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….

Zabeel Hall, DWTC Wedding – Huda & Ibrahim

Her phone rung and, busy as she was in makeup chair, she requested me to see who it was.
Instead of a name, it said ‘My One & Only <3’.
I smiled and told her. A bigger smile came as her reaction.

When Ibrahim came in the bridal suite, he was beaming so much that the room didn’t need any lights. The exchange of smiles & unspoken promises of a lifetime between them were a vision. My heart melted as I clicked through it all.

Huda & Ibrahim celebrated their wedding in Zabeel Hall of Dubai World Trade Center. The kosha/stage and ballroom decorations were done by Klassna Events. My personal favorite was the ramp/catwalk of the stage that seemed like thousand of stars lined up for the bride’s entrance. Huda wore a stunning Hazar Couture bridal gown & Manolo Blahnik shoes. The super talented Layali‘s makeup added a perfect amount of awesomeness to the day and made Huda look even more stunning.

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Dearest Huda & Ibrahim,

Both of you are gems that shine even brighter near each other. I adore you two and your chemistry both on and off cameras. Thank you for giving me the honor of documenting your wedding day. I pray to Allah that you both always love, cherish, and live your lives to the fullest together, each other’s One & Only! Forever. Ameen.

Much appreciation,
~ Rima

Barsha, Dubai Henna – Maryam J. & Mohamed

People stared.
And she made it worth their while.

With incomparable style and months of planning, Maryam stunned all the guests with abundance of details, thought, and exceptional planning for her henna night. I already was a fan of her planning skills since her engagement day, but documenting her henna made me beyond excited.

Maryam & Mohamed’s henna night was celebrated at their hottest villa in Barsha. The decorations were done beautifully and with keen attention to details by Iqbal Wedding Events.  Maryam wore a stunning dress & shoes customized from Bahrain. Lots of gold & green details with bottles of kajal (khol) and atar (perfumes), lanterns hanging from the ceiling gave a sense of traditional henna party with a modern twist of barqah with Swarovski crystals and pops of hot pink color here and there.

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Dearest Maryam & Mohamed,

Where do I begin? I’ll start with my humble appreciation of you both for choosing me again. You two are adorable and I feel above and beyond honored for the opportunity of having you both in front of my camera. Thank you again for your trust and friendship. I will always, alwaysssss, alwayssssssssssssss cherish it  ❤

Love,
~ Rima

Grand Hyatt Dubai Wedding – Khalid & Nouf

Her eyes were trained to see perfection.
Her heart, love.
When she saw a small loose thread coming out of her right sleeve, everybody present in the room got busy looking for a pair of scissors.
When all failed, her prince charming came to the rescue.

He was ready to pull the thread but all the girls shrieked simultaneously, including the bride. He smiled and assured everyone it’s alright. Her forehead scrunched with worry. He lowered his head and cut the thread with his teeth. As he looked up to see her expression, she smiled gratefully. The magic happened in the moment.

Nouf & Khalid celebrated their magical wedding night in Baniyas ballroom of Grand Hyatt, Dubai. The entrance, three types of centerpieces, candy stations, and stage/kosha was miraculously designed and decorated by Omar & Mohamed (and yes, two thumbs up to these guys for always providing the perrrrrrrrfect lighting). The details were topped with gourmet handmade designer candy with the bride and groom’s name on it by CandyMe.

I fell in love with Nouf’s gorgeous bridal gown by Esposa. Nouf wore her beautiful shoes by Miu Miu for her entrance and then changed into stunning D&G Rainbow Lace Collection pumps when it was time to dance.

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My dearest Nouf & Khalid,

Where do I begin? Even since our first meeting, I always felt so overjoyed thinking about all the plans that you had for your wedding. Your big day was above and beyond my imagination. Every details reflected perfection. I can’t express how grateful I am for your trust and friendship – especially for giving me full permission to show my creativity. Documenting your wedding was an absolute honor and your friendship is something I will alwaysssssssssssssss cherish for the rest of my life. May the Almighty blesses you both with his utmost attention, care, mercy, and lovely magical moments – forever! ameen.

Love,
~ Rima

Choosing THE Wedding Photographer

Dear Brides-to-be,

You are probably on a hunt to find the best person who can document your wedding day. Let me take a minute and explain why choosing a wedding photographer is a lot more than choosing someone to take good photos.

Wedding photographers are the only wedding vendors who will be with you throughout the day, witnessing your love story unfold, and documenting the union of two people beginning a new journey. We are in the business of love.

To enhance your experience and to make sure that your day goes smoothly, here are some tips to make sure you choose the right wedding photographer to document your big day.

