Khushboo Ghulati shares about what its like representing womanhood in the biz of Bollywood and Fashion Photography
6th February 1997
Proudly says ‘imd1’ for
Khushboo Ghulati is a fashion photographer from Mumbai, who literally proves that a camera is indifferent towards the gender of an individual, only skills matter to bring out the true aesthetics. She has developed the knowledge by pursuing a Diploma in Fashion Photography from FAD International Academy in Mumbai. Ghulati has interned Victoria Krundysheva, an extremely talented conceptual photographer which is why we see so much grace in her work. She has photographed the ever elegant Madhuri Dixit, Shilpa Shetty, Tapsee Pannu, Bhumi Pednekar, Shruti Hassan, Rajkumar Rao, Ayushmaan Khurrana and many more star personas of the industry.
We are proud to share the story of this young female artist, empowering all the girls across India to follow the passion and fly to infinite heights
We are really keen to know; how did your journey begin?
I wanted to buy a DSLR camera, on which my father insisted me to learn photography first so I can use it properly. So I attended a one-and-a-half-month crash course at the National Institute of Photography in Mumbai and that’s where I learnt all the basics of photography. After that I got my own DSLR camera and started exploring photography.
Know me Beyond Photography
Where there is a will there might not always be a clear way, but then you can make things work out by applying common sensical application to the situation and make it happen. Never give up if something is your passion! Believe in your work and never find shortcuts
Arunachalam Muruganantham (who made sanitary napkins at a minimum cost)
I draw Inspirations from
Platon, Annie Leibovitz, Prabuddha Dasgupta, Literature studies and Poetries
Food I Love
Rajma Chawal, Chicken and all yummy street food
Food I Hate
Bland food that has no spices
Had I not been a Photographer then
I would have been a proud English professor to the new budding generation
Like Vacations at
Beaches and monumental locations that give me crazy photography scope
Favorite Pass time
Researching about photography, watching fashion films, reading books and listening to music
Favorite Movies / Series
The Great Gatsby, all James Bond and Mission Impossible movies, Friends, Gossip girl
Favorite Actor / Actress
Benedict Cumberbatch, Sir Ben Kingsley, Ryan Gosling, Priyanka Chopra, Penelope Cruze and Meryl Streep, Shilpa Shetty
What's your success mantra?
I’m just working hard every day and not giving up at all. Hard work is the only thing which will take you to the level that you never imagined or thought that you could achieve.
What were the hardships / hurdles you have encountered during your journey? How did you overcome them?
Being a girl who wants to pursue a career in fashion photography is not at all easy because the fashion industry isn’t accepted as a decent workplace in the society, but I convinced my parents ,they were reluctant at first but my father had already seen me photographing so they agreed me pursuing it as a career option. I was already into fashion as my very close friend Ayesha Mulla is a makeup artist, I clicked her while she use to practice makeup and that time I was sure enough that fashion is the genre that I am perfectly fit for. There are people who have a mindset like “whether a girl can pull off an image?” and “photographers are generally men” but I have been trained under a female photographer Victoria Krundysheva - a Russian photographer practicing fashion conceptual photography in Mumbai and for me, she is greater than any male photographer in the industry as I got all my professional skill set and she taught me standing on my own feet as an independent photographer. Even today, there are hurdles I come across as I belong to a middle-class family, I need to manage the budgeting while collaborating with various clients with budget constraints, yet making it look so glamorous. It is indeed a real talent. One of the perks of being a female fashion photographer is that the female models and actors feel very comfortable to pose and experiment new things and not feeling awkward or embarrassed.
Success is incomplete without its share of setbacks. What advice do you give to others about handling the setbacks?
There are times when my equipment don’t work but I have to find a way out to make my client feel satisfied with what I am clicking. Failure is a part and parcel of everyday life, you have to deal with it patiently. Do not let it affect you for a long time. Somehow you have to overcome it.
