Happy 1 Year Anniversary to Nisha Haq Photography!

Monday, July 11, 2016

I can't believe it's been a whole year since I last set up my photography business in June 2015 ever since receiving a £5,000 grant from Solent LEP, HM Government's Regional Growth Fund. I've been so lucky to turn my photography passion into a fully functional business and fortunate enough to put so many smiles on happy customers!

They say the first year of business is the toughest, which I can certainly say has been hard work. Without determination and drive the hard work pays off and am so blessed to photograph so many amazing people, be invited to a couple's special wedding day and continually develop my photography and meet new people who inspire me to stay strong. It's so worth it!

I'm fortunate to have such a supportive, intelligent and inspirational partner, Rob, who continues to help me back on my feet when I've felt the stresses of running a business, balancing two jobs and a social life too. Having a Navy partner has proved its challenges with often limited contact when at sea, but I feel it only makes us stronger knowing we can get through life's ups and downs together. Having an equally driven partner has only made me want to succeed more.

Some of you may know I have been working full time and have just started a new exciting job as a Marketing Officer / Graphic Designer at Grange Park Opera in Hampshire a few days ago. I'm looking forward to this new venture and will be continuing to run Nisha Haq Photography part time. I think this will be a thrilling new chapter in my life and look forward to applying new marketing & design ideas to my business whilst applying my photography pizzazz to the opera! I simply love the arts.

It's been a crazy year with so many exciting challenges, accomplishments and experiences that it would be an even longer blog post to get through all of them but here are few of my favourite moments from my first year of running a business. Also here's to being a #girlboss! (I've just finished Sophia Amoruso's book on being a girl boss and it's a recommended read!)

June 2016

Alice & Rory were fantastic to work with and photograph their wedding day in Southsea, Portsmouth and I knew their wedding was going to be unique and full of laughter as soon as I met them. They were so chilled, happy old souls and simply wanted their wedding day filled with the people they loved and having a good time. As a photographer it was so refreshing to see a wedding done their own way and oozed so much character from their rock music choice walking down the ceremony to Alice wearing a beautiful embellished vintage styled teal gown - simply stunning! Thank you, Alice & Rory. Hope you're enjoying your honeymoon.

June 2016

After hours after meeting this gorgeous woman, I had to take her portrait. It's amazing how some people can simply captivate you and that's what Melissa did. Thanks to my housemate, Kier for inviting her to a flat meal and getting to meet new people. It's so lovely having home cooked group meals just like one happy family. Here's a snapshot from an impromptu photo shoot outside my flat.

May 2016

Turning 23, even though this isn't considered a big milestone, I felt big things were to come this year. Having reflected over everything I had achieved and experienced being 22: starting my business, buying my first car, being a finalist in an international photography competition, getting a new job as a graphic designer, receiving investment for my photography, 4 years strong with my partner Rob, creating great friendships with my new housemates, starting salsa classes, travelling to Naples and visiting Pompeii, hosting 3 themed parties, experiencing a long-distance relationship, photographing my first paid wedding by myself (and the pictures came out beautifully! yay) ... and the list goes on!

Being an ambitious, driven person, I knew I wanted to achieve more, experience more and become my own person... that's where getting a new exciting job as a marketing / graphic designer and opening my eyes to the world of opera and arts, travelling to Amsterdam and exploring a wonderful city by myself for a few days and wanting to photograph more amazing couples over the year and help make their wedding day super special; I feel 23 is the year for even greater things to come! 

Never stop striving for what you want to achieve in life.

P.S Rob got me a ridiculously amazing gift for my birthday which I did not see coming... an Ipad Pro! This is amazing as it's really helped during client meetings being able to showcase my portfolio. Thank you, Rob!

