My Journey Into Photography
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Friday, March 27, 2015
By Ambreen Zaveri
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Growing up, I always wanted to be an artist. That dream stuck with me for years, and is something I still aspire to achieve. Photography hadn’t even crossed my mind until I was sitting in a high school art history class learning about old film cameras.

At that moment, I was intrigued. Cameras were a huge advancement for the world and a great means for creating art. Since digital photography didn’t exist at this time, photographers never really knew what was going to show up in the dark room. So I took a photography class and learned the process of developing my own film. 

I’d spend hours in the dark room. The film was my new canvas, and I was loving every second of it. With the red glow as my guide, I’d dodge and burn each photograph until I saw something I considered art develop from the basin of water, developer solution, and film.

In college I studied graphic design, which only helped to improve my photos. Hours spent learning composition, color theory, and contrast were leading to more impressive images and keeping my hobby at the forefront of my thoughts. College was also where I was introduced to every photographer’s best friend and the digital dark room, Photoshop.

Then, very unfortunately, my mother passed away. At the age of 20, my perspective started changing. I had always been extremely close to my family, but now the people in my life seemed less permanent. I realized how much it hurts to lose someone who shaped your entire being, and I found myself staring at the only photograph I had with my mom. One single portrait. 

How had so much time passed without us taking photos? I vowed to never let those moments to go uncaptured again.

In 2011, I was given my own digital camera. My excitement was uncontainable, and I began carrying my camera everywhere I went­—just snapping away. I even started doing photography sessions for my friends and family, just for fun.

My best friend was getting married in Chicago, so of course, I brought my camera there too. He had a four-day Pakistani wedding, which provided plenty of opportunities for photographs. I just couldn’t keep my finger off the trigger! The excitement of capturing someone’s life-changing moments—the intricate outfits, dance performances, and traditional ceremonies—was absolutely incredible! That weekend hit me like a ton of bricks. I loved photography, I loved weddings, and I loved the excitement of capturing incredible moments. This was going to be my art. I wanted to paint memories through a camera, and wanted to do it over and over.

So I discovered my mission “creating memories from moments” dedicated to all my clients and the stories that they have given me the privelege to tell. I also named my business after my mother, Shakar, which means sugar cubes, in memory of her and our single photo together. 

I usually end up photographing much more than their wedding and engagements too, which is what I find so exciting. I have the opportunity to capture the start of a family, beginning with the engagement and wedding, to the pregnancy announcements, first baby portraits and family photos. I get to tell the story of my beautiful clients and the people who hold a special place in their hearts. 

So here I am today, four years and 120 weddings later. I still love every minute of it, and all the photo-shoots and kiddos still to come down the road.

The photographs below are some of my very first engagement shots! Enjoy. 

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