Thursday, December 23, 2010

Feature in Magazine - Papercut Mag

It's a good day today..... my team and I did a shoot over a month ago that was quite the production and involvement by many.  It was an underwater inspired shoot, but not quite being submerged ;)

The number of people involved though was quite impressive considering it's a creative based shoot.  Model, stylist, MUA/hair and four assistants.  That's right FOUR assistants!!!  And thank goodness they were all there.  It couldn't have been a success without them.  There was just so much work involved and it took us 9 hours just to complete 4 looks.  What took the longest was all the co-ordination.  You'll see what I mean when you see the actual series of photos.

There's a reason why we did this shoot though.  It wasn't only to see if we could do it and grow from it, but also for publication purposes.  Yes.... this shoot was done as a submission based idea.  I've never submitted before and don't know any real procedure behind it, but decided to go ahead and try.  I mean there's so many photographers out there that do it.... so what's the difficulty and hesitation?  I know what my real hesitation was.  How do I get my work noticed amongst so many emails that coming flooding through a creative directors and editors emails on a daily basis.  How can I make mine stand out amongst the masses?  My real intention by doing these submissions was more on a recognition basis rather that actually having any of the photographs be published and, if possible, receive feedback.

Well.... my journey begins as a virgin submitter.  We did the shoot, I polished and prepped it for final submission then sat and pondered.  Pondered so much that I didn't move and .... I think... basically marinated in my own old clothing.  I blame my brain for over thinking and not actually doing anything.  I mean.... it's not going to happen on its own.  I need to be the one to do it.  What's their to loose really?  I won't get a response back.  That's the worst case scenario when you think about it.  If I don't hear back from a magazine then you try again next time and keep trying without... well...seeming like a stalker.  So what was my first move.... I got up and took a shower then changed my clothes to feel fresh and rejuvenated.  I think tried to figure out a way to see what magazines are out there and how to contact them.  What's the default approach whenever we seek to find something on the internet?  Well... we Google it!  So that's exactly what I did.  I googled.  I have to say.... I was very disappointed.  Google had failed me for the first time since I discovered it initially in my semi-mental state.  I couldn't believe it.  What do I do??!!?  If google can't help me who can?  Umm.... being overly dramatic here.  In actuality finding online magazines using google wasn't the easiest method.  Reason being is because the listings that it outputted didn't... well it lacked quite a bit.  After googling the supposed info and not receiving anything majorly helpful I sat back and once again pondered as to what to do.  Sat and thought... thought about it ... thought about it some more and decided "I'm bored... let's check what's going on Twitter land!".  Went onto my twitter account and read up on recent tweets when it dawned on me.... browse online mags through twitter!!!  Lo and behold... it worked!  Huzzah!!  After vehemently searching through twitter and being linked from magazine to another from its original source I was able to get info on over 30 different types on online mags around the world.  Hell ya!  So I emailed all I could find that I felt should be contacted for submission purposes.  Yup... all 30 or so that I found.  This little woman was on a mission boys and girls!

Long story short... many of the online mags actually replied back with great feedback!  Unfortunately they wouldn't be able to use it for their next issue, but definitely look forward to future submissions by me.  That's fantastic!!  To be recognized and responded back to is truly fantastic.  Definitely motivates anyone to keep working on future works and show it to the world... because truth be told, that's how you'll ever be noticed is by showing your work.

After all that... I was contacted by a magazine that's both online based and print as well.... Papercut Magazine.  They actually accepted two of the images from the Underwater series and it's now up on their online based magazine and in print for purchase!

What makes it sweeter is that all moneys accepted will be donated to War Child International.  It feels good and gifted.  Please do feel free to visit their site and check out all the photographs whose work have been accepted.  You'll find my two images on pages 28 and 29.  To view the rest of the images from the series please visit my own site at  Any thoughts, comments, opinions and/or questions are much welcomed and appreciated :)  Also if you'd like to try and figure out how it was all done please do let me know ;) 

Thanks to everyone involved and especially my friends who assisted me that day.  Couldn't have been successful without their support and contribution. 

