If you’ve ever interacted with me you’ll notice that I have a strange relationship with the colour red, and that’s how this project all started. I had worked with Shereen Ahmed on a project for Yas Marina (click here to check that out) and I loved how open she was to suggestions and ideas. So when she dyed her hair bright red I instantly texted her and asked if she would collaborate on something with me. I had no idea what it was, all I knew was that I liked her red hair. Okay, so, now what do we do?I had always wanted to try this concept where the key light is under an umbrella that the model is actually holding. I had seen it a number of times for weddings and there would usually be some rain involved because, well, it’s an umbrella right? Unfortunately we don’t get much rain around here so I thought I’d add an smoke instead to add an extra element. However, we were doing this outdoors so there was no way to plug in a smoke machine. Solution: a vape from Vape UAE.

But a cool collaboration like this is not complete without a video. So I called up my partner in crime Mohammad Sakijha from Framez House to work his magic. One last piece would make this complete. The soundtrack. Instead of getting some random tracks from the internet I always like to support the UAE’s music scene by including a track from one of the artists. I had worked with Moh Flow to produce little clips for him to promote his tracks as they are released so this seemed like a perfect for his new track “All The Way”. (click to listen/download).

Now, on a technical note for the photographers out there. How did we accomplish this look?

  1. The key light was a speed light attached to the umbrella. The amount and direction of light really depends on where the speed light is pointing in relation to the model. For highest impact we had it directly opposite the model
  2. The rim light was also a speed light with a red gel on it directly behind the model at 14mm zoom.
  3. Camera was a Fujifilm X-T2 with a 56mm lens. Mainly shooting at 4.5-5.6 most of the time.
Lessons learned:
  1. When inspiration hits, take advantage right away
  2. If you’re going for a black background look there’s no need for a studio if you can’t afford one, all you need is a dark outdoor location. Drive around a little and you’re bound to find one.


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Waleed Shah
Official Fuji-X-Photographer
Instagram: @waleedshah
Snapchat: @shahwaleed