May 2015

Having been recommended by my old lecturer from the BA Photography course at Southampton Solent University, I'm so glad to have documented Tegan & Faizan's wedding blessing in Fair Oak and at this gorgeous manor house with Rookesbury Events Limited. Couldn't have asked for a sunnier day, the weather was fantastic and so were everyone's smiles. Simply stunning! Everyone was so lovely and I had such a great time getting to know the guests and of course taking fabulous shots of Tegan & Faizan.

"Thank you so much for yesterday! We were so glad you were the person documenting our special day, everyone mentioned how nice you were and what a great job you did! The sneak peaks look brilliant and we can't wait to see the rest! Once again thank you so much for being there yesterday we would definitely recommend you to other people and use you again in an occasion."

April 2016

It's been such a pleasure getting to know Ian & Anna and as my first Engagement Session is was pretty awesome getting to photograph this wonderfully fun couple. Having only met them via Skype, the Engagement Session was the first time we had met in person and they were soooo lovely and helped make my first Engagement Session mega fun. Documenting their wedding was amazing on 3rd July 2016 and I loved snapping every minute of it! Here's a gorgeous snap of Ian & Anna from their Engagement Session looking all loved up. Naww. :)

Anna is one of the most kind-hearted people I've had the pleasure of photographing and getting to know. I was so touching to read these lovely words from her after the Engagement Session.

"Although a newcomer on the wedding photographers' scene, Nisha is definitely a talented, hidden gem worth discovering. Her professional yet flexible and friendly approach makes you enjoy the shoot and feel comfortable in front of the lenses. Enthusiastic and creative, Nisha helped us capture magical moments during our recent engagement shoot. Thank you, Nisha! We are looking forward to having our Wedding Day photo session with you. :)"

April 2016

It was a nice surprise to be contacted by a Southampton Solent University Fashion Styling student, Alexsandra, as it had been a little while since doing a fashion portrait shoot. With a day's notice, I thought to keep the spirit of spontaneity alive, so went off to Southampton Common to photograph African styled fashion photos for Alexsandra's university dissertation. The model, Suga was fantastic to work with and love creating this stunning photo. I can definitely see it being a cover of a magazine.

March 2016

Having just been booked a week before for Christy and Geofrey's wedding in Southampton I was excited to use my new Canon Mark III camera and 50mm f/1,2 prime lens for my first solo wedding. I've never documented a Caribbean wedding and was entertained throughout the whole wedding from their energy and passion for each other. They were so much fun to photograph. It was particularly interesting directing the guests for a place to take photographs of the guests, bride and groom. Having lived in Southampton for 4 years it was a relief to know a good spot for group portraits so led a convoy of cars from the Church to East Park in Southampton city centre for some informal group shots of the guests.

March 2016

Two days after my first solo wedding I attended Katie and Tom's beautiful military wedding in Sutton Scotney, Hampshire as Katy Ellen Photography's second shooter for the day. It was great working with Katy as her second shooter especially at a military wedding and really enjoyed capturing moments from a different perspective that I wouldn't usually think of taking. Going to Tom's family's house for the groom prep was great fun and the family were so welcoming. It was also lovely to be mentioned in Katie and Tom's testimonial on Katy's website

"[Katy] was able to arrange a great second photographer for us too so we could capture guests arriving at the church as well as bridal party preparations."

Thank you Katy Ellen Photography, Katie & Tom!

March 2016

Running a photography business you can forget to appreciate photography as a personal hobby and take snaps of your friends at socials instead using the camera phone all the time. I'm lucky to be living with amazing flatmates where we host monthly flat/cocktail parties and have a good old time. I suggested a James Bond themed cocktail party where we'd all get glammed up in our gowns and suits (or even dress as James Bond characters - see Jaws below!) and with everyone looking so snazzy I thought a photo booth would be a fab idea. The newest flatmate hadn't moved in yet so I used the spare room as the photo booth room where the camera on a tripod was wired to a TV screen and operated with a remote control to release the shutter. Viola! The Nisha Haq Photography photo booth was born. :)

March 2016

It was a coincidence spending Mother's Day with my mum as I had booked a 2 night hotel stay in Somerset as a birthday/Christmas treat and their availability was Mother's Day weekend which turned out nicely. Despite living in Somerset for 14 years I hadn't explored the many quaint English little villages one of which was Hinton St George where we stayed at the cosy and wonderfully decorated The Lord Poulett Arms. This snap was taken outside Montacute House where my mother and I had a day out National Trusting (love having a membership with the National Trust). Love my mum to bits!

