My Thankful List – Continuing to Learn

Today I celebrate the fourth birthday of my blog (and my own as well – don’t ask how old I am now). Honestly, I didn’t think I’ll make it this far in life but I did. Just like the past three years, I wanted to jot down my Thankful list for this year to look back next year and be even more grateful.

I’m thankful to the Almighty – I continued to fail. He continued to be the most merciful.
I’m thankful for phone calls with mom – they always end with ‘I love you too Rima’.
I’m thankful for family for always standing by my side. Despite my failures.
I’m thankful for friends who pray for me without me knowing.
I’m thankful for my health & being able to eat whatever I desire.
I’m thankful for being able to learn/do things I always dreamt of.
I’m thankful for being able to read & write.
I’m thankful for another successful business year (say mashaAllah).
I’m thankful for having an amazingggggg team. Extremely talented & trustworthy.
I’m thankful for being able to cover destination weddings.
I’m thankful for finally being able to travel in business class.
I’m thankful for my home, great halal food, free home deliveries.
I’m thankful for the sound of Azaan.
I’m thankful for being able to learn from mistakes – mine & others.
I’m thankful for my clients for continuing to shower me with their trust & love.
I’m thankful for everything I have now that I longed & prayed for last year.
I’m thankful for lessons that people/life taught me.
I’m thankful for being able to laugh & cry at the same time.
I’m thankful for another year – and for continuing to learn.

I’m so very thankful for my blog, clients, followers, friends, and family who make me more ME. Who listen to what I have to say and understand without judging. I’m grateful for all that I have and even more grateful for all that I don’t have.

Happy Birthday Learner….

Thankful List – 2014
Thankful List – 2015 – Bring it On
Thankful List – 2016 – Dreaming Big

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Novotel, Fujairah Wedding – Mariam & Amer

He sat down on one knee, took her hand in his, and kissed it.
She smiled and the red color flushed through her cheeks. It was like watching a fairytale come to life & I am so grateful for being able to capture it all ❤

Mariam & Amer’s wedding was celebrated at Novotel Hotel, Fujairah. The ballroom was decorated by Sayedati Wedding. Mariam looked breathtaking in her bridal gown from Dar Sara Fashion, shoes from Ted Baker, and carries a bouquet by Turquoise Flowers, Abu Dhabi.

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Dear Mariam & Amer,

Thank you for the opportunity of having me document your lovely day! It was full of happiness, joy, and surrounded by love. I wish you both a lifetime of real fairytale’s happy moments to cherish together, forever. Ameen.

Much appreciation,
~ Rima

How to Take Natural Photos

When I started wedding photography, the thing that I was most scared of was posing the bride & groom. It took me quite sometime to understand things that can make/break the couple’s connection in the photos.

Although I can do several posts on this topic covering different topics on posing, the following are things to consider when posing bride & groom on the wedding day and aiming for natural photos.

  1. Give your clients time to relax. Strike a conversation by congratulating them. Give them reasons to smile instead of asking them to ‘smile’ or ‘act natural’.
  2. Explain what’s in store. Clients love this. Tell them how the photoshoot will go by, how much time you need, and what you expect out of the shoot.
  3. Compliment!!! It assures the couple that they look great and are doing everything right. Compliments are great way to boost confidence and to relax them.
  4. Be VERY careful with your WORDS! Couples tend to be extra emotional on the day of the wedding. Say things that will make you laugh with them, not at them.
  5. Give Specific Instructions. Instead of placing their hands where you want it to be, make the couple slide into the pose. “Chin slightly down. Eyes up. Beautiful. Soften the eyes. Show me that ‘I’m sexy & I know it’ smile!” BOOM! There is your gorgeous photo.
  6. Avoid Awkward Silences. I happen to talk from behind my camera while photographing. All-The-Time! Talking/complimenting while clicking through the bride’s preparations and/or couple’s laughter, produces best natural photos.
  7. Actions instead of Mannequins. Tell them to walk, talk, or share a joke. A simple statement as “look how beautiful she looks!” can result in amazing smiles and gestures.

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I hope this post helps you lead your next photoshoot like a Boss! Don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions regarding wedding photography and I’ll be more than happy to share what I know.

