My Thankful List – Embracing it All!

It has officially become a yearly ritual.
Like the past 4 years, today marks the birthday of my blog and I can’t wait to celebrate it with this year’s thankful list. It’s always serves as a reminder of the year that has ended and a hope for a better future.

I’m thankful to the Almighty for accepting my prayers regardless of my negligence.
I’m thankful for being alive and making through the roughest patches of life.
I’m thankful for my health – that allows me to eat, pray, work, & travel, alhamdullilah.
I’m thankful for my family – for not reminding me of my mistakes.
I’m thankful for friends – for accepting me with my flaws.
I’m thankful for my clients – they are my cheerleaders & business anchors.
I’m thankful for #loveletters – they validate that I’m doing what I love & doing it right.
I’m thankful for a kick-a** hardworking team – they are best of the best!
I’m thankful for continuous growth – both personal & professional.
I’m thankful for books – my best-friends during long days & sleepless nights.
I’m thankful for online-shopping – it satisfies my addiction of retail-therapy.
I’m thankful for my camera, blog, readers & followers – I ❤ You all!
I’m thankful for Ladies Club membership – it has become my happy place.
I’m thankful for my therapist – regardless of her expensiveness.
I’m thankful for struggles – they strive me to hustle harder.
I’m thankful for warm hugs – they remind me how powerful love is.
I’m thankful for this life. With its good-bad-fugly times.
I’m thankful for embracing it all!

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 things that I don’t say. As Rumi would quote ‘they flame my fire’. I’m grateful for alllllll that I have and even more grateful for all that I’m about to embrace.

Happy Birthday Love.

Thankful List – 2014
Thankful List – 2015 – Bring it On
Thankful List – 2016 – Dreaming Big
Thankful List – 2017 – Continuing to Learn

10 Things I absolutely Love…

As this year started, I made a list of resolutions for 2018 and sharing personal blog posts landed on number 4. Although I wasn’t able to share as much as I wanted to, but here is an up-close and personal insight of my life.

Following is my list of 10 things that I absolutely love but can’t get enough of… (in random order):

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  1. Waking up super early – OMG, I feel overflow of creativity early in the mornings & get so0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o much done (and by early I mean between 4:30-6am).
  2. Karak-Chaye – I can’t start my day without it. Life’s better with Karak-chaye.
  3. Meeting followers/blog readers – this has to be my most favorite of all! I absolutely love when a follower/reader comes up and says Hi. It makes all the hard work & time that I spend producing content so much more worth-while.
  4. Sound of my camera shutter – sorry if it sounds weird but I absolutely love the ‘chunk’ of me pressing the camera button and the following of ‘chuck’ of camera shutter. It makes me feel like something of great value has been produced & legacy has been captured.
  5. Retail-therapy – feel so guilty for admitting this, but I only go shopping for myself (and have a high tendency to spend more than I intend to) in the name of retail-therapy.
  6. Car washes – this has to be my newest addiction (ever since I bought a black car in a dust-stormy Dubai). #NoOneToldMe about problems with black cars.
  7. Stationary – I had always been obsessed with pretty pencils & pens and all-things-stationary as a kid. Even to this date, I make sure to visit the Back-To-School aisles at stores. Notice the pens I use to sign the contract if we ever meet 😉
  8. Covers & smell of new books – books are the only thing I judge by the covers & I love the smell of new books. I spend more money on books than I spend on clothes.
  9. Perfumes – has to be my most expensive addiction. I kid-you-not! I’m obsessed with smells (good ones ONLY) & have perfumes for everything (tons for myself, my car, home, abayas, hand bags, gym clothes, bakhoor/oud for the house, and the list goes on….).
  10. Receiving #Lo0oveLetters – I’m fixated on them. Almost as much as I’m addicted to love. When I have a bigger house (inshaAllah), I’d probably print out all the loveletters that my couples have sent me and frame them. All of them!

Friends, feel free to share in the comments below all the things that you absolutely love and can’t get anough of or something from the above list that you agree with or have also been obsessed with. I’d love to know!

