From visa officer to professional photographer

Last updated 15 Jan 2016 . 3 min read

The above image was taken by Shiva during a professional shoot.

This returning professional decided to venture into photography after a career break. She tells us all about it today.

Shiva Rawat works as a faculty few days a week with the Raghu Rai Center for Photography, Delhi. And when she is not at the institute, she meets ups with clients, plans her shoots and runs her new venture - White Heart Studio


I have had a wonderful childhood growing up as an Indian army officer’s daughter and living all over the country. I therefore have the travel bug in me. My last job was with the New Zealand High Commission as a Visa Officer. Before that I worked with various companies like American Express, British Airways and Indigo Airlines over a span of a decade.

I always wanted to get out of the corporate life and after 10 years, I started my business of overseas education and utilized my experience of a student visa officer. I made good money but I still wasn't satisfied. I wanted to find my creative passion. I found time to channelize my energy to find what I wanted only after my daughter was born because that’s when I took a break from work around 2012, it gave me time to think.

I had once gone to Rishikesh with my camera, I was scared to be alone, apprehensive too, as I didn't know how to handle the camera... but when I started photographing, it felt like meditation to me. It is amazing to just be still and observe the world around me and to capture the special moments - moments of love, joy, sadness, anything that touches me.

I did my basic course in photography and then in Advanced Diploma in fashion and Commercial Photography from Raghu Rai center for Photography. I then went to UK to train specially in Newborn and Children Photography. Some of the best places to train are the New York Film Academy, Brooks Institute, Light and Life Institute to name a few. In Delhi the Raghu Rai Center for Photography is reputed too.

I specialize in Newborn Photography. I derive my inspiration from daily natural/ delicate moments and elements around me.

I believe that you need to be passionate about your work in order to succeed. And professional training definitely helps one to hone one's skills. Photography is an art which has some rules and you need to learn the rules in order to break them. It is very important to learn from the masters as it can propel you in the right direction and on to the next level from being an amateur photographer to a professional.

Paroma Sen
Paroma Sen is a professional content and creative writer.

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