Amrita Samant, founder of mommyshotsbyamrita Amrita was an HR with double masters who at some point realised it was time for her to take up her true calling. Fast forwarding four years, Amrita is now an International award winning – Newborn, Maternity & Kids Photographer based out of chennai. She is the one who captured amazing pictures of celebrity Kids that includes Cricketers Ashwin, Murali Vijay, Balaji & Southern Actors like Arun Vijay, Boby simha – Reshmi, VJ Anjana & many more! Apart from this, She takes time in Mentoring, Conducting workshops & contributes to the society by creating awareness – Her recent project focused on ‘Breast Milk Donation’ awareness. Amrita shares with WOI about herself and her Photography journey.
The one advice I give everyone is ‘Do what makes you happy’. If you are forced to do something you dislike, an inner-dissatisfaction starts to build over time and begins to show on your face and actions over time. It won’t be long before you start to get annoyed with everything and everyone around you, including kith and kin. A lot of this is irreversible.
Doing what you love will make you happy and eventually that happiness spreads across people. And honestly, no one likes a grumpus! Don’t think. Just do.
If you are passionate and can make a great product/offer a great service, the money will follow. Just dive head-on into what you love doing.
Having been raised with a mixed upbringing (North Indian settled in the south of India) I’ve always had great exposure to both worlds. I did double masters in Human resources and worked for close to 7 years in the same field. My parents and both siblings are entrepreneurs too. As much as I was aligned to enter a ‘reliable’ field of study for a secure future, my heart always lied with the arts. I’ve been dancing and doing theatre since I was a child and continued to do so even while I worked full-time. I was just about realizing one day, that the arts were my true calling. Photography happened, purely as an interest over 7 years ago and I never did think I would take a leap (professionally) into the arts until about 4 years ago.
I was working as an HR business partner in gaming company and very honestly, I loved my job. However, I was constantly finding an outlet to let my creative juices flow by doing part-time activities such as writing for magazines, choreographing, theatre, all while working a full-time job. It was a brain-wave that struck me one day to help me realise that my constant dabble in the arts was only because, this was exactly what I was born to do, born to pursue, but my surroundings + influence + my overall upbringing pointed me in another direction.
My initial thoughts were – ‘this wasn’t a sensible choice, I was doing really well in a cushy corporate job, I must be crazy to think I can make a living out of the arts, all those years of studying and work experience! The arts were for the elite What IF I FAIL!? – This was a big one. How would I make it work? I’m a low risk-taker – this won’t work. But but but – I’ll be happy doing photography, my soul would be happy. I can’t take a risk so late! Honestly, this list is endless. I had some good friends and a supportive family who enabled me to take the leap. And I finally took it!
While growing up with career options of becoming either a Doctor, Lawyer or an engineer, I’ve always dabbled in some form of creative art form from childhood – dance to acting to writing to photography and over time I realised I was made for doing something different, aside from the options above. However, life had other plans and I followed suit. I did double masters in Human resources and worked for close to 7 years in the same field.
And then – About five years ago, I had resigned from my cushy corporate job and was frustrated with not knowing what I really wanted to do. Photography started as an interest. a long time ago. Capturing my sisters’ twins was part of my daily routine too. That’s where the comfort with babies grew beyond just loving these little humans. It was a matter of time and a strong brain-wave to figure that I could combine two of my favourite things – Photography and Babies. Until then, I kept trying my hand at different things professionally too – dance choreography, image consulting, writing… until I found my absolute true calling. The question at hand though, was how do I be unique in this space?
The start wasn’t easy. Apart from handling nerves (pretty much all the time), I assisted a friend with wedding photography. This really helped me get my hands in deep, on the job, learning through a lot of trial and error. I spent every free minute studying something new about photography every single day ( in fact, I still do). I would dedicate time for it. I used to watch YouTube videos, do classes online and practice like a crazy person to get better at photography. Learning is a never-ending process in my job till date, to constantly improve my skill. But I took these challenges one at a time so as to not overwhelm myself.
