Lessons Learned The Hard Way

Back in February, I got to meet an incredible photographer I’ve been following for a while on Instagram on Facebook and eventually became friends with. Mila came to Dubai for a couple of days on vacation and I was super excited when she told me! I knew we had to go shoot together. We had such an awesome day.

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I picked her up from her hotel and brought her back to my place for a home-cooked meal, and we started throwing around ideas for shoots. Then we went to a place I go to often to shoot and..
we almost got arrested.


So we were walking around having fun trying to find a perfect spot to shoot while waiting for the sun to set and this cop comes up to us and says that we have to go down to the station because apparently, the area we were in is private and has something to do with oil or whatever. I couldn’t understand what it was exactly, and I argued about the fact that there were NO signs that said we weren’t allowed to be there or shoot there. He wouldn’t listen and insisted on us going down to the station. I felt so bad for wasting Mila’s time and I didn’t want her to go back without doing at least one shoot so I told him that I’m not going to. Standing up to a cop is something I’ve never done before and I was TERRIFIED. But it made sense to me, there were no signs, we weren’t doing anything illegal, and if he wanted us to leave we would just leave. There was no need for us to go to the station, and I told him that. After about 20 or 30 minutes (and lots of phone calls to some dude at a higher position at the station) he let us go, but said we couldn’t stay there. At this point we were losing light but still determined to get something we could both use.

And we did, thank god. We had to rush both shoots but I’m so happy we were able to create together. Mila’s such an incredible person. I don’t like the fact that she’s on the other side of the world, but I’m certain we’ll meet again and work together.

This is what I did:

Lessons Learned The Hard Way

I’ve had this idea for such a long time but never got around to doing it, so when Mila came over I went through my ideas book and asked her if she’d wanna do this.


Of course, I didn’t want to use dead birds because that felt wrong, and we didn’t have time to go buy props so we had to improvise and ended up using only one black feather and took lots of pictures of it that I composited into the main shot. To my surprise, when I showed Mila my idea and she agreed to do it, she also said “ooh! I have a tattoo of a bird on my shoulder, would that help?” And I was all “askdjalskdjaksldj YES that would be awesome”. Ok, I got a little too excited. I’ve never photographed anyone with tattoos and I love birds.

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Here’s a closeup so you can see Mila’s tattoos.

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And another polaroid because who doesn’t love polaroids?
This is the image that Mila shot, make sure you check out her Facebook page to see more of her work, she’s awesome.

I’m doing my very first talk THIS Saturday at The Change Initiative in Dubai. I’m gonna talk about how I got into photography, share some of the stories and inspiration behind some of my images, and I’ll also go through my editing process quickly for some images, AND I’m gonna be demoing an edit from start to finish. If you’re in Dubai, I’d love to see you there! All you need to do is RSVP here or here.


I kinda feel bad that I haven’t been very active here on my blog, or on my Facebook page, but after GPP2015 was over I was going through this phase where I just had a hard time getting back into the rhythm I was in and shooting regularly. That’s about to change though because I have a bunch of different things I’m gonna be working on soon 🙂 thank you guys for reading and sticking around! Hugs ❤

2014-2017 Events Thoughts

5 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Love both images, Amani! And I’m very happy for you, for the opportunity you have in speak for the first time at The Change Initiative in Dubai. I wish that everything goes well and will certainly run. My thoughts will be with you on Saturday. Stay well! Lots of inspiration for you! Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love your image, it´s right up my alley 🙂 black and feathers and a redhead and tattoos and movement…I love it! Don`t have much to say these days, but I still wanted to let you know, I am always checking your blog even if I do not react! Hope you are well! Hugs ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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