Welcome to the Studio Uma blog

I'm a creative and modern wedding photographer in Austin, Texas. At Studio Uma, we work like crazy for our brides and grooms to produce gorgeous works of art that stir the soul. We do magic things with light and color. We love modern Indian wedding photography! For more info, email us at uma@umasanghvi.com.

January 31, 2014

Three epic days in Houston with Aliyah and Khalid. If you remember these two from their Houston engagement session a few months ago, you know this stylish couple owns any room they walk into. In October I photographed Aliyah and Khalid as they celebrated their marriage. There was a pithi, a sangeet, a nikkah, a mehndi, western ceremony and a reception. One of my favorite Ismaili wedding traditions is the egg ceremony… if you haven’t seen one before, prepare for some (messy) fun.

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Three epic days in Houston with Aliyah and Khalid. If you remember these two from their Houston engagement session a few months ago, you know this stylish couple owns any room they walk into. In October I photographed Aliyah and Khalid as they celebrated their marriage. There was a pithi, a sangeet, a nikkah, a mehndi, a western ceremony and a reception. One of my favorite Ismaili wedding traditions is the egg ceremony… if you haven’t seen one before, prepare for some (messy) fun.

Of all the wedding venues in Houston, the Hilton Post Oak and Hotel Derek are two of my very favorites. You’ll see why below.

Title slide of groom kissing bride's cheek in front of wall.

Groom and groomsmen in Indian wedding party celebrate by joyfully throwing confetti.

Modern wide-angle wedding photo of Indian bride and groom in Houston's Hermann Park

Wedding mehndi and henna designs on bride's feet

Beautiful Indian bride in stunning lehenga walks down aisle with groom after wedding ceremony

Modern picture of happy dancers on wedding dance floor

Creative wedding picture of Indian bride and groom

Boy in traditional Indian wedding clothes looks up at other guests at Ismaili wedding reception

Friends and relatives tug on Indian groom in modern photo of fun pithi ceremony

Indian groom is covered in raw egg in Ismaili pithi wedding tradition

B&W photo of Indian bride in intricate enbroidered wedding lehenga

Guests celebrate an Ismaili wedding tradition during the pithi ceremony in this unique photo by a Houston wedding photographer

Creative picture of groom and groomsmen with  matching cufflinks

Groom and performer sing at fun Indian wedding ceremony

Emotional editorial picture of bride and uncle during wedding

Creative portrait of bride getting hair and makeup done at Houston hotel

Modern wedding portrait of Indian bride and groom reflected in a mirror

Modern photo of bride's wedding heels reflected in table

Modern portraits of groom in suit and gorgeous bride in intricate white and gold dress

Editorial style photo of bride dancing in colorful wedding dress

Modern wedding portrait of Houston groom and groomsmen

Editorial style photo of bride having makeup done

Bride in gorgeous white wedding dress surrounded by bridesmaids

Candid picture of kids playing on a couch at Houston wedding

Romantic wedding picture of stunning bride and groom surrounded by flower petals

Beautiful cakes, decorations, candles and place settings at Houston wedding

Creative wedding portrait of bride and groom reflected in artwork of Houston hotel

Editorial style picture of laughing bride and groom

Two romantic wedding photos of loving couple in Ismaili center in Houston, Texas

Creative portrait of bride's mehndi

Groom surrounded by groomsmen showing off matching socks in fun portrait

Modern editorial style pictures of happy couple at Ismaili ceremony

Bride and groom kiss in front of tiled wall at Houston hotel

Beautiful bride and groom pose back to back in modern wedding portrait

Romantic close-up picture of bride and groom kissing in beautiful wedding clothes

Beautiful creative portrait of bride and groom reflected in modern art in Houston hotel

Bride in stunning embroidered dress and jewelry leans on groom's arm in modern wedding photo

Groom poses with statue in fun Houston wedding photo

Close up editorial style picture of bride doing makeup and getting ready before Houston wedding

Romantic wedding portrait of loving couple at Houston hotel

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Thank you Aliyah and Khalid, I loved celebrating with you. Here’s wishing you love and light in your new life together!

Creative Team:

Videography: Tall Productions

Venues: Hotel Derek, Crowne Plaza, HPC (Houston Principal Center) Ismaili Center, Hilton Post Oak 

Wedding planner: Rathi Menon
Décor: Décor one

Ice sculpture: Ice designs

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If you’d like to find out more about Studio Uma, please click here to visit our wedding photography portfolio website. We are based in gorgeous Austin, Texas and specialize in modern, creative and editorial-style wedding photography.

Come visit Studio Uma on Facebook. We’re always up to something.

January 8, 2014

Happy 2014! In honor of engagement season, I’d like to share this photo shoot from December with you. Emily and David are such a heartfelt, kind and affectionate couple – and their warmth made up for the chilly weather. It was a blustery, wintery, sunny day in Austin. Blue skies and golden light. Tousled hair and rosy pink cheeks. We wandered around Laguna Gloria before heading downtown. I love doing engagement photos in downtown Austin. There’s so much to choose from. Enjoy!

