Month: May 2010

aziza + nauman’s wedding reception

Filed in weddings shot by on at

We said a lot about this amazing couple in our last post, so we won’t repeat ourselves too much; but, if you read our last post, then you already know how much we adore them. :)

Here’s a little re-cap of who they are in case anyone needs a refresher: Aziza and Nauman own a wedding design firm in NYC, Shadi Paradise, and they specialize in creating/building custom structures for weddings and receptions. (Check out their website; seriously, their work is flawless.) So, for their own wedding, they pulled out all the stops and planned/designed the most fabulous-looking reception we’ve ever seen, and after you see these pictures, we’re pretty sure you’ll all agree!  Even though it was the morning of their wedding, they (along with their team) did all of the set-up/assembly at the venue, so we headed over to Leonard’s La Dolce Vita to document that part of the day.  It was incredible to see it all come together right before our eyes!!

Aziza and Nauman were married for a while before they had time to plan their reception, so there was no ceremony that day – just an incredibly gorgeous reception that was a blast to photograph!

I love this first image…the front doors of Leonard’s – such an impressive venue!!

a close up wide angle of the front door at Leonard's La Dolce Vita in Long Island

front entrance of Leonard's La Dolce Vita
The lobby outside The Grand Ballroom…
just outside of the main ballroom at Leonard's of Greatneck
Ok, so this post is definitely heavy on the details, but there were so many that we just couldn’t stop ourselves!  It was also our first time photographing a Pakistani wedding, so everything was new and different to us, and each custom/tradition we learned about was awesome.  The pink and purple beaded wedding dress and veil was exquisite…all night long, I kept seeing Aziza walk around in it and I was like, “this is SO much better than white!!”
The bride wore a gorgeous, pink and purple, hand-beaded traditional Pakistani wedding dress

The bride's veil was a handmade work of art

The bride's shoes resting against the mirror in the bathroom at Leonard's
I love this shot…it’s just a super close-up of Aziza’s bracelets, but it’s so fun to look at!
a macro shot of the bride's diamond and pearl stacked bracelets
More details!!
A Muslim bride wears jeweled bracelets up and down her arms
Clear, baby grand piano = perfect location for a bouquet shot!!  LOVE
The bride's bouquet consisted of roses and calla lilies draped with crystals
Aziza getting her hair and make-up done…the jewelry-looking thing that the make-up artist is placing on her forehead is called a “tikka.”  I learned so many new things that day!  :)
A Muslim bride has her teeka applied by the make-up artist

A Pakistani bride has her hair curled and styled to work perfectly with her veil
Aziza’s mom watching her get ready…LOVE it!
The make up artist informed me that Pakistani brides wear very dramatic eye make up
The ladies’ room at Leonard’s had mirrored ceilings – lucky me   ;)
When photographing a bride getting ready, I try to use as many creative angles as possible

A close-up shot of the bride having her false lases applied by the make-up artist
These next two might be my favorite wedding detail shots EVER.
photograph of Indian bride holding and orchid to show off the mehndi she had done the day before
absolutely gorgeous amazing shots of a Pakistani bride taken by Buffalo's best wedding photographers

gorgeous portrait of a beautiful Pakistani bride
We grabbed a few shots of the handsome groom while we were waiting for Aziza…
a handsome Pakistani groom waits patiently for his bride

a handsome Pakistani groom waits for his bride to finish getting ready
…and then, we took a few shots of the bride and groom before all of the guests arrived.
shooting up from the ground makes your subject appear powerful

portraits of Indian bride and groom sitting on custom built stage at their wedding reception
More details!!  Sorry, but like I said, we couldn’t help ourselves…there was coolness every where we looked; and, oh by the way, these next several shots have not been enhanced – the colors in the ballroom were really that vibrant.  I can’t even believe how fabulous it looked…Aziza and Nauman are A-MAAAAAA-ZING designers!!
close up shot of crystals draped over tree branches as wedding reception centerpieces

wedding cake for Pakistani wedding reception

draping crystals used to decorate a wedding reception at Leonard's

custom built structure for bride and groom to sit under at Indian Shadi

Leonard's in Long Island was decorated all in pink for a high fashion Indian wedding

