City youth give up plush jobs and pursue hobby of photography to carve a niche; Get noticed thanks to social media

Open your Facebook account and you will instantly be greeted with a deluge of photographs — of trips abroad, brides and grooms and coffee and cake.

But while it may seem easy these days to pursue a passion for photography with just an excellent mobile phone camera, for those who have turned to somewhat unusual photography, it takes a bit more.

City-based food photographer Nithya Mangala has a Master’s in IT. One year into the industry, she realised it wasn’t for her. “I realised my interests lay in cooking and photography. So, I started a blog and began uploading photographs of food. Initially, I used only a mobile phone camera but soon bought a DSLR,” she said.

The 27-year-old trained herself in using the camera through books and the internet and since 2010, hasn’t looked back. She shoots for restaurants, publications, hotels and food firms.

“Businesses are realising such photographs add value. If they’re good, if they make a viewer want to pick the food right off the image, then they have worked,” she said.

When it comes to money, Nithya said in the beginning it was tough as she had to let go of a steady income. “Wedding or fashion photography may bring in more money, but food photography is picking up now. Besides, I’m satisfied with what I do,” she said.

For Koushik Udayashanker, taking photographs of pets is still a hobby. But thanks to a Facebook page with some gorgeous pictures, and word of mouth, calls have begun to come in and a lot of people are getting in touch with him.

“Many people are really into their pets and some want to have good, framed photographs that capture the moods of the animal. Sometimes, the owners want to be in the photos too,” he said.

But photographing pets isn’t easy — Koushik first goes and spends some time with the animal in its own environment. “All pets have quirks and traits of their own. And that’s what you want to capture. Sometimes, you introduce another element — a ball, or maybe a hat — to make for a fun, offbeat photograph,” he said.

Patience is a necessity — since photographing animals is more difficult than photographing human beings. “With humans, you can at least tell them what to do. With pets, the rope has to be really long,” he said.

Regional publications go online

In the digital age, readers save time and money buying books online. But, the online presence of publications selling regional language books is still minimal. To fill the void, a group of entrepreneurs has launched www.bookconnect.in, a one-stop shop of books in 10 languages, including Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and Marathi.

Rajeev Gopinath, director of the online book shop, wondered why English books were sold in millions, whereas those authored by Tamil literary legends like Jayakanthan did not sell as much. That was when he came up with the idea of an online store for regional-language books.

“The store has around 25,000 titles from 250 publishers. It is quite an exhaustive list of books in regional languages,” said Mr. Gopinath. It was launched with seed money of Rs. 1 lakh and a small team. There are plans to launch a portal with information on books in regional languages.

Manushyaputhiran of Uyirmmai Publications said Mr. Rajeev and his group were known to supply regional titles to big online sites.

“In a growing online market, a site dedicated to regional titles is a welcome move,” he said.

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