Stay Fab,
~Rima

Norway & Sweden

After spending a total of 54 days in Norway-Sweden-Houston-NYC-&-NJ, I’m back to home sweet sweAt home Dubai and can’t wait to share my adventures from the latest wanderings. Here is another installment of #RimaTravels to Norway & Sweden.

 

Stockholm, Sweden

You need to buy shopping bags for anything you purchase which can get annoying butStockholm was all about Go-Green and I loved it.  The people were very friendly but the weather is as moody as Pakistani Aunties. The shops have amazing decors (IKEA was founded in Sweden – duh). Oh and Swedish are obsessed with H&M & McDonalds because I found the stores for these brands in every corner. The highlight of Stockholm for me was when I found a Pakistani’s souvenir shop & the owner invited us for a karak chaye. Something I whole-heartedly cheered for!
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Oslo, Norway
Free internet Everywhere. It may not sound as a big deal but they Norway had the bestest of Internet I’ve ever experienced. Ever! The hustle bustle of the city center and easy to commute to hotel was a delight. The cherry on top of the icing is when I found this Pakistani halal food restaurant with the best Samosas (that marked the only day I didn’t had pizza on this trip). Oh and the entire Norway seems to be obsessed with Vikings. From the museums to cute souvenirs, Oslo was all about Vikings (and the weird trolls everywhere). The National Opera & Ballet House was a beautiful building.
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Leknes, Norway
The main reason I took this entire trip was to see Lofoten Islands. Since they don’t have an airport of their own, you have to take a flight to Bodo & then a 15 minute private-jet ride to Leknes airport (definitely the smallest plane*ride*airport I’ve ever seen). The views from the plans are breathtaking and Leknes itself is peaceful as well. I watched and documented the sunset at Haukland beach (it never really sets though as they had midnight sun). In a small town Leknes, I witnessed the biggest full moon I’ve ever seen. Oh and did I mention that the town is so small that everything is literally 13-15 minutes drive away.

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Bergen, Norway
By the time I arrived Bergen, I was homesick. It was continously raining but the upside was that the restaurants in Bergen’s city center are open until 4 am (YASSS!) and I found this amazing halal food hidden gem that was worth every penny. The Colorful houses on top of mountains look beautiful and there are several sources of transportation to explore (bus – train – cruise). Bergen would’ve been boring for me if it wasn’t for the trip to Flåm. To get to Flåm, I decided to take Fjords trip on a cruise. Once in Flåm, I drove this tiny electric car all the way to the top of the mountain & the view from there was breathtaking & mighty. Then a beautiful train ride through the mountains and oh-em-gee, I’ve never witnessed this many waterfalls in one place ever before.
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Lofoten Islands, Norway 
Surreallllllll. Lofoten Islands was my absolute favorite destination on this entireeee trip. The red fisherman’s cabins add so much beauty & perfect pop of color to the brown mountain backdrop & blue waters. The beautiful sky adds more admiration to the place. Although it was a bunch of islands & the place I stayed at (May’s Apartments – studio apartment better than 5* hotels) seemed like a remote village yet they had absolutely amazing WiFi & facilities.  Lofoten Islands were unbearably cold at night but truly are a photographer’s heaven.
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Hope you enjoyed Norway & Sweden thorough my lens. Until we meet again with other wanderings of mine, do check out my past travels around the world.

Already looking forward for future adventures,
~ Rima (The Explorer)

How to Price Your Wedding Photography Services

Often I get questions from photographers asking about how to price their photography services. Although there isn’t one specific answer to this question because several things need to be considered while pricing your services (such as: different markets, clients’ spending on weddings, your experience, demand, etc). But following principles may help you with pricing your wedding photography services.

