Vanshdeep Sisodia, a budding photographer who has managed to pursue his passion against all odds. Team Storiyaan takes you through his photographic journey amidst all the hardships of his life.
Questions and Answers
Vansh we first congratulate you on winning an award from MP tourism. Can you tell us more about the same?
Thank you so much. This competition was significant to me because this was the competition from where I got all the support from my family, friends and society. Photography is something in which if you want to outdo, you have to excel your skills. The competition was held in the whole MP, and it was run for one month. In the competition, all types of photographers were allowed, whether it be DSLR holders, mobile photographers, action camera holders or anyone. So I participated in this competition with my mobile phone. That moment was notable for me as I stood first in the whole MP. It was a piece of surprising news for me at that time because there were people who have skills and doing photography with DSLR, action cameras, and backlashing them was impressive. So yes, that was the thing which changed everything. As I did photography with the phone and rest were DSLR holders, so doing photography with phone and winning was something like appreciable and commendable.
Do you follow the rule of thirds before taking any picture and what according to you are some technical aspects a budding photographer must keep in mind?
Yes, I apply the rule of thirds with most of my photos to make it more attractive, but yes there is no thumb rule that you have to use the rule of thirds to make a picture look good, to make a picture compose well. Of course, the rule of thirds gives a good composition if without applying a rule of thirds gives it an aesthetic look and makes it more appealing then, of course, you can break the rule. Anything is acceptable when it comes to photography because it is all about creativity and creativity lies beneath every individual. For the budding photographers, I would suggest them to learn the basics of photography such as framing, composition, symmetry and understand the subject and how to place objects in the photograph. Before going to any expensive gears, I would suggest that start with a mobile phone because it has a larger screen. In mobile phones, you can learn how to place the object and subject to make a good-looking frame and making more aesthetically appealing. It is essential to make your concepts clear so that you can implement it in a very satisfactory manner.
Your photography can blow anyone in awe. How do you manage to click such breathtaking pictures?
Well, thanks for the appreciation. From the start, my clicks were not like the ones which are seen by everyone now. One has to do a lot of practice and acquire that right skill to take one perfect shot which is fantastic. For this, I go on exploration daily, and whenever I explore around the city, I try to find something in everything, I try to find the beauty and uniqueness in everything. I apply three self-made rules of photography for taking one perfect shot which is my own rules, and the rules are the 3 C’s of photography: Calculate, Concentrate, Create. So what my point is I go and calculate the environment, whatever the objects are available and whatever the emotions I can see around myself. I try to observe each and everything in the background. And after calculating the environment, I figure the frame of how I can perfectly capture the thing that I am watching. The frame calculation should be accurate to obtain what you see. After that, I focus on my subjects and objects and think of how can I place them in my frame. So yes these are the three C’s of photography which I apply, and I guess these are main things to keep in mind for taking flawless pictures.
Tell us about the weirdest experimentation with photography that you have done until now.
Well, this one is something interesting. Each picture tells a story and to make that whole story pop up in one image is a difficult job. To get that one photo which is heart-warming, a photographer requires many clicks; sometimes the light is not proper, sometimes the human element is not correct. If I have to mention the weirdest experimentation with photography, I will pick this particular picture that I shot in Goa, which is an underwater shot. I shot this picture with the help of one of my friends. I held him my camera, and I told him that you have to frame it as this and I posed as the human element. We had a proper amount of light coming towards the pool, and I wanted to show that I am elevating to some different world from the water. So after changing the perspective, I got that shot. Certainty after 20 attempts, we got this shot, and I made it look like I am walking under the water. There is no problem in taking hundreds of shots. Any photographer who is well qualified in his skills also takes many attempts to click one perfect picture. So it was one of the best works of mine.
What does photography mean to you? What is your understanding of the subject?
Every photographer has a different meaning to photography. It is unique to every individual not only to the photographer but also to those who have a good knowledge of art. Well photography to me is something like experiencing the art, experiencing life and experiencing the surroundings and capturing it in such a way that whenever I see the picture, I revisit the same moment in which I won the photo—observing things with your perspective and painting that observation with the tool called light is what photography means to me.
My understanding of the subject is the same that is observing things in your way and capturing them.
Instagram is flooded with many pictures, and a lot of them look very amateurish. For mobile photography, we use simple techniques like placing or removing objects besides the subject to maintain the symmetry. Or cropping the image at the right place.
What are such simple tips and tricks that, according to you can help people in general to click nice looking pictures?
Well, yes like symmetry and composition are the two things which are very important for mobile photography and rest of the things like placing the subject and object is the key and understanding the light is one of the most points one should keep in mind. There are always hacks for photography. And these hacks can be only used by those who have a passion for photography. Some simple tips for other photographers or people who are doing photography are to have a good lighting, apply composition rules to watch over the symmetry of the photo, follow the visual balance and visual weight. If it is like a frame of 5:4 or we can say a rectangular frame or a square frame, a photo should not look like this is going half of the portion of that rectangular frame or square frame or it is going towards the one corner. The photo should be visually balanced, not much contrasting, and it should be aesthetically appealing. It will come after practising and practising and after understanding these tips and tricks to make a photo look good, work on your vision like try something different, experiment with your idea and experiment with the colour stones you usually edit on Adobe Lightroom and Snapseed. That is something which can differentiate your photos with the others and focusing on your mastery will surely improve your photography skills and will help you to be the best from the rest.
