“Photography is our passion not profession…”
GUDDU & SHANI
Photographer & Stylist
With a huge contribution in the development of fashion advertising in Pakistan in terms of aesthetics and techniques, today Shahnawaz Chughtai (Shani) & Shumaila Shahnawaz (Guddu) has become a top priority for top of the line brands of the country when it comes to their branding and target oriented advertising and marketing with one stop high end solutions. Here they gave such an exclusive interview to Social Diary by sharing their journey of career and discuss about their future projects…
1. How and when did you first step into the photography business?
From the time we were studying in university, we had been working together on various projects. Professionally our first venture was working for our family brand Resham Ghar as textile designers. But as photographers, we did our first commercial photography session for our own collection of digital Miniature prints in December 2004. The rest is history.
2. What has been your greatest inspiration till date?
All forms of visual art have always been source of ideas but primarily our main inspirations were old classic art movements. We love to change our style every year, just to give a break to ourselves and keep on enjoying our work. So we adapt one art movement every year into photographic visuals. Along with the art movement, nature has been a great inspiration, as we believe that there is no other core source of inspiration than nature
3. How powerful is photography as a tool to depict human emotion?
Being part of visual arts, photography too is all about depicting human emotions through images. What lens you use, what light tone and type you use all help out depicting different emotions. Colors, compositions and elements of photography all are ingredients human emotions.
4. Amongst your works, which one is your favorite? Why?
We did an editorial shoot for FAQ magazine where we developed the concept of shooting Zodiac Signs photographically. Sponsor was LEVIS and we developed the whole set and environment for the shoot in a house garden. All the shots were properly sketched at pre-production stage, and then shot and post produced for best results.
5. Whose work has influenced you the most?
We used to appreciate Nabila and Ather Shehzad throughout our student life and really liked them. Along with them Maram Aabroo, Munazza, Aakif, Natasha and Akku Baji are prominent names for the reason that each of them has their individual style.
6. What were some of the challenges you faced in this field?
Lack of professional training even after doing our master in graphic design and studying photography as a minor subject, was the most challenging part. Self-studying every day along with execution of professional project was quite tiring yet a consistent process.
7. What does photography mean to you?
Photography is our passion not profession.
8. How does photography influence a clothing/fashion brand?
Photography is the key ingredient for branding and marketing of any fashion brand. The visual consistency defines the whole brand language, message and recall value. A good photograph can take a brand from earth to sky and a bad picture can ruin the hard work of many years of a fashion brand.
9. What role does Photoshop/image manipulation play in realistic photography?
Photoshop is just a tool to perform all post production touch ups and color corrections which were also done in labs in the analog era of photography. So basically, photoshop just helps us prepare the final image for print media. Moreover, the use of photoshop and post production techniques has given imaging in Pakistan some global presentational values. However the values are commercial but still I feel without competing to the world we can’t stand for ourselves in this global village.
10. What equipment do you use for the best results?
The best equipment is always appropriate equipment for any particular assignment. We use medium format camera, Nikon, Canon, studio flashes, HMI lights and almost every top of the line gear available in market but the selection out of this list always depends upon what subject and theme we are shooting.
11. What comes easier to you styling or photography?
We love doing both, as both are integral for each other.
12. What is a stronger medium to enhance beauty? The lens or great styling?
Imperfect styling with any sort of lens is useless and similarly wrong lens for a perfect makeup is completely useless too.
13. What are your future plans?
Our major future plan is to develop 360 Degrees as a successful photo services company and then expand our services from Pakistan to international markets.
14. Tell us something about your company 360 degree?
We started this trade by our personal names as Guddu & Shani but later named it 360 Degrees after development of a support team so that everyone can own one single name. However, recently we have re-launched 360 Degrees as Pakistan’s first photo services company that is going to present highly talented new photographers and service the whole fashion/textile industry with most corporate yet affordable solutions in country. It is a photo service provider company for new era imaging requirements e.g. web shooting, 3d photography.
What is your favorite holiday spot?
15. What do you do to relax/unwind?
Listen to music or watch a movie.
16. What message would you like to give to some aspiring photographers?
I would suggest them to learn the trade of photography and not merely depend on digital cameras. Focus on lighting and composition and whatever you do, do it with hard work and dedication.
17. Three words that describe Guddu Shani best?
Hard work, dedication & commitment.
18. What has been your greatest achievement so far?
There are many actually but so far completing successful 10 Years with significant influence of our photography on the development of fashion photography industry in Pakistan in a way that many Indian companies really look forward to work with us and really appreciate our work while they have quite experienced and mature industry.
19. Your future products?
Over the years we have expanded Guddu Shani to the following projects and have made sure that the company provides a one-stop solution to the demands of their clients: Guddu Shani Films, production and direction of TV commercials. Our Advert: Specialized services advertising agency for Fashion industry. Pakistan’s only advertising house of this nature for one stop solution of strategic plan to execution.
“Imperfect styling with any sort of lens is useless and similarly wrong lens for a perfect makeup is completely useless too…”
We love to change our style every year, just to give a break to ourselves and keep on enjoying our work!