While high end cameras and accessories are readily available in the market nowadays, it still takes a keen eye to produce fascinating images that will really catch your emotion and attention. Nabeela tells Tempo about how she developed that eye…
TEMPO: Who is Nabeela Huda?
Nabeela Huda is an Abu Dhabi-based/Bengali-bred, self-taught fashion and portrait photographer born and brought up amidst all the diverse ethnicities and personalities in the UAE. She describes herself as a 22 year old woman caught up in the spirit of a 10 year old.
TEMPO: How did you develop a passion for photography?
The first memory I have of photography involved my dad’s camera, the Nikon F90’s and its mechanical shutter sound. I never really loaded the film in it, but I would use parties as opportunities to whip it out and start taking photos of random people (haha).
Eventually, photography started out as a hobby and I did my best to study it from some very inspiring and accomplished educators who have taught me a few things. I took it up recently into my career because it’s really enjoyable to make pictures while working with quirky, gifted and lovely individuals. It never gets boring!
TEMPO: What is your creative process?
It is so important to begin with an end in mind and have a ‘thoughtfully prepared’ plan of shooting.
I start with pre-shoot consultation and learning our clients’ personalities and reaching a comfort zone with ideas we both like. Mood boards are good for this because we look into what is unique and special about them that they’d like to photograph. We discuss everything from make-up and styling to location and lighting moods. It makes it easier for both of us to come in and create something delightful and unique together.
TEMPO: Is there a specific kind of subject that you love to cover?
I enjoy doing weddings and I am thinking of exploring the field of wedding journalism slightly more.
I have many mentors in the field and I truly admire the way they capture emotions without needing to say anything.
When two people come together to celebrate the beginning of their new life, I feel privileged to document their day in the shadows. And when things are just right, a beautiful moment is created – it’s a gift.
TEMPO: How did the people around you react when they saw your work?
Almost everyone I knew was supportive! Honestly, if it hadn’t been for them, I would have never thought of making it a profession. Thinking back, it’s everyone who mattered the most who encouraged me and constructively criticised my work. They even sponsored my learning materials online! If anything, I owe them all.
TEMPO: Which photographers inspire you?
There are so many, it’s hard to choose! To name a few: Aaron Nace,David Ol’Karny. Lindsay Adler, Susan Stripling, and Tasneem Sultana. My inspiration is built on the different works coming from big and small names that I see here and there and try to combine them through concepts.
TEMPO: Describe a normal day for you.
I am not sure how interesting my life is so I wouldn’t want to bore you (haha). Typically I spend most of my day trying to figure out my next steps towards entrepreneurship and trying to learn new techniques and approaches for shooting and retouching. For the rest of the time it’s mainly sitting around outdoors, listening to music and trying out something new to keep life exciting and inspired.
TEMPO: Your future plans?
Working with many everyday people like myself in the realm of fashion/portrait photography has made me realise that a lot of us are shy of who we are and what more we can be.
I am trying to break this fear for everyday men and women; you don’t have to be industry labelled to be fashionable and have blaring confidence to have shots taken of you.
I want to capture beauty in everyone I see, and preserve them in memories that will always make them feel beautiful anytime of the day. I plan to start a community hashtag soon too!
TEMPO: Finally, do you have a message to aspiring photographers?
Find YOUR passion and niche, it’s what you would wake up to do every day. Be naive and learn from everything and everyone; the amount of wealth in knowledge is priceless. Shoot, shoot, shoot till you’ve created your own identity and tell everyone that is YOUR brand. And always be true to yourself.