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filed under: Engagement Sessions

Happy 2014! In honor of engagement season, I’d like to share this photo shoot from December with you. Emily and David are such a heartfelt, kind and affectionate couple – and their warmth made up for the chilly weather. It was a blustery, wintery, sunny day in Austin. Blue skies and golden light. Tousled hair and rosy pink cheeks. We wandered around Laguna Gloria before heading downtown.  I love doing engagement photos in downtown Austin. There’s so much to choose from. Enjoy!

Romantic sunset picture of Austin couple on bridge

Colorful engagement picture with silhouette of Austin couple

Beautiful couple posing for engagement portrait in downtown Austin

Stunning couple in sunny engagement photo

Colorful engagement picture of bride-to-be and fiance

Man kissing stunning fiance on forehead

Austin, Texas is seen behind romantic silhouette of engaged couple

Modern engagement portrait of stunning Austin couple

Romantic engagement photo of beautiful Austin couple

Sunset engagement photo of stunning Austin couple

 

 

Two editorial style photos of happy engaged couple in Austin, TX

Couple shares a romantic kiss in front of colorful Austin mural

Intimate black and white portrait of romantic Austin couple

Candid photo of engaged couple at sunset in Austin, TX

Editorial style picture of bride-to-be and fiance overlooking downtown Austin

Bride-to-be blowing a kiss to her fiance on bridge at sunset

Modern black and white portrait of engaged Austin couple

Austin is such a romantic city, don’t you think? At times it feels almost… Parisian.

Ooo la la! Perhaps I’m getting carried away. Still, there’s no denying this is a magical place. And the perfect city for a photo shoot.

Congratulations, to this awesomely wonderful couple. Can’t wait to photograph your wedding later this year!

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If you’d like to find out more about Studio Uma, please click here to visit our wedding photography portfolio website. We are based in gorgeous Austin, Texas and specialize in editorial-style wedding photography.

Click here to visit Studio Uma on Facebook. We’re always up to something.

Happy 2014!

 

 

 

December 17, 2013

Location, location, location. One of the things I love most about planning an Austin bridal photo shoot is the incredible choice of stunning locations. And I wow did I ever find a gem in Lustre Pearl. A bar may not be the first place you think of as a romantic, photogenic backdrop. But if you think about photography in terms of beautiful light and color – it’s a no brainer. Add a gorgeous bride to the mix and poof. MAGIC.

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filed under: Bridal Sessions

Location, location, location. One of the things I love most about planning an Austin bridal photo shoot is the incredible choice of stunning locations. And I wow did I ever find a gem in Lustre Pearl. A bar may not be the first place you think of as a romantic, photogenic backdrop. But if you think about photography in terms of beautiful light and color – it’s a no brainer. Add a gorgeous bride to the mix and poof. MAGIC.

And oh, the SHOES. If spiky Louboutin pumps get your heart racing, keep your eyes peeled.

A bride poses for a photo portrait at Lustre Pearl in Austin, Texas.

Austin bride sits in front of a shabby chic mantle in Austin bar.

Close up modern-style portrait of Austin bride's face through lacy veil.

Laughing Austin bride throws flower petals for contemporary portrait in Austin park.

Two modern black and white pictures of Austin bride with lace veil

Colorful editorial style picture of an Austin bride with beautiful bouquet.

Best detail picture of bride getting ready and putting makeup on

Two modern editorial style photos of bride getting ready and a bridal wedding portrait.

Editorial style wedding portrait of bride in colorful Austin bar Lustre Pearl.

Austin bride with long veil poses on dock in Austin in this modern wedding picture with veil in wind.

Contemporary Austin bride surrounded by flower petals in editorial wedding photo

Contemporary black and white picture of back of wedding dress

Outdoor bridal portrait with heart confetti in park in downtown Austin, Texas

Photojournalistic getting ready silhouette of bride in Austin, Texas

Editorial style wedding picture of bride getting ready in wedding dress

Amazing detail photo of spiky Christian Louboutin heels from wedding shoot

Modern picture of Austin bride with white bouquet in front of window in contemporary wedding picture

Editorial style portrait of Austin bride in mirror inside Austin bar Lustre Pearl

Stunning modern photo of Austin, TX bride with veil in black and white

 

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Thank you for a fun photo shoot, Brittni!

Thanks also to these lovely vendors:

Location: Lustre Pearl 

Address: 97 Rainey Street Austin, TX 78701

Dress from Alexia Gavela Bridal

Address: 3704 Crawford St, Austin, TX 78731

Shoes by Christian Louboutin

Bouquet by Bella Bloom

Brittni and David got married at Hotel Ella three weeks ago and wow. Let’s just say for now it was a really FUN party. Can’t wait to share those images with you.

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If you’d like to find out more about Studio Uma, please click here to visit our wedding photography portfolio website. We are based in gorgeous Austin, Texas and specialize in editorial wedding photography.

Click here to visit Studio Uma on Facebook. We’re always up to something.

Happy holidays everyone!

