Family chaos gives photographer her best creative ideas

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Family chaos gives photographer her best creative ideas

Meet Khushboo Soni

Hi I’m Khushboo Soni I live in Nagpur, India. Apart from being a wife and a mum, I’m someone who has an uncontrollable and consistent itch to tell stories. I studied accessory design at design school Nift New Delhi and got my first DSLR when I was in college. Even though I was blown away by the kind of pictures I could take with it it was a short-lived fling. After weeks of photographing the streets of New Delhi bathed in gold morning light I moved on. My camera lay in my attic, forgotten.

It wasn’t until I had my son many years later that I revisited photography but this time combined with another powerful tool I had acquired in college - Photoshop. With each picture I clicked, my short-lived fling developed into a full-blown and intense love affair (the kind that keeps you up all at night, sitting in front of a computer screen).

Mother and sun in mirror reflection with ornate flowers and falling petals

My best ideas come from chaos

When I was younger, I romanticised the idea of going to a cafe and ordering a nice coffee and savouring it while enjoying soft soulful music; that’s how you get your best ideas I would tell myself. But things are pretty different in reality - at least in my opinion. My best ideas come from chaos. They come from things that happen in my day-to-day life like stepping on a piece of Lego and spilling my coffee or missing my son after I’ve left him for less than a minute although I’ve been complaining about not having any alone time for an entire week.

I have a journal to write down ideas but most of the time I make a note in my phone. Sometimes I make rough sketches (ones you would laugh at) to understand how I can best portray my idea.

mother and young son in bathroom as he gets out of the shower

I'm inspired to preserve snippets of my son's childhood

I feel like for years I’ve been trying to find that one thing that I can pour my heart into. It had to be worthy, it had to be uplifting and at the same time it had to be liberating. I think I ve found all of that in photography and I have my two-year-old boy to thank for that. All I’ve wanted to do is to preserve snippets of his childhood in the amber of time so that I may revisit them when he is older and no longer fits in my arms. I think seeing them maybe the closest I will ever get to reliving his childhood. That is what keeps me going.

mother measuring sons height against the wall while he holds a teddy

My top three tips for creating an image infused with love

  1. Create images that tell a story, ones that stir feelings of love, of longing, pictures that are joyful, powerful, even soulful.
  2. Share pictures of people or things or even places you love - things that demand revisiting or evoke something you have experienced. Try snapping candid shots while you sing your favourite song to your loved ones.
  3. Share moments that you could live a thousand times over, ones that make you want to stop time itself.
toddler feeds his father jam from a spoon in the lounge room

The tools of the trade

A very important thing for me while clicking a picture is a clean canvas. I choose plain walls while shooting indoors or a shallow depth of field when outdoors. Sometimes when I’m in the frame too I use a tripod and sync my phone to the camera using the Nikon SnapBridge app to focus and set the frame. If it doesn’t need Photoshop, I transfer it directly to my phone and take it into Lightroom. My favourite adjustment in Lightroom is the HSL sliders. I use these a lot to play around with colours.


One of my most favourite images

A few days after the birth of my son, I was exhausted mentally and physically. All I wanted to do was take a break, go to the mall, spend a day outdoors with some friends. I wanted a day all to myself, so was looking forward to going back to my mom’s place in Delhi.

Once I was back home, I fixed a date with my friends and left my son in the very experienced hands of my mother to spend an evening with old friends. Let me tell you, I called up my mom a million times until I was back home. It was then that I realised that I was bound to this boy by invisible threads and couldn’t stop thinking about him. I had fallen in love once again.

woman ponders while her shadow reveals she thinks of her son

I chose to create things that tell our story as a family. That tells people more about our life and our dynamic relationships with each other.

All images in this blog are by Kushboo Soni. You can follow her creative journey at @mother.of.reinvention on Instagram.

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