In Love with the Lens

July 19, 2017

Ashu Mittal, Senior Program Manager for Adobe Acrobat, has been with Adobe for nearly 11 years. She is an Adobe Certified Expert in Lightroom and was featured in magazines such as Business Today and SheThePeople. She is an accomplished photographer and a Getty Images contributor. Moreover, she has been featured in various noted publications – The New Yorker, Hindustan Times, Boston Globe, Outlook Traveler’s Guide, Mint Lounge and more.

We recently sat down with Ashu to discuss her love for photography and how it overlaps with her Adobe Life.

When did you first discover your love for photography?

I was no stranger to photography. Since childhood, my family traveled a lot every summer and captured a lot of photographs–we still have a big suitcase full of albums. Almost a decade back though, I started taking photography a bit more seriously and purchased a Nikon D40 (no longer in production), and was completely hooked by the power of freezing moments as they happened. No more being restricted to 36 shots per roll, or waiting five seconds for the point-and-shoot camera to capture the moment.

What are you most passionate about capturing?

I am from Rajasthan, India and am most passionate about photographing rural Indian life in its raw and slice-of-life form. Every time I visit my hometown, I make it a point to head off to some of the rural areas and capture the unadulterated village life including portraits and still life. Last year, I happened to photograph the same family one year apart and it was a delightful experience. That said, some of my most popular photographs are of flowers, so that comes in close second.

Some of Ashu’s most popular photos are of flowers. Photo Credit: Ashu Mittal.

What is that one image you will never forget?

There are a couple that are close to my heart, mostly from remote parts of India – “The Burden of Untold Stories”, “Stuck in a Time Warp”, and “Alternative Uses of Fans”. Apart from these, there are two photographs that are special to me – one that was picked as featured image on Getty Images and one that was published in The New Yorker as part of its “Incredible India” campaign.

What kind of tools do you use for post processing?

I am a big fan of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and have used it since its first beta. I shoot all my DSLR photographs in raw and in manual mode, then I import them all into Lightroom wherein I jump to the “Develop” module and apply the basic corrections – primarily related to exposure, white balance and hue, saturation and lightness (HSL). Once done, I publish my photos to my Flickr account. For my mobile photography, I use Lightroom Mobile and my Instagram account for publishing.

What is the influence of digital technology on your photography?

I am an unabashed proponent of using digital technology for furthering the art of photography. After all, the move from film to digital cameras was pivotal in making photography so much more accessible. In one of my early photography tips posts, I also urged beginners to embrace digital technology to enhance their photographs to their liking.. To quote the article, “If the technology is improving and making it easier for people to click and post-process the photos, the bar for what constitutes a good photo is also rising.”

Ashu’s photo in “The New Yorker’s” ‘Incredible India’ campaign. Photo Credit: Ashu Mittal.

Color Photos vs. Black and White. Which one do you prefer?

Color all the way! So much so that you will find very few black & white images in my photo stream. It may also have to do with the fact that India is such a colorful place, and I’d feel guilty of robbing the viewers of these vibrant frames.

What kind of gear do you use?

I use a Nikon D90 camera and a variety of lenses, though these days, most of my photography happens on my iPhone 6S. As they say, the best camera is the one you have with you!

How often do you go out and capture photos?

I venture out on weekends and holidays to pursue my love for photography. Moreover, I do believe that photography is about spotting the extraordinary in ordinary, so I don’t really need to wait until I am at an exotic location to click photographs. Often times, I end up clicking interesting photographs with my iPhone (like a sunset in office, or one in the park). I’d say that having photography as a creative outlet helps me maintain balance in my life. I call it my mini-vacation.

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