Beamish Hall Wedding Photographer: Indian Arab WeddingShadiya + Pallav part two

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The second part of this gorgeous couples posts (click here for the prewed)- this is Shadiya and Pallav’s beautiful Beamish Hall wedding.

This was such a beautiful wedding to photograph- the couple were very particular with who they worked with and had a clear vision for the look they wanted for their wedding day.
The end result was a beautiful feminine fusion of both Indian and Arabic cultures as well as both the bride groom’s personalities- there was a lot of vintage themes accompanied by small, sweet details and some absolutely beautiful flowers everywhere which made for a photographers dream! Oh and did I mention Belly dancers?!!!

All week I was anxious if the weather would behave in a week which had a lot of rain spells but as I arrived at Beamish Hall that morning I was so relieved at how beautiful a day it was! So far so good!
As we met up with Shadiya, she & her sister were having their makeup done by the lovely La Belle Vous team, everyone was in great spirits to start so I knew this was turning out to be a special day!
Both the bride and her bridesmaid looked stunning thanks to this team who I look forward to working with again!

Luckily Pallav was also getting ready at Beamish Hall so I was able to run between the couple to photograph them!
Now for some minor history; I’ve asked Pallav for a few years now if he’d be interested in modelling but he was too shy & declined, so I was pretty happy to be able to show him on his wedding day that he really was a natural!! In fact they both are- I don’t think I need to emphasise anymore at how stunning these two are together!!

As with all weddings there was an air of nervous anxiety by the time the proceedings were to start but I knew of a few humourous suprises which were about to follow..
The best man played a classic prank saying he had forgotten & left the wedding rings in the room upstairs but luckily had an assistant bringing it down- he calmly puts on a white glove and a magnificient WHITE OWL flies in with the rings just in time! The couple and guest’s reaction was absolutely fantastic!
An additional, unexpected, laugh came about when Shadiya became so tongue tied pronouncing her (very long) name during the vows that she had to pause- I’ll put it down to nerves but I couldn’t help but join with the laughing at this point!!!

After some very embarrassing speeches the couple took to the dancefloor and you could see how happy they were during their first dance.
As everyone else joined them thereafter the party really kicked in and they all danced the night away!
I am not going to comment on people’s dancing skills.. nope, I wont! haha!

This was such a fun, beautiful & polite wedding to photograph! I am glad to have couples such as Shadiya and Pallav as clients but more importantly as friends. Be it in English, Hindi or Arabic- Congrats!

NB: A massive shout out to event management & decor organiser Sandeep Kapoor (Chai Events) and team who were an absolute pleasure to work with. I cannot stress how smooth the day went with everyone being able to communicate with one another, I was able to maximise my time by knowing ahead of any delays in the kitchen etc! Would highly recommend.

Makeup: La Belle Vous
Dress: House of Mooshki
DJs: Devastasian
Table decor: Timeless Tables
Florist: Fleur Couture Floral Design
Event management: Chai Events
Luna the Owl: Wingbearers

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Shadiya + Pallav: Lake District Prewed Photographypart one

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The first of a two part blog post starting with this couple’s Lake District Prewed photography session!
A lot of people have been asking me all summer about this beautiful Indian Arab couple who’s Prewed I photographed at the Lake District UK.
The chemistry between these two is simply ADDICTIVE so, naturally, people feel genuinely happy for them and wanted to know more!

Meet Shadiya and Pallav- two crazy souls who are truly, madly in love.
When my friend and fellow optometrist Shadiya told me a few years ago she has met someone and thinks he is ‘the one’ I thought ‘oh God, not another lovestruck girl’ haha!
Then I meet him and realise what a great guy Pallav was- strong, sincere, humble, kind & fully in love with my friend. They were perfect for each other!
Plus he really reminded me of Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar.
I knew then it was only a matter of time before they get married one day!

