Posts Tagged ‘Umme Salma Hamdani’

When we first met Karen and Joost (and that also on the engagement shoot day) we clicked, no pun intended, instantly. Their personalities and positive energy made the shoot interesting and fun.  The outdoor shoot took place at the Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden in San Francisco, which was named for the late queen of Netherlands in 1962. The garden had a many different colored tulips in bloom and an authentic Dutch windmill provided a lovely background apart from reminding Joost of his homeland. We cannot wait to capture the couple’s wedding at end of May. A slideshow comprising of selected images from Karen and Joost’s engagement shoot follows. Happy viewing!


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It is with great joy that we share with you photos of baby Vivienne Lena Elizabeth Dieterle alongside her doting family. Elizabeth, the excited mom, had asked us to take pictures of the newborn Vivienne even before her arrival into this world. We were keen on being introduced to the month old baby Vivienne and on a sunny albeit windy day, headed over to The Presidio of San Francisco where the family had gathered. The park provided a perfect background for the portrait session which lasted for just over an hour. Congrats to Elizabeth and Alexander!

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Photo by Shabbir Siraj

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With the recent stormy weather dampening things a bit in San Francisco, it was very difficult to have an outdoor photo shoot. But before the stormy week started, we had the opportunity to do an engagement shoot at Union Square with Rachel and Rachel.

Union Square, apart from being a historic landmark, falls under San Francisco’s must-visit places and is just one of the many notable urban spaces in the world. This 2.6 acre square is a central shopping, hotel and theater district of the city.  Two streets down is another major tourist draw: the cable car turnaround at Powell Street. What’s intriguing about the cable cars is that they are part of the only manually operated cable car systems on the planet.

The photo shoot at Union Square and the surrounding area was enjoyable, as we strolled about and tried to include some interesting things in our shots. A big heart sculpture at the corner of Union Square that depicted the Golden Gate Bridge on one side of it was one of them. The activist in me needs to mention that the heart on display is part of the “Hearts in San Francisco” project, which benefits the San Francisco General Hospital and was installed on Feb. 14, 2004.

Working with the couple was a pleasant experience! They were enthusiastic about the kind of shots we required of them and they brought a a few ideas of their own into the mix; such as the use of their cute, yellow scooter and colorful helmets. They even added a small dance move to the shoot while crossing the pedestrian crosswalk. We were able to get all natural and candid shots thanks to their fun and loving nature. Here are just a few images from our day out with the ‘Rachelz’.

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China Beach stone marker

A seemingly overcast and gloomy day can in fact turn out to be a fun and interesting one as we found out on Jan 10, 2010. China Beach, a secluded cove that is close to the Golden Gate Bridge, was the rendezvous point for a maternity shoot amongst rock outcrops and turbulent waves. The beach and its name have a history attached to them, which you can read about in the photo taken of the stone marker that’s placed at the entrance to the area.  (more…)

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The Ferry Building (click to enlarge)

San Francisco’s urban canvas is chock full of historic architecture and landmarks that are ripe for photography. One such structure is the Ferry Building, a major tourist attraction and a bustling marketplace that serves as a favorite haunt for locals. As its name suggests, it is an operational ferry terminal and is also home to a statue of a jovial M. K. Gandhi that faces the Bay Bridge. The statue is only dwarfed by the beautiful clock tower built in the center of the building.

Statue of Gandhi

The Ferry Building was the backdrop for our first ever engagement photo session with the lovely Ida and Mahir on the afternoon of Jan. 6, 2010. Like any photo shoot, it is always better to arrive early at the location of the shoot and especially so if you’ve never visited it before; this is helpful in quite a few ways as will be explained. Salma and I reached the landmark building early on and this enabled us to get a feel of its environs and bounce around ideas for shots; keeping in mind objects in and around the area allowed us to compose images in our heads beforehand. For example, we used a glass partition of a restaurant for an artistic shot that provided a play on reflection.

Meeting Ida and Mahir was like meeting old friends. The chemistry between the two of them made our work easier as we were able to focus more on framing them in the viewfinders of our cameras instead of giving directions throughout the session. A plethora of lenses were also the stars of the shoot; a Nikon 50mm f/1.8 for bokeh-licious portraits, a Tamron 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 for a variety of shots, and a Tokina 11-16 f/2.8 for some interesting wide angle shots.

The photo shoot lasted about an hour and after exchanging goodbyes with the couple, it was off to home and to the digital darkroom for a post-processing marathon. Some of the resulting images are featured below. Enjoy!

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Bay Bridge at night

San Francisco… a beautiful city, with lovely weather (except for now!), but a sore in the neck when it comes to finding photography related work.

We’ve all heard of the idiom ‘a dime a dozen’, but for the first time I have realized how it feels to be that dime a dozen… times a thousand! There are so many photographers in the San Francisco area; the established ones and those starting out. A post by someone seeking a photographer on craiglist.org goes away as quickly as it makes an appearance. This had me annoyed to the point that I started checking the site at three in the morning just to jump on any opportunity that pops up. We were lucky occasionally and very unlucky almost all of the time.

I remember what my teachers at UC Berkeley and my photography guru Kohi Marri used to say: “You have to offer your client something unique, something that nobody can offer”. I do believe that your work should set you apart from everyone else, but I now know for sure that it takes a while to reach a greater level of achievement and that only happens with trial and error. You can be technically sound when capturing an image but you are never sure if it’s
captivating or interesting for the client.

For my husband and I starting out in a new place is a lesson of survival in a jungleland filled with professional and primitive photographers. It goes without saying that we will get through this phase of being just a speck on an elephant’s back. As for now, we are offering a New Year Engagement Photography Package for $300 (it’s actually a $500 package but as they say, ’tis the season to be jolly fa-la-la-la-la…)

And for those of you who do not know what I’m going on about, let me welcome you to Shabbir & Salma Photography; a husband and wife duo pulling no stops in becoming recognized photographers in the SF Bay Area and to boldly go where no husband and wife photographers have gone before. – Salma

A bit of marketing :) ….. view our portfolio here: http://tiny.cc/2iVyC

You know we love comments so leave one :) :D :P

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