For the past several
days months, I have been working like a machine.
It is funny how I wanted (and waited) for this time for so long yet when it arrived, I feel overwhelmed.
I remember the time I used to refresh my inbox just to see if a client sent me an enquiry. Now is the time that I got overbooked (Alhamdullilah & mashAllah) yet I found myself falling behind. Behind schedule. Behind work. Behind Life.
When I tried to regain my life back, my work started to suffer. It felt like my own personal life was getting in my way…
At times like these, I remind myself why I started this business…
- I didn’t want to wake up early in the morning.
- I didn’t want to work 9am-6pm & make money for someone else.
- I wanted the freedom of working from home, in my PJs.
- I wanted to live the life. My life. My Way!
When life seemed to slip out of my hands, I held back. Promising myself to go easy. Cut myself some slack. Take lesser bookings so I can also do other things that I enjoy (like reading books, writing, spending more time with the family, exploring the world, etc).
If life/work is getting in your way, take a step back and take a look at the broader picture. Remind yourself WHY you started this and try to figure out HOW to make it better.
You only have one life.
Live it Right!
She had tons of questions…
Being the first one amongst her siblings to get married, she was lost in all the wedding planning process. As I was answering her questions, a past bride of mine came in to meet me. I asked her to join in and the conversation went to a whole new level.
I sat back and watched both of these amazing girls. It was like watching an amateur meeting an experienced one. The crazy idea popped into my head and I asked the bride-to-be if she’d be interested in meeting my other past & future brides to help her plan the wedding. She agreed in a heartbeat. Before leaving, she turned back and said thank you several times to my past bride and myself for being the reason that so much of her stress was reduced.
In that moment, I felt like I was the missing link! I decided that I haddddddd to take a step forward & plan a friendly get-together for my future brides-to-be. To help them connect the dots, help each other with the tiring wedding planning, bring and share ideas to plan and have the best day of their lives.
With that being said, I feel sooooo very nervous & super excited at the same time because I actually did take the step…..the venue has been booked, invitations have been sent, and I can’t wait to see what this small step will result into…
Cheers to a step forward!
The Missing Link,
I cherish spending time with the couple beforehand as well as on the wedding day and getting to know their love story. I love watching their chemistry and writing about it. When I am unable to express my severe joy and/or sadness, I write – hence this specific post is a byproduct of my extreme happiness & dedicated to the bridesmaids who put their hearts and souls to make it the best day of their friend’s life.
This past weekend, I was honored to document wedding of a bride who was loved and cherished and taken care of beyondddddddddd measure. The bride’s family and school-friends since childhood, along with her teachers were so immensely involved throughout the wedding planning process. She had an entire army of absolutely adorable bridesmaids. Their love & compassion for the bride showed in every conversation & gesture.
Not only I thoroughly enjoyed watching their excitement, my heart was doing its happy-dance the entire duration of the wedding and even until now for being able to observe them take love to a whole new level…
Sometimes, reading between the lines leave me speechless. It’s not about how much money is being spent on the stage, decorations, overall wedding. I absolutely enjoy to witness care & love of the family and friends for the bride and the groom. It shows how good-hearted the people giving the love are, but it also shows that people receiving that love are more than deserving.
And that is exactly the type of brides/couples I feel humbled & honored to work with. Who give and receive love with pure heart. Who do things selflessly. Who see beyond what is visible. Who see things worth seeing….
One of my hobbies is to binge-watching YouTube videos.
While doing so, sometimes I stumble upon videos that uplift me to a degree that I feel more resolute. More curious. More determined to pursue my dreams.
If you are in search of some kind of revival, definitely check out this gem of a video by Price Ea. He is a very talented American artist, rapper, and music video director. I absolutely loo0o0ove his videos’ cinematography and more than that, the concepts and messages behind them.
I hope this video makes you write a good story of your life….and your own Brand New Ending…
If order to solve a problem, we need to identify it first.
If something is bothering you, try to find the root and see how you can fix it. If you can’t fix it, then simply let go. I’m not saying it’ll be easy, but give it your best shot.
Here is a list of 10 things to let go to be happy…
- Let go of toxic people in your life.
- Let go of regretting past mistakes.
- Let go of the need to be right.
- Let go of feeling sorry for yourself.
- Let go of negative self talk.
- Let go of the need to impress others.
- Let go of limiting beliefs.
- Let go of pleasing everyone.
- Let go of gossip and complaining.
- Let go of worrying about future.
Learn to let go of the things (& people) that are holding you back.
When life gives you lemons, be ready to clink your lemonade glass. You know where to find me 😉
Life is too short to hold back on happiness.
I sat in the car and tried to hold back the tears.
Despite all my efforts I couldn’t stop the drops of salty water coming out of my eyes. I cried through the entire ten minutes drive back home.
It was a beautiful day three years ago – the first year of my business.As I explained my request to him (a former fashion photographer who owns two studios in Dubai), I felt that he was resisting and within three minutes of our meeting he said no. No, his name is well known and I’m just a new-bee. No, because I’m not at the standard of his studio. No, his studio is too busy. No, his female-team won’t print my albums…
I called my best friend/cousin. She listened patiently and then said “….since when did such things started to bother you?!? As far as I know you, you are a rebel. Use the rejection as motivation to rise higher. Don’t see yourself through his eyes.” That night, I cried even more….