Fast forward to the present day, I’m now a wedding photographer so get a call from Shadiya saying her and Pallav are finally going to tie the knot and decided from the very first moment they would only book one person to document their big day- me! Woohooo!

What I loved most about this shoot was we literally took it as it came- we went on a road trip, talked about life, chilled out at different spots, cracked jokes and took photos!
The couple placed complete trust in my vision and didn’t restrict me on my creative process- everyone is elated with the end result so here are some of these!

Watch out for the wedding post here!
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Jas + Rav: Indian Prewed in ParisPyar in Paris

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I’m sat here showing some guests my blog and then realise- I never actually got round to blogging about this beautiful Indian Prewed in Paris from last YEAR!!! Yikes!!!

So it’s March 2012, I’m on my way home after a swanky haircut when I receive a call from my friend & fellow photographer Dannish who asks if I have any plans at the end of May? I say its my birthday but no plans as such. He asks if I fancy going to Paris? “Aww bro, thats sooo nice of you..” I reply before he interrupts me to explain “this is for a prewed, obviously not a guys holiday idiot!” Ooops!

Two months soon pass and it was time to fly to my first destination shoot of the year- I had not met the couple and was simply instructed to be my super cool self (OK maybe super cool was not the exact words but lets not concentrate on semantics!).

We arrive in Paris during the hottest weekend of the year- absolutely beautiful city! You’ve probably heard it a million times before but just trust me- you NEED TO go there!
We arranged to meet the couple for coffee in Notre Dam so when I got there and saw my friend, Rav, from Newcastle the penny didn’t quite drop straight away!! Haha! I’ve known Rav for ages, I knew his uncle from when I used to be a DJ in Leeds and have even dipped my feet into the pool at his house!! This broke any ice straight away!!

These guys are both ridiculously good looking & looked HOT together! So much so that when we arrived at the Eiffel tower some holiday goers from India came up to ask me if this was the shooting of a Bollywood movie? I said yes and Rav was infact ‘Sanjay Kumar’- the (fictional) nephew of Bollywood heart throb Akshay Kumar. At this point the Indian group all agreed they have heard of him before (haha) especially when the couple played along. Jaskaren joined in with her Bollywood alias of ‘Anjali Chopra’ and I suspect lived out all her repressed Bollywood dreams!!

As the crowd were about to leave one man asked what was the name of the movie- everyone looked at me so I, in a rare moment of genius, blurt out “Pyar in Paris” to everyones satisfaction (I really do love alliteration!)
By evening time this Bollywood theme became a running joke and especially after a random guy with a DSLR started following us and took video’s because he was convinced these guys were famous! In some ways they are, Jaskaren is quite the social butterfly!!

If you search the hashtag #pyaarinparis you’ll find us joking about it across different social networks for ages!!

I could talk for England (or France rather) about how much of a cool time we all had that weekend and even since then but lets proceed to some photos!
Rav and Jaskaren, AKA Sanjay & Anjali, you were a joy to hang around with!
This is your Pyar in Paris

Indian Wedding Photography Leeds: Gursh + SelindaSikh Wedding Photographer

It’s been a while since I have blogged Indian wedding photography so now that the year is coming to a close I thought I’d start with this beautiful Sikh wedding of my stunning friends Gursh and Selinda shot between Leeds and London.

I’ve known Gursh since university days and have been on many adventures together so it was an honour to have been asked to photograph the beginning of his greatest adventure yet- marriage!

This shy couple met up with me early last spring to tell me about their amazing plans for the big day taking place at the Leeds Road Gurdwara followed by the wedding reception at the stunning Royal Armouries Museum in Clarence Dock, Leeds.
I rarely venture into London for photography but it was only fitting to shoot their Prewed in London as they both worked & had spent a lot of time there. We decided to revisit a lot of the places that held meaning to them and squeezed in as much as I could in that day.
I am very grateful to the very talented and polite Zohaib Ali who assisted me during my time in London- awesome guy who will go far!

