Columnists,Nikita Gomez,Main Slider l by Nikita Gomez l 5 Oct 2020     - 213

Rataa Takes Food Photography to New Heights


With Instagram, all of us are photographers but in order for your photo to truly stand out and look professional you need props especially when it’s food, that’s where ‘Rataa’ (@srilankan_backdrops_props ) comes in.  That’s right we have food photography props available right here in Sri Lanka. Dulani, the truly talented owner of this amazing venture creates and customizes all the backdrops herself. We sat down with her this week and got to know as to how she came up with this very 21st Century idea.

Tell us a little bit about yourself

Hi guys! I'm Dulani and I'm 26 years old. My primary education is from Weerangula junior school, Badarawatta Parakrama College Gampaha and secondary and higher education from Rathnawali Balika Vidyalaya Gampaha. I completed my BSc for speech and language therapy from Faculty of Medicine UOK. I was practicing speech therapy up until a few months before COVID 19 happened, but I always knew Speech therapy was not for me and it's not what I see myself doing for the rest of my life as a profession. 

How did you start this venture and how did you come up with the name?

I have always been passionate about creating my own brand and to open up a business which I'm passionate about. Studying speech therapy was never my plan. However, this made me realize that I would never be happy pursuing a career that I'm not passionate about.

I took a huge risk and quit Speech therapy to start this new venture during the lockdown. I have been interested in food photography for years but never had the time to pursue it. However, Covid 19 left me with ample time to pursue what I always loved to do. 

I went through some of my favorite food photographers’ profiles, studied their photography, made recipes and practiced for hours! Initially I used an iPhone 6 to take images. Due to the encouragement and lovely comments I got from my mentors and followers, I realized that my true passion lay here.

I have this amazing friend I got to know via IG Nisha @healthysutra, who is a UK based, Sri Lankan professional food photographer. I followed her online food photography course, which was the best decision I ever made. One of the most significant issues I faced was finding proper backgrounds & props for my photos. Additionally I am a big DIYer and I started to handcraft my backdrops and props myself.

 After spending hours looking for backdrop stores in Sri Lanka, i was quite surprised that it was not always easy to get hold of these things in Sri Lanka!

Then I thought to myself that if I start a backdrop and props store, it will be helpful to many food bloggers in Sri Lanka. A few months later, I bought a camera and dived deep into food photography and started doing a photoshoot for a few brands!

Within the first week, I realized I am going to have a promising future as a lot of people approached me thanking for this venture in Sri Lanka. 

Rataa is a brand I created a few years ago with one of my friends for our handcrafted clutches and earrings. It was not at all about earning money; it's was our hobby while we were in university. We were looking for a catchy but straightforward name, and we wanted it to be a Sinhala name so we finally settled with the name Rataa! I came up with the logo 3 years ago then when I started my backdrops business, it felt right to use the same name as it was perfect for this business as well. 

Give us some insight into the different types of props and collections you have.

I have handcrafted backdrops for food and product photography. One of the most challenging thing as a food photographer is to find a perfect background for the photos which enhance the beauty of the product and make it look professional.

Even though we have nice tabletops at home, it's not easy to move tables around to get the perfect lighting for the photographs. Especially for professional photographers, it's not easy finding good backgrounds when they visit places for shoots. So it's essential to have a variety of backdrops with you to get perfect shots for your customers or for yours IG.

You can get a variety of backdrop designs from my store and our surfaces are reusable, waterproof and stain free. 

You can also find Props like linen napkins, a nice collection of porcelain, cutlery, cake stands, wooden coasters, wooden food racks, rattan baskets and many more props which are so essential to style your food photos to make them look nice and professional. 

I am also able to customize backdrops if you want something specifically made for your business. 

Most of my followers are into cake and baking businesses hence, I try to provide most of the props and backgrounds suited for them. This helps them in promoting their business as photographs play a key role in their online businesses.

Future plans for the business?

I am working on adding a variety of props that is not limited only to food photography but to other types of photography such as   baby photography and product photography. I recently added camera tripods, diffusers and

I have plans of opening a storefront and doing international shipping in the future!

Personal Motto/ Quote?

I have two personal mottos that I always keep in my mind. "The one who wants to wear the crown, must bear its weight". I picked this up 7 years ago watching a movie and ever since then this has been at the top of my vision board.

The next one is not actually a motto or quote; it's something I learned in grade 10 from my Buddhism textbook. Which is called aththupanayika dharma. Which simply means that put yourself in other persons shoe before you do anything. Even though I'm not much of a religious person, this particular dharma is the only rule I follow in my life. Even when it comes to business, I would always think of the mind of the customer and try to think about what I would do, feel, expect if I were the customer. I act based on this theory, and it has helped me not only in business but also through many things.

How exactly do we get our hands on these amazing props? 

You can check my Instagram page @srilankan_backdrops_props or you can visit www.rataasrilanka.com to check our collection of backdrops and props. You can simply order items you need through a dm or a text and we will deliver your items to you safely within the week. 

Thank you and Hi!! Online for taking time and to give me this opportunity to voice  my work!

Do go and check out Rataa @srilankan_backdrops_props and we wish her all the very best in her future endeavors!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nikita Gomez

She’s an avid Marvel fan, an old girl of Ladies’ College and now an LLB graduate from the Faculty of Law, Colombo. She fell in love with writing when she joined her school’s magazine committee by chance and since then has seized every opportunity she can to pursue writing. Additionally she absolutely adores animals and promotes the slogan ‘adopt don’t shop’.

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