I have future projects in mind and would like to share three photographs with you that are available for print and will be used as a 'prop' for something soon!  These three are going to be a part of a series that again will be available for print sales.  If you would like more info please feel free to email me at It's an ongoing project and hoping to be done in a few weeks time.

Another piece of good news I'd like to share is a very good friend of mine and close colleague Rob Davidson is now official a guest writer and contributer for the Foodists blog based in Vancouver.  His photographs are devilishly delicious and his writing would make Pavlov proud.  He's just had his first and new post up on the Foodists blog titled A Foodist Guide to Liberty Village as a restaurant reviewer in Liberty Village (Toronto, King and Dufferin area).   Please do check it out!  All photographs and writing by Mr. Davidson himself.  As an addition do visit his Epicure In Light blog for recipe ideas and wonderful and very much drool friendly photographs taken by Rob.

As a closing note I'd like to share with you the people involved in the underwater shoot;
Photography: Nadia Cheema
Makeup/Hair: Carly Sellen
Styling: Hungre
Model: Cait (Elite Model, Toronto)
Assistants:  David Addington
                    Chris Hazard
                    Urszula Kozak
                    Antoinette Scott

Cheers for now and stay tuned!

  Prints available for purchase.  Contact me for size and price details.

All images are copyright.   Nadia Cheema © 2010


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dec. 14, 2010

I am now officially a freelancer.....  I no longer work as a full-time assistant to a photographer here in Toronto.  So what have I been doing since?  Sleeping and resting.  Feels bizarre because it's something that I don't do often!  Now I feel ansy though....  Which means I'd like to get back to work and do up a 'to do' list.

What did I do yesterday?  Well I asked my handsome friend Rob to help me build a glass water table.  I purchased some glass pieces cut to size to build a glass water table.  I have some ideas in mind that I'd like to bring to fruition over the holidays.  Not quite sure what yet, but I have a start to that idea and it's just a matter of following that path to see where it leads to.

A  lot has happened in a few weeks, both good and bad.  The good parts are what is needed for my for the bad ones... they are best left behind.  All I'm going to say is karma's a bitch.  I didn't deserve the treatment I had received. 

As for now I'm just going to work on my creatives and call on my resources.  The shoot I'm planning on doing over the holidays will be available for print sales.  It's something I haven't done in a while and I look forward to sharing it with everyone!!  I see it very strongly in my mind, which means it needs to be executed and brought forth for all to see.

I'm going to try updating my blog on a regular basis if I can.  I have received some requests as to again '!  What's up with your blog???  When are you planning on updating it???' I apologize :)  BUT here's an update!  I have some good news..... all I'm going to say for now is that a magazine got back to me regarding a submission I made a while back.  I can't say more till it's out and I see it.

For now though I'd like to share these two photographs that were taken over the weekend.  Both of these ladies are lovely at their own right and it was such a pleasure to both meet and work with them.  Makeup artist is the lovely Carly Sellen whom I love love LOVE working with!  She sees what's in my head and just brings it forth.

All images are copyright.   Nadia Cheema © 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Marianna from Elite

It's been a good while since I've done a blog post.  Been so busy and tired that I haven't even looked at my blog site let alone think about what to write.  Well in all the busy-ness I've decided to start shooting again.  I didn't realize how much I missed it.  Like a weird drug (?) I wasn't shooting for a while for many reasons.... but one main reason being that I just wasn't feeling inspired and felt like whatever I was shooting just wasn't good enough.   A photographer's block so to speak.
Well I'm back!!!  And having the utmost pleasure meeting up with a great crew!  A fantastic stylist who thinks outside the box and a fantastic makeup/hair stylist who's not only fast, but delivers with beautiful work!  We three have somehow just become one ... it feels and the work that we've been executing as of late has been just getting better and better.  Therefore, I've decided on submitting my work to various magazines and hope for the best.  I am feeling extremely confident in my work and quite proud of it.  There will probably be plenty of rejections, but there will be one who says 'yes!' and I know it'll just blossom from thereon.  Just a matter of being persistent ;)

In the meantime let me introduce you to Marianna from Elite modeling agency.
Beautiful girl with a great heart!  We instantly got along well and are looking forward to working on a creative together.  Agency loved the photographs as well and has opened the door to other opportunities that will only lead to better things. 

