Capital Lifestyle Instagrammer of the Week: @thisisdida

“Architecture has a way of opening your eyes to the beauty of the world and because of this, photography was my way of keeping those memories and beauty with me forever.” So says Khadija Mahmoud of @thisisdida on Instagram and an architect by profession.

Mahmoud found her passion for photography during her studies at University of Nairobi, and has since delved into fashion blogging, giving a platform to hijabi/modest fashion.

Being a Muslim, Mahmoud describes herself like any girl, “I love to dress up and I know that many hijabi women tend to feel ‘stuck’ in terms of dressing options, so I thought why not share my interpretation of what I believe is modest, yet fashionable.”

But at the end of the day, Mahmoud will always be that #HappyFatPersonOnTheInside as her byline on Instagram suggests!

Capital Lifestyle reached out to Mahmoud to find out how photography and Instagram have impacted her journey in Mobile Photography.

What cameras do you enjoy shooting with and what do you like most about them?

Sadly I haven’t had the chance to work with the fanciest of gear (due to financial constraints – we all know how expensive photography equipment can get) but I do own a Nikon D5200 with the kit lens for now and also love to use my iPhone 6S+ to take photos on the go. I’ve always been a big believer in the idea that a photographer is not found in the gear he/she uses but in the thought process and composition of their work. So my little advice to those who feel they can’t get into photography just because they don’t have a nice camera, I ask this…your phone has a camera you like to take selfies with, doesn’t it?

Where do you shoot most of your photos and what sort of photos do you like to take best?

Honestly, I have no specific place I love to take photos. If I see something I like, I shoot! No matter where I might be, I believe there is beauty in everything around us. As I mentioned earlier, Architecture has a way of opening up someone’s eyes to the beauty of the world that surrounds you, it makes you more aware of the spirit a place holds (genius loci) and with this I decided I had to find a way to immortalise that for myself. I started off by taking photos of buildings I loved, looking for that perfect angle that would show it off in a way that it may not have been seen before. This led me to look for all the minute details. I love details! To me, details are the touch of the artist that make something they create unique – the part of their soul that they leave behind to make a mark. Without the little details, would this world even exist? Because of this, I feel that they should be shown in their raw and truest form, thus my passion for ‘clean and minimal’ photography. I don’t like to fuss too much over my editing, I feel that a photo loses its identity when you start adding filter after filter. As they say, K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple Stupid!

What are your top tips for taking captivating Instagram photos?

I don’t know if I’m in the position of giving tips in photography as I don’t consider myself a professional in the least (or at least not yet!) but I do have a few ideologies that guide my own work as follows:

  1. My biggest and greatest obsession: details! I cannot stress this more, look for the details in your everyday life. Think of it this way, you’ve got a box of chocolates ahead of you with 20 choices…what makes you go for the first one you pick? Has to be that you liked the way it looked, right? The little swirl at the top with that mix of brown and white chocolate, yum. So look for the things that interest YOU, you don’t need to do the typical.
  2. Lines! This is the one thing I would go out of my way to completely edit a photo if I feel the lines are off in any way. The lines need to lead somewhere or at least be straight. Always look for any kind of guiding lines in any situation, this should dictate exactly how you hold your camera and frame your photo. Simple as that.
  3. Fitting that this should be my third point, as I really believe in the rule of thirds. When getting a shot of a detail in any minimal setting, I love to frame the detail using this principle. I would highly suggest reading more on this as the subject matter found on this is rather interesting.
  4. Last but not least, colour. If anyone has been following my Instagram for a while then they’ll know my latest obsession with colour coordination. I’ve always had a love affair with colour white, because I love clean spaces. But it was only recently that I realised a little bit of colour in your life is actually a good thing. So don’t be scared to explore colour. One thing I’ve come to realise is that it might be a little difficult to make your colours ‘pop’ sometimes. So my advice to this, is keep playing with those colour correction and saturation toggles. If you feel the colours still aren’t showing enough, throw in a colour overlay layer to really make that colour stand out. This really helps!

At the end of the day these are my personal favourite ways of doing things, so anyone should feel free to break free from these if they do not resonate with any of these points. There are so many photographers out there breaking the rules and still create beautiful imagery. It’s really an amazing thing to watch and learn from.

Which Instagrammers do you recommend everyone to follow?

My three favourite instagrammers that I think everyone needs a dose of in their lives:




How has Instagram influenced your profession and your business?

I have to say, Instagram has opened a whole new world for me. It has been one of my biggest sources of inspiration. Everyday I wake up and see other creatives do their thing and it pushes me to push myself further. I love that I feel like I’m growing, there’s never been a stagnant moment. And because of it being such a public platform, I am so grateful that it’s because of Instagram I’ve managed to get my work seen (for example this article) and even gotten the chance to be featured in three newspaper articles in the past year. I cannot deny the fact that Instagram has been the biggest platform for my work, I am absolutely grateful for all the opportunities it has presented me with and hope to see it grow bigger in the future. In Shaa Allah.

5 Favourite @thisisdida Instagram Posts

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