Women Can: Meet Manal, a Nabulsi Event Photographer
Taking her profession from analog to digital
“If people are interested, I won’t decline an offer!”
At 50, Manal has been honing her craft for the last 25 years. She first discovered a love for photography through her husband, and swiftly mastered the basics. She soon felt in complete harmony with the camera.
After her husband died, she picked it up as a profession. In addition to weddings, she began filming other ceremonies like graduation parties.
She does the occasional photo shoot for individuals too. “If people are interested, I won’t decline an offer,” she says with a smile. She also enjoys photographing nature and beautiful scenery.
“My old camera didn’t keep pace with a fast-moving digital world.”
In the old days, she used a camcorder with cassette tapes. Over the years, her video camera became outdated.
So she started to rent digital cameras from local studios, paying 150NIS ($43) each time.
Through Anera’s Women Can project, funded by Islamic Relief USA, Manal got two new cameras — a Canon 80D and a Panasonic AG-UX90. Owning her new gear has allowed her to net a substantially higher rate — 700NIS ($200) per event.
Manal has already covered 12 events since getting her new equipment in September.
A typical workday begins with charging her camera batteries, including backup batteries. “I get anxious if I run low on charged batteries while filming. I also make sure I have extra memory cards.”
She reviews her footage and photos with her customers and makes edits to the colors and lighting as needed. Manal likes to leave her customers with a present. She lets her clients select one photo from the set that she uses to create a large print that she frames and presents as a gift to each newlywed couple.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, work has declined. Manal is looking forward to the return of some degree of normalcy.
“I hope that life soon returns to a sweeter era, like before the virus. Work is life. My happiest moments are when I get a message of appreciation or a thank you letter from a just-married couple. It makes me feel so proud.”
The views expressed herein are those of Anera and shall not, in any way whatsoever, be construed to reflect the official opinion of IRUSA, its Islamic Relief affiliates, or its donors.