Inquisitive Interviews : Sangeeta Khiara – Freelance Photographer

Another Sunday, calls for another Inquisitive Interview. And you will love the interview this week, Sangeeta Khiara is really someone who should provide some sort of inspiration for all the women, being a freelancer in a predominantly Male dominated field which is just warming up to women, takes a lot of courage and hard work. I am sure most people with SLR’s these days think of themselves as some sort of professional photographers. But after reading this interview you guys will know it’s a lot more than just that.

Inquisitive Interviews, the feature was born out of the requests by some of the students who read this blog, requesting information regarding careers. And with a view to help them make a better choice, I have started to feature various careers from different people, starting with people I know and hoping to slowly reach many different people. The Inquisitive Interviews feature would not only help the students reading the interview but also the interviewees providing them with some Online PR of sorts, the benefits of which I mentioned in another post earlier.

[Q] Tell us something about yourself- where you live, work, your interests…?

I am a complete Dubai product, born and raised here. Originally from Mumbai, India but Dubai is first home to me. My Father used to be a photographer and spending so much time with him gave me the basic instincts to this field.
Since the past 2 years I have been functioning as a freelance photographer and this has been quite a long term dream to me. I think my interests have varied ever since I was young, I have always wanted to do everything quite possible. I do love music, dance, reading, adventure sports and most entertaining factors that come with life.

[Q] Is the job what you expected it to be ? And is the compensation good enough ?My job is like a new journey everyday, I meet different people some are difficult some are very easy going. When you work in a creative business one needs to come up with a lot of ideas and concepts that dont just come easily to you. Its not like a functional job where things have to go one particular way. 

As for compensation, No human is usually satisfied with their income. Compensations vary from clients/jobs as there is no fixed timing of work so no fixed incomes too. There are months when you are filled up with work and there are times when there is no work at all.

[Q] What is your average day like at work? If possible a recent project or work that excited you enough as part of your job?

Everyday is a new day at work. New work place, new people and concepts. I usually have my R&D done about my upcoming project a day or two earlier and discussed them with my client so I don’t have any issues post shoots. So on the D day its just pack the equipments required and reach the location. Do some basic discussions with the client about how we want the day to be planned, talk to the model (if a model related shoot) or have a good look at the products/area that has to be shot. Once all set I am just clicking away to glory. I enjoy keeping a light atmosphere at the shoot so that the everybody is relaxed and spontaneous.

[Q] Is this job what you had pictured to be? If yes, then how long did you take to get here?

I did picture this job very easy going when I was initially stepping into it but as time passed its been getting tougher. People think just because you are a photographer you just meet cool people and do some point and shoot and that’s it you get paid for making people look good. It takes a lot of hard work and knowledge to get into any profession, and photography also has its creative and technical aspects which make work so much more detailed than ever before.

I did take 2 years to get here, within where I was working at a branding company and would save the cost of a photographer and do it myself for the clients, then I trained, assisted, and now a few people know me by my name and work. Still a long way to get where I want to.

[Q] What’s the most interesting part of your job? Do you get bored at your workplace?

I love networking, I think people make you what you are and its very important to keep a network and communicate. We are lucky to reside in a multi-cultural region like Dubai where we get to meet people from all ends. My job has a new flavor to it everyday which makes it exciting. I dont think I could do an 8-5 job where I have to perform the same task everyday. Its never boring if you got new challenges everyday at various places with varied people.

[Q] What’s the most challenging part of your job?

Expectations are challenging. Clients believe that you would make them or their project look outstanding. Fashion has reached to such a height that regular people are portrayed flawless and when your client expects you to make them look like a different person it becomes a difficult job. I love capturing people but in their own skin and not make them look like they never do, but this is what most people don’t want. Its same in terms of products or events, but that is acceptable because those subjects have a selling point attached to them.

[Q] Do you report to someone? How much of an impact the person you report to has on your job?

I am self employed and work as a freelancer. Thus I dont report to anyone.

[Q] Whats your Alumni ? Where have you studied ?

School : The Indian High School, Dubai
Pre University :
Bachelors Degree: B.A. Media and Communication specializing in Advertising and PR
Masters Degree :

[Q] Do you use skills that you learnt in school /college? Did you take up any specific training or courses?

I did have basic training in photography,video as well as post production as my course involved me to have them. Post university I worked for a bit and joined many workshops and courses available in Dubai to get more professional training. Unfortunately in Dubai there is no academy offering a full- fledged degree in photography specifically. So, I had to take up varied courses at different institutes to complete my training. I have done courses in Digital photography, Studio photography, Portrait photography and fashion photography. I would love to keep learning but I am out of any more courses available in Dubai.

