Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year Dubai!

It is that time of year again! Time for new years resolutions and of course to watch and also maybe photograph the splendid fire work displays that we have here in Dubai or wherever you are in the world. Here in Dubai we have two firework displays that usually are spectacular there are of course several fire works displays but two that are usually a bit out of the ordinary at least. It is Burj Khalifa the tallest building in the world and Atlantis The Palm Hotel. Lets hope I am not wrong and that they both are boycotting fireworks or something this year :-)
For those of you that are photographer enthusiasts I would like to give some tips on how you can capture the fireworks with your camera.
When photographing fireworks your location is very important. You do not want anyone potentially standing in front of you or that a building is blocking part of your view. So location is very important you might want to go and location scout before hand since once the fireworks have started you will not have time to move yourself and your camera gear.
A tripod is almost a must at least very recommendable. If you do not have one find something solid to put your camera on such as a table or a ledge. Because you will not be able to hand hold the camera for the long exposures that are needed no matter how steady you are. A remote trigger is very handy so that you will not get any camera shake but not a necessity. If you do not have one you need to press your shutter very gently, no sudden moves.
Then put your camera on Manual mode. There are of course several different settings that you can choose from nothing is totally right or wrong just give different effects.
But to give you somewhere to start out at you can have your DSLR on ISO 100, Aperture 11 and Shutter speed somewhere between 1 to 8 seconds. At 8 seconds you will have more firework rain (light trails) and a brighter image since your camera curtain will be open for a longer period of time. When you choose a short shutter speed such as 1 second then you will only be able to capture the short bursts of light.
The lower your ISO is the less noise will be visible in your photograph, but if you do not have a tripod you can increase your ISO to compensate that a little but you then have to be aware that you will get more noise in your photographs. Try to predict where and when the fireworks will go off to capture the colorful bursts, you do not want to press your shutter when the rocket/firework starts since it then will take it too long for the colorful bursts to appear and you will overexpose your photo a bit too much.

ISO 200, Shutter speed 4 sec. Aperture F. 14
ISO 100, Shutter speed 1Sec, Aperture F.11 
ISO 100, Shutter speed 3Sec, Aperture F.11
It can also be nice to include people into your composition to show a sense of perspective and dimension. This image below is to display that and that you should not wait till the last minute to photograph a firework display because the sky after a while will become very smoky from all the fireworks which you can see in this image so its not a great image by any means I just want to prove my point. :-)
ISO 200, Shutter speed 2 sec. Aperture F.14
Good luck tonight!  If you live in Dubai you will have a second chance at photographing fireworks during the Dubai Shopping Festival. They always have spectacular fireworks over the creek then. The above images are taken during last years shopping festival.
If all else fails you can always sign up for one of my photography workshops :-) LOL

Happy New Year everyone!
Helen xx

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Dubai Beginner Photography Workshops

Announcing The first Beginners Photography Workshop of 2013.
I have received so many requests lately for when I am starting new beginners photography workshops so I sat down the other day to work out suitable dates. Well I have now gotten the dates confirmed for the first one for 2013.
If you have your own DSLR and are wondering a bit about what all those buttons are all about then this course is for you. I will teach you how to stop photographing in Automatic mode and how to use the Creative modes on your camera, such as Aperture, Shutter speed and Manual.
The first Beginners Photography Workshop in Dubai has the following dates for 2013:
20th of January 10.00 -12.00, at Al Areesh Club, Festival City
27th of January 10.00-12.00, at Al Areesh Club, Festival City
3rd of February 10.00-12.00 on location TBA
Total of max 4 pax in each workshop so that I have time to help all of you with your camera. Price: AED 1,200 per person
Call for bookings: Helen 055 107 89 88
*Ladies Only
I also do individual photography workshops so if you are interested in that give me a call and we can work out a suitable schedule for it. Price for individual lessons are AED 2,100 for a total of 6 hours lessons that can be split into two or three sessions. Evenings are also available.

