Rammal Mehmud (Interview)

Name: Rammal Mehmud
D.O.B: 15th August
Favorite quote: Obstacles are put in our way, to see if what we want  - is worth the fight.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m Rammal Mehmud, stemming from the beautiful capital of Pakistan. A Bokeh Junky and a photography enthusiast. Pioneer of creative wedding photography in Islamabad. Have been shooting since 7 years now. My work has been published on the cover of a child fiction novel called, I, EmmaFreke by Elizabeth Atkinson in 2010. I love vanilla toffee ice crème, balloons, colors, rain and travelling.
Study/Professional background?
MBA in Marketing from FAST-NU.
What kind of gear do you use?
  • Camera body – EOS Canon 5D mark III/ mark II
  • Lens – 24 – 105mm f4 L, 85mm 1.2 L, 50mm 1.4, 100mm 2.8 Macro
  • Tripod – Don’t use it anymore.
  • Filters – None as yet.
  • Flash – 580 ex II x 2
  • Camera bag – Crumpler – Seven Million dollar home & Lowpro.

Which is your favorite lens? Why? 
It has to be 85mm 1.2! I shoot 75% of the events & sessions with this lens; it makes the background turn into a beautiful buttery mesh & throws the spotlight on my subject. I shot the image below in Dubai, during Desert Safari and was amazed at the results! This lens is ideal for low light photography!
When you go in one of your travels, what all you take with you? Why?
On destination shoots, I carry my crumpler packed with the exact gear I know I’d require. Plus my Macbook Pro & an extra external HDD to transfer data & take backups.

Which was your first professional camera, which model? And can you recommend any good camera for beginners?
Canon 400D (Rebel Xti) was my maiden DSLR; to understand and hone my photography skills, I took a 365 day challenge on flickr.com, where I had to post a shot everyday online to a 365 project group. It was a great journey! =)
Canon 650D seems promising!
What is your favourite photography accessory, other than your camera? 
I will still say my 5D Mark III.
If you had to choose one lens which one would it be and why?
I still haven’t tried out a fisheye lens, so I guess that would be it! Seeing the world through a fish-eye seems rather fascinating! =)
What is your favorite computer/editing accessory, other than your computer? 
Photoshop + Lightroom.
How important is Photoshop in your final images? On a scale of 10? 
Do you plan on buying any new equipment and if so what do you have your eyes on?
Just wait & watch! =D
Do you have an assistant/2nd shooter that accompanies you on wedding assignments?
My sister, Nabia is my 2nd shooter. Together we shoot around 50+ weddings annually. We are a great team, MashaAllah.
Have you ever had anything go wrong at a wedding and if so, how did you handle it? 
A lot of things can go wrong on a shoot. Sometimes the wireless triggers don’t communicate in extreme cold weather situations and you have to have an alternative for that, sometimes one camera body gives in and you have to use a backup one. The goal is to keep moving because if you freak out, that can ruin someone’s most important day.
What is your greatest fear?  
Something you’re saving up for? There’s a huge list! :D
How long did it take to reach where you are now?
Professionally: 3 years. (Masha’Alllah)
What else are your hobbies except photography?
Nail art, listening to good music, baking, trying out new dishes from various recipe books! I used to love photoshop manipulations but don’t get time for those now!
One thing that always grabs your attention and makes you take a picture of it?
Insects! Macros, detail shots of spiders & caterpillars would always remain my first love!
Best thing a fan ever said to you and it made your day?
There are days when stress levels are on the high and a mere warm mail of appreciation makes your day! Fans emailing about how my work is so inspirational that they still read my photography blog and wait for an update or how my wedding style is becoming more of how they see in foreign high fashion magazines!
And especially clients who ask our availability and then set their wedding dates, makes me feel exceptional.
Ever faced any downfalls after your took photography as a profession and how did you overcome those downfalls?
If people think its an easy profession, that is a MYTH. Nothing is easy, yes it is fun but when clients hire you to do your best – they mean business and you ought to too. During our 3 years of photography career, we have been through the worst emotional turmoil. There have been moments where I’d just want to give up but at the end of the day, I know I’m not a quitter. My family, my sister and my best friend become my strength; they never let me crack under pressure. Lastly, the secret is to keep moving forward, Allah (swt) always has a plan for you.

