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I am Dr Prem Sundar

Photographer, Film-maker, Director based in Bangalore, India. Available for assignments in Photography, Filmmaking and Advertising.

Fashion photographer Dr Prem Sundar working at his studio
Prem Sundar, Behind the scenes from the studio

Click here to visit the portfolio

Contact us

email : drpremsundar@gmail.com
ph.no : +91 9902676150

Understanding the Creative process

Every shoot involves more than just pressing that button on the camera. Let me elaborate to help you understand the method behind the madness of photography, film-making and visual communication in various fields. I’ll explain the processes behind various genres of projects in as short a write-up as possible. Bear with me.

Advertising photography

The aim is to create a visual that showcases a product or the emotion. It is important that this visual leaves a lasting impression on the minds of the viewer. This isn’t as easy as it might sound at first. A lot goes on behind the scenes.

Every single marketing team tries to compete for the attention of its end user. Because you do not want to be one of the hundreds of products that a user sees and then forgets about within a few seconds. You need to imprint on them. At the same time, you need to convey the underlying values and the purpose of your product.

Let me run through the usual procedure behind an advertising shoot

Understanding the Product / Cause / Brand Image

Campaigns need a thorough research. We analyse the target audience on the basis of age, interests, locality,  behaviour,  etc.

For example, When promoting a clothing brand with a Diwali festival offer. We need to check that the target audience has specific characteristics showing enthusiastic involvement in that festival. Like booking tickets to their hometown just before Diwali, following Hinduism, etc. We need to narrow down the audience to maximise the return on investment for you. The example given is an oversimplified one. Usually, the variables are a lot more complicated than what I made it seem right now.

And we do all this while remaining as close to reality as possible because tall claims without the product backing up those claims will quickly dissipate, or still worse degrade the brand image gained through the campaign.

Drafting an idea

We sit down for several sessions of brainstorming to come up with many ideas for the campaign. Many of which will get rejected or refined after due analysis for Visual Impact, the emotion they evoke and how relevant they are to the product, brand or cause. Which media will be used in the dissipation of the idea. For example, I cannot create a video advertisement when your medium of communication is a billboard. Similarly, you are restricted to audio only when considering FM Radio as a medium of communication. 

Presentation of the Idea to the client

Client approval is critical, It’s you who is paying for the campaign and it’s your brand image and it’s your product that needs to sell, isn’t it?. The few shortlisted ideas are elaborated and explained to you via presentations and storyboards, this includes the estimated production costs for each idea and the timeline needed for the execution. Once you finalise a campaign design, the possible creatives and strategy, only then we proceed further into production.

Choosing the production crew

Choosing the right production team and crew is critical. Every artist has strengths and areas of interest. For example, Using a technician skilled at the production of sound effects as a cameraman wouldn’t yield the best results, wouldn’t it? Usually choosing the right Creative Director with experience dealing with bigger teams is more than adequate from the client side.  Experienced photographer and Film-maker is the creative director for most campaigns, especially campaigns which rely heavily on visuals. Our crew is more than capable of handling of the shoots comfortably.

Casting

An important step to start the production is choosing the right actors and models for the chosen creative project. Sometimes celebrities are signed up to be the brand ambassadors to increase the reach and recognisability. Very often they are signed up for a longer period of time for several projects in the campaign or over several campaigns.

Pre-production

We arrange everything needed for the shoot including the following.

  • Storyboard
  • Locations
  • Cameras
  • Lenses
  • Lights
  • Makeup
  • Special effects
  • Accessories
  • Styling
  • Transportation
  • Food and other Logistics

Production

Here comes the actual shoot. Most clients think they pay for this ignoring everything else before and after this whiling maintaining the backups for produced shots and scenes meticulously. 

Post Production

The phase where the final creative is polished or various pieces put together to form the story or the film. Sounds simple, but, there is a lot of effort involved.

 

Here are the factors to consider when choosing a photographer:

  • Portfolio: Single most important factor when considering a photographer. This very often shows the strongest style and area of expertise. 
  • Brand image: Stronger brand image comes with it a certain degree of reliability and also good backend team.
  • Pricing: Do not flinch on the pricing.  You get what you pay for. After all, both the Rolls Royce and the Tata Nano are cars and they both let you drive them around. 
  • Do not haggle: Pick a photographer whose work you like and fits in your budget. No point choosing a photographer and then trying to muscle your way into getting them to lower the charges. There are factors you cannot directly assess like the reliability of gear and assistants.
  • Gear: The key difference between an amateur and a professional is the gear. And no, am not talking about the camera and lens, A professional is well versed in all the additional equipment needed for the shoots. The lights, light modifiers, accessories, support systems, tethering gear, the right trigger systems, etc. 
  • Which Camera brand he/she uses: No, This isn’t usually a factor to be considered. Do not enforce your brand choices on the professional, they know what their gear can do for them. Most brands have a professional line up of gears. It helps to determine if the photographer or filmmaker you are hiring is using the higher end models in the brand they choose. Also, most experienced professionals can use multiple brands with ease.

Which is the best brand for photographers and filmmakers?

Nikon, Canon, Sony, Pentax, Red, Arri, Hasselblad, Phase One, Alpa, etc. They are all amazing tools for a professional to work with. Each has their own strength and weaknesses like Bulk, Price, Turnaround time, Ease of use, etc. Let the professional choose the right tool for the right purpose because they know how the minor factors in each of them come into play.

One thing I cannot stand as a photographer and filmmaker is the brand fanboys. If any company puts in research, testing and resources to advance a technology to better equip creators, I’d be grateful to them for providing me with better tools, still better if they make them affordable to the masses. Why? Because art shouldn’t be limited by the lack of availability of resources. Not everyone is as blessed I am and there’s a lot of hidden potential waiting for the right opportunities. 

What Genres of photography do you like?

I absolutely love fashion photography and wildlife photography because of the storytelling potential in them. The emotions and drama that abounds in these genres. I am very meticulous when it comes to product photography. Destination weddings are a time when I love interacting with the people and the places. I am glad to be blessed with an amazing team of interns and friends. They just make my life so much easier and make me demand more from myself. Photojournalism for me is truth, and that’s the priority in documentary projects.