Capturing wildlife in his exquisite camera lens, Jayanth Sharma has a fan following 95.7K plus followers and is the official influencer for Sony cameras! He also connects aspiring photographers to equipment and training via his company Toehold .
Jayanth recalls his school days when he was always number one in extracurriculars like cultural programs, dramas, singing shows, and an above-average student. He regards these traits to his parents as his dad was a photographer and always gave weightage to creativity over academics.
For graduation, Jayanth enrolled in a rare course called ‘tool and die making,’ a 5-year Indo-Danish mechanical engineering program. Jayanth says, “The best part of the program was that it was four days practical and 1-day theory, which gave me the hands-on experience I was seeking. However, at the end of the course, a tragic incident occurred! I injured my finger mistakenly by inserting it in the power press machine.”
Regardless of this incident, Jayanth passed with flying colors and soon got attracted to a graphic designing job. At the age of 26, he quit his job to pursue wildlife photography.
Photography: A Medium of Expression!
Jayanth was always passionate about wildlife but was never fascinated by his father’s camera. He discovered photography to be his core skill to indulge in his passion for nature during his work life. That’s when the idea of wildlife photography struck and rose to become his weekend routine.
Jayanth believes that he was among the very few photographers of his time and won the ‘Sanctuary Asia Wildlife Photography’ contest during his early days. His photography mantra was to excite the onlooker and baffle them with questions rather than just leaving the photo with a remark of compliment.
He breaks through generic fads of wildlife photography limited to tigers and lions and urges aspiring photographers to start small. He says, “You don’t need to spend tons of money and go to Maasai Mara to click pictures. There are plenty of places in India, including just the local mini forest in J.P. Nagar Bangalore, where you could photograph insects. “
His company, Toehold, makes your job even more accessible by providing services like all the possible cameras and lenses on rent to save buying costs along with giving photography guidance.
Wildlife Photography: A Difficult Career!
Before anything, Jayanth is an entrepreneur. He highlights, “Out of all my time, 15% is dedicated to wildlife photography and the rest 85% on marketing, social media, finances and other aspects that would get me business.”
For aspiring wildlife enthusiasts, his message is “understand the DNA of the business. Who would buy wildlife photos? NGOs! Currently, wildlife is inclined towards social responsibility and does not have great monetary gains. It is nearly impossible to get a wildlife photography job, which is why 99% of my customers are wildlife photographers for their hobby and not a profession. I recommend not to rely on it for a steady income. The 1% professional wildlife photographers spend 20% of their time clicking pictures and 80% pitching to channels like Nat Geo.”
Jayanth’s focus at present is entirely on building Toehold. The company currently operates in 6 continents and has its centers in Bangalore, Mumbai, and Pune. Jayanth’s future targets are to open centers in Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, and attract tourists from abroad to explore wildlife photography in India.
Jayanth does frequent ‘Instagram Lives’ and posts his singing performances on Instagram to add a little spice to his page and mood.