So Sundari, tell us how it all began?
It all started when I decided to cook healthy food for my kids and try various dishes ditching all the store-bought and packed snacks.
Just like documenting whatever I cooked and came out well, I kept posting every day on Instagram. I had no fancy cameras or setup, but the mobile phone did all the justice and made me realize what I was best at. Yes, styling!!
Styling a dish meant a lot to me. So, that’s what pulled me more into food photography.
Seeing a dish on a plate did not work for me. I started to plate the dish with the ingredients strewn around. And some fabrics, old newspaper and cutlery beside the dish. You know, it was more like a telling a story.
Once people started to like my food styling, my dearest hubby decided to buy me my first DSLR camera. And I was seen with the camera literally every single day.
How did you learn the tricks of the trade?
Being a self-taught photographer, I had to cook a new dish every day and try styling it up. The camera settings gave me jitters and that’s when YouTube came to the rescue.
Day and night, I watched tutorial videos and clicked pictures of whatever I saw with the settings I learnt. Those were days when my hubby got irritated at times seeing me with the camera and even my kids started to tease me. ☺
But I wouldn’t give up, because I knew what I was more passionate about. And what gave me more happiness!
How did you get your first break as a professional photographer?
Once I mastered the art of shooting with natural light, two of my friends found the potential in me and asked me to do a photoshoot for their brands. At first, I was not convinced to take it up, due to lack of confidence and self-doubts. But then I had to do. Because that’s what friends do right? They make us become better!!
I started working for more brands while editing the pictures with my phone. Or rather let me put this way. I didn’t know how to use Lightroom or Photoshop.
With the money that I earned from the shoots I did for home-based brands, I started to upgrade my equipment by getting a laptop, extra lenses and lighting setup.
Just by posting quality content on Instagram, I got the opportunity to work for KR Bakes, Vilvah skincare, Annapoorna, CakeBee, Arasan Bakery, Sugar& Spice Jam, and many more café in the city.
I started to do photoshoots for jewellery, garments, kitchen fabrics, home décor and skincare brands.
What were the challenges you faced along the way?
Being a mom of two kids, it gets hectic and stressful to plan the shoot, reply to enquiries, do some prop shopping, set the scene up, do the shoot till I get the desired output, then edit and deliver the images. It was quite tough to get it done on time, but I’m so grateful to my mother in law and hubby Vijay for being very supportive and allowing me to follow my passion. I would also like to add that my dad is my big inspiration. He has taught me the value of being productive at all times and doing something worthy of our time.
It is all worth it to see my work hung on highways, on bakery trucks, online ads, menu cards and mostly when I could see the happiness from the clients!!
It is all worth it.
Who are the clients you have worked for?
Some of the clients I worked for are KR Bakes, Vilvah Skincare, Cakebee, Annapoorna, Lassi Club, Chai n Gupshup, Arasan Bakery, Jenneys residency, Put Kadalai and lot more.
Your advice for women?
Don’t wait. Just go ahead. There is no perfect time. My son is still in kindergarten and needs a lot of attention. We can somehow make time, if we are really passionate.
If you are interested to see more of Sundari’swork, you can follow her on Instagram.