Being a 20 year old, you already have created your brand. How does it feel to have the edge over other people of your age?
Well, I do not feel that I have the edge over other people of my age because the field I am pursuing is very uncertain, anything can happen here another second, and it scares the hell out of me that what is the next thing. Something questions like will I be able to make the bread out of my passion, will I be able to achieve or accomplish my dreams or fulfil my dreams comes to my mind and to know the answers of my questions the one thing that I can do is explore and explore my field and do what I love to do. Inciting your enthusiasm is the only key that can make your stay worthwhile in any area. Like I enjoy exploring outside, clicking photos, documenting things, experiencing different lifestyles, and it makes me happy. I am still learning, and I will be teaching things forever, and I am exploring ideas. When it comes to branding, I have created my brand, and I feel happy about it. It brings me confidence and enthusiasm to continue my work and follow my dream career and also motivating people to pursue their dream career.
What challenges have you been through in your journey of becoming a brand on Instagram and a photographer?
Becoming a brand on Instagram is something not very easy; it requires a lot of patience and hard work like personal branding is something which I got to know recently. I did not do it for social growth or collaboration or Instagram growth; I just enjoyed doing photography and art. My goal was not to gain growth on Instagram or collaborate with any specific brand. I did not start with any expectation of growing this much on Instagram. I just enjoyed the thing, I just enjoyed the art, and yes, there were many challenges that I have faced. Everyone has terrible phases in their life, and my life from the beginning is no exception. My trouble story is very long. I always struggle with gears. Like there were one of the competitions on the district level and in that the DSLR was compulsory and I was not having any DSLR so I could not participate in that competition. The worst part is not being able to get a DSLR from any of my friend or companion or acquaintance because they did not have faith that I can use DSLR.
My struggle was not always about equipment but also being a student; it was difficult for me to manage the two things that are my studies and my passion because of which I left my engineering. I can only focus on one thing at a time, and I wanted to do the something I love the most, so I chose photography as my crucial thing, and it was tough to convince my parents. Earlier it was my goal to become a computer science engineer and crack IIT-JEE, I even took a drop of one year to break IIT-JEE. I also got admission in engineering, but after a month, I left out, and I joined a media college in Bhopal itself. I am doing my thing, and it is sometimes difficult to manage with attendance, assignment, my travelling and photography. In my initial days when I was taking this decision of leaving engineering, it was like one of the depression periods for me I had ever been through. I almost lost myself, and I was feeling like a loser.
Since I did not have a camera to shoot with, I only had my phone. So there was a lack of confidence that I do not have gears, but I kept moving I explored daily without any expectation with myself, I just enjoyed doing things. Still, my parents had to face society as I had dropped out of engineering. I belong to a middle-class family, and we never had much savings. Whatever my parents earn, they spent all their earnings on me and my brother’s education, and we did not have any finances to buy a camera. All these struggles in my life made me stronger, and I am still going—even all these difficulties, I did not give up on photography. I am fortunate enough now at this stage after five years of photography that I get cameras from my friends, and I have collaborated with brands like Realme, Xiaomi. I understand their newly launched devices and mobile phones to capture photos, and that is something which I am enjoying.
Nothing comes easy in today's day and age. From where did you imbibe the art of photography. Was it genetic, or did you learn it professionally?
Neither it was genetic, nor I learned it professionally. I just saw a couple of my friends doing photography with DSLR and clicking HD quality images when I was in class 9 or 10, I guess. Like that time, it was new, and everyone had the craze of getting HD quality picture clicked and also doing the editing. It fascinated me the most after which I started with a mobile phone because I didn’t have the money to get a DSLR camera. I kept discovering more and more into this field, and I got am the insane level of interest. Gradually it became an addiction for me to chase sunsets and click photos, and this is what made me an artist. To look at things differently than others, to click what others are just seeing makes you an artist. Furthermore, people appreciated me for my art and my imagination so that thing kept me going on. I enjoyed doing things, and because of that, I have come a long way.
If you are given only one an option to invest in. Would you invest in a camera and its equipment or its after-effects and editing tool? Where do you personally put more focus on?
I will invest in camera equipment not because I don’t have a camera now but because camera equipment brings the main details in any photograph. The camera has, of course, more benefit than a mobile phone. It can help you get high-quality images which you just can’t click through your phones, and it can help you get the vision you have in your mind to capture that particular frame because of course if you want zoom lens you cannot capture that with a phone. If you have a structure in your mind that is compatible with the zoom lens, then of there is no use of a wide lens in that. So to make my photographs more ingenious, I would invest in a camera, and it’s equipment rather than its after-effect and editing tool.