[Q] Would you advice younger people to join in your industry? Meaning what are the limitations/ drawbacks of the industry?

Well when you’re young you are very vulnerable and tend to get into many decisions without knowing the drawbacks about them. I wont advice someone to take up photography in general as its ones own choice but creativity has no end and the world needs more people with fresh minds. Take time to realize what is it that you could do everyday of your life and never get frustrated of. (No that dosent include playing PSP or surfing on you tube) Once you have sorted out your inner behavior, you would know when reality is far more better than just dreaming.

Limitations and Drawbacks come with everything that you do. Life was never a cake walk. Photography as a profession has its limitations where you have to work for your client and how they want it, dosent matter if you like the images. They like it they pay you. That’s the commercial side of it. People are going to question your talent, one just needs to be patient and constantly improve on oneself.

[Q] What advice would you give to someone trying to get into the industry? And what do they need to watch out for ?

First thing first walk in and out with your camera everywhere when you’re starting off. That will make people know where your passion lies. Make sure all your family and friends are aware of what you want to do as they come the most in handy while getting one of your first assignments. Use the web to show people your work, Facebook works more than a personal website these days. Those are just formalities. Keep updating your images and yourself this will make people realize that you want to work.

Watch out for agencies that want to hire new photographers and artists and then grab 60% of your earnings off on every job and yearly fee to be associated with them because they provide you with jobs.

[Q] Anything else you want to tell the readers?

Being a photographer you get many questions raised at you asking what sort of profession is that and is it really going to make you earn anything at all. Because I am a female, these questions are raised at double impact to me. I have always told everyone to follow their best quality and use it in their profession. Parents need to let their children realize their quality, job satisfaction is more important than monetary satisfaction in the long run.

[Q] Any online resources you recommend for people taking up this profession? In terms of General reading as well as Job Searches?

For some basic knowledge and amazing examples visit
http://www.thephotoargus.com/

For regular tips and updates you can visit
http://www.shariblog.com/

As I said networking is very important whether is personally or on the internet. Social networking websites like LinkedIn provide many job opportunities and UAE based Dubbizle also has a vast network.

Anywhere else the readers can get in touch with you ? LinkedIN ? Twitter ? Google + ? Personal Website ?
Facebook Page : http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sangeeta-Khiara-Photography/
Twitter@sanguB
LinkedINSangeeta Khiara

A big thanks to Sangeeta for a really inquisitive interview, a lot more of an insight into being a freelance photographer in Dubai. More importantly, a budding young photographer. Wishing her all the best in the coming weeks ahead and moving on, Be Inquisitive.

Switched to the new Facebook Profile, make it Awesome

A while back I used to see these articles of people complaining about how Facebook is changing all the time and that there is a learning curve every few months. Facebook has held back for a while and now has completely revamped the look and feel to make it well different again. So all those people who are complaining that this is changed and the changes are major, well wait for it there is more. Facebook is also now launching the email / messaging / sms manager feature to all, where we all are going to get a Facebook email account.

Ok there is no choice but to upgrade, but how can you now make your new profile awesome ?? Well Ask Alexandre Oudin, who has taken this change and turned it into a very interesting feature. Spanning images over the profile giving it that oomph factor.  Of course I will not hope you guys guess how it looks, I will add in picture examples. Not only of people who have done it, but also for you if you want to do it to your profile. (Oh grow up). Lets look at the examples first.

1. Alexander Oudin

2. Nir Refuah

3. Jason Keiter

4. John Robert

5. Jayden Tan

Interesting, isint it. The craze started by the french artist Oudin has now gone global. In fact there are many websites that have started providing you with really easy tools to achieve this effect. Knowing the eagerness to use this feature you can try any of the sites below.

Full Page Pic

The  FullPagePic website by vindimy was probably one of the first to automate the Facebook photo hack process and about 30,000 people have used the slice ‘n dice service so far. It takes your JPG, PNG or GIF image and spits out a zipfile with the separated parts. So much for the automatic part. Once you’ve uploaded and tagged the 5 photostream images and set the new profile picture, vindimy wants you to delete your bio text too because the FullPagePic service was optimized for zero-line biographies. Removing the education, work and location information might be a bridge too far for some of you.

» Go to FullPagePic.

Pic Scatter

Pic Scatter by Till Haunschild is powered by the advertising agency McCann Erickson Munich… and it shows! As soon as you’ve uploaded your image, you can zoom in and out, drag it around and tell it how many lines of bio (“info-text”) you have. This last option can help you see if it’d be better to add or remove a bio line to optimize the photo hack effect. When you’re finished, you can download the individual image files in a compressed archive (pic_scatter.zip) or publish them instantly to Facebook. All you have to do is set the Profile Picture and your profile hack is complete. There’s a little “Made with picscatter.com” banner at the bottom of your profile picture, but hey, it’s a free app and at least it’s not a big brand advertising on your profile… yet! :)

» Go to PicScatter.

Facebook Profile Picture Generator

Upload your picture to ProfileGen.com and select how many “rows of data” you have in your bio (we’re only missing an option for 0 lines here). According to the clear instructions on the site, you then have to right-click and save all 6 images to your computer, upload them to a Facebook album and get your tagging on. Your profile picture will contain a small ProfileGen.com credit at the bottom.

» Go to ProfileGen.com.

FBCrop.com

This site is how it would look like if Facebook offered the hack themselves. Not that that’s ever going to happen :) You can upload your photo, select the number of lines in your bio (options for longer bios seem to be missing) and drag your image around to make it fit in the template. When you’re done, you can download all the picture files individually or as a zip file. Now all there’s left to do is upload the files and tag yourself. No watermarks or automated status updates here.

» Go to fbcrop.com.

After what seems like an eternity .. the Inquisitive Mind is back

Owing to mostly shifting into a new place to well hopelessly waiting for the internet connection to be fixed, my 60 days of non connectivity to the internet caused a lot more heartache that I would have imagined. In the past few months I have started working on a few freelance projects of my own, mostly to do with social media marketing, corporate identity design and presentation design and execution. You can imagine that freelancing nearly went out for a toss, however I got things done and (fingers crossed) have done them to the content of my clients.

The other big reason why I was out of the internet was well, a trip to Istanbul and a fabulous event called “2 Fast 2 Curious” which was a follow up of the widely successful Fast and the Curious, a sort of a treasure hunt mixed with activities and a touch of ‘The Amazing Race’.

As one would imagine there is a lot of work that goes into pulling off an event like that and also a lot of time to add into the losses. So well, blogging and related activities started to take a slip. However, I am back now, and am really looking forward to get back to try and tingle your senses with newer posts and newer topics along with some inquisitive posts for those days when you are feeling .. well Inquisitive.

Thanks to all of you who have been reading the blog through the silence, and I promise there is a lot in store in the coming year. I have been learning some serious programming, including some beginner work on the Android Platform to make an app for the phone and such, so lets hope they do show some results. Also to look forward to would be some unique wallpapers from the Inquisitive Mind, mostly the better part of my Photography Attempts, photo-blogged at Moments Frozen in time.

Before I finish up this post, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all the best compliments of the season and hope the new year bring you all the good luck and great results for all of your hard work. Now I am already excited for the year ahead, are you ??

Your Facebook DP requires a touch up ? This might help

Most of our Online presence is through Facebook, I agree that a lot of us have blogs, websites, LinkedIn Profiles and profiles on other sites. But Facebook seems to be the one profile that all of us are known by, which is why we put a lot of time in finding the perfect picture that would make a display profile (DP) and also are concerned when a bad picture shows up on Facebook. What I would like to share are tutorials for Photoshop that will help make our picture look more appealing. Just please don’t go too crazy — your friends should be able to still recognize you. Whether you want to remove acne or add a tattoo — these tutorials will teach you how to retouch your photos like a pro.

1. Change Your Hair Color

2. Remove Wrinkles

3. Remove Acne

4. Apply Makeup

5. Enhance Eyes

6. Add Eye Lashes in Photoshop

7. Soften Skin

8. Whiten Teeth

9. Add a Tattoo

10. Lose weight in Photoshop

11.  Turn your Photo into Pop Art

12. Give your Photo a Sketched Pencil Effect

The Art and Science of Photography

I mentioned last week that I was heading to Bangalore to attend a photography workshop and I just did, the past few days have been an exhilarating experience when it comes to learning. The workshop that I attended was aptly called the Art and Science of Photography, teaching to use the device in hand to manipulate light in such a way, that the image produced by it would be stunning. Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO, Exposure Compensation, and many other parameters that make up an image, forming the science of the photograph and the composition and story making the art part of the image. The workshop which was conducted by Kalyan Varma, who I believe is India’s best wild life photographer, was something f a revelation. From learning about the different components used to capture light to make brilliant photographs, to photo processing techniques used by early photographers using film cameras. Real eye opener.

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Photography has long been associated as an art form, and the DSLR’s have made it more of a gizmo that provides geek food. I would attribute the new SLR revolution to the Geekified image of the new SLR camera. And being a gadget the focus has shifted to photography as an art form but also as a small stream of science. The Science of manipulating light and producing mind boggling images. But like everything else these days, I think we as photographers are really getting carried away with the electronics and the gadgets. Good equipment does not always mean good photographs, however good photographer even with a crappy camera can take amazing photographs, if you search for Mobile Camera Photography you will know what I mean. Getting back to the topic of Gadgets and Photography. Here are some excellent examples of cameras ads that have aired over the years (the Polaroid one is the best), notice something similar… all of them try to convey the same message to the photographer, that the new camera is compact and light weight to take good pictures 😉

At the end of the day Photography is all about the photographer and his keep eye to freeze a moment to make a good photograph. This was one of the most important things I learnt at the workshop, having a great camera just helps the process. I am going to be posting images from my Photography workshop on my photo blog (http://photo.melvinpereira.com) soon.

A good break, some recognition and now back to reality

For the guys who follow this blog, I would like to first of all say, thank you for your patience since I was not posting enough and this was due to a good vacation that well I was craving for. My Wife and I went off to an interesting and relaxing vacation through to Sri Lanka and home (Bangalore), which was not only intriguing but also very relaxing. At the heart of many Indian events and celebrations lies a wedding somewhere, and this break was nothing of an exception. Our friends were getting married in Sri Lanka and that sparked off a whole vacation list, although we could not manage our time to make it for the entire week initially, we eventually complied for the entire celebration including the wedding and the small our of the island nation. And we were delighted we did that. You can look out for pics on my Facebook Profile as well as my Photo blog.

June 2010, will be one of the most memorable months of this year for me personally. Not only did I get a good break but also received some recognition for this blog, yes in the month I received importantly 2 requests for collaborative work one from the University of Vienna who are working on a project for the next Boeing and how it would shape up in terms of perceived Hygeine and new technology in the next aircraft, and the second one from Volkswagen India, who have been kind enough to select my blog to be their face for online communications. Am thankful to all you guys who have kept reading the updates on technology in our would that I have been trying to provide and in the meantime have made this blog popular. I would request you guys to keep sharing and help me reach a larger audience. What you guys can look forward to in the blog in the coming few days, the debate of tech in the world cup, an update on India and how pleasantly surprised I was with it, and of course loads of pics.

While the recognition that I have received has made me glad, it also has increased the pressure to continue performing on the blog front. I hope I am able to continue trying to spark your inquisitive side, and hope that you guys will support me further. Well, now that I will be joining work in a couple of days, its a stark pull back into reality. The thoughts of work and numerous mails pending and issues waiting to be solved are just making getting out of the vacation mood that much more difficult, I am sure you guys know what I mean.

Browser wars – Speeding up

A few weeks back Google Chrome came up with the video of a different kind to showcase their browser speed, the video was not only different in complete Google style, but also innovative. They used a high speed camera to film various sequences against the speed of the browser. This was for the launch of the Chrome version 5.0. Here, Google has tested the speed of its Chrome browser against lightning, sound and a potato cannon, all in 2700fps slow motion. Just watch it.

The video and the making of the video is here below. The innovative nature of the video made me think initially that it was not really a serious video but might have been a sort of a spoof, but then when looked closely it did actually highlight the speed of the browser at hand. Now, Opera has joined in in making a similar video.

Continue reading Browser wars – Speeding up

Tech from the future helps us go to the past

Augmented Reality, remember those two words as this technology is going to be everywhere in the future. The applications of this technology are really astounding and something that can really overwhelm you with information at times and also amaze you every so often. Today’s application is something that will amaze you for sure. Today’s application comes from the Museum of London who have decided that in order to experience the history of London, you really have to walk around and look at it, quite literally. They have come up with an iPhone App that will for sure make your journey within London, memorable to say the least. The app overlays four hundred years of historic images on today’s city streets.

Continue reading Tech from the future helps us go to the past

A camera that shoots HDR pictures

First of all I would like to make a small announcement, I have with the blog started a photo blog, a picture a day nearly to highlight my experiments in photography and I have named the blog Moments frozen in Time.

Well coming now to the real topic, HDR photography. HDR stands for high dynamic range photography and is an emerging trend with photography that involves trying to mimic what the human eye would in a single picture. You see it was not technically for the camera to mimic the actual brilliance of the human eye. Cameras can handle only one range of light to produce an image, yes even the SLR’s are the same. However the eye on the other hand can guage a larger range of light. as an example have you tried taking a picture of someone with the sun in the background and the person is shot all dark, well thats a very good example. The reason it happens is because it is very difficult for the camera to pick the dark and light parts together. An example of HDR photography from my Photoblog is below.

Continue reading A camera that shoots HDR pictures

The year of 3D

[tweetmeme] Ever since Avatar and its awesome success, a lot of people including me have been talking about the advent of 3D and how it will flow into our lives. Well here is more proof of the trend. Movie makers have been working hard to bring a ton of 3D movies to the big screen. Their strategy seems to be that until you can get 3D at home, it’s a sure fire way to get bums on seats in movie theatres.

If at all you were still interested to know how the whole 3D works and what exactly happens with the technology, you can head here. Once you see ti to clarify all technical issues you can maybe check out the releases below.

The first 3D movie to get a 2010 premier will be Disney’s Beauty and the Beast 3D. A rehash of the original, which was one of Disney’s first forays into computer animated features, it is still a great kid pleaser.

Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. Mixing live action and computer generated animation, it will certainly be a big launch. Of course messing with classics is always a mixed bag, and this will do doubt have it’s critics. But Burton has a strong cast with Jonny Depp playing the Mad Hatter, Helena Bonham Carter as the red Queen and Anne Hathaway as the White Queen. Alice will be played by relative unknown Mia Wasikowska. The people that brought you Shrek, Madagascar and err…Kung Fu Panda, will release How to Train Your Dragon 3D. The IMAX only movie Hubble 3D, is next. I’m sure it will look lovely, but the limited release, will mean few people are going to choose it over the real 3D blockbusters.

We may also see the return of Shrek in Shrek Forever After. The fourth in the series will be in 3D, and though it’s a little early to know much detail on the project, it’s sure to be a big hit. Pixar will also reprise their first movie hit, Toy Story, with episode 3, also in 3D. It’s now 15 years since the original hit the big screen.

Last on the schedule for 2010 is something I was initially sceptical about. Tron Legacy is a 3D sequel to Tron. Well I did not say all of the 3D movies are going to be good, but then its a movement. I am sure that the producers and movie makers are trying to cash in on the popularity of 3D as much as possible.

More here and here.

My Tattoo Stolen … GONE

[tweetmeme] For the past few days at home my wife and me have been talking about getting a tattoo for myself. And trying to get a unique tattoo is something that is on everyone’s mind when thinking of a tattoo, so well I thought I will try to get a very tech tattoo something unique, started with the bio mechanical designs like some shown below :

The Bio Mechanical designs are decent but still they are a bit too extreme, and also I guess a bit lame and try to make a transition to Humanoid a bit too soon, virtually at least. So I moved on from them, and started to look at the tattoo designs online for inspiration again. This time technology was the theme, and what I found on technology astounded me, really geeky designs, corporate logos and video games dominated most of the internet media in the look of a cool and unique tattoo. However, I felt a little too geeky. Here are some of the worst geeky designs; if you are interested in more head here.

Ever since I have been writing about my favorite technologies on this blog here, the most favorite of them being Augmented reality and QR Codes, I thought it would be pretty cool to get one of them, the obvious choice of the lot would be yes, QR Codes. Since you could embed a URL into it, and then put whatever you want on that webpage or series of webpages there. Well I thought, that well if I would still be updating this blog in a few years time, it would be a bit of an anticlimax for the tattoo. Well I said, “lets just get one and then decide”. So i got to make my QR Code which is here below, and then looked over the net to make sure it will be unique.

Well as you can see, that idea was taken, then I turned my eyes to Augmented Reality, the one technology that could give motion to the tattoos continuing the look that you are trying to get with the ink in the first place. Well I was beaten to even that concept. Augmented Reality tattoo, would have really been very cool, including a watch.

Well so the search continues, and while I am at it, if you can suggest some good ones also I will be thankful for it. Tattoo of mine gone, stolen, lost or just outclassed. Don’t really know but for the time being, the search is still on.

Dubai Like you have never seen it before

I am a fan of architecture, and photography and videos. When I found some of these videos of HD time laps photography of some of the latest architecture in Dubai, I could not hold my excitement. Here is my share of the excitement. Please wait as all the videos are worth the wait to load.

Before Sunrise

After Sunset

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In fact the artist who made the sunrise and sunset photos made also a 2.3 Gigabit (yes that 1.97568496 × 1010 pixels, or 1.97568496 × 1010 dots on the photo) check it below, the video is of the person scrolling the gigantic photo of the Burj Khalifa. Did you know

While we are talking about the Burj Khalifa here is another HD video of the Opening

And 2 of the Fountain

To wrap it all up, the Metro ride in time lapse.

More from the artists here and here.  My special interest is because I did really work on the Burj.

Via Source