Wedding and portrait photographer Manasi Kashyap has titled her approach to photography "DSFM," or "Don't Stop for Me." Whether she's taking family portraits in London, or shooting a wedding in Mumbai, she'll take any measure necessary to avoid sacrificing her subjects' comfort. "I don't hesitate to use an iPhone, or a camera that can be used very quietly, if I need to be discreet, or use walls and windows as reflectors," she says. Manasi's disarming presence permits her to capture the subtle, authentic moments her clients cherish forever.
Manasi learned the basics of composition and technique photographing artwork she made to supplement an unfulfilling day job, but it was during a trip home to India that she was first inspired to photograph people. Once she realized she did not have any good photos of her family, she became determined to capture them "in their essence." She proved to be a natural portrait photographer, able to engage people without sacrificing any respect for their boundaries. Friends began requesting that she photograph their weddings and families, and it was not long before she left her job to pursue photography fulltime.
Manasi's dedication to her clients' comfort extends to her online presence. A PhotoShelter member since 2008, Manasi often directs potential clients to her website to familiarize themselves with her work. The first thing they see when they reach the site is a large slideshow of her best images running on her homepage. After a shoot, she creates a unique gallery for each client. From within the gallery, they can add their favorite shots to a lightbox. The lightbox is designed to be collaborative, so Manasi's clients may share their selects with other friends or family members if they'd like to get a second (or third) opinion, before sharing their final selects with Manasi. Manasi's website is fully configured for sales, and in addition to personal use downloads and rights managed licensing, she offers a number of prints and products such as greeting cards and mugs through PhotoShelter's automated print partner, EZ Prints.
Many times Manasi will include the cost of images in her assignment fee. She grants those clients permission to download all the images they want from within their gallery, keeping the back and forth to a minimum. She has at least a half dozen methods of image delivery to choose from, and can always keep track of what images are being downloaded - and by whom -in the statistics area of her account.
Image delivery, lightboxes, and e-commerce functionality came built into Manasi's PhotoShelter site; all she needed to do to get started was select a website theme and assign prices to her images. Manasi uses the Nolita theme, one of 10 different customizable designs available to Standard and Pro subscribers. Manasi's distinct logo is a perfect example of how little personalized touches can differentiate a photographer from others using the same design, without undertaking any drastic code changes. Manasi has also incorporated the same logo into a watermark that is applied to all public displays of her images, which, in addition to PhotoShelter's image theft guard, ensures the security of her images.
In addition to her PhotoShelter website, Manasi's BlogSpot blog and her Facebook business page both play a big role in her marketing efforts. She updates both frequently, and links each page back to one another to support good overall search engine optimization (SEO). She relies on PhotoShelter's social network tools both to post updates to her own accounts, and for her clients to easily share the images they love with their own social networks. Although she's embraced social media, she sees the value in traditional marketing concepts as well. "I also strongly believe that positive word of mouth is a great way to move forward, even if it takes a while to build critical mass" she points out.
This comes as no surprise, considering how happy Manasi leaves her clients. She believes making them feel at ease with her is just as much a part of her job as composition and lighting. She'll occasionally challenge herself by seeking out the most reticent of subjects and drawing them out.
I often beef up my technique by traveling to remote India. Village women can be very guarded, even with women outsiders. I work at making them feel that I haven't come to steal or expose anything that belongs to them and, with time, they'll let me in.
Manasi has found time and again that respect transcends cultural differences. "People are very protective of their personal space and dignity, no matter what part of the world they're in, and even if they've hired you," she explains. Manasi always remains sensitive to that fact.
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- Customization theme: Nolita
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