Why do I share this story?
- Because today when I was going through my fully booked calendar for the next four months, I
said screamed YES!
- After every wedding, before I doze off, I ask myself if I did everything in my power to ensure today was the best day for my client, I usually end up with a YES!
- Every time I receive a #Lo0oveLetter from a bride/couple after the wedding or album delivery, I say YES!
- Every time my standard of work is praised or compared to some of the top wedding photographers in UAE, I say YES!
- When someone meets me for the first time but tells me that they know who I am & what I do, I say YES!
- I see YES for all the reasons he told me No for…and Yes for much more!
So, next time someone tells you no, see the YES in it. Don’t look at yourself from someone else’s eyes. They are seeing you with their perspective and defining you based on their limitations. Not yours!
As I looked from my camera’s viewfinder to photograph her getting ready shots, she looked up in the mirror and I gasped for breath. She looked so breathtakingly beautiful (mashaAllah) with the hair and makeup done although she was still in a t-shirt and yoga pants.
She smiled then asked “Chee wa choo?” leaving me utterly confused. I asked her what she meant by ‘chee wa choo’ and she looked in the mirror with wide smile saying this is ‘chee’ and then smiled a little less and said ‘this is choo.’ I bursted into laughter and told her she looks stunning with either ‘chee wa choo.’ It became our inside joke, made us laugh for the rest of the night, and oh yes, the photos came out amazing (courtesy of both chee & choo).
Ayesha & Tariq celebrated their wedding in Saint Regis, Abu Dhabi. Their ballroom was decorated by Hamasat weddings. Ayesha wore a gorgeous bridal gown by Ezra Fashion, Dubai & shoes from Saint Laurent. I really liked her idea of party favors with roses in a glass jar and logo of her and Tariq’s initials in Arabic letters were found in different details.
Dear Ayesha & Tariq,
Thank you for inviting me and trusting me for documenting you wedding. You two are so sweet and totally amongst the most politest people I’ve ever met. I pray that the Almighty showers his endless blessings & bounties on both of you. May you both live a life full of happiness, love, and laughter with Chees wa Choos 😉
Congrats on saying YES to the proposal…
If you are planning your first party (milcha/engagement) to announce being officially together, this post is perfect for you!
After documenting countless engagement parties, I jot down a quick list to give brides some thought provoking ideas to think about while planning their first day as husband & wife.
- It is OKAY to be nervous! It is the first time you are being professionally photographed together as a couple. A little nervousness is okay but don’t let it hold you back from enjoying the party.
- Be on time. This is very important. Discuss the timeline with your makeup artist, hairstylist, and of course your photographer. Make sure everything is running smoothly and you are ready on time to make the most of your investments.
- Confidence is the key. The first 20 minutes of photo-session will be awkward. It is normal. Don’t let your nervousness make you more nervous. Make sure to smile a lot & enjoy your time with him. When you are confident, it shows in the images.
- Prepare the groom. If you are planning on having him put jewelry on you, make sure to tell him to practice. If he knows how to open and close the jewelry pieces, it’ll be easy for him to do and will result in more natural photos.
- Set priorities. Having props with sentimental value for both you and the groom is awesome but having 10+ props & expecting the photographer to take photos of each one might not be a great idea. You & your husband are the stars of the night. You are the priority. Don’t get lost in the props game.
- Relax & trust your photographer. You probably chose your photographer after much consideration and for a reason (hopefully their personality is your #1 priority). Trust them. Allow them to be creative & you’ll have an awesome photo session.
I hope these tips help you and result in the best of photos ❤
If you have some tips for the future brides-to-be, I’m all ears. Share them in the comments below.
She was smiling as usual despite her nervousness. I hugged her and told her that she need not to worry because she looks stunning. She truly did. In her light purple gown, Menbur shoes, and holding her bouquet – she looked even more beautiful.
I had been waiting for this day…
Fatma’s engagement was one of those parties I was enthusiastically anticipating since I met her. This always-smiling girl with a bubbly personality is an absolute pleasure to hang out with. Never a dull moment with her and I just couldn’t wait to meet who will be the lucky man. Her lucky man.
Yaqoub seemed swayed away by her beauty. And of course by her smile. He couldn’t stop smiling himself. Happy to know that his life was about to be lit up by Fatma’s beaming smile.
Fatma & Yaqoub got engaged in Uptown Mirdif, Dubai. I was in love with all the party decorations. From the love quote by the entrance and her jewelry display, to hanging flowers in tiny buckets, wooden tables, white roses in small vases, party-favors of tea leaves in tubes and mouth-watering brownies, every detail was thoughtfully put together.
Dearest Fatma & Yaqoub,
You guys are simply oh-so-awesome! Seriously. I thoroughly enjoyed photographing both of you, both sides of the families & friends, and your party details. I’m super duper excited to see what both of you are planning for your wedding. I’m sure it’ll be full of details, joys, lots of dancing, and sparkling-broad-smiles 😉
With utmost adoration,