Over and out for now.
Helen xo

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Dubai Christmas Cards

If you are a bit like me and enjoy a little bit of DIY jobs at least when it comes to crafts, maybe not to put up your own book shelves. :) I love it when you get gifts when you can tell there have been some thought put into it and not just a random tie or a pair of socks. (oops I gave my hubby a tie for Christmas) Ok so don’t do as I do, do as I say :-)
While you still have your Christmas decorations up take  advantage of it and plan next years Christmas cards already now.
It does not have to be difficult, go and get your christmas ornaments,
choose some of your favorite ones, if you have children it can actually be some of the ornaments that they have made in the past that can make a lovely and sentimental christmas card both at the same time.
This is my daughters first Christmas so we don’t have any ‘special’ ornaments yet only what I bought at ACE hardware last year.
What you need to make this Christmas card:
  • A camera (does not need to be a dslr, any camera will do. It is all in the composition)
  • Christmas ornaments
  • Printer (or go to your local Kodak shop)
  • Computer (not necessary if you go to your local Kodak shop, unless you want to add text to the photo, but I think your local printing shop can actually help you with that as well.)
  • Hard thick paper (you can get this in your local stationary shop, or Carrefour and Hyper Panda also have them)
  • Scissors or paper knife or paper cutter
  • Glue
  • Ruler (to make sure you cut in straight lines)
  • Large piece of paper or sheet (for your background so can be anything that you would like to have as a back ground colour in your photographs, can be your christmas tree as well)
Ok there are a few things that you should think about when arranging your ornaments. If you have really shiny ones then you will probably get a reflection and see everything that are behind the camera. Such as yourself and anything else. I for example saw myself with my tripod and my washing that was hanging on a clothe horse behind me to the side.... Not what I want all my friends to see in their christmas card.
This is what my set up looked like. I used my washing basked upside down to get the ornaments off the floor. You can also use a table or what ever you have at home that is suitable for you. 
Once I realized that I saw myself and how messy the room I used was I started to dislike all the ornaments that had a reflecting surface. You can of course edit those areas in photo shop but my motto is to get it right in the camera so that you don’t create extra work for yourself afterwards, as much as you can at least.
Also remember to dust off your ornaments to make sure they look really nice. Because in a photograph you see everything. I saw on some of mine that a strand of my own hair was stuck in it I was very annoyed with myself that I had not seen it when I composed the photograph. Since I had missed it I edited it out in photoshop afterwards.
When you compose your photograph think of if you would like some text to go on the photograph it self. You then need to ‘save’ some space in your photograph for it so that you have the same background. If you add more space afterwards in photoshop or other software you will be able to tell that you have done exactly that.
Here are some finished photographs. You now just need to print them in the size you want and glue them to a card and post them.
You can of course give me a call and I can come and take a family photograph of you and your family and use that on your christmas cards. Tel. +971 (0)55 107 89 88 Ask for Helen 
I can also help you with printing your own A5 size Christmas cards they are folded and plain inside. I have a professional printing company that I use for that.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Holiday Greetings from Dubai

Happy Holidays everyone.
Having lived in the middle east now for over a decade I know very well that far from everyone are celebrating Christmas. But it is hard to believe when you walk out in any of the shopping malls here they have all gone full on Christmas from decorations, large Christmas trees to having Santa’s grotto etc. One of the fun advantages of living in such a multi cultural place as Dubai is that you get to be part of so many different Holiday’s in a year because they are all very heavily celebrated but all in a very good way!
This year it was my daughters first Christmas and she is so easy to photograph she practically smiles all day long so when I put a camera in front of her face she just continues with being her lovely self. I cant ask for a better model.
Since it is our first Christmas as a family I wanted to send a personalized Christmas Card this year to our family and close friends. Here are a few snaps that I have taken of my daughter, in my search of finding our perfect Christmas card. Please let me know which one is your favourite. I think my favorite is the one below, the first one. That one unfortunately did not make it as a Christmas Card because I took it too late so it would not have arrived in time. I have learned this year that I need to be much more organized and start already in October to think of fun Christmas cards ideas to have time to both take and print them in time for me to send them so that they arrive before Christmas.
I wish you all a very Happy Holiday if you are celebrating and a lovely and prosperous New Year!
My though on this one was to have something that represented where we lived now. It was unfortunatelly not the best weather while we took this one.
A bit of fun.
Happy New Year!
Ps. Don’t forget to photograph the New Year fireworks it is great fun and makes for great Photography Wall Art and fun cards.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