 

November 15, 2013

Don’t look now, but there are only six weeks left in 2013. And I can NOT let this year get away from me before sharing this minimalist-themed styled photo shoot from all the way back in January. I was compelled by my love of editorial wedding photography to create a bridal fashion-oriented photo shoot. Just for fun. And no offense to mason jars and vintage lace. But there’s already so much rustic wedding inspiration out in the world. Rebel that I am, I wanted to do something… entirely different. Something uber-modern and and elegant and absolutely gorgeous.

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Don’t look now, but there are only six weeks left in 2013. And I can NOT let this year get away from me before sharing this minimalist-themed styled photo shoot from all the way back in January. I was compelled by my love of editorial wedding photography to create a bridal fashion-oriented photo shoot. Just for fun. And no offense to mason jars and vintage lace. But there’s already so much rustic wedding inspiration out in the world. Rebel that I am, I wanted to do something… entirely different. Something uber-modern and and elegant and absolutely gorgeous.

It all started at the Kimber Modern (the amazing boutique hotel) in downtown Austin, where I was blown away by the award-winning minimalist architecture and design. That’s where this theme was born – the minimalist, modern wedding.

Those of you who know my work might be saying, wait just a second there, Uma. WHERE are bright colors? We know you just loove color. What’s going on here? Well, you know something… I’m kind of in love with this minimalist look, even though it’s not bursting with color. Location is my muse, and the Kimber Modern just really inspires the zen master in me. And so did the modern wedding gowns our wardrobe stylist, the talented Cristina Facundo, found for this photo shoot. I mean seriously – even if you’re not usually into fashion, these graceful and romantic wedding dresses are jaw-dropping.

I was so excited to work with a team of such talented creatives. Wardrobe stylist Cristina Facundo created three stunning modern looks for our “bride”, Emma Hefti, and two debonair looks for our “groom”, Bradley Kee. Check out the credits below for all the wardrobe info.

Event designer Maureen Stevens and florist Carrie Beamer created a beautifully modern tablescape and florals. The sculptural bouquet that Carrie made is a work of art.

Laura Heyns (hair) and Laura Martinez (makeup) did a gorgeous job getting our beautiful models ready.

This is what happened..

Organic oysters and gold details in modern wedding photographs by contemporary Austin wedding photographer

Editorial style pictures of contemporary gold decor and bride in modern Nicole Miller wedding dress

Creative photo of unique flower arrangement from modern wedding shoot by modern Austin wedding photographer

Contemporary editorial-style pictures of high fashion bride and contemporary bouquet by high fashion Austin wedding photographer

Ultra-modern photo of modern bride by editorial style Austin wedding photographer

Avant-garde wedding photos of contemporary groom and modern wedding decor

Contemporary photojournalistic wedding photos of modern bride and avant-garde wedding decorations

Contemporary wedding photos of avant-garde bride with modern wedding jewelry and organic details

High fashion wedding photo of contemporary couple by editorial style Austin wedding photographer

Ultra-modern wedding inspiration pictures from modern Austin wedding photographer

High fashion editorial style wedding inspiration photos by high fashion Austin wedding photographer

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I was delighted when my favorite blogger, Camille Styles, published our photo shoot! Click here to see The Modern Minimalist.

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It also appeared on Style Me Pretty. Click here to see Modern Wedding Inspiration from Studio Uma.

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Here’s the team that made this magic happen. Thank you everyone!!!!!

Location: Kimber Modern – 110 The Cir, Austin, TX 78704

Wardrobe Stylist: Cristina Facundo

Hair: Laura Heyns

Makeup: Laura Martinez

Models: Emma Hefti and Bradley Kee

Florals: Carrie Beamer of Flora Fetish

Event and prop design: Maureen Stevens

Wardrobe credits

On Bradley

  • #1 Billy Reid Campbell Suit ($1695), Billy Reid Skinny Bowtie in black and tan ($95) – all available at Billy Reid
  • #2 Billy Reid Campbell Suit ($1695), Billy Reid Classic Tie in natural and navy ($125) – all available at Billy Reid

 On Emma

  • #1 Nicole Miller Peplum – Alvina Valenta 9251 ($2420) – available at http://unbridaled.com/, Modern double-bow bridal headpiece in 100% silk duchess satin – available by custom order only at info@millistarr.com
  •  #2 Nicole Miller Cowl Neck – FA0031 ($1100) available at http://unbridaled.com/, Miriam Haskell Cuff ($650), Ring ($250), Earrings ($180); Sondra Roberts Beaded Pearl Clutch ($192)
  •  #3 CiarlaBride Cheri Dress ($420) available at https://ciarla.com/, Sondra Roberts Beaded Pearl Clutch ($192), Stuart Weitzman Silver Blitz Heel ($560)

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If you’d like to find out more about Studio Uma, please click here to visit our wedding photography portfolio website. We are based in gorgeous Austin, Texas and specialize in editorial wedding photography.

Click here to visit Studio Uma on Facebook! We’re always up to something.

November 8, 2013

Over the summer, I flew back to Ohio to shoot this gorgeous Hindu wedding. They literally closed down 2 city blocks in the heart of downtown Cincinnati for the groom’s baraat. The architecture was stunning – Hilton Netherland Plaza is an Art Deco masterpiece dripping with history. But the best part about this wedding? The fun-loving people. The bride, the groom, the guests. Everyone was having the time of their life. I’m so excited to share one this with you.

