Get To Know The Wedding Pro – Nabeela Huda, Wedding Photographer, Abu Dhabi
Each month, we shine the spotlight on wedding businesses, allowing you, our reader, to get up close and personal with some of the best wedding vendors in town. Here, you can learn more about the people behind some of the businesses you may be using to make your wedding the day you’ve always dreamed of!
This month, we talk to self-professed ‘Hopeless Romantic’, Nabeela Huda. Nabeela is a self-taught wedding and lifestyle photographer, born and bred in Abu Dhabi. We discuss her journey to date; fav wedding and engagement shoot hot spots and what makes her style of photography unique…..Enjoy!
What first inspired you to be become a photographer and, in particular, to photograph couples and weddings?
I always enjoyed seeing my dad take photos in family gatherings and everyone laughing as they got ready for their shot. Back then when everything was on film, we had to eagerly wait to receive the prints so we could reminisce and revisit memory lane. To finally hold those prints in my tiny hands was just a feeling that I could not shake off. I knew then nothing besides photography would give me that.
After dabbling in other types of photography, I had come to realise I enjoyed a very “tell-it-like-it-is” style of documentary shooting. So, one day I decided to accompany my friend and assist her as a second shooter to a wedding. I found the whirlwind of emotions enthralling. Being in the eye of the tornado, I could document and preserve the story of her wedding day; the hurried sisters getting the bride ready, the mother frantically fixing the last details, the anticipation of the bride and her groom as they tie the knot, and finally a dramatic end to the long-awaited ceremony with a party that celebrates the two.
Can you remember the first couple you photographed? Talk us through the experience.
My first wedding was in 2015 and it came through a reference to who I will be forever grateful because I fell in love with my couple! Their wedding was one for the records – not only was it my very first wedding to shoot alone, but it was the only day in December that Dubai’s sky held angry clouds (i.e. Burj Khalifa was almost hidden from the Palace Downtown, the wedding venue). It was a cocktail of stress that the outdoor reception would be soon drenched and the thrill to celebrate my first wedded couple. Luckily it all ended in laughter as we made it to the end of the day without any hiccups or storm! Thinking back, I believe that is when I knew I want to help couples document their days exactly as it went; despite my own tears and sweat (ha-ha).
I am also proud to say that till-date, I’ve been included in the happy milestones of their growing family!
How would you describe your style of photography and what makes you stand out from others in the region?
I think hands down there are so many great names and talents in the region that every couple has the liberty of finding a style that suits them. However, if you want to remember the day as it is, almost like noting down every important minute in your journal – that is my style of photography. I enjoy shooting organic, fun, candid and documentary style to record the day as it was. If you’re worried about posing or being in front of the camera, I assure you I am encouraging and silly, whatever makes you laugh! If you want that rare moment of your father crying or an embarrassing photo of your best friend for life – that’s my realm.
As a child of the UAE, I have grown up in the customs and values of those who live and come to work here. I offer my clients a boutique-experience through my one-on-one consultations and try to get to know the couple personally. I feel passionately about making this a collaborative and magical experience from start to finish for my clients. I want to be a friend shooting your wedding day instead of a stranger hanging around with their big cameras.
Tell us about the process you go through with the bride and groom, from the very first consultation to the wedding event itself…
One of the reasons I chose to build my life around wedding photography was because it is such an interpersonal experience for me. My greatest fulfillment comes from forming friendships with my couple so that I can earn their trust and the honor to capture their wedding day beautifully.
Once I receive a request, I schedule a call or a meeting to get a feel of their personalities and learn what they are hoping for in their dream weddings. This can take forms in many ways; sometimes I encourage my clients to talk me through a schedule of how they assume the day would go, or if they’re in the country, we walk through the wedding venue brainstorming ideas and getting excited together on how their day could go. This helps me recommend an honest number of minimum hours I believe they should invest in photography.
To help them out and on a need basis, I create a photo-agenda (especially if my couples aren’t working with a wedding planner) to help guide them through the day that will best maximize their photography time. Closer to the wedding date, I also work with a trusted point of contact who can help guide me through the family tree (I do my best to make sure no one is left out!),
I also encourage my clients to opt for an engagement/pre-wedding session in advance so that we can warm them up in front of my camera before the real day. After that, it’s showing up with smiles, warm hugs, and watching the day unfold.
What advice would you give to couples who are looking for a wedding photographer?
This is an important, and if not the most anticipated day of our lives that we are prepping for the longest time. It’s essential to get every detail right; from chairs to cake, flowers to etc. – however when the day is done and everything is being packed up or eaten, your photos will remain the longest – on your phones, computers, hard drives, or on a high shelf in the closet.
My greatest advice is to connect with the person who is shooting your wedding. As you will be with them most of the day, it is important to be able to bond with them and truly rely on them for the most pleasant experience. Get to know your photographers and their styles better to see if they work for you. A printed album is essential, but the right photographer aims to deliver photos that will find themselves on the walls of your new home for your future generations to see.
What budgets do you cater for?
I rejoice weddings and I believe that all weddings are as unique as the couples themselves, and so my packages are customizable to give my clients an opportunity to find what works for them. For a mid-high range budget, I include engagement/pre-wedding sessions, loose prints, and handcrafted wedding albums. I am also planning to expand my offerings to include wedding films soon.
Do you have any favourite locations in Dubai to shoot couples or weddings?
Everyone in the UAE enjoys a good session at the beach, and that never gets boring! However, I’ve started enjoying more lifestyle shoots with my couples in urban areas like La Mer or City Walk.
The best weddings I’ve had are in open spaces with plenty of area to move and have privacy in, so this includes the Address Montgomerie, Park Hyatt Dubai Creek, Al Maha and The One and Only Royal Mirage.
Lastly, do you have any exciting projects lined up on 2020?
Shouldn’t this be a secret (ha-ha)? I have a few aligned in the pipeline, but currently I am super excited for a project that I am working on with one of the finest international event planners in Dubai. It will be around some local hotspots in the UAE and I can’t wait for its launch this year!
Thanks Nabeela! So, there you go brides, if you are looking for a fun, talented photographer to shoot your big day, check out Nabeela’s work and contact her today. To see more of Nabeela Huda’s work, visit www.nabeela-huda.com, Instagram: @nabeela_huda and Email: [email protected] or +971551263077.