A Mosaic photography frame

Happy Thanks Giving to everyone that are celebrating today.
Thanks Giving is not what I had planned to blog about today I just happened to remember that it was today:-)
Anyway, I would like to mention the lovely idea of a mosaic photography frame gift idea. (I would personally call it a collage photography frame) not sure if both are correct or just slightly different. Since it is a collage of different photographs put together but then again you mosaic small pieces together which makes a collage. I just received this advertising email from I used them earlier this year to print some mini moo cards and since then I keep on receiving their emails which I most of the time just delete straight away but I would still like to receive them incase something good comes along. Like today.
They have a sale from today till the 27th of November and these Mosaic frames and they are quite cool I thought. You get to display 20 different photographs in one frame on different angels (vertical or horizontal) The frame actually reminds me of a childhood board game where you have one piece left out so that you can still move the other pieces around and you try to make a pattern or something with them. (one of them mind games, that tests how cleaver you are :-)) 
Either way this frame is a fun idea I thought to be able to display several photographs in just one single frame, you can that way create a bit of a story with photographs. So if you are stumped on gift ideas then this might be the perfect one. You can either do several different ones of your family, such as use your images from one of the photography shoots you have done with me! hint hint! Book one if you haven’t had yours done yet! LoL or maybe do one with a Dubai theme or flowers etc. Your imagination is your limit here, so get creative.

I have not taken these photographs I just downloaded them from the website to show you what they look like. Click on the link above to get straight to their site and take a look for yourself.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Dubai Photography tip of the Day

Now when we all can take advantage of the lovely cooler weather that Dubai is presenting us we should do it to the fullest. It is not only lovelier to be out and about but the change from hot to cooler weather I am saying cooler and not cold since that can be a bit miss interpreted since cold usually means a lot cooler than 25 degrees Celsius, gives us more clouds in the sky than we usually have. Any way the weather change also gives us the great opportunity to get some cool landscape photographs done here in Dubai. We very rarely have clouds in the sky here so go out and take advantage of the ones we have now. This image I took last weekend while I was doing a  mother and daughter photography session on the beach. It started out being a bit hazy but as soon as the sun dropped a bit the clouds became more apparent and the sun changed to very vivid colours. So if you are a keen photographer don’t miss this opportunity that we have right now it wont last all winter unfortunately. Get out there with your camera and get snapping. I took this photograph on the Dubai Umm Suqeim Beach hand held, but if you have a tripod bring that with you. But as you can see it is possible to capture the sunset without a tripod so don’t let that discourage you. Although its a great excuse to your better half for getting new photography gear :-). Maybe a potential holiday gift come early?
For this photograph I used my Canon 5D with lens 24-105mm F4 IS USM L
My camera settings were: 
ISO 200
F 10
TV 1/125 sec
Lens focal length 55mm

Today we have lovely light white clouds in the sky so don’t sit at home get out there. The sun is setting very soon so you better hurry.
I use this website to check the sun’s timings,

Please let me know how you get along out there would love to see your sunset photographs.

Catch you all later.
Helen x

Monday, 1 October 2012

Dubai newborn photography shoot

Last year I had the pleasure to meet this lovely family for the first time, we then did a family photography session of the three of them now last weekend I saw them again and this time I did a newborn photography session with them. They have just had a lovely little baby boy. I just love to photographs newborns they are so adorable don't you agree?

I can't wait to meet them all again in 6 months for another photography shoot to capture his developments. 
Ps. What do you guys think of my new watermark?
All the best.
Helen xx

Friday, 28 September 2012

Helen is Featured at Mom Souq Dubai

Hope you are all well. I can happily let you all know that I have been selected among many MumPreneurs in the region to be featured at for their second phase launch. It is a great website for services in the region as well as buying and selling second hand products.
Check out the website if you have not already done so.
Last weekend I photographed a newborn baby boy and yesterday I was busy photographing an event as well as business portraits. Tomorrow I will photograph a new mum to be. I love that my job keeps me on my toes and never becomes boring and mundane.
Catch you all again later.
Helen xx

Monday, 24 September 2012

I love photographing Dubai Weddings

Think it is something about the excitement and that everyone are so happy during a wedding that makes them so much fun to photograph. It is after all the Bride and Grooms happiest time of their lives!
You never get a do over when you are photographing a wedding. You have to get it right then and there and its a lot about the moments, you have to foresee the events ahead of time to make sure that you are in position to capture them when they happen. To be able to foresee events and happenings on a wedding day is something that comes to you through experience, the more experience you have as a wedding photographer the better you become. Which is why it is important for you as a bride and groom to be to check your wedding photographers wedding experience level and not just as a photographer but as a wedding photographer. I photograph a lot of intimate weddings in Dubai, where I capture the wedding ceremony and then whisk the couple away in my car and I take them to another photography location in Dubai. Most couples request beach shoots. And beaches we have several in Dubai so all you have to do is to pick what kind of background you want to have. This particular couple was in Dubai on holiday and wanted to capture the spirit of Dubai and the sunny Dubai beaches in their wedding photographs.
All my holiday wedding photography shoots I deliver their images through Drop Box since they are usually only here for a short period of time. Don't you just love the efficiency of the Internet! Makes life so much easier and the world so much closer to you.
I once photographed a wedding where the couple was literally on a plane back to Norway before I had even reached my office to download the wedding photographs. They had arrived in the morning so talk about a flying visit. But they did get married in Dubai after all!
Helen xx
 Burj Khalifa in the background.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Joint Alumni Iftar Dubai 2012

