Saurabh Chatterjee Shares The Best Tips For Budding Student Photographers

Saurabh Chatterjee Shares The Best Tips For Budding Student Photographers
A pro photographer who's been changing the landscape of photography in India and abroad, Saurabh Chatterjee has the best tips and tricks on how to become the best photographer there is!
CD ExclusiveCampus DiariesPublished on 13 May, 2015

Saurabh has exquisite vision and has captured some epic sights. In addition, he extensively trains people in the art of photography and is the reason behind a plethora of unique photographers out there. Here's everything you need to know about photography, as told by Saurabh himself.

1. What are the best photography projects that a student can take up to develop their portfolio?

It totally depends on the genre of photography a student is interested in.

In general, The 365 Project is one of the most challenging and beneficial.

2. How can one use a digital camera to the best effect and get excellent photos? 

Think before you click - that's what I tell my students. Digital gives us the freedom of taking endless pictures for free, and that's why we end up taking hundreds of mediocre pictures. 

One great picture can change your life - strive for it!

3. What's the best way to approach people while doing street photography?

According to me, the best way is to hang around the same place for a long time. Initially, as a photographer, you will attract attention.

If  you stick to the same place for a bit longer, you will notice that they are no more conscious that you are there.

4. If buying a DSLR, what sort of a camera and what lenses are the best purchase for an amateur photographer?

Firstly, with the range of cameras that are available now, its a myth that the SLR cameras are the best.  There are some excellent compact cameras like the Sony RX 100 are just amazing. The mirrorless cameras like Fujifilm X-E2 or  Olympus OM-D E-M5 II are amazing as well.

With regards to DSLR cameras, the best purchase depends on your requirements. For example, a wildlife photographer will need a higher megapixel count as they need to crop pictures - they are never close enough. For a landscape photographer, the Dynamic range might be a deciding factor. For a sports photographer, the number of frames per second matters a lot. 

The choice depends a lot of the type of work you do and also the most prevalent lighting conditions. 

Regarding lenses, I strongly recommend a 50mm f/1.8 lens, which allows us to take pictures in low light and also isolates the subject from the background which is sometimes required for portrait.

5. How can one use minimal equipment and get the best shots while traveling?

Carrying minimal equipment is the key to take great pictures while travelling. The more equipment you bring, the more complicated it gets. Every year, when I go to the Himalayas, I cant afford to carry my tripod, with my shoulders bearing a 10kg backpack. I always find a stable place to keep my camera and take the pictures using the self timer.

These pictures was taken without a tripod:

Chandrakhani Pass Malana Village trek, Himachal Pradesh | Copyright: Saurabh Chatterjee


When I go to festivals in India, its very crowded and dusty. There is no scope of changing lenses. Even in those situations, its best to have one lens which is good enough. 

Ringen - one of the most important aspect of Pandharpurwari | Copyright: Saurabh Chatterjee

I generally use a zoom lens and it works good for me in these situations. For example:

The sweetest smile - at Rupin Pass Trek, Uttarakhand. | Copyright: Saurabh Chatterjee

6. What are the most important things to keep in mind to get unique photos while photographing nature?

If you talk about the most important things to get unique photos while photographing nature, I would say - LIGHT, LIGHT and  LIGHT.

For example, this place looks ordinary and everyone gets the same shot, but just because of light, this one looks outstanding.

The 32 metre statue of Maitreya Buddha and the Diskit Monastery in Ladakh | Copyright: Saurabh Chatterjee

The composition also make a lot of difference. You always need to look for that unique angle, something that no one else has tried before.

7. How important are the conventional rules of photography and how successful are the photos that don't follow such rules?

The Rules of Composition work most of the times; they make a picture look more captivating, but as they say - Rules are made to be broken, once in a while its always a good idea to try breaking it and making something better.

For example, here my subjects are right in the center of the frame.

Romantic in Matheran! | Copyright: Saurabh Chatterjee

8. How can a photographer build a brand for themselves and set up their own exhibitions?

 Social media is a great way to build a brand. Website helps as well. Exhibitions can give a lot of exposure, but solo exhibitions demand a high volume of work and involves massive expenses.

9. What are the diverse purposes where photography can be used to make an impact?

 A photograph is a moment captured which is gone for ever. It can create a great impact in any and every situation. For example, seeing a portrait of my grandfather take me back to that era. 

It has great impact to show the situation at some place - remember the photo, Afghan Girl by Steve McCurry?

10. What are the steps for someone to establish themselves as a professional and make a career out of photography?

To make a career out of photography, one needs to understand that its more of a business than an art.

One should be good in selling himself and showcasing his or her work.

A good idea is to assist an experienced photographer to gain experience initially. Social media and website helps a lot.

Give Saurabh something to gasp about - showcase your photography at #CreativeSummer and win big! Click here to participate.