a custom spotlight with the names of the bride and groom shines on the marble floor in front of the stage
Our happy couple being announced in to the reception…
Pakistani bride and groom being announced into their reception
This is one of my favorite shots from the day.  At a Pakistani wedding, it is customary for the bride and groom to sit together on a “stage” in front of all the guests (another thing we learned that day!); so, as soon as they walked in and sat down, people were hopping up from their tables to take a zillion pictures of them.
a group of Pakistani women take pictures of the bride and groom on their stage
Before dinner was served, there were three incredible entertainment segments.  First, was Wanted Ashiqz, who describe themselves as “New York’s Premier Bollywood Fusion/Dance Troupe” – they were definitely awesome.
wanted ashiqz performing for the bride and groom at Leonard's of greatneck

wanted ashiqz were hired to perform for the bride and groom at their wedding
Then, there was Elliot Zimet, an amazing magician/illusionist who you might remember from “America’s Got Talent…”
magician Elliot Zimet performs at a Long Island wedding
The third act was this guy, who was a pretty talented Michael Jackson impersonator…he definitely put on a good show.
a very interesting Michael Jackson impersonator was hired to perform at an Indian wedding
The cake-cutting…
Pakistani bride and groom cut their wedding cake
Leonard’s has, literally, the biggest chandelier we’ve ever seen…just to guestimate, it was probably 25 feet long and 5 feet across – kind of unbelievable.  So, when it was time to take some portraits of the bride and groom, we headed straight for the mammoth chandelier/spiral staircase area.
bride and groom pose in front of the huge chandelier at Leonards La Dolce Vita

Pakistani bride and groom pose casually for a wedding photo at Leonards

amazing wedding day portrait of Long Island Pakistani bride

portraits taken of Indian bride and groom at their wedding

beautiful portrait taken of Indian bride on her wedding day
At the end of the night, after most of the guests had already left, their family members and a few of their closest friends gathered around to send them off!
Muslim bride leaves wedding reception with the Koran being carried over her head
They really wanted us to get some shots of their Rolls Royce Phantom.  (I don’t know anything about cars, at ALL, but apparently, the Phantom is a pretty big deal.)  ;)
Rolls Royce Phantom rental pulls up to take the newly married couple to their hotel

bride says goodbye to all of her family members before getting into the Phantom

The perfect end to a perfect day!
bride and groom pull away from their wedding reception in a Rolls Royce Phantom

Aziza and Nauman, once again, thank-you so much for choosing us to be a part of your wedding day! We absolutely loved every part of it! You guys were so easy and fun to work with. We wish you all the best ALWAYS!! :)

We got there early enough to document the set-up/assembly part of the day, so if you’d like to see how Aziza, Nauman, and their team pulled this all together, check out the Shadi Paradise Promo Show we put together for them!!

  • Jessica SAYS...

    WOW! the colors are beautiful!

  • Sheneela SAYS...

    The decor is just mind blowing. tooooooooooooooooooooooo gooooddd !!!

  • Jamie Allen SAYS...

    The moments you captured during this special wedding event for Aziza and Nauman are nothing short of spectacular. I love the detail shots of Aziza getting prepared and her supportive Mom waiting in the background, I always feel those shots will be especially meaningful to the couple in later times.

  • Ayres Photography SAYS...

    Thanks so much, Meghan! They are definitely a gorgeous couple, and their wedding was amazing!! We feel so honored to have been a part of it. :)

  • Meghan McCarthy SAYS...

    Jen & Ben,
    Can I just say these are some of the most beautiful wedding shots I have ever seen. Amazing job. I am repeatedly wow-ed by you guys. What a beautiful couple you had as subjects!

aziza + nauman

Filed in engagements shot by on at

In early May, we packed up all of our gear and drove back down to NYC to shoot Aziza and Nauman’s epic wedding in Long Island. (To say that it was “epic” is truly an understatement, but more to come on that topic later.) These two are the epitome of the phrase “power couple.” All of these years I thought I was a highly motivated, and driven individual…until I met them, and they put me to shame. Both in their early 20’s, they own and run a highly successful wedding design firm, Shadi Paradise, and they specialize in building these amazing structures for weddings that would blow your mind. They are constantly booked solid with clients, and they literally work around the clock, but somehow, they managed to find the time to plan, design, build, assemble all of the necessary details for their own wedding reception, which is mind-boggling. What’s even more mind-boggling, however, is the fact that they wanted to do a late-night e-shoot with us on the night before their wedding, for which they were doing all of the set-up and assembly!! Are you impressed yet?? Well, needless to say, we were ridiculously impressed with them, and after you see their wedding photos, (which will be our next post), you will be, too. They are seriously, an amazingly talented, awesome couple, and we adore them. :)

