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Check Out Ambika Agrawal’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ambika Agrawal. 

Hi Ambika, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I’m Ambika Agrawal, and I’m a photographer based out of Tampa Bay. I’ve been professionally doing fashion photography, portraits and headshots, maternity, graduation, and branding photoshoots for the past eight years now with hundreds of happy clients. My work has been published in both national and international magazines, and I’ve won several awards as part of PPA (Professional Photographers of America) photography competitions.

People often ask me if I’ve always been interested in photography, but the simple answer is no. I had never really picked up a camera until about 10 years ago when I bought my first Nikon DSLR camera. Although I didn’t even know how to use the camera, everything about it intrigued me. In the beginning I would just carry it around and take pictures of whatever I could — flowers, landscapes, and anything else I found interesting. But after some time, I realized this passion could become a profession. I decided to get a proper education on the basics of photography and enrolled myself in a photography certification class at the University of South Florida. After about a year, I received my certification and began finding mentors to improve both my photography and digital editing skills. I was fortunate enough to have met some very talented photographers, including Minh Insixiangmy, Nick Pecori, and Erich Caparas, who have helped me throughout my journey by teaching me new skills and helping me stay motivated.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Launching my career in professional photography wasn’t an easy undertaking, but then again, building a business never is. I often found myself feeling imposter syndrome after comparing my work to that of other talented photographers and felt that I needed to follow in their footsteps. But with time, I realized that every photographer’s style is different and that becoming confident in my work and embracing my creativity would open doors of opportunity for me. Although this hasn’t been a smooth road, the support of my family, friends, and mentors has given me the strength and guidance to deal with many of the problems I’ve encountered.

Over the past few years, I’ve never shied away from seeking help or asking various models, stylists, and photographers to collaborate on a project. Most of the time, I’ve been lucky enough to work with these talented individuals. But, like in any profession, I experienced rejection at times and found myself confused about my future goals. However, instead of letting these tough experiences discourage me from pursuing my passion in photography, I used these obstacles as a learning opportunity.

Even today, although I like to plan my shoots in great detail, they don’t always go according to plan. I’ve had several shoots where my studio lights stopped working, or my camera battery died, or the weather conditions were too poor for an outdoor shoot. I’ve learned to improvise on the spot and make the most of the photoshoots despite the obstacles that may come my way.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I primarily specialize in personal branding, fashion, portrait, maternity, graduation, and family shoots. Over the past several years, I have helped build and design numerous (50+) model portfolios and have engaged in fun, and interactive photo shoots with all of my clients both outdoors and indoors at my studio in Tampa, Florida. Aside from just taking pictures, I’m also highly skilled at studio lighting and I have multiple Profoto and Parabolix lights in my studio. I’m also very experienced with digital editing/ retouching using software tools like Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, and CaptureOne.

More recently, I’ve been expanding into personal and corporate branding photography. My past clients have been interior designers, influencers, mental health specialists and more. I love helping my clients show off their aspects of their personality and business beyond what a simple headshot or two can convey. I currently offer several pricing options for my branding shoots ranging from several hundreds to several thousands of dollars depending on my clients’ needs.

Whether I’m on a shoot or editing pictures, making my clients feel confident about themselves and bringing a smile to their faces is my top priority. One of the ways I do this is by paying close attention to any details that may elevate the shoot. Since every photoshoot is unique to me, I spend time making an idea/ mood board for each of my clients to give them a better sense of the kinds of outfits, poses, and pictures I have in mind for them. Not only does this prepare them for the shoot but it also encourages my clients to tell me their own ideas about what kinds of pictures and aesthetic they want from their photo sessions.

Do you have recommendations for books, apps, blogs, etc.?
I follow a lot of portrait and fashion photographers on Instagram, watch their work and learn from them. I am a member of PPA (Professional photographer of America) and PPGMF (Professional photographer of guild mid-Florida), and they have many blog posts and seminars which I attend sometimes.

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