An Exercise in Directing

Last weekend, I held a photo shoot with a new, up-and-coming line of elegant evening wear, Soiree. Knowing that this was their first time investing in a model and photo shoot, I brought a ton of fun accessories that I thought might come in handy. We were all beyond excited at how well they worked with the outfits.

In fact, I was given a lot of leeway on what we did with the shoot. I got a chance to really let my creative juices flow. I played with color contrast, shapes and got more into character for each article of clothing I put on. The geometric shapes on one dress felt like something a confident woman with places to go would wear. I felt like Serena Van der Woodsen in the more flowy gowns, a slightly detached “It Girl”. I hope I communicated that feeling in my modeling.

I love being spontaneous and think pictures come out best when they capture those moments, so I tried that. However, I took my spontaneity down a notch, letting the photographer know what I planned to do before I did it so she could find the best angle for the picture I was imagining. We had a lot of fun; like in my shoot with Miss Lavaliere, I was again scaring away cute little animals… Seems to be a trend. This time it was a group of little pigeons that had taken refuge in the fountain near us. lol.

Hair & Makeup by Me
Clothing courtesy of Soiree.

What do you guys think? Yay or nay?


A Study in Hues

My latest photo shoot was a makeup one. A budding bridal makeup artist wanted to see how her art looks in photos so she hired Beenaz Photography for the shoot. Beena, whom I worked with on the Miss Lavalier shoot (see here), was kind enough to recommend me.

A bridal look isn’t just makeup though; the stylist provided all the jewelry for both looks as well.  I’ve gotten my makeup done for my sisters’ weddings so I know that it takes a while and you have to be still, but I’d never been in the position of the BRIDE. Makeup can take ages for them! I never realized! Also, setting spray is a life saver, especially in the heat. I’ll have to invest in some for my next shoot.

Beena also had a serious conversation with me on posing for shots. We decided that it was time for me to take the wheel with modeling. She encouraged me to begin working on poses and coming up with some of my own. I’ve got a few in my back pocket now, Beena!

So back to the shoot. I loved how the skin glows in these photos. What do you think, readers? I’ll be sure to send back any feedback to the artist! 🙂

Makeup by Sidra

Branching Out

Sara Sheikh, the owner of Covered Bliss, reached out to me not too long after our shoot together to ask me if I would shoot for Miss Lavalier. When I said yes to this shoot, I realized this wasn’t a onesie-twosie thing that I did randomly anymore. I was signing on to be a model.

While the first two shoots I’d done had provided a makeup artist, this shoot required that I do my own makeup. If you don’t already know, photo makeup is very different from day-to-day makeup. The lines of contouring have to be harsher, the colors you put on your face, brighter, and it takes more liner than you’re used to to make your eyes pop in a photo. It’s because photo makeup needs to catch light and dimension in your face that artificial light washes out. Needless to say, I watched a LOT of beauty makeup tutorials on Youtube to prepare…

The day of the shoot was stiflingly hot. We had problems with makeup melting, sweaty upper lips, & the unfortunate truth of modeling–it’s never seasonally appropriate. Especially when you wear modest attire. lol. The photographer was more laid-back and expected her models to do their own poses, which was a challenge, but I think the photos turned out quite nice, don’t you?

Check out their site at

Finding Modest Modeling

My next gig was Covered Bliss. It came around quite suddenly & out of the blue. I was speaking with the owner about becoming their Marketing Intern when our conversation got sidetracked. I love the company’s kaftans and told her about the several I owned. She asked me to post them and when I did she immediately asked me to model for the brand.

My parents were uneasy about the idea of modeling. Being a modest Muslim girl in today’s society is difficult to maintain and even more so in the modeling world. I had the same reservations but I was seeing a whole new area of the market opening up for modest modeling. Instagram and Youtube figures were making strides in the area of Islamically appropriate attire all the time. In the end, my parents had no objections to it as long as I stayed modest & didn’t cross the boundaries dictated by family and religion. I agreed.

The shoot took about 5 hours with makeup and outfit changes. Nida Rehman of Nida Rehman Photography was a big help with poses. She directed me completely on this shoot; she could see I knew nothing. I should’ve introduced myself as Jon Snow… lol. I also got to see some experienced models at the shoot. Dalia Kasseem, the face of Covered Bliss, was there, as was Leena, famously known on Instagram as iloveleena. Both girls knew how to pose and were able to shoot several more outfits than me in half the time. It was a great learning experience.

In the modeling world, connections are everything. In fact, my relationship with the owner of Sara Sheikh led me to my next shoot…

A new experience

You could say my shoot with Epsilon was my very first photo shoot. My company had sent out an email to “All Interested Parties”, telling us that they were looking for volunteers to be in some internal creatives they were producing for in-house marketing. I volunteered. And I loved it.

The kind, energetic photographer with his desire to tell a story about the happy, hardworking employees helped me give him what he wanted. Plus, he really loved that I had purposely selected an outfit that would create just the right amount of contrast in photos around the building.

He really wanted me to be myself and express myself and I, being a first-timer, couldn’t help but laugh every few seconds–I thought the whole thing ought to be considered silly. We had a long session because he was trying really hard to catch a particular moment. The moment right after a pose and right before my face contorted into a laugh. He wanted to catch the twinkle and the soft smirk that my brother loves to point out when he’s told a successful joke.

You tell me, did the photographer capture it?