Learn from the Masters: Dabboo Ratnani

Lighting is of great essence while photographing people. Photograph/Dabboo Ratnani

Lighting is of great essence while photographing people. Photograph/Dabboo Ratnani

Dabboo Ratnani

Dabboo Ratnani

On the occasion of Better Photography’s thirteenth anniversary in 2010, 13 great masters drew from a lifetime of experience to give you over 150 carefully selected tips on photography and ways of seeing. They debated the idea of ‘the perfect moment’ and share their personal practices. In this edition, Great Master Dabboo Ratnani shared his tips for better photography.

Use Natural Light
Natural light can be used in various forms. It is unique because it gives unusual and fabulous results.

Create Ambiance and Mood
It is important to create the right ambiance as it makes the shoot enjoyable for both the photographer and the model.

Let Music Inspire
Music makes the model comfortable and sets a tone for the shoot, so choose the soundtracks carefully.

The Subject Must Enjoy
Do not go about your shoot unemotionally. Ensure that your subject enjoys the shoot as much as you do.

Capture Fluidity
Do not restrict the model too much during the shoot. Allow him to move around and be fluid.

Give a Brief
Explain the concept of the shoot. Then, leave the model free to experiment.

Let the World be your Studio
Do not shoot only in a studio. Each place has its own story to say, so an outdoor location adds to the character of the image.

Experiment with the Set
Allow the model to move around in the space you are shooting in.

Use a Synergy of Ideas
Invite ideas from the model and stylist. Different perspectives always help.

Find a Middle Path
Both you and the client should be happy. If you cannot find a middle path, shoot two images and choose later. It is pointless to argue during the shoot.

Make Them Look Great
The most important thing in an image is the subject. Make him look great.

Experiment with Lighting
Experiment, as per the mood you wish to create. For instance, use high contrast lighting and shoot in black and white to create drama.

Clean up Skin
Do the right amount of retouching. Ensure that the skin does not look plastic.

Not about the Glamour
Do not get into photography for the glamour—do it only if you truly love it.

My Interpretation of the Moment
The perfect moment is the instance when you look through the viewfinder and just feel deep down inside that the light, composition & mood is perfect. When this happens to me, the shutter just refuses to stop until the memory card runs out of space!

A leading celebrity & fashion photographer, Dabboo Ratnani is most famous for his annual calendar which has become a highly notable showbiz event in India. He is the cover photographer for magazines like Cosmopolitan, Filmfare, Hi! Blitz, Elle, Verve, Femina and many more.

Tags: Great Master, Composition, portraits, june 2010, dabboo ratnani, glamour, fashion, studio