They met up with us in Central Park, just as the sun was beginning to set, and we were able to grab a few shots using the last remnants of natural light. I’m loving the jogger on top of the bridge who either has no idea that we’re trying to take photos, or simply doesn’t care…classic.

engagement photos in central park under a bridge
Not too much natural light under the bridge, but cool shots nonetheless…
engaged couple poses under a bridge in central park in a hidden doorway

black and white engagement photo taken in NYC using creative lighting

close up engagement photo of Pakistani couple next to ornate carving in central park
A shoot in Central Park wouldn’t be complete without some shots that include a cityscape backdrop…gorgeous sky that day!!
the new york city skyline makes an amazing backdrop for photos

using flash at sunset to light up the sky creates unique engagement photos

an engaged couple poses against a wrought iron fence in central park
Then, we wandered off the main path for a while, and came upon this awesome building…I think it was some kind of Public Works building or something like that.  I saw this round mirror, and became obsessed with trying to get a shot that reflected the yellow cabs zooming past us, so I was pretty psyched about this capture!  Yellow cabs are such a novelty to us non-NYC folk.  :)
amazing new york city engagement photo of a couple posing in central park with a yellow cab reflecting in the mirror
We used some creative lighting here to “bring the drama;” I heart these a lot, a lot…
soon to be married Pakistani couple poses against a barn door background in central park

using creative off camera flash to create dramatic engagement portraits
The next building down from the Public Works type building was a Central Park NYPD station.  We saw these bikes, and we were like, “should we risk it?  HELL, yeah!!”  I love the way this shot turned out, but the funniest part about it was that just as we stepped away from the bikes, a police man came walking over to inquire as to what we were doing there, and we were so freaked out about being “trespassers,” that we high-tailed it out of there, completely forgetting that one of our Quantum Trio’s was on the ground between the bikes.  We walked about a mile away from there before we realized it, and Ben sprinted off to retrieve it, with Nauman following close behind him, running while talking on his phone.  It was a pretty hilarious site!!  Thankfully, it was right where we left it, so, no harm done; but, definitely a day to remember!
an engaged couple poses on NYPD motorcycles for a photo shoot
We did a few more lit shots in the park after the sun was completely gone…I LOVE this one.
creatively lit portrait of high fashion Arabic couple in a tree at night
Then, Aziza and Nauman, being the awesome tour guides that they are, drove us down to Times Square, where we did some long exposures; and, honestly, I don’t think there IS a better place for long exposures than Times Square at night.
a gorgeous couple looks around Times Square during their photo shoot

an engaged couple holds each other in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Times Square

fun black and white candid photo of a groom holding his bride in Times Square at night

we tried out some long exposures without flash at night in new york city

couples poses for an engagement photo on the famous red stairs in Times Square

it is hard to stop yourself from looking around when standing in the middle of Times Square at night

stunning engagement portrait taken at night in Times Square
The last stop of our journey was the Brooklyn Bridge, and all I have to say is this:  Every time we go to NYC for a shoot, I say, “I could never, would never want to live here.”  Everything takes longer, seems more inconvenient, is further away, blah, blah, blah, just generally aggravating; but, after this particular shoot, with this particularly amazing couple, the photographer in me would put up with all of the nonsense of living in the city to be able to regularly take shots like these.  I can’t get over how gorgeous this bridge is at night, how gorgeous that whole city is at night.  I fell in love with New York that night, and will never complain about it again.  (Well, I might have to complain a little the next time I have to lug 80 lbs. of gear through the subway and in and out of taxi’s, but it will only be a tiny bit, I promise).  ;)
gorgeous engagement photography by the Brooklyn Bridge at midnight

absolutely stunning black and white engagement photo of a gorgeous couple with the Brooklyn Bridge in the background at night

Aziza and Nauman, we can’t thank you guys enough for being such an awesome couple, and for showing us around the city at night. It was truly a night to remember!! Wedding photos will be posted soon! Can’t wait for you to see them!!

  • Aziza SAYS...

    Hello Jen & Ben,

    First I would like to start of saying you guys are amazinggg… We had such a great time and the pictures look beautiful.. I love the different shots. My family loves it and his family loves it. Thank you guys so much for coming out to NYC we had an amazing time hanging out with you guys and taking pictures at the same time. I loved every second of it.

    Also just to tell you how much I love your video. I watch it almost everyday. Its perfect!. I’m so happy how you guys put together exactly what I wanted. It was an amazing experience from start to finish. You guys are so passionate at what you do and it shows in every single picture.

    Thank you so much Jen & Ben.

    Nauman & Aziza