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Over the summer, I flew back to Ohio to photograph this traditional Hindu wedding. They literally closed down 2 city blocks in the heart of downtown Cincinnati for the groom’s baraat. The architecture was stunning – Hilton Netherland Plaza is an Art Deco masterpiece dripping with history. But the best part about this wedding? The fun-loving people. The bride, the groom, the guests. Everyone was having the time of their life. I’m so excited to share one this with you.

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Can you tell this is one of my all-time favorite weddings?

That last photo with the bridesmaids is one of my favorite moments from 2013. These girls were so much FUN to photograph – and they were up for anything. Neha and Vedant, I wish you two lovebirds a very happy life together, filled to the brim with joy. Can’t thank you enough for being such fantastic people.

Thank you, too, to Junebug Weddings blog, for featuring this wedding! Click here to see it all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2013-11-04 at 4.25.31 PM

The Wedding Team:

Photographer: Studio Uma
Event Planner: Viva Bella Events
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza
Videographer/Film Maker: Matt Pine of Lifetime Films
Officiant: Deepak Kotwal
Invitation Designer: Indian Wedding Card
Catering: Jeet India Restaurant
Florist: Petals n Glass
Cake: Molly at A Spoon Fulla Sugar
Wedding Dress: All clothing was bought in India
Bridal Accessories: All jewelry was purchased in India, and some were family heirlooms
Bridesmaids Apparel & Accessories: All bridesmaids saris and jewelry were purchased in India
Groom & Groomsmen’s Apparel & Accessories: All groomsmen attire was purchased in India
Hair: Jen Nally
Make-Up: Chenese Bean
DJ: Doug at Party Pleasers
Favors: Thank You Card with a photo of the bride and groom – made in India, with assorted chocolates.
Rentals: Sphire Elegance
Rings: Stafford Jewelers
Lighting: Goodwin
Ceremony Decor: Sima Patel of WeddingsInStyle
Horse: Tim of CC Carriages
Creator of escort cards/table names: Melissa Arey

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If you’d like to find out more about Studio Uma, please click here to visit our wedding photography portfolio website. We are based in gorgeous Austin, Texas and specialize in creative, modern Indian wedding photography.

Click here to visit Studio Uma on Facebook! We’re always up to something…..

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October 23, 2013

The email read, “Congratulations—your portfolio was selected as one of the 30 Rising Stars of Wedding Photography 2013!” I held my breath. The thought omg omg omg this is too cool running through my head. “This is our magazine’s second year hosting the competition for emerging wedding photographers, and we were extremely impressed by the quality of work submitted. It’s an honor to include you in this special issue, and keep in mind you were chosen because your images impressed us as being fresh, technically sound and possessing a distinct voice and personality.”

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filed under: Featured In
The email read, “Congratulations—your portfolio was selected as one of the 30 Rising Stars of Wedding Photography 2013!” I held my breath. The thought omg omg omg this is too cool running through my head. “This is our magazine’s second year hosting the competition for emerging wedding photographers, and we were extremely impressed by the quality of work submitted. It’s an honor to include you in this special issue, and keep in mind you were chosen because your images impressed us as being fresh, technically sound and possessing a distinct voice and personality.”
 best_austin_wedding_photographer
I received that tidbit of good news a month ago. But we weren’t allowed to say anything publicly until the November 2013 issue of Rangefinder Magazine was released. Which just happened this morning. Sooo FINALLY I’m happy to announce that I was chosen for the ‘Top 30 Rising Stars” list! Yay!!
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I’m grateful to the editors at Rangefinder for this honor. Read the digital edition of the magazine here and look for the print edition of the magazine on newsstands soon.
As for me, I think it’s time to pour a glass of wine and savor this happy moment!
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If you’d like to find out more about Studio Uma, please click here to visit our wedding photography portfolio website. We are based in beautiful Austin, Texas and specialize in editorial, modern and creative wedding photography.

Click here to visit Studio Uma on Facebook. We’re always up to something.

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September 4, 2013

Today I’m thrilled to bring you advice from Austin’s leading wardrobe stylist, Cristina Facundo. Are you wondering what to wear to a professional photo shoot? Perhaps you’re getting ready for an engagement session with your wedding photographer. Unless you have a lot of experience in front of the camera, you may be wondering: what colors should I wear? Do I need to get my hair done? If only you had a personal stylist finding the best “looks” for you. No fear. Cristina is happy to share her insider fashion styling tips with us!

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Today I’m thrilled to bring you advice from Austin’s leading wardrobe stylist, Cristina Facundo. Are you wondering what to wear to a professional photo shoot? Perhaps you’re getting ready for an engagement photo session with your wedding photographer. Unless you have a lot of experience in front of the camera, you may be wondering: what colors should I wear? Do I need to get my hair done? If only you had a personal stylist finding the best “looks” for you. No fear. Cristina is happy to share her insider fashion styling tips with us!
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Cristina is the lead wardrobe stylist for Austin Monthly Magazine, and styles for runway shows, live TV and commercials, among other markets. She worked as a wardrobe assistant at New York Fashion Week for designers Oscar De La Renta, Zac Posen and Vera Wang, to name just a few. She’s pretty much a rock star!