Your bio says you are a traveller and Instagram. Do you travel to click pictures or click pictures while you visit? What problems do you come across while clicking outdoor pictures?
I am not a traveller by passion, and I am a photographer that is why I am a traveller because I have to travel a lot to click images, see things and to get as many subjects as I can get and also to explore. Photography is full of problems I must say. Clicking photos outside brings many issues with it as we go on the streets, and sometimes there we capture the candids, and the person who is being photographed doesn’t want to be clicked then what happens next is whether he scolds us or question us several things. Also, one thing that occurs to me the most is that whenever we click with mobile phone some people or any random guy come and say “Bro are you making a TikTok?” that thing annoys me a lot. Moreover, whenever we click stuff on the streets, most of the people look at us with suspicious eyes like what are we doing? Are we journalists? Are we going to make them in trouble? Are we going to click any random sabziwala? There is a lot of things to look before you go out in the streets for your snapshots. People have several questions in their mind like what are we going to do with these photos, and they come to us to inquire about the things like ‘why are you doing photography?’ and ‘what are you photographing?’. We come to a lot of questions while doing photography outside. It is not as easy as it seems to be.
When will we get to see you explore wildlife photography? It does give an absolute thrill to photographers as there are hardly any rules that you have to follow while pursuing wildlife photography.
I like to see wildlife photography, but I do not have any interest in wildlife photography currently. So I don’t know when I will be developing interest on this particular subject but as I say I just want to enjoy what I am doing and want to go on exploration not of wildlife but of anything apart from that.
Tell us about the collaborations that you have and what are your plans shortly.
As for now, the significant collaboration recently is Realme mobiles, Xiaomi mobiles, Gonoise, and there are many travel collaborations. As the future is unpredictable, I love to live in the present. For the strategy to follow for a better tomorrow, my near plans are very natural, and that is travel more, create more content, learn every stuff and learn the things which are related to art and focus on my health majorly.
What is the subject you love to snapping on?
There are many subjects on which one can do photography, and it might change from time to time. As you explore more, you get to know more things, and thus your taste also varies. For now, I love to click creative and weird stuff. Any concept that I have in my mind and even the primary thing I like to click is travel photographs. In travel photography, having a good view and scenery in front of my eyes, golden hours or sunset and having human element present over there in my frame is what I love to snap on.
Being an established photographer, what is that one thing that keeps you going?
Well, I am not established, I am building myself still, and during and up to that establishment the thing that keeps me going is my curiosity of exploring this field because nobody forced me to pursue this field, I got fascinated and started photography with a mobile phone. Moreover, if you get paid for the thing you love doing the most then also you get achievement and appreciation for that then what else do you want. So such things keep me motivated, and they follow me going.
Which camera do you have right now and from which camera did you start your journey of photography?
Currently, I have my mobile phone Realme X2 pro, and I get mobile phones from the brands I have collaborated with like Realme. Realme sends me their newly launched products, so I use their phones for photography. I have my GoPro hero, seven pro-black, and there is no DSLR of my own. II started my journey with a mobile phone only when I was in class 9 and with that skill alone, I was the winner in the whole MP. I borrowed the phone from my cousin or used my parents’ phone for clicking photos. I used to click many pictures, and there was some kind of the point, and shoot camera that my friend was having and I used to borrow that camera for photography that was a megapixel camera. I just love shooting, so that’s how my journey had started.
Are you going to pursue photography as your career as there are a lot of stigmas attached to professions like photography in our society? What is your take on them?
I started photography as a hobby and never thought I would choose this as a career, but I love photography, and it is my passion. I can do it 24*7. It makes me feel alive and happy all the time. But choosing this as your career may give you a certain level of stress to earn some penny out of it and make a living and fulfil your dreams. So as I started as a hobby and the point where I am right now, I can see that there are many pathways through which a person can fulfil his dreams through this field and as far as I have known this is a very vast field. You can grow very, very, very big in this field. I never thought that I would achieve something from this field, I just started doing it, and I enjoyed it, and suddenly I started getting collaborations and got achievements. I started paying for my work, but most importantly, I enjoyed it. I can see my future in this field. So yes, I will choose this as my career and photography is my whole life. I left my dream of being a computer science engineer for my passion for photography and now coming such a long way; I believe a future in it. Well, society thinks and considers this field as a low standard, and we get mockery from society, but they don’t know how fascinating this field is. It’s in your hands to prove it. So if you are pursuing what you love to do, then you’ve got to face such a situation, and you have to fight society and prove yourself.
We would love hearing about photography from you, but there is just one last question that we are keen on knowing. A DSLR can happen to hole our pockets so which camera or mobile should a beginner start photography with?
The main thing in photography is the vision. The vision is something which matters the most. If you buy a camera costing Rs 1 lakh and you don’t have the view, then you got all your money wasted. On the other hand, if a person has the right skills and a primary mobile phone in his hand, he will master photography and undoubtedly better than a person who owns the costliest camera with 0% expertness. Otherwise, I would recommend any mobile phone under 15,000 and any camera under 30,000. But photography is all about vision and light.