A photographer is more than just someone with a camera. Photography requires the eyes of an artist, the technical mastery of a scientist, and the dedication to storytelling of a great journalist. Chirag Pandya found his calling early. When Dawson College in Montreal launched its photog-raphy program in in the early 1980s, he was a member of its first graduating class.
“I thought I was going to be a dentist! But I am an artist, like many people in my family. I had the need to express myself,” he says, laughing. “My father was a photographer too.”
Initially specializing in commercial photography, Chirag shot for international brands like Avon, Seagrams, Mochico Shoes and many others. It is work he still does, and still enjoys. “It is chal-lenging, you really have to get it right the first time, because matching the lighting, getting every-thing perfect – it’s a very difficult thing to go back and do reshoots.”
Chirag brings that technical expertise to his work as a portrait and wedding photographer too, making sure to capture the perfect moment the first time. And it doesn’t hurt that he honed his skills before the digital revolution. “Working in a darkroom, working with film, this means you have to have an understanding of the foundations of photography.” Chirag has made the transi-tion into the digital age seamlessly, upgrading and maintaining his skills at conferences and workshops. “I like to keep up with what’s happening in the world.”
For Chirag, the way to get great shots is to make sure his clients are at ease. “Often, people don’t have a lot of experience having their photograph taken. Part of my job is to get them to feel comfortable, to relax. Whether that’s scheduling photographs for after a wedding ceremony, when the bride and groom can relax, or asking a child about a favourite toy to get a natural por-trait, I love doing that. I like people – I’m a people guy.”