 

I collaborated with Cristina on a bridal inspiration photo shoot earlier this year and got to see her in action. Needless to say, I’m thrilled that Cristina is sharing her expert advice.
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Be yourself!
At the end of the day, you want to look and feel like yourself. This will show in the photos. When I have to take photos for anything, I always think to myself, look like you but a polished version. This leads us to rule 2 and 3
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Give yourself a good polishing!
As I mentioned above, look like yourself but a polished version. If you are a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl, that’s great! But pick a dark slimming jean, add an ankle boot and throw on a statement necklace. If you have a more classic style, have fun with it! Take a note from J. Crew and style a printed collared shirt under a solid dress. Engagement photos should never be stuffy but rather playful!
 
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Pamper yourself.
Spend the time pampering yourself before the shoot. A manicure and pedicure is a quick way to make yourself feel put together. I typically curl my own hair but I like to spend the money on makeup. Do your research and ask other friends for recommendations who have recently married.
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All rules apply for your groom.
If they have scruff, let them have scruff. Just clean it up! Men won’t suggest it, but I’ve never had a boyfriend who didn’t like a pedicure.
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Pay attention to your surroundings.
If you’re shooting outside or on grass, stay away from green or colors that will blend in to the background. Otherwise, no color is off limits!
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Be prepared!
Have these five wardrobe emergency essentials on hand. Static remover, double sided tape, clamp (give yourself a waist by clamping some material of your outfit in the back), compact mirror (make up on teeth happens to all of us), and tissues in case you get a little shiny.

 

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Thanks to Cristina Facundo for the helpful tips! You can find out more about Cristina on her website.

Here she is behind the scenes on our “Modern + Minimalist” wedding inspiration photo shoot:

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To see the GORGEOUS modern wedding dresses she found for this shoot –  check out these links:

+ Camille Styles – The Modern Minimalist

+ Style Me Pretty – Modern Austin Wedding Inspiration from Studio Uma

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If you’d like to find out more about Studio Uma, please click here to visit our wedding photography portfolio website. We are based in beautiful Austin, Texas and specialize in editorial, modern and creative wedding photography.

Visit Studio Uma on Facebook. We’re always up to something.

 credits

 

August 21, 2013

You guys, get ready for some SERIOUS STYLE. Houston lovebirds Khalid and Aliyah came to me looking for something different for their engagement and wedding pictures. Khalid told me that he and Aliyah love the look of editorial wedding photography. I adore working with clients who are looking for something more unique and creative than the norm. So this weekend, we had some fun creating this set of images together. Enjoy!

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filed under: Engagement Sessions

You guys, get ready for some SERIOUS STYLE. Houston lovebirds Khalid and Aliyah came to me looking for something different for their engagement and wedding pictures. Khalid told me that he and Aliyah love the look of editorial wedding photography. I adore working with clients who are looking for something more unique and creative than the norm. So this weekend, we had some fun creating this set of images together. I hope you enjoy.

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Yes, those trees are painted blue. This artist from New Zealand did it, and he did it with environmentally safe pigments. There’s an entire grove of trees painted this way. Pretty amazing right?

The original plan was to shoot there during the afternoon, but by the time we arrived it was completely dark. I’m so glad it happened that way though. I love how the darkness adds to the surreal-ness of the blue trees.

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We had such a blast running around Houston. Thank you, Aliyah and Khalid, for inviting me to do this fun, adventurous photo shoot with you!

Luckily, we don’t have to wait long to see  more photos of this gorgeous pair. Stay tuned for wedding photos October/November.

If you’d like to find out more about Studio Uma, please click here to visit our wedding photography portfolio website. We are based in gorgeous Austin, Texas and specialize in unique, modern and creative Indian wedding photography.

And visit Studio Uma on Facebook. We’re always up to something.

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August 6, 2013

So you’re looking for a photographer for your traditional Indian/Hindu/Muslim/South Asian/etc wedding. Where to start? There are so many options to choose from. How do you interview a wedding photographer? What’s important to know? Considering that 85% of brides and grooms have never had to hire a photographer before, this search can be challenging. Here are a few tips to get you pointed in the right direction.

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So you’re looking for a photographer for a traditional Indian wedding. Where to start? There are so many options to choose from. How do you interview a wedding photographer? What’s important to know? Considering that 85% of brides and grooms have never had to hire a photographer before, this search can be challenging. Here are a few tips to get you pointed in the right direction.

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There’s already plenty of good advice about how to choose the right wedding photographer for you. In fact, I thought this topic was SO crucial that I dedicated an entire page of my wedding photography portfolio website to this question.

But how does the advice differ if you’re planning an Indian wedding? After all, Indian weddings are unique. Instead of a white dress and a first kiss and bouquets, we’re talking gold and red and mandaps and mehndi. South Asian weddings are bigger (more guests on average), longer and look entirely different than other weddings. It’s a whole different ball game.

Here are seven questions to ask before hiring a photographer for your Indian wedding:

1) CAN WE SEE AN ENTIRE WEDDING GALLERY?