What do you think is photography a risky profession? Why? 
Well, it was risky at the time I entered the wedding photography market. Clients weren’t so educated about photojournalism or about photography altogether. The biggest misconception about shooting a wedding was that ‘females aren’t fit for this job’ – so I’d say I’m a risk taker. I not only proved my family wrong but also won their hearts, now they are my biggest support system. Currently I don’t think it’s a risky profession unless the situation of the country is at unrest.
One embarrassing /funny moment while you were on your work? 
People thinking of me as ‘Sir’ and then realizing I’m a female.
Among the gadgets that you own, is there something that you wish you hadn’t bought? Why? 
Surprisingly I’ve made smart choices throughout the investment phase and don’t regret any! Reason being, I had gained a ton of exposure on flickr.com (The photography community where I used to showcase my images) regarding camera gear & lenses, discussion threads involving different photographers aided me a lot and I knew what sort of gear set I wanted on my list! =)
In the field, what are your settings?
  • Aperture – 1.2 – 2.8 mostly
  • Shutter Speed – 1/125 usually
  • ISO – 150 – 1000 (varies on situations)
  • White Balance – Auto
  • Focus – Manual/Auto – Auto
  • Image Format – RAW/JPEG – RAW for life.

What kind of tools do you use for post processing? Explain your work flow. 
Lightroom -> Photoshop.
How do you educate yourself to take better pictures?
Keeping an open mind. Observing. Imagining. Creating.
Among your works, which one is your favorite? Why? 
Shooting Amna+Sajid’s wedding event & YOU&ME session; reason being they didn’t put any limits on my photography or me hence I was able to work freely. Their event wasn’t too lavish but it had little bits of treats thrown around everywhere that proved to be a photographer’s playground.
Also Abeera Zahid’s shot of walking towards the stage amidst the spray of colorful party poppers will remain a personal favorite, it taught me that there are no lucky shots and timing and a keen eye is everything to a photographer.
This shot from Bilal Arshad’s valima YOU&ME session depicts the chemistry of the couple so well hence its one of my faves as well! =]
 Whose work has influenced you most? Jasmine Star, Zach Arias, Ryan B, Joseph R etc.
What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos? 
You don’t wish you knew a particular thing! There are no shortcuts to success – you have to go through a series of steps if you’re passionate about something.

Where did you study photography?
I’m self-taught. Creativelive.com is dripping with photography know how, if anyone wants to get their hands dirty with photography 101; that enhanced my learning curve when I started working with flashes.
 What did you do to gain so much knowledge in this area?
Practiced on manual mode in my camera, experimented with different light settings; both available & studio light. Bought books to understand compositions & their impact on a photograph. Understood the mechanics of the camera and lenses, studied & kept myself always hungry to learn more.
In your opinion, what makes photography an art? 
When the photographer is given full creative control, there are no boundaries left – that is when art is created.
What motivates you to do what you do? 
Passion to out-do all my earlier work.
When did your career start?
29th December, 2009.
Why is Photography important to you? 
Photography was a mode of expression for me when I started out, today  I’m known and acknowledged because of it. In a nutshell, it is my identity now – that sums up its importance for me.
Who or what influenced you to become a photographer?
Nature, people & moments!
Do you believe in the expression “A picture is worth 1,000 words”? 
 If yes, why do you believe this is true? 
As Joe McNally quotes it: “You are not going to be in the room, when people look at your pictures. Your picture has to speak for itself.”
If your work can’t defend you as a photographer, nothing will!
If you had one wish what would it be? 
To become invincible.
If someone said ‘how can I be the next Rammal’ What would you say?
Haha, believe it or not – I have received emails with this exact statement and it makes me feel so honored to be considered an inspirational icon of today.
I always say, devotion & diligence go hand in hand – if you set your heart to what you really want to pursue, you already know how to walk that path. =)

Any message for your fans? 
Always believe in yourself, your dignity is what makes you, YOU. Never fall from grace, never settle for anything less than what you deserve. It’s always easy to be someone else but the most difficult is to discover your own self & realize what its worth.
Thoughts on Le spectra:
 A great effort put together for artists online! Best of luck for your future endeavors! 


  1. Arguably the best female photographer in Pakistan. Exceptional artist and a great person!

  2. SUPERB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. she is the BEST photographer in Pakistan! I love her work. It's so unique. She's such a creative person and lovely person in general! The pictures she takes are beautiful and they really do speak for themselves! I always tell Rammal that when I get married, I know she's the photographer for me because I feel like the bride can actually relive her big day just by looking at the pictures! She can make anything look more beautiful! Love you Rammal! :)
    -Kaiya, your future client!