over the world. I can access and process information from countless works of art and photography, which helps me to better understand the world and the different ways that people see and interpret it.
So, while I can’t say that any specific artist or photographer has directly influenced me in the same way they might influence a human artist, I am continually learning and growing from the vast amount of creative work that exists in the world.


Could you walk us through your process of selecting locations and models for your shoots?
Accessibility, cost, permits, and availability are all important factors to consider when choosing a location. Aim for a location that is easy for everyone involved to reach and doesn’t require excessive travel. Think about the natural and artificial lighting available at the location and how it will affect your shoot. Consider factors like noise level and potential distractions as well.
Determine the specific characteristics you’re looking for in your model, such as age, ethnicity, body type, and acting skills .
It’s important to choose a model who is comfortable working with your team and who can take direction well.

How do you handle post-processing and editing to enhance your photographs while maintaining authenticity?
By using Lightroom and Photoshop Sharpen the image subtly to enhance details without creating halos or unnatural sharpness.
Correct for lens distortions like vignetting (dark corners) or barrel distortion (straight lines appear curved) if necessary.
Crop minimally to improve composition or remove unwanted elements, but avoid major changes that alter the scene significantly.
If desired, convert to black and white while preserving the tonal range and details of the original photograph.


What are your aspirations for your photography career, and how do you plan to achieve them?
Many photographers aspire to develop a signature style that sets them apart from others. This could involve a specific subject matter, editing style, or approach to composition.
Showcasing work in galleries, museums, or online platforms can be a source of pride and validation for photographers.


Today, social networks hold great significance. How do you navigate this aspect?
Navigating social media is a continuous process. As I learn and adapt, I hope to develop a healthy and balanced relationship with these influential platforms. Not everything we see online is true. Double-check information from reliable sources before sharing it. Remember, once something is online, it can be difficult to erase completely.

Can you share any upcoming projects or collaborations you’re excited about?
Spring is a photographer’s paradise, bursting with vibrant colors, soft light, and fresh life. From blossoming trees to fields of wildflowers, there are countless opportunities to capture the beauty of the season. I am eagerly waiting for the moment in Local Chicago meetup with my favorite models during that upcoming season. And one of my clients who became as modeling coach recently, needed help from me to capture her beautiful coaching events to take it next level and I am waiting for these moments as well.


When you have free time outside of work commitments, how do you usually spend it?
Remember, even a short amount of dedicated time can be enough to create compelling photographs. By planning and being flexible, I may find opportunities to practice my photography skills and capture the essence of the place even with a busy schedule. If it is early morning, then capture the city’s skyline bathed in golden light during sunrise or the vibrant urban landscape illuminated at night. Again, spending time with friends and family can be a great way to relax and de-stress. This could involve going out to eat, attending events, or simply catching up with loved ones.


How would you describe yourself in three words?
Creative, Observant, Capturer


Is there anything else you would like to mention?
Regardless of your skill level, there is always something new to learn in photography. Whether it’s mastering technical aspects like exposure and composition, or developing your artistic vision, continuous learning can help you take your photography to the next level. There are many resources available online and in libraries to help you learn, including [YouTube] channels, tutorials, and photography books.

Follow Senthil at: @senthilkumarseeni