Movers & Shakers: Sheena Shahangian

Hey, everyone, and welcome to the first episode/blog of Movers & Shakers, a mini-video series that takes a look into the lives and businesses of many up-and-coming creative entrepreneurs. The series looks at how they juggle their dreams, passions, and growing business/side hustles, all while maintaining a 9-5 among other things.

For this first episode, I was able to take a peek into the creative process of Sheena Shahangian, a wonderful up-and-coming photographer out of Atlanta, Georgia. She is committed to bringing out the best, and the unseen in everyone she photographs and I got a chance to experience that first hand.

Before sitting down to interview her, I was able to tag along on one of her shoots where I got to see her in action, and that was such a treat. I don’t think I’ve ever met a photographer so passionate about bringing out the best in her clients. She doesn’t just want to photograph you, she wants you to “see yourself differently.”

Often times, we all have insecurities that make being photographed an uncomfortable experience. Sometimes we aren’t entirely confident in ourselves, or with certain aspects of our appearance, and Sheena is here to let you know that you don’t have to be a model to feel completely comfortable in front of the camera. Better yet, she loves clients that are uncomfortable yet decide to do it anyway. She takes pride in helping them through the shoot and capturing images that they’ll be proud of.

Whether it’s walking you through what to wear, or showing you different poses to flatter your body, Sheena does it all and does it very well. How do I know? Well, outside of just watching her during a shoot, I was actually a part of one, and I left the experience feeling more confident than ever. If you’d like to read more about my personal experience shooting with Sheena, click here. I have a whole blog post outlining that experience.

Also here are some pictures from the shoot to show her work. She’s amazing!

So without further ado, here is the first episode of Movers & Shakers featuring Sheena Shahangian. Enjoy!

You can find Sheena on her website as well as Facebook (Sheena Shahangian Photography) and Instagram (@sheenashahangianphoto).

Thanks for watching!

Movers & Shakers

Hello, Everyone!! I hope you’re having a fabulous day! Today I am super excited to announce a project that I have been working on since May.

For the past 5-6 months, I have been emailing, meeting up with and filming some awesome creatives in my area. At the same time, I’ve learned more about them, their craft, what drives them to create, and what it’s like to be an entrepreneur juggling a 9am to 5pm while pursuing their passions from 5pm to 9am.

It was from there I decided to create a video series called Movers & Shakers. The point of this video series is to get the perspective of these creatives as they are in the beginning stages of their companies and to get a real take on entrepreneurship… not all the fluffy, fun, I make millions of dollars stuff.

Also, I wanted them to have videos that they could use to promote themselves on their socials as well as their websites.

I also wanted to use this opportunity to work on my video editing, storytelling, and overall filmmaking skills. This was my first time consistently editing on Adobe’s Premiere Pro, as well as understanding my Sony a5100’s settings, such as ISO, frame rate, shutter speed, aperture and much much more.

Finally, I wanted to let you guys in on some awesome creatives, what they do and all that jazz so that you can support them. But also, so that you’ll hear about them before they blow up and go on to be super successful, I know they all will.

So without further ado, here is the trailer to Movers & Shakers season one.

Every Wednesday at 8am in November, there will be a  Movers & Shakers blog post and video going up, so get excited! The first one will be next Wednesday, November 8th, and will feature Sheena Shahangian, a photographer whose work you have already seen featured on this blog. To see her work, as well as read my other corresponding blog post about her click here.

If you’re excited about this mini-series, please comment down below and let me know what you think. Also, this is just season one, and I would love to continue filming. If you know a talented creative with a great story to share and one who could benefit from getting their story told through video please comment down below or seek me out on all socials (I’m @sydneyumeri everywhere) and let me know!

I’m so excited for what’s to come, and I’m glad I can bring you all along with me.

As always, if you liked this blog post, please share it on social media and subscribe so that you never miss a post.

Until next time, get up, get moving, and live your best life!

Viewing Myself Differently ft. Sheena Shahangian

If you know me personally, you probably clicked on this blog post because of the feature image. I know, it surprised me too when I saw it for the first time! To clarify any misconceptions, no, I don't model, have never modeled, and most likely never will… but who really knows? What I can tell you is that for one weekend in June, I was one (kind of), and this is the story of how all this came to be.