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  1. Research Well – during the tiring wedding planning, don’t just hire a photographer that your best friend and/or cousin hired. Make sure you choose someone who fits your budget as well as your aesthetic vision. If you are planning an indoor wedding, do NOT choose an outdoor photographer merely based on how much you like their photos. Choose someone who’s style matches yours especially based on the type of wedding you are planning.
  2. Meet the Photographer – after cutting down the list of best choices, email the photographers to set up a meeting (given that they live in the same city). If you are planning to have a destination photographer, make sure to have a Skype session to explain your wedding planning and requirements.
  3. Personality Matters (a lot!) – Once you meet/Skype with the selected photographers, then decide to hire one you can imagine having around on your big day. If you gel well with the photographer during the initial meeting, chances are they are the ones you want to spend your special day with.
  4. Communication is the Key – make sure to keep your photographer in loop via email sharing special details, décor design, asking for their feedback. Do not hesitate to ask questions regarding lighting, timelines, and stage layout. Also, make sure you are comfortable enough with the photographer to discuss any family and/or timeline issues that may occur on the wedding day.
  5. Timeline is Essential – If a photographer is not asking for a timeline, make sure you take things in your hands and discuss how your day will go. Discuss what time you expect them to arrive and for how long you will need them for. Ask them how much time they need for bride & groom’s formals and family photos.
  6. Trust is a valuable asset – when you choose a photographer after research, trust them. Refrain from asking to see every photo that they click.What you see is unedited and may make the photographer hesitant and under pressure.
  7. Go with the Flow – it is crucial to understand that things will go wrong on the wedding day. They always do. The bouquet is not the right size, the makeup artist is late, the centerpieces have pink peonies instead of white. Don’t let things ruin your day (and photos). Brides who are angry will look angry in the photos despite of the efforts to smile. Believe that your wedding day will end well and it will.

May you find the best photographer who’s intention is to provide you an experience along with beautiful photos. May the photographer with happy memories of your wedding day. Oh and in case you want to get in touch with me, fill out the contact form to holla at your girl 🙂

Love,
~ Rima

Jumeirah Beach Hotel Wedding – Khalid & Farida

She wore the last piece of her jewelry and her long eyelashes lifted up slowly – as hands go up while making a dua (prayer) – and she smiled. Her deep dimples added authenticity to her beauty. I smiled behind the camera.

Only if one could see behind his beard, I was sure he had a dimple if not dimples. He also had the same soft smile, polite gestures, and love for her in his eyes. Looking at both of them together, I smiled behind the camera. Again.

They were so very similar. Well mannered, educated, soft-spoken, and sharing lots of love. There was just one difference. He was cracking jokes and she was the laughing one. It was a perfect difference. They were similar yet still complimenting each other. Flawlessly. I smiled behind the camera throughout the night.

Farida & Khalid celebrated their wedding in Jumeirah Beach Hotel in Dubai. The stage/kosha and ballroom was decorated by Essa AlHadad. Farida wore a gorgeous dress from Pronovias and Miss Selfridge shoes. Her bouquet was from Qasr Al Jori.

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Dearest Farida & Khalid,

Ahhh….where do I start?!? Meeting, knowing, and documenting your beautiful wedding has been both my pleasure and honor. You two are one of my most sophisticated & fun couples whom I proudly call friends. May the Almighty always showers you with health, success, happiness, and keep your dimples deep with smiles.

With love,
~ Rima

Sharjah Engagement – Aisha & Abdulaziz

I walked into the villa’s main entrance and stopped to admire the setup (and of course to SnapChat it).

White orchids were gracing the rustic themed centerpieces made of woods with baby’s-breath & candles. “So, what do you think…??” A guy asked me. “I’m loving this!!!” I said loud and proud and asked him what’s his name. “Abdulaziz” he replied. “OMG, you are the groom…” I said in semi-disbelieve & very impressed. He was running around to make sure everything’s perfect. And indeed everything was perfectly perfect.

I went inside the house to meet Aisha and announced “He’s a keeper!” She gave a million dollar smile as she knew it already. Her sincere smile was so alluring that I smiled too and had no doubt that it’ll be a great night for me and a great life for them, together.

Aisha & Abdulaziz celebrated their full of details engagement party in Sharjah. I loved their families and enjoyed every moment of watching them together. Aisha looked stunning in her purple dress, Jimmy Choo shoes, holding a white bouquet, and wearing the gorgeous diamond jewelry set. Abdulaziz looked handsome wearing a white Kandoora (traditional Arabic men’s dress) and was very popular amongst kids as they surrounded him while he hugged them lovingly.

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Dearest Aisha & Abdulaziz,

Thank you from the core of my heart for trusting so much (without even meeting me) & hiring me to document your first day as husband and wife. Watching you two together made my heart full. Aisha, your beauty and Abdulaziz’s gentleman-ness is to the extreme. I look forward to see what you guys are planning for your wedding. Both of you are amazing human beings and when you are together, your awesomeness multiplies to a 100th power ❤

Cheers to Happiness & TarBoooooshas! 😀

Much appreciation,
~ Rima

I See Yes!

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….

Barsha_Engagement_Dubai_Wedding_Female_Photographer_UAE_Rima_Hassan_0020

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!

YES,
~ Rima