Hopefully submissions will be accepted...when it happens I'll be announcing it here! there ... and everywhere!  ... Either way I'll be posting the photographs here for everyone to view when I'm able to :)


Monday, September 6, 2010

Beginning of September

To want, to need, to get.....

I haven't done any personal creatives in a while.  I really do miss it.  When I first started I was literally shooting every other weekend....sometimes both Saturday's and Sunday's in a row! Occasional passersby at the studio would comment that I must be living there since they saw me there so often.  I couldn't help it.... it was like a drug to me.  Of course, it was long nights planning, retouching, assessing, griping, moping, being disappointed, being happy and by the end of it all.... being satisfied with the end product.  Till I realized that it wasn't good enough and felt I needed to improve for the next shoot.  I slowly, but surely watched myself and my work improving.  Maybe it's the trait of being a perfectionist of wanting to improve because the previous work was just not good enough.... oooooor maybe being a masochist and liked the idea of torturing oneself by inflicting challenges on a regular basis.  I think I'm more of the latter part.  I'm not really a perfectionist, but I do pay a lot of attention to detail...on days I'm not feeling lazy.  I'm also a workhorse.  I'd say that's more of a family trait from my mother's side to which I'm very thankful for.

SO.... what are my plans for the coming near future????? Why... planning creatives of course!  That is the remedy for me prescribed by my own self-person.  Time for me to really get my creative juices flowing and allow myself to be open and inspired by all things expose to me and around me.  Also, I've been very fortunate to be in touch with people I haven't spoken to in a while and who are extremely talented themselves.  They have asked me to work on creatives with them.... I take THAT as a sign from various gods and start utilizing with the opportunity given.  Only you can make things work for you because no one else will and nor will they happen on their own.  That's my motto and have stuck with it. 

The autumn season is arriving (my favorite season!) and with it comes a fresh start of great many things to come.  Time to roll up my sleeves and get my lazy ass back to work and become the vessel of some great art work for display to all while working with some wildly and innately talented folks whom without this wouldn't be possible.

Stay tuned as the journey continues... As I tumble through the rabbit hole only to be dumped into some weird world formed by Tim Burtons himself where oddly formed apparitions and creatures motivate me to come up with something .... well I don't know.... just have to wait and see ;)

Cheers for now...

Saturday, July 3, 2010


I've decided to start using Tumblr along with my other various net sites.
Yes....I've given in.  What can I say... when you have resources then use them! 

My tumblr site address is

I will still be blogging as much as I can, but with Tumblr I can at least have a 'photo diary' going of sorts.  More visually appealing.  I'll be using my blog for thoughts, ideas and general sharing.  Also any questions that people might have I'll answer it on my blog.  For which I am waaaaaaaaaaay behind!

Cheers and hope you enjoy my journey!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Recap on my life...

SO.... first off I've wanted to apologize for not updating my blog for so long....
I've had more than a few asking me as to '....what's up with that???!!?' sort of questions.

Well my life thus far has been extremely busy and exciting! The gallery opening was a true success and well appreciated by peers and strangers alike.  I've gotten a full-time position as an assistant to a very successful and established fashion photographer here in Toronto, Dan Lim (  Have continuing to meet great people who are presenting me with some promising projects to work on throughout the year to which I'm very excited about!!! and looking forward to.

I've been using all of my free time to continue to work on my future in photography.  I'm exploring many possibilities and keeping my reach wide and open.  I am still going to explore fashion and commercial photography, but I know as myself I need to work on some personal projects whenever I am able to.  I'm sure it's like that for all artists in all mediums.  We just can't help it :)  It's what keeps us sane and functional....I guess you could say.

I've been very fortunate to have met with a lovely lady who's level of creativity and vision has refreshed and inspired me to get my own creative juices flowing.  We're looking forward to working together on some future projects to which I hope we can do a gallery show with as well.  Show it to the public and see where it leads to.  It's going to be a work in progress, but the thoughts and feelings that are already being placed upon are well worth the time and effort.  Patience is a virtue.