I had the pleasure to photograph the Joint Annual Alumni Iftar this year as well.
I enjoyed it immensely last year due to the people being so lovely. So when Jennifer called me and asked if I would mind photographing their event again this year I jumped at the chance.
It was fun to recognize some of the attendees from last year makes you feel more like you are part of the event than just there to capture it. Just like last year it was held at Al Habtoor Grand Hotel Dubai. It was a great success with 350 attendees from different business and university schools from around the world a great mix of people.
Here are some snaps from the night.

If you want to go through all the photographs from the night you can find them here.

Friday, 17 February 2012

James Blunt Concert in Dubai 2012

The Dubai International Jazz Festival has arrived!
Last night was the first day with the opening act being none other than James Blunt.
As per normal concert etiquette he came on stage later than planned. Why does that always happen? I don't get it? Anyway once he started he was playing all his normal songs I personally have one or two of his CD's but he still played several songs i had never heard of they were not bad they to me just all sound very much the same which makes it hard to tell them all apart. I still consider myself as a James Blunt fan so don't let my chatter about all songs sounding the same being a negative thing its just his signature i guess?
The concert was at a lovely setting outdoors at Al Badia, Festival City great atmosphere and lovely temperature at the moment. I hate to think how hot and sweaty it will be at the Madonna concert in June.
Here are some snaps from last nights show. Enjoy!
Were you there? What did you think? Did you see how many prams that were present? Can't believe how many parents that bring their children to a late night concert for what reason? One mum was mowing down beer glasses as she was pushing her pram towards the exit at 23.30 That might be a hint to you should not be out with a pram at that time. The child was of course wide awake as well. Myself and my hubby also had to step over two children laying on the lawn sleeping when we were walking towards the exit. Yes I admit I left before the concert was over... I was just as tired as those children laying there sleeping on the grass.  :-)
I did enjoy it thought!!! honest.
Tonight I am off to see Jools Holland And His Rhythm & Blues Orchestra. Bring on the Jazz..... (I am not really a Jazz fan) But always nice with things happening around you don't you think?
Today I had to say no to yet another Wedding photography shoot. I hate when I can't say Yes!!! Just that the dates were clashing with other plans unfortunately.
Hope you are all doing well out there!
See ya'
Helen xoxo

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Omega Dubai Desert Classic Tournament Day 1 2012

I had a great day out at Emirates Golf Club today. The weather was perfect with a thin layer of clouds hanging about most of the time. It did get hot though I must admit. I will definitively rethink my wardrobe for tomorrow :-) Shorts it is! Today in black trousers and a flannel shirt was a bit on the warm side....
Did any of you hear me chat with Suzanne Radford on Dubai Today 103.8 between 11.00 - 12.00?? I am sure there will be a podcast online later of it if anyone are interested to listen to it but did not have the chance to hear me live! We were broadcasting live from The Omega Dubai Desert Classic Village Area. Dubai Eye will continue to broadcast live from there all weekend so you can go and have a chat with them or just listen in.
It was fun being on the radio I enjoyed that so if anyone else want to have a chat with me on the radio please give me a call :-) hint, hint!
I also had the pleasure of holding and fiddling a bit with the New Canon EOS D1 X that is not yet out on the open market. The body I was holding was the first and only one in the Middle East right now! They will be out for general sale later on in May. It looked and felt fantastic. I will tomorrow take it out for a test spin which shall be great fun.
Today I photographed with a Canon EOS D1 IV and a Canon 300mm f. 2.8 lens I borrowed from Canon for the day. It is great to be able to borrow and test and to try other products before you purchase them to see if they work for you or not. This combination definitively worked for me today I love the photographs that I took today.
Here is a sneak peak for you all of what I saw out on the course today.
 Love his facial expression.
 Another fun facial expression.