Turning a Passion into a Profession
that Captures People’s Hearts

Headshot Nikki

by Parmeet Sahni

“Time flies but memories stay — these are the words I live by” - Parmeet Sahni.

 

When I migrated to New Zealand from India many years ago, I had to leave behind a large collection of photo albums and compromise on many beautiful memories of my family. This experience single-handedly made me realise the importance of capturing moments in photos and has led me to create my own photographic company specialising in newborn, maternity, and family portrait photography.

While living in New Zealand, I bought my first DSLR camera - a Canon 60D, purely to take photos of my daughters and continue to capture their childhood with the epic Tamron 24-70 lens. After posting some of these online in 2013, I received a request from a friend to do a photoshoot of their children. This is when I realised how much I loved being behind the camera, portrait photography soon became more than just photography; it became my passion.

Nature and landscape photography has never been of interest to me as I loved capturing emotions - raw emotions that are hard to express but easy to capture. A smiling baby, a loving mom, a naughty child or a respectful grandparent, I love to capture the bond and compassion in people. An event with all the festivities, smiling faces, people dancing and having fun, this all makes me happy, and this is what I love to capture - freezing these moments and creating beautiful memories for a lifetime.

At this point in my journey, I was working five days a week and combined with family life, it was challenging to fit a full-time photography course into my schedule, so I did a crash course on flash photography instead. I also knew I wanted to do newborn baby photoshoots so I took a course specifically on that topic. Dressing the baby, placing them on the bed, using props, trying different angles, and adjusting to the baby's mood in order to get that perfect shot were the main areas of focus in the course. Despite my experience as a mother, I wanted to be fully trained before doing any newborn sessions, mainly because it's a huge responsibility to carry out a smooth photoshoot for a fragile little life. And for anyone who wants to pursue newborn photography - Please be fully trained before you take a newborn in your hands for photography.

I kept on learning. The famous saying, “Where there is a will, there is a way,” rang true as it was my willingness and passion which kept me on the roll. I took weekend crash courses every month, watched YouTube videos, kept on practising with my camera, and left no stone unturned to fulfill my dream of becoming a trained photographer.

Once I felt that I was prepared, I started doing complimentary photo shoots for friends and acquaintances after work or on weekends to build my portfolio. I didn’t have a studio space, so I started out as a mobile photographer, either visiting their home or doing outdoor photoshoots at the beach or park. This gave me a boost in confidence, and as word of mouth spread, I started getting queries for more and more photoshoots. Slowly I became increasingly interested in capturing people of all ages, cultures, and backgrounds, and as my work started to gain more traction, I began to invest in better equipment and started creating a collection of props and gowns. My portfolio continued to grow, and so did my sense of accomplishment - I felt like I was finally doing what I was always meant to do… My passion had started slowly turning into a profession.

The Soulful Memories Ltd company was established in 2016 and I left my full time job in 2019. It was a tough decision to make as the risk of losing my income and relying on my passion to sustain us was huge but I felt I had to follow my gut as it was becoming increasingly difficult to balance my professional career, my family, and my photography business. I did think that I might fail, but then I wondered what if I succeded and that led me to go ahead and live my passion. Although I was the face of the company, without my husband’s management of our finances and the immense organisational help from my tech-savvy daughters, none of what I have achieved today would’ve been possible without their help and everlasting support along with the blessings of loving friends and of course, the love and support of my clients.

Read the full article by Parmeet Sahni in Issue 62 of NZPhotographer magazine.


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