I don't want to state just yet as to what we have planned....although I'm itching to! But it's best to present it in pieces as we work on it....teasers of sorts ;)  I promise it's going to be well worth the wait.  I will try to keep this blog more updated as I continue to move further in my journey into becoming a photographer.  Right now I'm still in the start of my path who will continue to grow and hone her skills.  It's truly intimidating at times when you see such great work already out there and you think to yourself 'How am I going to make it?.... how am I to know what my style is?.... am I unique?.... is my work unique?..... where do I start?'  These questions fly through my head on a regular basis.  It's normal to question yourself, but don't let them overwhelm you and, in turn, drown you.  Stay focused, stay strong and ... may sound weird.... stay alert.  Look for opportunities and helping hands.  Look forward to meeting people and don't shy away from new friendships.  You just never know where it may lead to ...

Lately I've been feeling .... I guess you could call it a photographer's block (?)  Well after my brunch yesterday with that very same lovely lady the block has lifted and I am very much looking forward to a inspiration filled year.  I've decided to work on two books.  One for the commercial world....nice clean and what Toronto seeks and another for my own personal work.  It's the only way I know I can find balance for myself and not be stifled.

On that note I shall leave you with some shots I had taken in a fashion workshop I was assisting in.  It was very quickly put together with no actual setup or ideas.  Spur of the moment that I was asked to do and prep for the models and their agents.

Till next time....

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Stillness & Motion

Rob Davidson and I would like to invite folks who reside within the GTA area (Toronto, Ontario) to come visit our gallery show at the Snowball Gallery curated by Alison Snowball.
The show will be up for the month of May (Contact month) starting May 6 to May 30, 2010.  Opening reception night is May 6th from 7:00-10:00pm.

The show will be consisting of photographs taken both by me and Rob.  My section of the works will be about is titled 'Stillness' whilst Rob's is 'Motion'.

I went on a trip last year for two weeks in Ireland.  I didn't actually take that many shots.  My mindset was '...I'm on vacation so won't be doing any touristy style shots.....'  Well, eventhough I didn't pick up or use the camera often I was enthralled by a park we had visited I think in Galway.  Unfortunately my memory is of no good use to me as I don't possess the greatest memory retention in my brain.  I will have to find out the name and location of the park.

The park contained an old monastery and, of course, an old cemetery.  I was captivated and started taking photographs.  You don't quite see this type or 'style' of cemeteries here in Ontario.  You could feel the history in that place and I was absolutely loving it.  I wanted to capture what I was feeling while being there and deep quietness, eeriness that the place contained.  Eventhough it was riddled with tourists the area alone had its own distinct presence.  Like any good, shy photographer I went against the masses and took shots ensuring little to no people were in the actual photographs.  Another place that we visited was the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge.  Loved it!  Of course when we were there and right after we crossed the bridge a fog was coming over to pay us a visit while engulfing the landscape.  When I say engulfing I mean the landscape was literally disappearing right before our eyes!  And very quickly too.  It was a bit scary and extremely beautiful at the same time.  At that point we decided to cross the bridge back before the fog overcame us.  Too late.... we were caught in the fog.  Luckily I could at least see where my feet were stepping on and 5 or 6 people ahead of me while crossing the bridge.  The interesting and cool thing was that as the fog came the breeze from it swayed the bridge as we were crossing.  As the fog was passing through though it left this cool feeling on our skin with a hint of dewy wetness.  I was loving it to the absolute!

Those are the two locations that caught my attention the most and, thus, will be presenting at the show.  As for Rob's works..... well you'll just have to come by and find out ;)  I promise will NOT be disappointed by what he'll be presenting.  A very unique look to a certain sport that may change your perspective on how to perceive it.

I hope to see both old and new faces at the show.  Don't feel shy, but do come by and feel free to review, critique and introduce yourselves to us.  We look forward to your visit!

Cheers and goodnight....

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Recent Beauty Shoot - ICON Models

Did a recent beauty shoot with a great team.  I wanted to experiment using a mirror as a reflector placed at the base of the model.  Clamshell lighting or butterfly lighting method.  I've seen mirrors used before on beauty shoots to provide contrast.  It can be used in different degrees of intensity depending on the size of the actual light source (key light).  I wanted to go for a more 'blasted' look where I could really pale out the skin after in PS with very little work.  I must state that actual retouching work only took me 5-7 minutes per photograph.  Lighting, makeup and skin type were great! Made my editing work much easier.  Less editing work...the happier Nadia is.