This is a good opportunity to get past portfolios and rhetoric (which can be misleading) and really understand:

  • How many pictures will I be getting?
  • What is the caliber of these photos?
  • Do I like the style of this photographers images?

Speaking of style. All the jargon around style can get pretty confusing. Do you like cinematic wedding pictures? Are you looking for a photojournalist? And what’s the deal with nebulous terms like editorial and modern? Here’s the chance to get past verbiage and just look at real wedding photography coverage. Make sure this person can take the kind of pictures YOU want.

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Last year, I got a call from a bride looking for a photographer with a “creative, photojournalistic feel.” Her very first question for me: would you mind sharing an entire wedding you shot? She wanted to see all of the proofs from a single wedding shoot, not just my 30 all-time “greatest hits.” I was impressed.

She explained that she was looking for far more candid shots than posed ones, and looking at proofs had been quite illuminating. Her exact words were:

“We saw some nice portfolios, but we’re not shopping for a portfolio – we’re shopping for an entire wedding album.” I wanted to high-five her.

LOOK FOR A DECISIVE MOMENT

What should you be looking for once you have an entire wedding gallery in front of you? Prospective clients are often concerned with technical issues. For example, one bride wanted to see a wedding I had photographed with an outdoor reception – because she is having an outdoor reception, and she was concerned about lighting and flash photography.

Another bride was concerned about balancing skin tones between her and her fiance. She told me that her fair skin was too washed out in pictures and he appeared normal, or else she looked fine and he appeared too dark. So she wanted to see a wedding of mine where the bride and groom also had a contrast in dark/light skin tone.

Those are definitely important concerns. But technical challenges like lighting and exposing for contrasting skin tones is pretty basic stuff. Any professional photographer will be able to handle challenges like that.

What you really need to be looking for, however, is what photojournalists call a “decisive moment”. This is a term coined by Henri Cartier-Bresson, the father of photojournalism. It’s a moment, caught in time. A candid – unposed – image that captures something fleeting.

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For a photojournalist, decisive moments are the holy grail. Because for one, this is an extremely difficult skill to master. It takes many years of practice to hone. And secondly, unposed moments tell the true story of a person. They capture authentic emotion. You can imagine how this skill comes into play in a wedding, which is a long series of once-in-a-lifetime moments. The thrill is to capture them in photographs that will serve as pieces of art for years to come.

   2. IF OUR EVENT RUNS LATE, WILL YOU BE ABLE TO STAY?

Perhaps you’ve heard of Indian Standard Time? Then I don’t need to explain this one…

I suggest asking your photographer about what happens if your sangeet/mehndi/reception/etc. goes later than expected. Will they be available to stay an extra hour or two? What will it cost you? Are you going to want both photographers to stay or just one?

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Having a wedding planner is going to help you a lot with staying on your timeline. But if you don’t have a planner (or even if you do), being prepared for this scenario is a good idea.

   3. WHAT OPTIONS DO YOU HAVE FOR PARENT ALBUMS?

Who do you think is even more thrilled than you are about your upcoming wedding? YOUR PARENTS.

Giving your South Asian parents a duplicate of your wedding album is the best birthday/holiday gift idea ever (other than finally getting married that is!) You already know how excited they are going to be to show off your recent wedding to all of their friends. So here’s your chance to give them visual bragging rights.

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An artfully designed and printed album filled with professional photos of you will give them YEARS worth dinner party fodder.

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By the way, grandparents love these books too.

Ask your photographer about options for printing duplicate albums. Your own album is probably a flush mount, but flush mount wedding albums can get pretty pricey, so ask to see some options for duplicates. Look for a book with high quality printing at a lower price point. And check out your styling options – like what cover upgrades are offered.

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   4. HOW EASY WILL IT BE FOR ME TO SHARE MY WEDDING PICTURES?

Speaking of parents and grandparents, how easy or hard will it be to get your entire collection of wedding pictures distributed to everyone who wants them?

Thanks to cloud storage, the days burning DVDs are over.

Be sure that your photographer is giving you an online gallery. That way, you and your grandparents in India can download your photos. Instantly. No waiting on DVDs. No hassling with software.

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Also find out if your gallery is mobile-friendly, so you can view your wedding photos on a phone or tablet. That way, your wedding pictures are always with you. Life is pretty sweet when you can order professional prints from your phone and have them sent right to your door!

Imagine how your parents will adore this. Your mom and her iPad mini can be standing in line at the store, showing off your wedding photos to the person in line behind her!

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Bottom line, once you have a collection of professional, gorgeous wedding photographs – make super easy for everyone to see them. And share them. And print them. Make SURE you’re getting an online gallery. That way you and your family can view and share the photos from anywhere. Plus, your photos are stored safely in the cloud. So you don’t have to worry about the DVD getting lost or scratched.

Don’t you love technology?   

   5. WHO IS YOUR SECOND PHOTOGRAPHER?

Having a second photographer documenting everything that goes down on your wedding day is a smart idea. After all, you’re only going to have one first dance, and you’re only going to cut your wedding cake once. Having two unique perspectives on these once-in-a-lifetime moments is an opportunity to get two entirely different angles from the same beautiful moment. It’s also insurance in case something unexpected happens to one of the two photographers (like being blocked by a guest who pops up to get their own shot at the last second, or combating a flash from a guest photographer).