Follow me on Instagram & check my Insta-Stories for some quick tips & tricks, DOs & DON’Ts, and lots of behind the scenes from actual weddings ❤

Murooj Rotana, Dubai Wedding – Reem & Ali

They were secretly sneaking peeks at each other.
Their wedding day was the beginning of a long happy life together.
I watched through my camera’s viewfinder and had no doubt that their joining together will bring them more joy and happiness than they could imagine. Then I too, secretly said ‘ameen’ in my heart.

Celebrated at Murooj Rotana, Downtown Dubai, Reem & Ali’s wedding’s stage and ballroom was decorated by Forever Events. Reem wore a Hazar Couture‘s bridal gown, Manolo Blahnik heels, and carried a bouquet from The White Boutique.

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Dear Reem & Ali,

Thank you for letting me share in this joyful day. I wish you both the best as you embark on this wonderful union. May the love and happiness you felt on your wedding day shine through the years. Forever, ameen.

Much appreciation,
~ Rima

Long Island, NYC Henna – Khadejah & Sami

I was standing at her henna venue in awe & with a wide smile for mainly two reasons.
(1) everything was so colorful, orderly, and represented a super fun night ahead & (2) her family couldn’t believe that she flew me in all the way from Dubai to document her wedding events.

I wouldn’t expect anything less from the super talented wedding planner Khadejah though. Organizing wedding events for others gave her extensive planning experience hence her own wedding events were nothing short of purrrrrrrfeccccctttttt!!!

With tons of dancing, singing, fun, and love involved, here is the first part of Khadejah & Sami’s big-fat-Pakistani wedding celebrated at her parents house in Long Island, New York. The decorations were done by Stylist Events NY, henna by Henna for All NY, cake from Cakeworks Studio, and details by Events by Khadejah.

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Can’t wait to share their Baraat & Valima receptions ❤

5 Things Brides Forget On Their Wedding Day

Words can never explain how much I love my brides. To the moon & beyond…

While my brides have proven to be very organized and amazing planners, I’ve seen a constant pattern of things that most brides tend to forget on the wedding day. Although it is never intentional and totally understandable as the wedding planning is not a piece of cake, but a little reminder is always nice.

Here is a list of 5 things that most brides forget & my two cents about those things. May this post helps you plan your dream wedding day even better, inshaAllah.

5 Things Bride Forget On their Wedding Day

  1. Have the groom’s wedding ring with you.
    You’ll need all two/three for the detail photos so make sure the groom’s ring is with you on the day of the wedding.
  2. Wedding invitation card. 
    Invitation cards/suite/stationary often tends to get lost years after the wedding. Have them incorporated within the photos. Also, invitation cards provide great ring shots with bride & groom’s names/logos.
  3. Hangers/mannequin for the dress.
    Make sure the hanger is not colorful/flashy to take the attention away from the dress. Also, the hanger should be able to bear the weight of the dress & its hook should be TWIST-ABLE! If you are getting a mannequin, check if the dress fits on it properly and the base is stable.
  4. Emergency kit.
    A sewing kit, bobby pins, safety pins, Tide pen (stain-remover), tissues, face-mist, small scissors, double-sided tape, mini deodorant, nail-filer – are just a few things you might need on the wedding day.
  5. Eat!!! Pleaseeeeeeeee.
    OMG! There is nothing more frightening than watching a malnourished bride faint on a wedding day. I HAVE SEEN IT!!! Not only it is terrifying, it sucks out all the fun and also reduces so much time for photos. Make sure to eat well before the makeup starts.

The ONLY thing I actually wish the brides forget on their wedding day is worrying! Don’t get caught up in the midst of tiny imperfections, a loose thread, a missing flower from the bouquet, etc. Try to enjoy your day to the fullest despite of the small stuff.

May you have an UNFORGETTABLE wedding day, ameen.

Your UnOfficial Bridesmaid,
~ Rima

InterContinental, Dubai Wedding – Ebrahim & Waad

She placed her hand on his shoulder as I asked her to.
I told her, “…hold him like you’ll never let him go!”
She grabbed his shoulder so tight with such a mischievous smile that everyone present in the room laughed out loud. Of course including him.

Ebrahim & Waad’s beautiful wedding was celebrated at InterContinental Festival City, Dubai. The kosha/stage and ballroom decorations were done by Forever Events. Waad wore a customized Hazar Couture bridal gown, stunning Louboutin heels, and carried an extremely unique bouquet from Tulipano.

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Dearest Waad & Ebrahim,

You twoooooo!!!! ❤ ❤ ❤ Calling you both adorable would be an understatement. Thank you for all the cuteness you two spread everywhere you go. Thank you for the joy you two bring into this world and make it a better place. I absolutely adore both of you from the bottom of heart & pray that the Almighty showers you both with more happiness and joys, always! ameen.