People involved:
- Models: Sara J and Allana C (ICON Model Management)
- MUA:  Rhia Amio
- Hair:  Carlos @ Spellbound
- Assistants:  Khalid Mutlaq and Robert Boic (such great guys!!)

Yes....two assistants.  Funny how that worked out, but I have to say having both Khalid and Robert there was great!  They were so helpful and honestly made the workflow much easier for all of us.  I can't thank them enough.  They also both assisted in blowing the hair around on both models.  Two fanners for one model.  Sounds strange I know, but to have a proper movement of hair and for directionality it helped having one person using the actual electric fan and another person fanning using a foam core board.
I must say... the models never complained about how cold it became for them while shooting.  Such troopers and true professionals.  Never showed it in film either.  I did take breaks in between shoots to allow them to warm up.  I tried to shoot as quickly as I could so as not to torture poor Sara and Allana with all that fanning around.  Great work ladies!

This is also where I used the Canon 5D to shoot with and a 90mm tilt/shift lens.  Yes a true tilt/shift lens.  If you note any blur in the photographs it's caused by using the tilt/shift.  It's completely manual focus so it was tricky, but once I got the hang of it I have to say that I absolutely loved shooting with it.  Not just for the tilt/shift factor, but also because this lens is tack sharp.  I normally like to sharpen the eyes in my photographs, but I didn't have to after using this lens.  If you zoom in on a full resolution photograph you can see that even the liquid in the eyes are shown with such clarity that it's truly impressive!  Will be doing future shoots using this lens that's for sure.

Unfortunately I don't have any BTS shots from this shoot, but like before I'm going to share with you before and after shots.  Hopefully that'll sate your cravings a bit ;)  Rest of the photographs can be seen on my flickr site.  Only two shots from that shoot will be placed on my actual site.

All images are copyright.   Nadia Cheema © 2010

Monday, March 22, 2010

Out with the with the new!

Since last year of September '09 I've made some really big changes in my life.  Bought a new place, came out of my shell completely, switched over to a Mac system and now.... switching over to Canon!
That's right....I'm switching over to Canon boys and girls.  I've been a Nikon user for over 3 years and now am kicking the bucket with it (so to speak) and moving over to become a Canonite....

I have to be honest and state that I have been debating this for over 2 years now, but at the time when I was looking to do it I was going to suffer a loss.  More than I was willing to bear.  Don't get me wrong though Nikon has fantastic products serving both consumers and pro alike, but for me there were some features lacking that I really need for the way that I work.  During the last few weeks I have played with both Canon and Nikon camera to properly compare before I fully made the decision to change over.

I won't state those features on here.... if you'd like to know then just contact me directly.  I'll feel like I'd be bad mouthing a company that honestly doesn't deserve it.  It's just I find to help make my workflow easier both during a shoot and after Canon is the way.  For me it's a tool to photograph with really.  I'm not big on Nikon vs. Canon debates.  Really it's not worth it.  Know your gear and shoot with it.  See what the limitations are both in you and the tool being used and work with it.  Our predecessors have worked with fully mechanical machines where there was no battery, no LCD screen at the back for instant viewing, nothing automatic at all on the camera!.... and still came out with some amazing and truly inspirational artwork that we now aspire to achieve ourselves. 

Camera basics to know and will see on every bodies are:
- Fstop
- Shutter Speed
- and on digital cameras.... White Balance

Know those four things and you're good boys and girls.  I shoot fully manual and I prefer shooting that way.  There are times where I might shoot in Aperture priority if needed, but I find the practice of shooting manual is better for me.  Forces me to stay disciplined and take my time when needed or work quickly by having to change one of the settings stated above quickly without having to take my eye off the viewfinder.  I shoot much faster that way rather than in auto mode.  I know what the results are in the first few test shots then shoot away and change either the shutter speed or aperture whenever needed knowing that the result will still be great.  Allows me to adapt very quickly to almost any situation.

