Today in Spotlight we speak to the lovely Mona Ali from Mona Ali Wedding Photography.
Mona is an old romantic at heart and she loves to capture people in love. Whether you are the touchy feely type or more reserved, Mona will shoot your wedding day the way you desire, bringing out the best in you and capturing all those fabulous moments of the day.
Mona began her photographic journey around 2009 when she decided to leave the city (where she worked in management consulting and investment banking), yearning to do something inspiring and creative. Having completed a 4 year City And Guilds course in digital photography and various courses at London photography schools she then went on to train with some of the best photographers in the UK. She loves what she does and loves that no two weddings are the same.
Mona has a natural, creative, story-telling way and has the ability to find love and beauty in her surroundings, capturing the big and little.
Mona is based in Sussex but shoots weddings all over the country. Whether you are getting married in a castle or a field, Mona will bring her photographic knowledge and style and make you feel at ease. She works hard using natural light to discreetly capture every moment that passes.
Mona was professional, friendly and immediately made us feel at ease when we met her. Thank you so much for capturing our special day. We will treasure your beautiful images for years to come!
Combining a relaxed reportage style and some traditional formal group shots, Mona aims to present every couple with a set of wedding photos that they can cherish forever. Working together with you and your husband to create something truly memorable.
In a nutshell, my style is a blend of natural, stylish, story-telling documentary coverage with creative portraiture
What really gets you emotional when you’re shooting a wedding?
Seeing genuine emotions, not just from the couple but also from family and friends. When the bride gets ready, I love seeing her parents reactions to seeing her in her dress, as a bride – love, pride and happiness written all over their faces. And, of course, the groom’s reaction – though most grooms tend to hold back the tears. I love it when a couple have great love chemistry and aren’t afraid to express themselves. You can see it in their eyes, a deep meaningful love for each other, they’re not just going through the motions. That stops me in my tracks!
How do you put a couple at ease before and during their big day?
I meet most of my couples before their wedding and talk through in detail how I work and what they can expect, so any anxieties or nerves are soothed away early on. My photographic style isn’t about following the couple around or them being ‘on camera’ all day. Far from it. I’ll also show them photos from other weddings and tell them the back-story for some of the images, which really helps put them at ease when they realise that they’re not alone in feeling a certain way. It helps them to know that other couples were nervous or shy, or that things can sometimes go wrong and often run late but they can’t tell that by just looking at photos on my site. Adding humour and anecdotes always puts people at ease. If they want a pre-wedding shoot, that also helps. On the day, I try to have a very calm and relaxed presence wherever I am, whatever is happening. I stay in touch with the organizers so I know what’s going on particularly if things are not going to plan or running late. I don’t get all bossy with my couples and their families, I’d rather take a relaxed and fun approach to get the best out of everyone on the day, particularly when it comes to the couples portraits or any formal photos. Otherwise, for the rest of the day, I simply blend in and do my job without any fuss and with no attention on the photography at all. When I explain to clients how I work that really helps to reassure them.
What is it about being a wedding photographer you love?
Being able to use my creativity to make a living doing a job that I love. I did 15 years in the city where I sat at a desk dreaming of doing something else. Now I’m doing it.
What is it about being a wedding photographer that you don’t love?
With experience you learn and continue to learn how to handle different lighting and how to shoot in lots of different and challenging circumstances like poorly lit and dark venues or rained out wedding days. You don’t stop learning. What I like least is the resulting wedding ‘hangover’ the day after because of the continual mental and physically exhausting effort that’s put in. We learn to take good care of ourselves!
What is your favourite part of the day?
I’m going to be greedy and give you two. I love prep coverage as it’s the beginning of the day when it’s usually quite calm but as the morning progresses, the excitement is slowly building up to the point where the bride puts her dress on and is ready to go and get married, her transformation is complete! I love little moments that happen during this time and being there from the start. I also love the couple’s portrait session. At this point, it’s just the couple and me and it gives us a chance to catch up and to congratulate them and have some fun now that the big formal marriage bit is done! I love experimenting, getting creative and just having fun during this part of the day.
What tips would you give a couple on choosing a wedding photographer?
What makes people connect with people? For me there’s something that just clicks when I meet new people that I intuitively like and know I’ll get on with, people that seem to be on the same wavelength as me. I like to feel a connection with people, for it to be easy and enjoyable. That’s how I’d choose a wedding photographer. Pick one whose work resonates with you, look at it, what are they capturing? Do you like their work? Do all their weddings look the same or is there something different and unique about each one? Look at their couples photos – do they look happy and relaxed or stiff and uncomfortable? What does their work say about them? Look at their profile page, and most importantly read the praise from past clients. You can tell a lot about a person by what others say and if you love their work, then get on with booking them sooner rather than later.
If you weren’t a wedding photographer what would you love to be doing?
Probably a psychologist, unraveling minds.
What are you looking forward to, and why?
Traveling more! I’ve not done any really adventurous travelling for a few years now and think its time to go to some new places on my very long list!