Lensman Luv Israni, who shot legends like Sachin Tendulkar, Brett Lee, Shane Warne and Kapil Dev among others; shares his love for the craft and more… 

(Insert): Luv Israni
(Insert): Luv Israni

At a very young age, celebrity photographer Luv Israni started his journey of a flourishing career as a kid model. Thus, he was exposed to the camera at a very early age and gathered all the confidence and ability needed on screen. 

But after directing short documentary films on Mumbai bomb blast; and another one `Mumbai 4 AM to 4 AM’ in the year 2005, Luv realised that his desire was not to get in front of the camera but to rule it. So, he went behind the camera and chose to be a “photographer” since then.

He has shot legends from various fields like Sachin Tendulkar, Brett Lee, Shane Warne, Kapil Dev and celebrities like John Abraham, Vivek Oberoi, Ajay Devgn, Sunny Deol, Sonu Sood, Pulkit Samrat, Kunal Khemu, Karan Patel, Rashmi Desai, Tinaa Dutta, Vivian Dsena, Karishma Tanna, etc.


What is the most challenging part of being a photographer for you?
Whenever I am working with someone I make it a point to capture that person at their best. So the challenge arises when the same actor or actress turns up to me for the second time, as now I will have to break my previous record. Over the years I have had a lot of celebrities turned friends, as they have come to me again and again for work because obviously, they liked the first time experience. Now, this becomes a challenge for me to surpass my own standards but I thoroughly enjoy this process in totality and try to deliver a better result every time. 

Describe your photographic style? 
As a child, I have grown up in the entertainment industry and have seen hundreds of other photographers in Mumbai shooting different things. I realised that most of them had their own style that reflected in their work. But for me, it was a conscious decision to not have a particular style because I wanted to try different things all the time. So, if you go through my work I don’t think one would be able to depict my style saying, “hey…this is how Luv shoots!” So I make it a point to not repeat elements in my photos like locations or concepts, as it is very easy to hang on to the tried and tested environments or territories but then where’s the fun in that!

Was photography your first choice as a career?
I was always hooked to filmmaking and wanted to pursue my career in the same from the London School of Filmmaking. But for some reasons that didn’t happen and I stayed in Mumbai where I found my passion. Today 10 – 12 years down the line I have again started building my relationship with my first love i.e. filmmaking, though I am not leaving photography. But after a decade I guess you have a feeling of going past your horizon in order to evolve and grow.

Which photographers influenced you?
Having looked upon a lot of photographers work, Dabboo Ratnani is the closest one I can relate to especially when it comes to choosing a career path. He has been an inspiration and coincidently for the past 3 – 4 years we became sort of work neighbours as my office was just adjacent to his on the same industrial estate. But apart from the ideology of shooting Bollywood celebrities and fashion covers, when it comes to the actual work I have never really tried to follow him or anybody for that matter. You work according to your taste!

How did you get from being an aspiring photographer to actually doing it full-time, for a living?
My first ever project was 12 years back for a magazine called ‘Telly Prime Time’, which was handled by my dad at that time. Since my dad didn’t want to spend money on hiring other photographers, he got me a camera and asked me to shoot (laughs). But later on, I really started to enjoy the craft and decided to pursue it professionally. Also, my mom was into model coordination industry and would ask the models to get their portfolios done from me. So, probably that’s the reason why I never had to assist any photographers because I had started getting professional projects from day one, thanks to my mom and dad!
What is your best photography tip?
Believe in your own eye! If it looks good to you, then half your battle is won. So take inspirations from different artists but always do what pleases your eye or taste. This is what I have been doing for all these years and will continue doing so. 
How important is Photoshop in your final images?
Yes, Photoshop does play an important role in my work. Though I never try to transform any given picture into something else entirely but some enhancements are done for sure. As humans, we are all bound to make mistakes and Photoshop is basically there to cover up for those mistakes that might have happened on the shoot by anyone.

Can you briefly describe for the readers your photographic workflow?
The pre-planning stage starts from jotting down ideas and themes and putting them into categories. Then accordingly my team gathers different reference points or items in order to achieve the proposed idea and create a mood board. When it comes to doing fashion shoots with celebrities or models I make sure to check out the outfits before the shoot and have them do a trial first. Also, I share some reference images with my makeup artists and hair stylists in order to make them understand the kind of look we want to create.

Tags: Teteatete