With the bride getting ready in one location, and the groom getting ready at a different location, having two photographers becomes a necessity. I find that the behind-the-scenes moments that happen at the start of the wedding day make for some of the very best moments. So that second photographer must be good enough to stand completely on their own and make creative images by themselves.

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Photo by Cooper Neill for Studio Uma

As it turns out, second photographers are even more important at Indian weddings. Why? In addition to the “getting ready” photos, it’s likely that the second shooter will be on their own for an entire ceremony. For example, in a recent traditional Hindu wedding I photographed, the Sehra Bandhi ceremony with the groom and his family was taking place at one hotel while I was photographing the girls getting ready at a different hotel twenty miles away. Out of necessity I had to leave this part of the day to the talents and experience of my second photographer.

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Photo by Meg Vogel for Studio Uma

In a few weeks we’ll be photographing a Muslim wedding where with two different mehndi ceremonies happening at the same time – one for the bride, and one for the groom. So you see how important it is to ask about the credentials of your second photographer? If you can look at examples of  their work, that would be best. Having not just one but TWO awesome photographers at your Indian wedding isn’t simply a luxury – it is a necessity.

  6. WILL TWO PHOTOGRAPHERS BE ENOUGH?

If you are planning on entertaining over than 400 wedding guests, consider asking for a third photographer. You may or may not need this – but definitely ask your photographer for their advice; they’ll be able to help you make a decision.

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It depends on what kind of photographs you want. If you’re more interested in focusing on you, your fiance and your immediate families, then two photographers is probably fine. But if you (or your parents) want all of your 400+ wedding guests to be photographed at some point, think about adding one more shooter to the team. That will free up the other two shooters to make creative, beautiful and one-of-a-kind photographs of you and your love.

And last but not least….

   7. HAVE YOU SHOT AN INDIAN WEDDING BEFORE?

This one sounds like a no-brainer. But why? The answer may surprise you.

You may think that a photographer might miss out on capturing the major moments of your wedding ceremony if they’re not familiar with a particular set of rituals.

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I tend to disagree. I think any talented photographer can document any kind of wedding and come away with amazing photographs.  Even if they’ve never seen that particular set of ceremonies before. Being a good photographer means capturing fleeting moments, and being ready for anything. It’s just part of the skill set. I won’t deny – having lots of experience helps – but it’s not as critical as you may think.

So why even ask this question? It’s because of all the other things you learn with experience. The intangibles. Like how to hustle for three days straight and still be the same calm, focused (sane) photographer by night three! Photographers used to one-day weddings are going to be facing an entirely new challenge.

And consider all the time your wedding photographer will spend with your immediate family. She is going to be there for some of the most intimate moments of the day, when you’re getting dressed and when your grandmother comes by to give you a teary hug. And then your photographer will be stepping into the spotlight to play “director” during the family photo session. “Wedding photographer” is a role that requires balancing sensitivity with assertiveness.

This person is going to be interacting a lot with your family and friends; their presence is widely felt. There are differences between each generation of an Indian family. For example, you may be looking for a more modern and creative kind of photographer. But your parents want lots of traditional (posed) family group photos.

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It is wonderful having someone around who is at ease with all of these cultural and generational differences – and who understands what everyone needs. I think that is just as important as taking beautiful photographs.

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At the end of the day, the best advice is simple advice.

When we are faced with making decisions, the voice of the heart is a true guide — Annie B. Bond

So whatever you do, follow your instincts. Your instincts are smarter than you know. All you have to do is listen to them.

Happy wedding-planning!

If you’d like to find out more about Studio Uma, please click here to visit our wedding photography portfolio website. We are based in gorgeous Austin, Texas and specialize in unique, modern and creative Indian wedding photography.

And visit Studio Uma on Facebook. We’re always up to something.

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July 26, 2013

Friends, this is what love looks like. Have you ever known two people so in love, that their warmth and affection for one another was obvious in every touch, every glance, every laugh? I’d like to introduce you to Tazin and Naveed.

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Friends, this is what love looks like. Have you ever known two people so in love, that their warmth and affection for one another was obvious in every touch, every glance, every laugh? I’d like to introduce you to Tazin and Naveed.

This editorial style photo shoot happened last year, and I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to blog it. But here we are at long last. Tazin and Naveed wanted to do an After Session with me. So a week after they got married, these lovely newlyweds got all gussied up once more, and together we made some photo magic happen.

Romantic black and white photo of Mulsim couple at sunset by Austin wedding photographer

You may have heard an “After Session” also called a “Day After Session” or a “Trash the Dress Session” – except I’m not a big fan of that term. It’s misses the mark, for me.

I absolutely love doing After Sessions, because the photos always turn out to be AMAZING. And not necessarily because of me. OK.. maybe a tiny little bit because of me — but mainly because of a bunch of other things you probably haven’t thought of. For example, I love it when a bride gets a second opportunity to use her wedding dress/outfit. I think of all the time and effort that went into pulling together the perfect look for the big day. Not only the dress – but the jewelry. The shoes. The something old, the something blue. And after a few hours on her wedding day (that are over in a flash), the dress is banished into storage. Or sold on eBay. And that’s the end of that story.