Its safe to say this couple look gorgeous together and Selinda looked incredible by the big day- I was particularly impressed with the finished fusion look created by talented makeup artist Rishu while we were by the balcony over looking the beautiful Yorkshire scenery that morning!
One of the many highlights of the reception was a dance performances by ‘Gabru Panjab De’ who are a nationally sought after Panjabi dance group- even better was the look of horror on Gursh when he realised they wanted him to join in! haha!

This was such a joyous celebration and it was great bumping into friends from both my personal and professional life!
Particular mentions to Delsonic who did a great job keeping that dance floor rocking all evening- everyone loves photographing a lively party! A massive thanks to Adeel for second shooting with me through this whole celebration- THE most chilled guy in the world!!!

Below are some highlights from the day
Enjoy

2nd Photograher: Adeel Arshad
DJs: Delsonic
Catering: Apna Khana

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Sara + Obie: Arab Wedding Photography in EgyptCairo Marriott Wedding Photographer

It’s been a while since I last updated my blog- as wedding season came into full swing the gap continued to widen and widen, it was only a few days ago that my couple were celebrating their ANNIVERSARY that I thought “I should really get back to blogging..”
So here goes, an destination wedding photography assignment in Egypt last summer- Arab Wedding Photography being THE most AMAZING experience and opportunity I have had as a photographer.

I was sitting at home editing some wedding photos in between Dr.Who when I receive a text from the lovely Neesha (who’s Newcastle Indian Wedding I photographed earlier in the year) that her engaged friends Sara and Obie were impressed by how discretely I worked at her wedding and would be interested in a shoot after they come back from their wedding in Egypt- I joked that they should take me to Egypt with them and not for a second imagined I’d receive a call from Sara a few days later proposing just that!

My BROTHER was getting married in Bangladesh a few days before Sara’s wedding (which I also photographed!) and I was in the middle of booking my flights so I wasn’t sure if everything could be managed within the timeframe leaving room for delays etc to make it to Egypt so we decided to meet up the very next day before I flew out on holiday (I’m a jet setter I’ll have you know!).

When I met Sara it was unusual to say the least.. she was in her scrubs, having just come out of performing surgery, sat in the middle of the coffee shop in the hospital during her break! Slightly uneasy to start, I soon forgot about our environment as soon as she started excitedly describing about her amazing plans for the BIG day!

Firstly, there was going to be TWO wedding dresses- the venue had a secret wall and after dinner the couple would get into their second outfit and the partition would open up to reveal the suprise before they do their SECOND first dance (yes I know what you’re thinking!!!!!!). I was blown away by all the plans and knew this would be a memorable experience even before setting foot.

I wanted to tell all my friends that I was photographing an Arabic wedding in Egypt but had to keep it a secret- Obie didn’t know Sara had booked me as she wanted this to be a surprise for him as he really wanted a creative photographer!!! When I landed in Egypt we all met up in that evening at the Marriott in Cairo where Obie was just shocked when he realised what was happening, afterward we all went out to Khan el Khalili to hang out.

This was the most amazing wedding ever. Sara’s makeup was done by celebrity makeup artist Alaa Eltonsy and she looked amazing- in fact a lot of my instagram and facebook followers say she looks like a Kardashian, the wedding planner at the hotel and indeed all the staff were so friendly and excited in helping me during the day as I took the couple around the venue for photos (which I was told never really happens in Egypt), the guests were from all over the world whether it was Cyprus, Australia, Iraq, Dubai, Syria or the UK and they all knew me as the guy flown in from the UK- I felt like a celebrity!!! haha!!

Best of all when I left Bangladesh a few days earlier when people asked about my short stay, my mum replied “oh he’s just flying off to Egypt to photograph a wedding” all casually with a big proud mothers grin- such a great feeling.

I could talk for ages about this wonderful wedding, the people, the food (that deserves its own post- well done Mr chef), the culture and joy but will stop here so you can enjoy the images.

