Photographer and digital painter Riya Sharma might have been born and raised in India, but her photographic work touches people from all over the world. Hailing from Gujarat, Riya recently exhibited her photos for American audiences at the regaled ArtExpo event in New York City.
Riya’s association with New York stems back several years. She earned a “professional press card” from the famed New York Institute of Photography and, even more impressively, she is an official photographer for Photo World Magazine. Professionally, Riya is a photography marketing consultant and business advisor who am so trains photographers. She belongs to more than seventy artists and/or photographers associations and has traveled the globe as a travel photographer working freelance. Riya has won over one-hundred awards for her images and she has been featured on numerous television shows, magazines, and newspapers.
Riya considers social media to be important factor in her success and she is both an influencer and a speaker for several “art talk shows” broadcasted in the USA.
Riya recently discussed her photography, her incredible career, and her plans for the future via an exclusive interview.
Meagan Meehan (MM) of Entertainment Vine: What sparked your interest in photography and what themes most inspire you?
Riya Sharma (RS): My dad bought me a camera back in 2000, and I have been crazy about photography ever since! When I first started, I took photos of my friends, family, and surroundings; I soon realized that they were not simply photos, they were the reflection of my eyes! The same way that I use my eyes to see the world, I use my camera to capture it.
I started small, with a simple camera, and my photography got better over time. People were interested in including my work in photography exhibitions and magazines. It wasn’t until I was recommended by someone to be part of the photography exhibition, “Photography Now” at the Brick Lane Gallery in London in 2016 that I actually presented my work internationally for the first time. I love that fact that as a travel photographer I get to photograph such a diverse variety of subjects. For me, taking photos of people is the most rewarding kind of photography. Being able to capture a fleeting moment or a part of someone’s personality is such a unique and special thing. I also love creating images that combine beautiful landscapes with a human element. But Social and cultural themes inspire me the most.
MM: How did you break into the industry and what was it like to become a travel photographer?
RS: I’ve been practicing photography for over many years now. six years ago, I took my first solo overseas trip and fell in love with travel photography. During that trip, my photography got picked up by a tour company who wanted to purchase some of my holiday snaps. That began an ongoing relationship with the brand that resulted in me traveling to over 14 countries with them and having my photos displayed on brochures, billboards, and marketing material across the world. This was definitely what got my foot in the door to the travel photography world. Well ‘Travel Photography’ has a problem, and that problem is that there is huge supply (people who want to shoot travel photography) and limited demand (quality outlets for the work), which definitely results in a downward price pressure in terms of day rates/etc. You find this same equation with actors – which is why you have the old cliché of actors working as wait staff. It can be a tough road to choose.
Most photographers who I know that would identify themselves (myself included) as travel photographers also have income from stock and commercial work. I don’t think you can really put all your eggs in one basket and really need to make sure that you are diversified in terms of revenue and your client base. One of the good things about travel photography is that it also encompasses a lot of other niches – lifestyle, portraits, food, interiors and architecture, landscapes, and so on. This means that you are then able to work for a lot of magazines that fall into those categories as well.
MM: How does the field of professional photography differ between America and India?
RS: Contemporary photography in the commercial world is fairly new in INDIAN compared to the US. Though the practice is almost as old was since the invention of the medium over 150 years back in Europe.
MM: Tip on how to sell photos in art exhibitions or art expos?
RS: Making great pictures is just the start of your career as a photographer. Getting them seen and sold, and getting paid, is what makes it all work. Be Your Own Toughest Critic: Display only your BEST work. Emphatically eliminate pictures that are even slightly out of focus, have distractions or lack impact. It’s better to hang five great prints than 15 average ones. Many fine-art photographers introduce only one or two new pieces each year out of their entire 12-month inventory. Think quality rather than quantity. Start small but think big!
MM: What’s your best piece of advice to aspiring travel photographers?
RS: My first piece of advice is to never stop learning. No matter if you have just picked up a camera for the first time or you’ve been at it for awhile, there is always something to learn about photography both technically and creatively. With so many travel photographers out there today, you really have to push the boundaries if you want to make it. Invest time in doing photography tutorials, learn new shooting and editing techniques, hang out with other photographers and challenge yourself creatively. My second piece of advice is realizing if you want to make it as a travel photographer, you have to be business-savvy. You can be the best photographer in the world, but if you don’t know how to market yourself then you aren’t going to make it very far as a photographer.
MM: What are your biggest goals for your future career as a photographer and do you have any exciting new projects coming soon?
RS: For me, it’s about making an image that people want to look at over and over. Independent of the subject I strive to make images that people look at and find different, compelling aspects that amuse, marvel and captivate. Yes, I do have a lot of projects coming up but just wait hehe.
Also note: never hesitate to take a photograph! you may be surrounded by a lot of people and they may even stare at you when you are clicking but try ignoring them! off course it’s difficult to ignore people, but u ‘ll learn this in course of time! And always remember the process of learning never stops, grasps as much as you can, learn from people, praise their good work and always be ready to serve your knowledge who so ever demands it!
And, at last, the most important thing no matter in what so ever profession you are, BE A MAN OF GOOD HEART! Good Luck!
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