Who is Sneha Churiwal?
Sneha Churiwal is an ambitious girl who wants to create an impact and value for others through her work. She likes being around people from different backgrounds and age groups.
Despite her formal education in finance and her initial career choices, her undying passion for photography led to the creation of Hakuna Matata Photography.
What is the name of your photography company and when was it founded?
The company is called Hakuna Matata. It was founded in 2014
Have you always wanted to be a photographer? What was initially your career path and how did you discover your passion? Did you study photography in school?
No, I didn’t always imagine myself to be a photographer. Initial days of my career began with studying finance and taking up a job as an investment banker. I, however, always had a liking for photography. During my investment banking days, I found myself searching for meaning and value in the work I do. I decided to take a break and do something that I enjoy doing. During this break, my passion for photography was instilled and fortified as I found myself constantly clicking pictures of my niece; capturing the most simplistic yet meaningful moments – sleeping, playing, crying or laughing. That’s when I realized the power of storytelling and photography. Every family has a unique story to tell and I began to fall in love with the idea of meeting people and giving them their unique story.
What does Hakuna Matata mean and what inspired this choice of name for your photography company?
Hakuna Matata, is Swahili for “don’t worry, be happy”, is the ethos upon which I have built my photography brand upon.
How did you get from being an aspiring photographer to actually doing it full-time for a living?
I think when I took a step back from my busy life, I realized nothing gave me more satisfaction than bringing a little bit of happiness in someone else’s life. That’s what photographing family and kids is to me. This realization made me want to at least give this a shot once in my life.
Tell us a little about Hakuna Matata photography company.
We offer photography services for maternity, new born, kids, families, individual portraits and kids brands. We also create short unique videos in a storytelling style for families.
According to your words, your clientele base comprises of all “parents, mums-to-be, and other clients”. Of all these categories, which is your most favorite category to capture?
My most favorite as well as the most challenging category is the new born baby photoshoot. It gives me immense satisfaction to capture memories of a baby in his/her first few days after birth.
Do you also capture brides-to be?
I specialize in kids and family photography and want the Hakuna Matata photography brand to resonate with the same and hence I do not photograph brides to be.
Is there a particular area in photography that you specialize in? Like portraits? Still shoots?
I specialize in candid portraits. I love the outdoors and natural light.
What are the packages you offer and how much does a session with you cost? Hope one doesn’t need to break a bank to book your services?
Ha-ha, hardly breaking the bank. We offer bespoke packages catering to various needs which differ in the number of pictures, session locations etc. starting from 1000 AED per (around $200) photoshoot.
What inspires your work? What motivates you to continue taking pictures every day of your life?
I seek to capture happy portraits and pictures and that’s what you will also find in my work mostly. A lot of colors everywhere and the excitement in the eyes of mommy-to-be. Joy of the new born baby, hopes of seeing them grow into respect worthy individuals and most importantly small moments as a family together.
With respect to your photography career, what are you greatest achievements so far?
I am still taking baby steps in my career. Achievements could be different for different people but to me it means overcoming your fears and challenging yourself to do something new every time. My recent challenge was to photograph newborn babies (under 15 days). I made a roadmap for the same and did whatever it took to ensure I am start with these newborn keeping their safety as utmost priority.
How would you describe your photography journey? Is it a lifelong journey?
My photography journey so far has been the biggest learning for me. I have come to realize no family is the same and no child is the same. And that’s the best thing about photographing families. It’s always interesting to meet people from different backgrounds.
Of all your works, which is your most favorite?
Ahh that’s a tough one. I can’t pick any one but I do tend to like more of candid moments in natural light
Whose work has influenced you the most in your Photography career? And how did they influence your thinking, photographing and career path?
Elena Shumilova is one of the most talented photographers I have seen. Her pictures seem to be magical retellings of a fairy tale. She usually takes picture of her children and their pets, locking in the natural elegance (and innocence), which betrays itself the moment you lay eyes on the pictures.
I wouldn’t say my work is influenced by it a lot but I would hope someday I am able to create something as beautiful as she does.
A special thanks to Sujata Sethia and Sanya Sundar for being such an important part in my learning journey and always being there.
There’s a popular saying that a “photo speaks”. What exactly do you want your photographs to speak and how do you actually get your photographs to do that?
My photographs will be of moments that will always bring a smile on the face of the family
Sneha Churiwal (Hakuna Matata) Photography is five years this year. Where do you see your company in the next five years?
I hope to spread smiles across millions of families all over the world using my pictures
What advice or words do you have for upcoming photographers?
The only advice I would give is that keep learning and keep hustling. Over and out!
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