March 2016

Another highlight in March was having the opportunity to guest speak at SENSE (Solent Entrepreneurs' Network for Sustainable Enterprises) at Southampton Solent University where I talked about a subject I love: photography & branding! Working as a graphic designer full time in the day and photographer by night, it was a fun putting together two passions in my life in a presentation: 'Using Photography to create a Visual Identity for your Brand'. Having graduated from Southampton Solent University in BA (Hons) Photography in 2014 and having been active in entrepreneurship activities ever since it was a privilege to present to my peers. Of course wearing my power dress suit made me feel like a #girlboss up there.

“I knew I could rely on Nisha to deliver a well-prepared, well-researched and above all thought-provoking session for SENSE members. As with all of our workshops, it’s given me a lot of ideas for my own business.”

- Greg Sandford, SENSE organiser and entrepreneur in residence at Solent University.

Jan 2016

I've been good friends with Jamie for over a year where we first met at SENSE who runs his own handmade chocolate business: JK Fine Chocolates in Waterlooville, Hampshire and was delighted when he asked me to photograph his new chocolate product range for his new online store: http://shop.jkfinechocolates.co.uk/ including his new white chocolate triple truffles in time for Valentine's Day. After photographing his Christmas campaign for his infamous salted caramel sauce (soo yummy!) it was a treat to photograph his chocolate range. Having never done food photography before, this was an interesting challenge I was ready to take on. Also, it really helped eating the chocolates throughout the all day shoot (it's a hard life as a chocolate photographer! tehe) to keep the energy going. 

Thank you, Jamie for your kind words, great working with you and your food photography support. Fantastic brief = a photographer's dream!

"Nisha has a wonderful passion for photography and always works extremely hard to please her clients. With me Nisha has been at the forefront of my food photography, creating luxurious and indulgent photos of my chocolates & caramels. Her photography that shined in particular, was when working with my chocolates cut in half to reveal the filling. Here she delivered exceptional results and amazing photography skills, highlighting the unique truffle layers wonderfully. Nisha is extremely professional and easy to work with, with a real understanding of the clients needs and wants."

Nov 2015

A month before I had the pleasure of photographing JK Fine Chocolates Christmas range and it was such a fun brief styling Christmas decorations with his delicious Salty Hazelnut Caramel sauce (the best I've had!) and his Triple Truffles. He was so lovely to work with and opened my eyes to the world of food photography and styling. I must say it certainly a challenge, but so worth it! My partner Rob, assisted on this shoot which was fun eating mince pies and drizzling sauce into them during the shoot. Probably one of the muckiest shoots I've done using caramel sauce! Thanks Jamie for making a photographer's life certainly interesting.

Oct 2015

Having officially started my business in June 2015, it wasn't until October that things really started to take shape. I had the great experience photographing James & Sophie's beautiful wedding back in June as a guest and had so many fantastic photographs from the day. It was then I realised I could actually run a wedding photography business and have the full confidence to go for it. I also love creating postcards (I love collecting postcards wherever I go) and wanted to give James & Sophie something special as a thank you for inviting me to their wedding. I was so excited when I received these postcards all in the post and unpackaged it. I can only imagine how lovely it must have been for them to open this surprise.

