Apratim Saha has over 30 years of experience, from traditional film to digital photography. He is a commercial photographer specializing in people photography, portraiture, lifestyle & editorial clients. Besides commercial works, Apratim also shoots other subjects that stimulate his visual or emotional sensibilities.
How did you get started in photography?
I’ve started photography at age of twelve inspired by my father with his Yashica FX3 Super, a fully manual analogue camera. For some time, I used Rolleiflex, Yashica Mat G, Nikon F2 and Nikon F601. As a young boy I passed much of my leisure time seeing my father’s photos and processing him his black and white photos.
What type of photography are you shooting and what motivated you to focus on that genre?
I’m a photo journalist, mainly I shoot people. Besides commercial works I also shoot Lifestyle, Portraiture, Architecture & Landscape. But for me, people photography is something different. It really brings me a sense of satisfaction and inner fulfillment. To me, compliments, achievements, awards and certificates are superficial, what really matters is bringing joy and pleasure to the face of the person that I’m photographing, who may have never been photographed in his entire life before. When I see the smile on their faces, I feel more rewarded and accomplished than when I receive any awards. By showing them the moment that I had just captured, even if it is a momentary thing, I think I’m able to show my gratitude and respect for them.
I think that connecting with my subjects to bring out their true self is really very important. As I’m into people photography I feel that the most important part about photographing a person is winning their trust and confidence. Being able to come up or down to one’s level to ensure a strong communication is what it takes to honestly connect with a person. Then only you’ll get the perfect expression of that person.
A great photograph really needs to say something about a person or give some insight into their life or how their life is different than yours and mine. A good picture makes us curious and makes us want to know more.
Who or what inspire you the most?
There are many great photographers whose work inspired me. Among them I think Henri Cartier-Bresson is the photographer who has inspired a lot of other photographers too. Elliott Erwitt, Robert Frank, Raghubir Singh, David Alan Hervey are among the others who has inspired me the most.
How did you come across colour management and how it has helped you to produce high quality work?
It’s a long story. Actually I was an analogue guy and I was totally against digital. During that transition I literally stopped shooting for nearly two years as I was against of manipulation. But later on, I found that entire world was shifting to digital, and I didn’t have any other alternatives also. Eventually I had to convert myself to the digital world and I promised myself that though I’ll be shooting in digital format but I’ll never manipulate. When I converted myself into digital then I was really struggling with colours. I was not satisfied with my print. Then I discovered that there may be some problems with my monitor. After studying several things more than 12 years ago, I found this wonderful product Datacolor Spyder. Once I started to use their products from Spyder to SpyderCheckr and Cube, I’m really very happy with my final output.
What are the benefits of accurate colour reproduction and how are you using Datacolor products within your workflow?
Let me start by asking a question… What is the length of the pen that you are holding? Suppose you said 6 inches and if I ask you that how you’ve said that it’s 6 inches? You may say that by guessing or measuring. Yes, the right answer is you need to measure it. Since you know what is 0 and you know what is 1 then you can measure it. So there has to be some standards and in respect of that standard you can compare it. But what if your measuring scale is wrong!!! Then your measurement will also be incorrect!
Now, you are processing your image on your monitor and you are increasing or decreasing exposure or maybe increasing or decreasing saturation of any particular image or specific colour. Mind it, whatever you are doing you are considering your monitor as constant. But, what if your monitor has a colour cast? Or your monitor’s white point (brightness) is not correct?
Then you’ll get a totally wrong output!
Suppose your monitor is brighter than the standard measurement then you’ll deliberately decrease exposure of your image or if it has less light then you’ll increase exposure but ultimately you are doing it totally wrong.
I believed that all the monitor has some colour issues. All the monitor needs to be corrected. All the monitor has some colour cast and needs to correct its white point.
And colour correction is very much essential in every step. From shooting to post processing to your final output, which in my case is print. Even the studio match is also very much essential and vital. I use Spyder Cube then SpyderCheckr, Spyder5 and studio match in my workflow.
Any tips or advice for photographers just beginning their career?
If you use digital camera, do not just click. Plan your shots as though you are shooting with film. Not only you will learn the technical aspects of photography faster, you will also develop skills. Study light whenever you can. Light is your best friend and your worst enemy. I always say that you must remember one thing that you should never be handicapped of your camera. It’s not the camera who takes a photo, it’s you; you are taking the picture. You have to see, you have to visualize and you have to find a message that’s what you want to express through your picture. That is more important. Camera is just a tool nothing more than that.
Never ever over process your image. Try to learn what is the maximum limit that you can process and process up to that much only, not more than that.
Try to show your best shot; don’t show your average shots. It’s also very important how you select your best shot. By critically analysing and rejecting you’ll be able to select your best shot. Every photographer shoots a lot but show a single one!
During the course of time, be ready for criticism. Do not be discouraged as you will not be able to satisfy everyone. Develop a style on your own and fill a niche that sets you apart from the rest, which is really important.
Photography Type: Photo Journalism, Editorial, Lifestyle, Portraiture, Architecture & Landscape