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Phase 1: The Introduction

One day in May, I was scrolling through the Instagram hashtag, #AtlantaPhotographers. I have always loved photography, but I know it's not my strong suit. I would much rather write (duh!) or produce a video. But, I was searching the hashtag hoping to find a photographer who's work I loved, and I could collaborate with. I wanted to get content for my site, but also show off their amazing work as well. That's when I came across Sheena Shahangian (IG: @SheenaShahangianPhoto).

It was like every picture on her feed told a story. The images were raw and moody, but also honest and showed the personalities of each muse in their own unique way. I was sold! I knew I had to work with her.

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Phase 2: The Shoot

By this time, a month had passed and the day had finally come. It was the shoot day. I got up at 4:15 am, walked to my bathroom and began to get ready for the day. There was so much to think about. While I like pictures and don't mind being in front of the camera, I had never been a part of a professional photo shoot.

Though I wasn't nervous, I was slightly uncomfortable because this shoot was forcing me to address aspects of myself and my identity that I wasn't ready to uncover. It wasn't so much the shoot itself, but how I and others might view me afterward. I just wasn't ready to deal with all of that.

"If we wait until we're ready, we'll be waiting for the rest of our lives."

But time waits for no one, and the truth is I would have never been ready. I still don't think I'm ready now, and the shoot happened months ago.

To be completely honest, I've always loved the idea of photo shoots, being in front of the camera, posing, etc., which might be surprising since I've spent the majority of this post talking about how I don't see myself as a person who can be in front of the camera. But the truth is, I love it! For years I have down played my interests because, well, that's not what people know me as.

I'm Sydney Umeri, the basketball player, writer, girl who took too many credits to graduate early, the girl with the good internships, etc. But never Sydney Umeri, the model.

Then there is the thought that I don't look like the typical girl in front of the camera. Why would I risk embarrassing myself to pursue my interests. How could I possibly go against the status quo?

The truth is, I had always been looking for an opportunity to get in front of the camera, not to model, but just to say I did it. Just so I can say I checked something off my bucket list, pushed myself to do something I usually wouldn't, and was able to address a few of my most prominent identity and image issues. With all of this said, though there is never a perfect time to tackle all of these things at once, my time came sooner than I thought. Sheena was the answer to my prayers.

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Phase 3: Sheena Shahangian

For someone with as many apprehensions to this shoot as me, I could not have asked for a better photographer than Sheena. Despite my aversion to seeing myself as a model, Sheena helped me move past my mental blocks. Pushing me to view myself outside of the two dimensional box I put myself in, and more as a well rounded 3D version, displaying parts of myself I typically hide from others.

With patience and an eye for awesome lighting, flattering poses, natural positioning, and her sheer talent, we were able to move through my photo shoot capturing wonderful images that greatly boosted my confidence as the morning wore on.

One thing about Sheena is that she is unlike many photographers. She wants you to see yourself differently. She wants to pull out aspects of you that you often don't show out of lack of confidence, fear, self-consciousness, and in many cases, because you simply don't know those traits exist within yourself.

To say the least, she was able to do that for me. I remember always complaining that people, "Simply don't get me". But I never took the time to show people multiple aspects of myself, because I wasn't fully comfortable with myself.

Now I would love to say that I am no longer self-conscious and am living an extremely carefree life, unbothered, and frequently going against the status quo, but that's not true. There are still so many parts of me that I have yet to reveal. But I'm truly grateful to Sheena for allowing me the opportunity to see myself differently, and for giving me the confidence to share more of myself with others.

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So the lesson here is to not limit yourself to what society says you are or who people make you out to be. If you have passions, dreams, or just bucket-list items that may catch people off guard, pursue them anyway. Life is too short and it's way better when you're fully and authentically you.

If you are interested in working with Sheena or simply want to view more of her fabulous work you can find her here. Also, she travels, so if you're interested but don't live in Georgia, you should still reach out. She is one of the best!

Where to find Sheena: Website, Instagram: @SheenaShahangianPhoto, Facebook: Sheena Shahangian Photo.