Studio Tour: Enchante Studios

Studio Tour: Enchanté Studios

Whether you’re planning a ‘post-wedding’ gown shoot, fun photos with your girlfriends, or some sultry boudoir shots for you and your husband to-be, Enchanté Studios has the perfect location. Run by photographer Shyrell Tamayo and based in Business Bay, close to Dubai Mall, the studios are airy, pretty and, above all, sooooo dreamy! I had my business portraits done there and, I’ll admit, I’m slightly envious of the beautiful space.

The super-talented and lovely Shyrell invited us into her studio for the day to talk brides, interiors, business and, of course, photography.

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What made you want to become a photographer?

It was pure luck! When I left corporate work in late 2011, I went home to the Philippines for a while to unwind. I brought our old DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera with me to document our stay. At the time, I had no idea how to shoot manually or artistically. I just really loved photographing details and scenery, and used full auto.

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While I was away, my hubby was looking for a new camera and was sold a pro-level model with lenses. Friends in publishing told me he’d acquired one of the best pieces of equipment available at the time. Out of curiosity, I started playing around it. I practised on friends in manual mode, and watched tons of free online resources. I documented my progress on a Facebook page and then friends of friends started offering to pay me to do shoots for them.

Since then, I’ve spent more time learning to shoot; I’ve worked hard learning proper editing techniques and understanding light; and have invested in better equipment. Now, I’m a fully fledged photographer specialising in women’s portraits. 

Have you always dreamt of opening your own photography studio and how did it feel when you received your keys?  

When I first converted a spare room in our house into my office, props room and editing studio, I shared a photo of my new space online and told everyone that, one day, I’d love to have a natural-light studio in Business Bay. A mere two months later, this vision came true.

I didn’t look anywhere other than Business Bay – it’s the closest business district to Mirdif, where we live, and the idea of looking out to the tallest tower in the world makes me feel like I’ve made it, haha! 

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After lots of building visits, we found the perfect place for our budget and taste. The space we found was a ‘shell and core’, which meant we got to be creative with the aesthetics. I was so excited when we picked up the keys, but, at the same time, it dawned on me that there was no turning back. I was officially in business. I now have overhead costs that I have to cover – the challenge is real and I can no longer do this just for fun. That did scare me a little, but I pushed past my fears and doubts and work really hard to make it a success.

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What inspired the interiors and where do you purchase all your props? Any favourite stores?

I have always wanted a clean, fresh minimalist space. White spaces appeal to me as I feel like I can think clearly. I was so excited to see an empty shell with exposed bricks, so we kept the walls and painted layers and layers of paint over them. We also decided to keep the ceiling open, exposing the pipes and wirings. I wanted an open-plan, urban, white studio overlooking the high-rise buildings and lake, and am so happy we’ve achieved the cozy city-life vibe I was aiming for. I like to think our studio attracts independent women who are attuned to their feminine side and are movers and shakers in this city.

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Our interiors contain a mix of furniture. I love IKEA for its flexible furniture and white pieces, and West Elm for the rawness of its stock – the solid wood pieces with a nice mix of metal provided just the urban feel I wanted. I then added a few Marina Home accessories. I go to DragonMart to look for props and that’s where I bought the ‘ice-breaker’ conversation pieces – the swing and the bike.

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I try not to over-buy props. Everything must serve a dual purpose – If I can’t use something as an accessory or for display, then it won’t pass as a prop.

Talk us through some of the studio photography packages you offer at Enchanté.

We primarily shoot women at the studio. Our main goal is for women to embrace and celebrate themselves as who they are. We have proven time and time again just how uplifting it is to see one’s own beauty in the eyes of another. We encourage women of all sizes and ages to love themselves more and not be pressured by what the media and fashion dictate. Our services at the studio reflect that. Our three main genres are beauty sessions, boudoir and business/press portraits for female entrepreneurs. 

Our BEAUTY SESSION is all about showing women how those gorgeous magazine photos are actually created. Models, although pretty, don’t just sit there – a lot of work goes on behind the scenes, and the impactful images are the result of human connections and body language. This can be done by everyday women, too, who can be just as beautiful in their own ways. We work on building confidence, and always make sure to show our clients what they look like from behind the camera.

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Our BOUDOIR SESSION is very similar to our beauty session. Just a whole lot more fun! You get to explore more of yourself and fully embrace your body. We’ve found that most of our clients really prepare for these sessions by following healthier lifestyles. Some shop for clothes they want to wear on the shoot months in advance and work their way to their body goal. In the end, it’s a win-win – achieving the body they want, experiencing a super-fun session and receiving amazing photos.

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Our BUSINESS/PRESS PORTRAIT SESSION is, by far, the most booked session at the studio. Women entrepreneurs know that in order to advance in business, they need to build strong branding. Consumers are more likely to do business with people they think they can trust and that’s where personal branding comes into play. Savvy consumers tend to trust people who are open to interviews and share more about their products and services. 

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We also from time to time shoot lifestyle portraits for families and couples getting engaged, as well as post-bridal portraits for brides who need a second chance at getting some nice portraits with their wedding gowns.

You also shoot wedding set-ups outside your studio. Any favourites you can share with us?

I have been fortunate enough to work with many event/wedding planners and have a few favourites. If you visit the events section of our website, you’ll find out who we are obsessed with 🙂 Our favourites definitely made it into our portfolio!

Finally, through sheer hard work, you have achieved so much in a short timeframe – what’s next for Enchanté?

Thank you so much. We have been blessed to achieve what we have so far. We really are still taking baby steps, but have been very fortunate to have been trusted by so many people in the industry. Bride Club ME has supported us from the beginning, along with so many clients who have repeatedly referred us to family and friends. I am proud to say that our business has grown organically  through word of mouth and referrals. I would like to be able to keep building our services for women and see Enchanté become the go-to studio for women’s portraits in the UAE. 

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Thank you Shyrell! For more information on booking a studio session with Enchanté Studios, visit their BCME vendor club listing here, or visit their website here.

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