“I chose the name ‘Shalimar Studios’ because I wanted something that paid respect and honored my South Asian heritage. We finally settled on Shalimar Studios in honor of Shalimar Gardens which are in my mother’s home town of Lahore, Pakistan. Shalimar Gardens is a Persian gardens built and designed by the Mughal emperor Shah Jehan, who also built the Taj Mahal. It is a World Heritage site, and has much significance to my family as my mother used to visit the gardens as a young child in school. It was also an area I visited on my first trip to Pakistan when I was 6 years old. I remember walking hand in hand with my grandfather through the intricate terraces and beautiful fountains.”
Name: Yasmin Tajik
Location: Based in Las Vegas, but travel too!
Company Name: Shalimar Studios
Number of Years in Business: 1.5 years
How did you get started in photography?
I always had an interest in photography and how it documented the lives of my family members. It gave me a sense of ancestry and where my family came from when I looked through old albums, especially since my parents migrated to the US from Pakistan. Eventually as I grew older I took on the role of documenting and photographing my own family. It wasn’t until I moved to Las Vegas 10 years ago that I met a good friend who shared a love of photography like I did. Eventually I saved up and purchased my first DSLR. That’s when I felt my photography skills accelerated as I would spend hours reading on the Internet and reading books how to use my camera and compose images. I finally came across my mentor, Arica, about 4 years ago, and she took me under her wing. My skill level rose exponentially and that’s when I started developing my own style and opened Shalimar Studios.
What did you do prior to this?
My first love was working with animals. I graduated with a Biology degree from college and quickly found myself training and conducting research with dolphins and whales. Unfortunately living in Hawaii on a minimal researcher’s salary wasn’t enough to support myself so I fostered my next love, photography. I still aspire to take a safari to Africa and combine my two loves photographing the exotic animals of the Masai Mara.
If you didn’t do photography for a living what would you be doing?
Honestly, at this point I don’t know that I could say anything other being a photographer. It is so rewarding to me that I can’t image anything else.
What are some of your hobbies?
Other than photography, I love to spend time with my family and I love to travel. I’ve been very fortunate to have travelled to many countries in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Each country has it’s own charm, and lessons to teach. I always come back refreshed, grateful for what I have, and with a bigger heart. I also love to read and play the piano.
What is the craziest experience you’ve ever had?
I recently photographed a wedding in Minnesota. Just after we completed the couple, family and wedding party photos, it started to rain. Plan B was to move the wedding indoor, and the only available space was a narrow hall in the club house. The ceremony was standing room only, and afterwards we weren’t allowed into the reception tent due to thunder and lightning, but also a tornado warning. I have to give credit to the bride and groom as they stayed calm and made their little adjustments throughout the day. It turned out to be such a beautiful ceremony and reception. One of my favorites so far!
What is the best experience you’ve ever had?
There are so many great experiences that I’ve had with my clients. Each couple or family is different, and I really try to learn more about them throughout our time together. The best is when we become friends afterwards and stay in contact through email, Facebook and Twitter.
What is my inspiration?
I am definitely inspired by people around me. It is by watching their interactions and relationships that gets my mind roaring. I think part of that comes from my international travels, and people watching in different countries. I also tend to look towards more exotic imagery of people from different cultures and countries. Just by looking at images of those faces, forces me to analyze who they are and figure out their life story. As a photographer, I find myself looking at the world and at people in a completely different way than I used to.
Name an exotic location you’d like to visit soon.
Definitely the Galapagos Islands. I’ve dreamed about capturing beautiful imagery of exotic and primitive animals in such a desolate location. I’d also love to go to Egypt.
Why do your clients choose you over some of your competitors?
Each photographer has a unique skill-set and style. I think those are what clients are initially drawn to. It then boils down to my relaxed style of photography and taking the time to really learn who my clients are. At our first meeting or first conversation on the phone, I ask them questions about themselves, where they come from, and I ask about their families. Family means the world to me, and I can learn a lot about a person by asking about their parents, kids, and siblings. Learning more about them and their life story gives me more tools to utilize in their sessions to bring out their personalities and style.
What is the best piece of advice you can offer a bride on her wedding day?
Take the time to enjoy the moments. Even though you may have spent a year planning all the details, all those can change last minute. What everyone remembers is the love and feelings of the day and that is what I want to capture for you. Oh, and drink plenty of water the week before your wedding for flawless skin!
Anything else interesting you’d like to share?
I’m a little lady with a big camera and big ideas! One of those ideas is photographing South Asian weddings, engagements and events here in Las Vegas. I can’t wait to bring all that here for the local community to take advantage of. And a big Thank You to Juliet for sharing my story.