How_to_Price_Your_Wedding_Photographer_Services

  1. Costs must be covered.
    Make sure your fixed costs are well taken care of (studio rental, assistant/second shooter, online gallery, album printing, etc). Know your fixed costs, variable costs, and then add your salary so you don’t end up working for free.
  2. Demand of your services.
    As tempting as it is to compare yourself to other photographers, don’t establish your worth based on their work/pricing. If you think you are worth $5000 and your clients are willing to pay, kudos to you.  If you are in high demand & seem overbooked, it is about time you raise your prices a little but If your bookings are decreasing, there is a good chance you’ve raised your prices too high.
  3. Adjust pricing over time. 
    If you are starting out my friend, it is okay to test the waters. Don’t hesitate to adjust your pricing gradually overtime as wedding season & demand fluctuates. Adjustments is also required if your fixed costs increases. Try at your own pace and improvise your pricing based on what needs to be done.

I hope this blog helps & wish you much success with your business.

Your friend,
~ Rima

Tea Party at John Lewis – MyList Event

It is always such a pleasure to be invited for MyList.ae‘s events. Their team is warm, welcoming, and sweethearts to say the least. And their events are fun, educational, and useful especially for the brides-to-be. This time, MyList.ae hosted a wonderful tea party in collaboration with John Lewis at Robinsons Department Store.

d4798df9-576e-4c92-b33b-3cc7341b3264 The attendees enjoyed TWG’s delicious tea, mouthwatering mini-treats, a photo-booth, and took part in raffle draws worth AED 4000+ of beautiful products from John Lewis.

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P.S. The past three MyList.ae’s events that I attended & spoke at can be found HERE (Ethan Allen), HERE (Mall of Emirates), and HERE (bloomingdale’s).

P.P.S. Follow MyList.ae on Instagram for future events. I hope to see you at their next event ❤

Resolutions, and some more!

Oh-Em-Freaking-Geeeeeeeeee!
It is mid-February already and I’m officially starting the brand new year (January was just a trial month 😀 ).

I finally got a chance to jot down a list of resolutions that I’m planning to accomplish in 2018 (better late than never right?!?).

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Resolutions & some more for 2018:

  1. have a personal photoshoot done.
  2. don’t be afraid to stay real.
  3. explore two destinations & four new places within Dubai this year.
  4. write more of personal blogs.
  5. pay extra attention to details (both personal & professional).
  6. do more styled photoshoots.
  7. work on passion projects.
  8. go to the gym more.
  9. catch up with family & friends regularly.
  10. get back to reading books.
  11. take time out when needed.
  12. lower expectations.
  13. accept changes.
  14. be more grateful…
  15. accomplish at least 11 resolutions from this list!

I know its a lo0o0ong way to go but wanting more of goodness isn’t harmful. Hopefully I’ll be able to look at this post at the end of 2018 and check-off most (if not all) resolutions 🙂

Wanna Talk about Business?

Most people look at successful photographers/studios and think it is solely because of their amazing skills and techniques. Let Me. Tell You. The TRUTH!!!!

Honest equation of being a successful photographer/studio =  20% of Photography and 80% BUSI-NESS! (get it, busy-ness/business 😉 )

I’ll tell you what…if you are an aspiring photographer, it is easy to find photography techniques on Google. You may also learn by trial-&-error & self-teaching. But one thing that most people will not teach you is how to run the photography, or in fact ANY, business!

Very very fortunately, I graduated with a business degree (majors: marketing & management – graduated with honors – on full scholarship!) So here is my humble proposal to YOU!

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  1. Do you want to learn about photography business?
  2. Need help with marketing & social media?
  3. Wanna learn how to write emails/contracts?
  4. Need help selling your services?
  5. Want to build a brand?
  6. Want to be your own boss?

If you answer YES to at least 2 of the questions above, you wouldn’t want to miss this chance. I’m hosting the very first Rima Hassan Photography’s Mixer on 9th December 2017 from 3pm-5pm in Jumeirah area, Dubai, where I will be answering all of these (and some more…) questions. And YOU are cordially invited. Only a couple of seats are left & registration will close on 7 December 2017. All you need to do is fill out the form on THIS LINK.

I hope you join me to celebrate photography & talk business!

GirlBoss,
~ 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! 🙂

A Step Forward…

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.

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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,
~ Rima

Things Worth Seeing…

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…

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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….