Do you think Photography and its learnings can be helpful in life even if one does not want to consider it as a career goal?
Yes, it is indeed very helpful beyond a career option as it makes you perceive your surroundings differently, develops your understanding skills and awareness.
Who has been the main influencer in your journey & how?
My friend Ayesha, for whom I used to click photos. She is a makeup artist and she is the one who eventually made me realise my interest lies in fashion photography. Also my mentor Victoria Krundysheva, as she is very great in what she does. Some male photographers like Tarun Vishwa, Tarun Khiwal, Arjun Mark and international photographers like Annie Leibovitz and Mario Testino have influenced me.
Which was "that" moment when you considered yourself as "I Am The 1"?
When I actually started working with professional models and celebrities. I could clearly see that my work is getting recognition and appreciation in this craft and I am growing as an artist, expressing my world through the art. I feel ‘I Am The 1’ who can bring the change because there aren’t many female photographers as people think this medium is a male dominated one.
Did you get any formal training in Photography? Kindly tell us about it…
I learned basics from the National Institute of Photography which was necessary. Then I joined FAD International Academy in Mumbai from where I learned various necessary aspects of fashion like styling, designing, photography and brand management, understood fashion as a whole, what goes around and what happens in the industry. Hence formal training was indeed very useful.
Could you reflect on the importance of systematic training in Photography?
Systematic training makes you more aware about your liking in this field as photography is very vast, it is further branched into wildlife, weddings, fashion, events, food, street, travel/lifestyle, etc. genres. One must have proper knowledge of basics to be aware of in which genre he/she is interested in.
What are the pre-coaching essentials e.g. right age, mindset or anything else?
A 15-16 year old can figure out to take up photography because from that age, many begin to focus on their passion but apart from age, what really matters is that your motive behind clicking a picture, the purpose will lead you to prosper more in the field.
Technology is changing the way people get trained in Photography. What's your take?
The intervention of internet and digital cameras have made photography very instant. Softwares like Photoshop have turned us into visual artists. Technology is indeed very dynamic in photography as new inventions occur every day. Adapting to the upcoming technology will help one sustain in the market.
What qualities must one look for in a 'Guru' for training in Photography?
In every field, a Guru must not be insecure to share the whole knowledge what he/she has in order to make their student a good person. There are people who think if they share everything then their students will outgrow them. But a true guru will always want their students to excel and shine.
If you were to bring one big change in the way people get trained in photography, what would that be?
Every person joining an academy is not the same, so there has to be a particular set - levels of training for each individual belonging to their capabilities. There might be students who grasp the skills within six days of training and some who cannot even do it correctly even after six months of training. So there has to be an equilibrium set and a categorization of skillset must happen.
What do you suggest for better accessibility of Photography training in remote parts of India?
If people don’t have access to the basic needs such as electricity, education and infrastructure, then photography for them would be a secondary aspect.
Your piece of advice to parents and new generation especially when some people are skeptical about career in extra curriculum…
My parents wanted me to become an English literature professor and have a proper job with a fixed salary but for me, there is no point in living a life that is monotonous and with obvious fixity. It depends upon the child, if he/she has true passion and can reach to any extent for that dream then parents should realize and support their child.
One thing which you feel you want to change from the past while you walk down the memory lane…
I don’t think I would want to change anything because what I am today is all because of my past and whatever happens, happens for good and for a reason.
Any other thoughts you want to share…
There is a lot of investment that goes in this profession -monetary as well as time and effort. It is more than just pressing the shutter button and clicking the picture. There is a difference between a picture and an “image”. A good and a responsible photographer knows ‘Why Is he/she taking the picture in the first place?’ Photographers need to be valued and respected as they tell a story through a picture making it an image that lasts an impact on the viewer’s mind, with a feeling. Also not being satisfied with your work and always looking for improvement will keep oneself grounded and humble. Never do anything for free if you are good at it, if you believe in your work the world will value it too, even if it takes a little time, never give up if it is your passion.