Oct 2015

I've ben working with Somerset Art Works (SAW) for over 5 years now and so grateful for all the photography projects I've done with them over the years. From photographing art workshops in quaint villages around Somerset where you really feel a sense of community, covering the launch event of Somerset Art Weeks at Barrington House photographing the likes of Kevin McCloud as one their trustees to this project - 3 day photography and film coverage in Stoke sub-Hamdon Priory for the Gather-ing exhibition. I had a fantastic time meeting these amazing artists and crew putting together a beautifully atmospheric exhibition in a 14/15th century barn in the picturesque landscape. It was also great interviewing the artists and recording footage of the installation process to create a short video. (Video coming soon!) Here's a group photo of the crew on celebrating the exhibition launch on the last day.

August 2015

Just launching a new wedding photography business, I was excited to put together a wedding portfolio and create stunning images that a potential bride and groom could do and look forward to on their wedding day. I am so fortunate to live so close to the New Forest and I knew a styled photo shoot in this landscape would be dreamy and simply beautiful. Luckily I was right, and the weather couldn't have been better. With the warm summer sun, open fields with New Forest ponies galloping in the background, Jenny looking stunning in her 3 wedding dresses she styled and my partner Rob looking handsome in his new designer suit. I had so much fun choosing which dresses to include and styling the shoot (I ended up getting 12 dresses and 6 pairs of shoes to select from!) To those of you who both know Jenny and Rob, would realise that we're all good friends (they both went to school together) so it was a great laugh where we all played pretend for a day (and shocked a few along the way too!). What was most surprising was how 'real' it looked from strangers out and about during the shoot as there were a few passer by's who congratulated them on their 'wedding day'! Also, when we were shooting this photo in the open field where a main road ran through, we received lots of horn beeps with passengers yelling 'Congrats!' from the car! Just your average day as a photographer! tehe

Definitely up there with most interesting photo shoots I've done (plus I'd like to say I have great friends who can put up with my crazy creative ideas! Thank you, Rob & Jenny!)

July 2015

I love photographing beautiful portraits and headshots and simply having fun taking pretty pictures of beautiful women (I feel I have many female muses now!) One of which is the lovely Dessy who I used to work with in my old job at Southampton Solent University. It was great reconnecting with old colleagues and creating a stunning portrait like this, Thank you Dessy - I feel I must make a book of beautiful portraits of beautiful women at some point.

June 2015

James & Sophie’s wedding was the first wedding I've photographed from beginning to end and gosh, was it amazing! It was so lovely to be invited as a guest (my partner Rob is a cousin of James, the groom), and to be able to take natural photos of the day and enjoy it as a whole. Having not photographed a whole wedding before it was a pleasant surprise to be asked by Sophie to capture the evening entertainment after the main photographer, Allister Freeman had left. It was both nerve-wracking and exciting to photograph their wedding and quite fortunate too. The day was mainly quite rainy so there weren’t as many group photos taken during the reception. Luckily the evening cleared up after the wedding breakfast and I asked if Sophie & James wanted their group photos done with their friends and family in the beautiful Bath countryside. I had so much fun capturing the goofy groom portraits before the night time entertainment and certainly helped give the confidence needed to organise group shots and take beautiful photographs under pressure! Phew. :) All in all had a fantastic time with Rob and lots of lovely snaps for the bride and groom.

For my first full wedding it was so lovely to read these lovely words from Sophie & James:

"Nisha took so many beautiful photos of our wedding day in the summer. She was a pleasure to work with and had some great ideas. She really managed to capture the happiness of the occasion! Thanks again Nisha! xx"

June 2015

Living in Bedford Place, Southampton for over 4 years, it's lovely getting involved in local community events and one that’s a fun one to visit is the Bedford Place Vintage Fair where they convert the car park to lots of funky family–friendly stalls and Lindy hop style music by Still-Moving DJs. It’s great supporting and getting involved in local activities and I’m all for supporting independent businesses in Hampshire.

Here’s a lovely comment from Still-Moving DJs from the day.

“Many many thanks for the fantastic photographs from the Southampton's Bedford Place Vintage Family Festival - all are brilliant :) xx”

Happy 1 year anniversary! x

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Web: nishahaqphotography.com

Email: hello@nishahaqphotography.com

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