The change over to Canon is an easy one like it was going from a PC to a Mac computer (I've been a PC user since I was 12 years old and am now 31...... damn proud of my age!)  Knowing the basics allows any person to transition over to something that may seem completely different.  Only main difference I must confess I have found is that accessing certain features on the Canon appears backwards to me than on the Nikon.  Even the focusing wheel goes in the opposite direction!  But that's ok because that's just retraining yourself to know where everything is and you're good to go.

Now the question is.... am I going to still suffer a loss because of the switch over?  Ummm.... no actually!  I'm happy to say that selling off my Nikon gear has allowed me to cover the costs for a new body and two lenses completely.  Thanks to friends and other colleagues I was able to sell the gear off in less than 5 days at the price I had asked for.  I even still had the original boxes and papers that came with the initial purchase.

Nikon gear I had:
- Nikon DSLR D80
- Nikon DSLR D300
- Nikkor 24mm f/2.8
- Nikkor 50mm f/1.8
- Nikkor 85mm f/1.8
- Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8
- Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8
- SB-600 Flash

Gear that I will be getting are the following:
- Canon DSLR 7D
- Canon 50mm f/1.8
- Canon 85mm f/1.8

I may sometime in the future get one zoom lens....and I'm set!  All this time that I've been shooting I've found that that's all the gear I need until I'm required to get something else.  At that point I'll just rent.  No need to spend more money when it's not required to.

To close off this entry I'm going to share with you photographs I have taken of my gear used to help sell the products to buyers..... I have to be honest I got a bit teary eyed.  I have produced some great work with them and sad to see them go, but I know the people who have purchased them are going to make really good use out of them.  On a different note... by selling off my old gear I almost feel like I'm shedding off my old life and moving onto a new one.  Shedding off some old memories and on my way to gather some new ones that I know will bring me great prosperity in my coming future.  Out with the old...and in with the new!

All images are copyright.   Nadia Cheema © 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fairy Tale series

.....Back in November of 2009 my styling team and I got together to do a shoot based on the Fairy Tales series.  We decided on three stories....1) Snow White  2) Rapunzel and  3) Red Riding Hood.
We were going to try doing a fourth one (Cinderella), but we didn't have enough time.  This shoot alone took so long just the styling alone!

I have to say though everyone did a fantastic job.
Following people involved were:

Model:  Asha Di Paola (Ford)
MUA: Rhia Amio
Hair:  Fabio Persico
Wardrobe:  Cisya Paramita
Assistant:  Lorena Lorenzo
Cute doggy:  Kuma

Yes.... for the Red Riding Hood story we actually had a black german sheppard play the part of the big bad wolf!  Although he's so cute I don't think he knows how to be fierce.  He even got spooked by the lovely Asha because of her height!  She's 5'11" minus the heels.

It was a veeeeery long day.... we were all tired by the end of it, but it was a successful one.  Quite happy with the results.  Now unfortunately I don't have any BTS to share with you good people so I decided to show before and afters of some of the shots.

All images are copyright.   Nadia Cheema © 2009

All edits are done by yours truly.  I don't like to spend hours on one photograph.  I'm not a retoucher by profession.... plus I don't believe in creating 'plasticky' skin.  It's just not natural nor real!  Asha has great skin to begin with so I didn't have to do much (thankfully!).  Plus Rhia did a great job with the makeup so that saved me a ton of work as well.

I'm planning on doing more creatives in the coming stay tuned!  I just have some meetings to look forward to and I hope they will help me get further in the commercial world.

Gotta start planning!!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Emily Jane...

I had the opportunity to do a test shoot for Ford Models. Emily Jane is a lovely young lady who brought a 100% to the shoot. The shoot was quickly put together with nothing over the top 'creative' as I usually do on my shoots.
Hair and makeup was done by the talented Rhia Amio and styling done by Cisya Paramita.

Shoot was done at a studio run and owned by Rob Davidson. He was also kind enough to take behind the scene shots for me to place on my blog.

So... here are some BTS shots!



Last shot shows the studio in general and the very basic setup for the shoot itself.  I'm not big on going over the top unless required to.
Here are some of the edited shots from the shoot itself: