If you’re a young hopeful looking to make it big in the photography business, you need to create a brand.
For our thrilling session on photography, we had our #supercommunity member, Areesh Zubair join us. Areesh is a fashion, lifestyle and travel photographer who has found major commercial success, showcased by his portraits of various cultural icons such as Abida Parveen, Mahira Khan and HSY. Driven by his passion for photography and storytelling, Areesh set out to capture people’s lives during the lockdown in his highly popularized series Duur se Portrait which depicted the hopeful message that despite everything life goes on. And now, he’s ready to share his tips and tricks with us!
Areesh starts off by emphasizing the significance of aesthetically pleasing composition. “The task of a photographer is to capture that parallel-ness, to capture that symmetry, to capture all these lines in a way that it looks visually pleasing” he insists. Associated with the idea of perfection, symmetry is a go to for all photographers, Areesh shows off his own impressive symmetrical architectural photography through his shots of religio-cultural relics such as the Khana Kaaba in Makkah, Badshahi mosque in Lahore and Shah Jahan mosque in Thatta.
But the grid can be played with in more than one way to capture truly dynamic shots. The rule of thirds breaks an image down into nine equal squares, with the subject of the photograph positioned on intersecting points to create more impact. There’s no limit to what you can do with this. Areesh expatiates on this with examples from his own photography, from a portrait of indie star Shamoon Ismail to a wide shot of Minar-e-Pakistan, emphasizing the beauty created by juxtaposition and placement within the grid.
According to Areesh photography and your subject matter can be accentuated via different creative techniques that hone the audience’s focus on one or a few features of the photograph. The first of these are leading lines. The eye is naturally drawn to a line or more importantly what it leads to, making it an excellent way to focalize the subject. This is demonstrated by several playful pieces featuring a helmet clad boy and a bright red foxy. The second technique Areesh outlines is the frame within a frame, where an outline is present within the existing frame of the photograph, exuding a sense of depth. While this is a technique popularly used in architectural photography, it is not limited to it as seen by trends like the Instagram post cutout frame or brides being told to display their bangles by holding their arms horizontally in front of their face, framing it. This leads us to the third technique, fill the frame. As the name suggests the subject fills up the entire frame, making for compelling mid close ups and macro shots. Being so near to the subject brings their expressions in the spotlight, helping to set the tone for a shoot or tell a certain story without words.
Eager to impart his expertise, Areesh takes the session to the next level by diving deep into a discussion about the equipment. Utilizing the helpful analogy of the eye as the lens he explains shutter speed as how quickly the eye blinks, aperture as how dilated the pupil is and ISO as the controlling of how much light goes in. Photographers will find a variety of settings on their camera such M- manual or auto settings where the adjustment of one element is facilitated by the automatic adjustment of the rest of the elements by the camera. Despite his own preference for DSLRs Areesh states the future lies in mirrorless cameras which compared to DSLRs have no prism, allowing you to take pictures without the redirection of light.
Wrapping up, Areesh breaks down a widespread myth. Whether you have a DSLR, a mirrorless camera or a mobile phone, you can still take photographs and even have those photographs displayed and published. “The rules are there for a reason but rules are also meant to be broken”. Areesh encourages everyone to experiment and let their creativity run wild. “Cut the monotony!” he says, “Think outside the box.” Most amateur photographers tend to stick to an eye-level view but a high or low angle can spice up your photography. His own passion shines through a low angle grey scaled shot of one of his favourite artists, Ali Noor, who almost stepped on him when he was laying down on the ground in an attempt to capture the perfect shot.
If you’re a young hopeful looking to make it big in the photography business, you need to create a brand. Areesh Zubair urges everyone to find their own niche like he did in fashion, lifestyle, corporate and travel. He motivationally reminds us to keep learning and to meet people with similar interests who we can collaborate with and learn from. “Knock on doors and practice! Practice! Practice!” If you keep taking pictures they’ll always be at least one shot that turns out exquisite.
Click here to watch the full session with Areesh Zubair!