So much has happened in one year, I really pray for peace in Egypt as the people are genuinely lovely, have such rich culture and are such wonderful hosts- everyone should get married (or at least visit) there, I cannot wait to be back!
Thank you for the opportunity and friendship Sara and Obie.
Mabrook

My Walk: Street Photography Bangladesh

Visiting somewhere 23 years later, you’d expect it to all feel totally fresh, but no; there was something familiar about my visit.
Could it be the stories I’ve heard growing up or the countless home movies seen in various friends houses when I’d visit? Could it be that I was just desperate to make some form of connection and had convinced myself or that I just have incredibly good memory? No.
It was the people & only after speaking to them you realise they are just like you and me.

I remember sitting around one evening and explaining to a villager that we have very little free time in the UK so keep in touch via the internet where we can share photos of our lives- he looked at me like I was an idiot and said “oh you mean like facebook?” as he pulled his phone out of pocket!!!
He explained its not so popular there as people didn’t see the point replying to people one by one on a phone when they could just arrange to hang out in person instead- surely that was better?
It made me think that maybe he was right, is it true that we are in fact so busy that we can’t spend time with loved ones or is it something which has been conditioned into us by mobile phone/ BT adverts/ TV etc over the course of time?
Lesson learned- I switched off my phone’s roaming capabilities to disconnect from the outside world and enjoy discovery for myself, and not to share instantly.

I didn’t spend much time in Bangladesh- in fact it was a grand total of 4 days including a Wedding and Mendhi sandwiched in the middle of that so most people I met were within 10 minutes walk of me and the photos taken were a mix of those and what I photographed from my coach window to and from the airport.
I had so many photo opportunities but instead decided to stop and talk to people, something which I’m really glad I did.

I remember an old man inviting me to his home so he can show me his pride and joy- hit western style fully cream tiled bathroom which he had built after saving up for a very long time, his one piece of the dream.
As I looked around though he had a lot which westerners would envy- he lived in a spacious home surrounded by lush vegetation, had great neighbours who would commune at the bottom of the hill throughout the day and plan on who’s hosting dinner that evening. He had no worry of theft- he’d wake up to noisy kids playing football on his lawn who’d later assist him in hanging his washing. He had clean air, blue skies and childhood friends still living next door. Maybe he had more of my dream than he realised.

I met so many intelligent and capable people who had the raw skill sets that could easily lead them into managerial or project leading roles with some nurturing but they did not have the resources to hand, so spend the next few decades looking at ways to escape.
Is that the best thing to do? I do not know- however most British Bengali kids parents did have that dream once and nearly all crave to go back once their kids have grown up.

The most memorable moment for me was on the night before I left- I returned from visiting a sick uncle quite late at night and found my grandmothers brother had came to see me. He watched me make a shisha before we got chatting and was amused because it reminded him of my grandad, who passed away before I was born, as he was one of the few people who loved it too.

He said my demeanor and stature was like seeing a ripple in time which took him back to that age when they were young.
He told me, with tears in his eyes, the night my grandmother passed away he cried for me because I’d grow up without any grandparents love, that I may not recognise him but he has loved and prayed for me every friday for the last 23 years. He was elated to finally meet me as an adult and to hear of my life now, as he suspects he wont be here the next time I visit Bangladesh.

As I journeyed back on my coach and looked out the window all I could do was think of my grandmother & what her life growing up must have been like.
Maybe this is why it all felt so familiar.

Ahsan and Seema: Wynyard Hall Wedding Photographer

They say the best things in life come in three’s and the third event in Ahsan & Seema’s wedding proved it!
In a week that had spells of rain forecast we had AMAZING weather through the wedding, walima and now the Wynyard Hall Wedding reception!
Seema looked stunning in her white dress, Ahsan looked SLICK in his suit, the bridesmaids looked brilliant in their matching dresses and dare I say it, I looked decent for once also!!

