When weddings were canceled during the pandemic, videographer Tufail Uddin and photographer Mohtashim Mahin of Thru the Lens Production lost their main source of income. They had to find other ways of making money by taking a financial leap to follow their dreams.
Tufail Uddin grew up in Detroit. Like many kids raised by immigrant parents, he was encouraged to grow up and have a solid 9 to 5 office job. But he had other plans.
“I am a videographer, content creator and a wedding filmmaker,” Uddin says.
When Uddin lost his first office job, his wife Anjum bought him a camera.
“In the beginning of the year, I was at this 9 to 5 job where I saw no happiness or purpose in,” he recalls.
Uddin began watching YouTube tutorials to learn more about photography. He freelanced for a while and practiced taking pictures for small events to build a portfolio. In 2018, he met Mohtashim Mahin while freelancing as a videographer.
Mahin was born in Bangladesh and moved to the U.S. when he was 18. He began doing photography as a hobby while figuring out what to do between attending college and doing odd jobs.
“I started just going around to different people’s weddings and started taking pictures of my relatives,” says Mahin. ”That’s how I started.”
Mahin says talent was not enough to get far in the industry. He realized people hired photographers and videographers as a package deal, which sparked an idea: Join forces with Uddin.
“I reached out to him in 2018 and we met at Tim Hortons…” remembers Mahin. “I took everything with me, all my camera and everything and he was like, ‘Okay bro, let me think about it and I’ll get back to you.’”
Uddin says he wasn’t sure about taking the jump. A few months went by and they crossed paths again while working for the Bangladeshi Mural Project, a crowdfunded mural honoring Bangladeshi heritage in America displayed on the Hamtramck-Detroit border.
This time Uddin said yes.
Creating a Business
They became a team in December 2019. Then in 2020, their whole operation came to a standstill due to the pandemic.
Uddin says that sudden pandemic-related shift made him rethink his priorities both as a business owner and as a new dad. His son was just a few weeks old when Michigan went into lockdown.
“My income and my family’s financial wellbeing depends on the world, right?” says Uddin. “Like if the pandemic didn’t happen, and I could have kept working.”
Tufail Uddin’s wife, Anjum, gave him the reassurance he needed to take his business a …….