How I became a photographer…

One of the renowned names in photography, Dabboo Ratnani started as an apprentice to Sumeet Verma. Today he is the last name in Fashion photography. His trademark however, is outdoor photography and his favourite model? You guessed it right - Pooja Bhatt.

It all happened by accident. I used to help my dad in his business. After my HSC I told my mom that I wasn't interested in studying anymore and that I wanted to be a photographer. I said I'll give it a shot. If it works, great. Or else I have my dad's business to fall back on.

I had a flair for photography and I liked it as a subject. Even in school picnics and family holidays, I was the one with the camera. I am basically a gadget freak. Everything from computers to music systems excite me.

My bother's friend was an amateur photographer. Maybe even that influenced me. Also, when I first walked into Sumeet Chopra's studio I was overwhelmed by the huge prints on the soft board and all the numerous pictures there. I thought to myself I would never be able to do this. I first bought myself a camera and did some amateur photography. After seeing the photographs, I decided to give it a shot. I assisted Sumeet Chopra for 4 years, before I finally ventured out on my own.

My first shoot was in March 1993 when I was still assisting Sumeet. I did the film publicity for Aatish. We were to Mauritius for 40 days. It was a major assignment. I shot some pictures of Sanjay Dutt while we went fishing and those pictures appeared in Stardust. From there on there was no looking back. Even during the four years that I was with Sumeet I used to do my own shoots and portfolio on weekends. I would show them to Sumeet and take his inputs on them. This helped me a lot.