Or is it…

Wouldn’t it be nice to give your dress one last moment in the sun (literally) before you have to part ways? And check out Tazin’s jewelry while we’re here. Every piece has it’s own story. The earrings were her grandmothers (who had recently passed away). One of her necklaces was given to her by Naveed’s mother. Every single piece had meaning and a story behind it. Having an After Session meant being able to rock this perfect, meaningful, ensemble once again.

Unique wedding portraits of Muslim bride and groom by Austin wedding photographer

Creative wedding portrait of Indian groom kissing bride’s hand during after session photo shoot by Austin wedding photographer

Editorial style picture of Muslim bride and groom at night with skyline by Austin wedding photographer

Because of family, Tazin and Naveed got married in Columbus, Ohio. But – Cincinnati is where they met and fell in love. Ault Park and the Roebling Bridge were two spots laden with meaning for Tazin and Naveed. This is where they went for walks together. This is where they fell in love with one another. The wonderful thing about an After Session is that you can go absolutely ANYWHERE to take your wedding pictures. You’re not restricted to your venue… or even the city where your venue is located! Getting married in Dallas but want to make some stunning cinematic wedding photographs on the beach? DONE.

A photo of a bouquet of red roses and a romantic picture of a Muslim bride with tikka and Indian groom

Editorial-style wedding portrait of Muslim bride and groom with red rose petals by Austin wedding photographer

Romantic black and white picture of Muslim bride and groom from wedding after session by Austin wedding photographer

Muslim bride and groom pose with red balloons in modern photojournalistic wedding portraits by Austin photographer

A second reason they chose to do an After Session, is that it’s a no-stress situation. On their wedding day, Tazin and Naveed had a jam-packed timeline to adhere to. We did have some time scheduled for their bride and groom photo shoot, but it wasn’t leisurely. Often, I see couples getting a bit flustered on the wedding day because there’s just so much going on.

But it’s beautiful how relaxed and focused on each other Tazin and Naveed are in these pictures, don’t you think? With all the time in the world, and no grand entrance to rush back for – I could really get them to be present with one another. Genuine connection to each other, genuine emotion. For me as a photographer, I find it easier to make people laugh when they’re relaxed. And it’s easier to get those passionate, intense moments like this one.

Contemporary wedding portrait of Muslim bride and groom in romantic close up at sunset

Modern detail shot of Indian couple’s shoes showing white sandals with hem of bridal lehenga

Romantic photojournalistic portrait of Muslim couple by bridge and skyline by Austin wedding photographer

Modern black and white picture of Muslim bride with tikka and wedding jewelry by Austin wedding photographer

A third reason we decided to do an After Session, is because of light. Beautiful light makes for beautiful pictures. It’s (almost) just that simple. Other things matter, of course, but there is nothing as powerful as beautiful light. And the best natural light of the day happens in the hour before sunset – “golden hour”. That’s exactly when I took this next photo.

Editorial style picture of Muslim groom with bride in beautiful lehnga from after wedding photography session

Usually, during golden hour, the reception has already started. So it’s not easy to schedule bride and groom photos on your wedding day, during the time when the light is at its best. That’s another wonderful thing about your After Session – there’s no schedule or timeline to abide by. You can take advantage of golden hour. And seriously, it makes all the difference in the world.

Creative detail photo of Muslim groom straightening his tie

Editorial style portrait of Muslim bride and groom with sparklers by Austin wedding photography

Modern portraits of Muslim groom and stunning Indian bride in beautiful red and white lehenga with tikka

Unique portrait of Muslim bride and groom smiling and kissing by Austin wedding photographer

Beautiful black and white portraits of Muslim bride in detailed lehenga and tikka by Austin wedding photographer

Unique editorial style photo of Muslim couple with red balloons in sunset photo session by Austin wedding photographer

Ooo! Don’t you love that delicious Golden Hour light?

Romantic portrait of Muslim groom kissing bride in beautiful wedding lehnga and tikka

Contemporary and romantic pictures of Muslim bride and groom with city lights and sparklers

Photojournalistic wedding pictures of Muslim couple kissing under romantic bridge at sunset

Creative closeup wedding photo of Muslim bride and groom by Austin wedding photographer

Modern romantic photo of Muslim bride and groom surrounded with red rose petals

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As it turns out, Maharani Magazine fell in love with this duo as well. Here’s Tazin and Naveed on the front cover of the most recent Maharani Magazine. From star-crossed lovers to cover models! You can’t imagine how happy seeing this made me.

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And there’s also this gorgeous 12-page feature on Tazin and Naveed, which you can find here.

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And that is what an After Session looks like.

Thank you Tazin and Naveed, for being so so SO awesome to photograph. I wish you all the best in your new life together.

If you’d like to find out more about Studio Uma, please click here to visit our wedding photography portfolio website. We are based in gorgeous Austin, Texas and specialize in unique, modern and creative Indian wedding photography.

And visit Studio Uma on Facebook. We’re always up to something.

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