I had to transition out of a corporate job mindset into an entrepreneurial mindset (a really big challenge, this one). Having to work around the clock and still maintain a routine, moving from a work environment with lots of colleagues to suddenly working all alone, understanding that entrepreneurship does get lonely and finding your community to get past it, learning pricing for a market, finding ways to market to such a niche audience, learning social media to an extent that your voice is heard above all the noise online, never getting complacent, gauging your own work quality and improving over time. It was all a slow process but a very interesting one. Feedback was my game-changer, from people who mattered, who were reliable.
Then came the human element of working with children. I did a lot of research on child psychology, courses on newborn safety and anything else that helped me work better with kids. My subjects, being as unpredictable as they are, I had to work with improvising on the spot at every shoot.
In my first couple of months as an entrepreneur, I was filled with fear and paranoia of my efforts falling apart. I distinctly remember questioning my decisions on the road to being an entrepreneur. About 6 months into my journey, when I had a very poor month of business, I thought I had reached the end of the race. I was miserable as ever. All my efforts to convert leads into business failed. I just couldn’t point my finger to where exactly the problem was. I was doing everything it took. I had second thoughts about quitting. Fortunately, I had a very supportive circle telling me not to give up. That’s when I decided to use this month to focus on what my strengths are and what I really wanted my work and style to be perceived as.
And that’s what really worked for me in the end. Two months later, the portfolio I built through my tough month, is to date some of my better work. I’ve never had a rough month ever since (touch wood). The portfolio I created helps me till date, when clients show me these images in particular and ask me to replicate them for their families. It only goes to show that perseverance and hard work really pay off when the times get tough.
One of the first few challenges is that, in our country, photography isn’t treated as a proper profession (by all) and this comes with your time, effort and creativity being taken for granted. There is a huge amount of risk involved in this business and you have to constantly work on creating your own unique style and keep pushing the bar to build barriers around your business. The other challenges are centred on how to keep the business and the artistic element alive simultaneously.
It also takes time to find quick tricks and must-dos to break the ice with babies and kids of all age groups at every shoot. The start, thankfully, was really better than I expected! Word spread fast and work flowed in. But as a photographer and being true to myself I knew I had a long way to go to constantly improve my skill.
I’ll take a compliment gladly, when I get it. These words of encouragement can really keep someone going..And going distances, might I add.
About my mistakes, I have a huge list to share here honestly. But a useful one for an entrepreneur would be never to lose faith in your capability. Anytime you feel stuck, you aren’t going to be stuck forever. Your passion, perseverance will find a way out. Just be patient and work smart.
Being an Entrepreneur, I feel Phenomenal. Independent, working at my own time (which is honestly 17 hour work days and more demanding than a corporate job, lol), and knowing that you can help your clients preserve the most precious memories ever, is a high! The potential an entrepreneur has to make a difference is massive and is up to the individual what they do with this freedom and power to influence.
Other than Shoot, I do a lot of mentoring (either 1:1 or group) for aspiring photographers and conduct workshops too, across the country. I also recently started doing Smartphone photography workshops teaching parents how to take better pictures of their kids on their Smartphone cameras. Apart from this, I also take up personal photography projects such as the current one where I am focusing on raising awareness on ‘Breastmilk Donation’ to milk banks to help save lives of NICU babies, using photography as a medium.
I honestly love supporting other women entrepreneurs as I know for sure this is the only way forward for us all. We need to support each other endlessly and move from a competitor mindset into a collaborative/community mindset. Learn from one another, help one another and grow more unity among us women. I hope we all start to treat this as something important for us to flourish in an encouraging ecosystem.
– says Amrita.
Thankyou Amrita. You are a prominent photographer capturing pleasing images. Your work encourages women to take up photography as a profession. We are glad to feature your business story on WOI. We wish you all the best for your future endeavours. Keep Inspiring 🙂
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