Anyone who’s been to Wynyard hall will tell you its absolutely stunning- the grandeur, history and details in the architecture are simply majestic!
Capacity issues normally restrict full asian weddings being held inside, luckily the couple planned for an intimate reception with just close friends and colleagues so really could not have picked a better venue in the north east!!

Of the many highlights from the evening, for me it was a secret piano performance by Seema for Ahsan that was most memorable- she’d been secretly juggling lessons around the busy schedule of wedding planning and work commitments much to everyones delight with a beautiful rendition to I’ll be there by the Jackson 5. The look on her husbands face was priceless!

After speeches and dinner we proceeded to a second room where the couple had their first dance followed by EVERYONE letting their hair down- after packing up I couldn’t resist so joined in for the last few songs: I’m fairly sure everyone was impressed!!
On all three days I was joined by Wayne from Green Biscuit Studio’s who videographed the week long celebration, not only a joy to work with I was really impressed when I saw the teaser trailer especially considering it was their first asian wedding- I have posted this at the end!

My final thoughts are centred around faith.
As a man of faith myself, trust is very valuable asset to me. I feel overwhelmed and grateful that Ahsan and Seema trusted in my vision to capture all of their celebrations, this is before I had a diverse portfolio or the many additions to my gear and knowledge over this year.
Knowing someone has placed faith in you really motivates, drives and encourages you to push yourself further, work harder & inspires your inner artist to flourish in capturing these moments.
We have now become great friends and I can place my hand on my heart to say I have faith that these two lovebirds are going to live happily together, forever.
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An insight- Street Photography in India

There’s something about India thats mere mention makes any travel discussion a whole lot more interesting- I am yet to meet someone who has been to India and not come back with a fun or deeply insightful story!

Growing up in the 80s British Asians had limited coverage in the media on anything about Asia let alone Bangladesh (where my parents originate) so I remember how our family would rush home early and have the (now extinct) VHS ready to record if they read on the Radio Times that there would be a documentary on Bangladesh that day.

These tapes would be watched repeatedly and attentively by my parents to remind them of home. By me, my brother and sisters to educate us a bit more about our heritage in a manner which was more understandable to us and, of course, was the talking point of any social gatherings for weeks to come.

However these documentaries were scarce- maybe airing once every year or two so it wasn’t an especially available medium but we’d see India on TV a couple of times a year (especially after the huge surge in popularity of Bollywood in the UK) so naturally looked to these as an insight and part cultural nourishment too from our nearest neighbour to Bangladesh.
Bollywood films were instrumental in growing up to maintaining both my Asian & Islamic values- praying was an almost alien act to my peers in school, rarely seen on TV/ films/ books so watching films where protagonists would pray with their families, not be glamourising alcoholism or womanising was both refreshing and reassuring- I was not an Alien!
In fact growing up I watched so many Indian movies that my ability to speak and understand Indian dialects is a LOT better rehearsed than my Bangla- something my mum has never been too pleased about haha!

As you can imagine I have been fascinated by India all my life so early last year when I had the opportunity to visit Mumbai (the home of Indian cinema) and Delhi I knew this was one of the best street photography opportunities in the world.

If you’re an observant person then you absolutely cannot walk down a street in India without learning something new about the culture- whether it’s the etiquette in queuing up for tickets at the train station or knowing the expected dress codes for the hip & happening lounges in Delhi, or simply learning how to keep yourself safe eating street food in one of the most densely populated countries in the world.

I could go on about how I was mistaken for a Bollywood art director when I was photographing the Gateway of India, or how I missed Saif Ali Khan by just 2 hours or nearly got robbed by a rogue taxi driver if I hadn’t spotted him signalling his friends about their latest victim! Sooo many stories, I lived it and I loved it- but I’d rather you see some of my street photography in India instead and hopefully visit for yourself!

I am going to Bangladesh this summer for the first time in 21 years and there is something about this trip and these photos which have really given me a boost and driven my excitement for my upcoming visit.
Enjoy & Namaaste!

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