Lots of love,
~ Rima

Ritz Carlton, Dubai Wedding – Iman & Jassem

She was on top of her game.
Everything was thoughtfully displayed and ready on time. The jewelry was carefully placed on the mannequins surrounded by flowers. Poised, composed, with an elegant style, and a heart of gold, she is everything he wished for. And much much more! ❤

Iman & Jassem’s extravagant wedding was celebrated in Ritz Carlton DIFC, Dubai. Essa AlHadad remarkably decorated the ballroom and kosha/stage. Iman was beautified by the super talented Layaly, wore a bridal gown from Hazar Couture, heels from Manolo Blahnik, and carried a bouquet from Fiore Designs.

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Dear Iman & Jassem,

Thank you for choosing me to document your big day. It was joyous, beautiful, and super elegant just like the two of you are. May the Almighty showers you both with abundance of happiness, health, success, and love. Forever, ameen.

Much appreciation,
~ Rima

How to Take Sharp Photos

Once I heard, “if you learn late, pass on the knowledge to someone else early.”  When I received her message, I answered her questions and then asked her if I can share both (her message and the answers) publicly so someone else might benefit from it too.

“Hey Rima!! I saw your Instagram feed and I am so inspired by your detail shots! They are so beautiful! How do you get your lighting in such difficult venues so perfect? Every single one! So consistent and glossy. Just beautiful. I have major goals this summer inspired by your sharp images. Totally in love.”

Even if it helps ONE person, I’d feel that this post served its purpose. I’m not a guru but I tried my best to answer with all that I know. Here is my answer to her…

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  1. Know what your equipment can do.
    • I upgraded to Canon 5D Mark IV. It is a 30.4 Megapixel full frame camera (5D Mark III is 22.3 Megapixels in case you wonder). It is ahhhhhmazingly SHARP!
  2. Macro Lens.
    • Get close to the main subject, use shorter focal length and lens. For all my detail photos (as well as few of bride’s portraits), I use Canon’s 100mm f/2.8 macro lens. The macro lens is specifically used for tiny-details and its latest results can be seen here.
  3. High Aperture.
    • I use a flash or soft-box with very high aperture for jewelry shots. Most of the jewelry, bouquet, shoes, and/or dress photos I take are between f/4 – f/11. The high aperture will produce great results regardless of the lens.
  4. Use Flash.
    • For ballroom photos, I use On-Camera Flash (600 EX II-RT) but on MANUAL to keep the colors consistent. You might need a battery pack for speedlites because manual mode uses too much battery power.
  5. External Lights.
    • I also use external lights in the ballroom (for details only – not for the family/bride/groom photos in the ballroom). It provides extra lighting and separates the main subject from the background so it pops out in the photos. High aperture makes it easy to edit and the photos end up crisp sharp regardless of the dark venues.
  6. Light Angles.
    • Use flashes/soft-box at different angles so the details, especially diamond jewelry, doesn’t get too many highlights. Place the external source of light on the sides, on top, or behind the main subject to produce exotic photos.

I hope my answer help you create beautiful sharp photos. Feel free to share your own tips/tricks in the comments. Don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions related to photography. I will try my best to answer. Promise! 🙂

Al Jawaher, Sharjah Wedding – Tahra & Basim

As I finished their portraits and packed the gear for her entrance,
I sneaked a look at them.
He stood close to her.
Holding her close, whispering in her ears.
I got busy again but with a smile on my face. I didn’t need to understand what he was saying. Because her continuous smile and occasional giggles explained it all.

Tahra & Basim’s wedding was celebrated at Al Jawaher RCC, Sharjah. The ballroom and stage/kosha decoration was done by Forever Events. The sweetheart & super talented makeup artist, Ayesha Bahraini, did a remarkable job with Tahra’s makeup. Tahra wore a stunning Hazar Couture‘s bridal gown and carried a Fiore Design‘s bouquet.

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Dearest Tahra & Basim,

Not only you both are amazing human-beings but awesome friends too ❤ I feel so fortunate to meet you, witness your love and chemistry, document your wedding day, and more than anything, I’m so grateful to call you both my friends. May you both always stand by each other’s side, fall deeper in love everyday, and continue to smile and giggle together. Forever! Ameen ❤

Much Love,
~ Rima