Insiya Syed

Insiya Syed

Karachi, Pakistan
Karachi, Pakistan
“As a woman born and raised in Pakistan, I love shooting pictures showing my view of the life led by an average Pakistani woman.”


I have been deployed a few times to shoot breaking news stories and it’s a high as a photojournalist to chase the news and reflect it to my audience professionally, objectively and accurately. My forte is features – portraying a soft image of otherwise misinterpreted Pakistan.

One Shot

. KARACHI, Pakistan. REUTERS/Insiya Syed
Memoona, 23, a survivor of an acid attack, poses for a photograph at home in Karachi.
“We wanted to shoot more than just a portrait to illustrate a story about acid attacks, and I found Memoona, who was targeted over an old family feud. Almost a decade later, she decided to enroll herself in a nursing school in Karachi. She is by far one of the most positive and fun people I have ever met or photographed.”


Shooting pictures of the streets of Karachi while driving around with my family is possibly my earliest memory of photography.

For me, photography has been a long and continuous learning experience: first as a pastime and then on the job. I learn new things on a daily basis with lots of trial and error – particularly errors.

My first assignment came soon after I joined Reuters, when I was being trained at the Islamabad office. I had to shoot pictures of daily life during the month of Ramadan in a model village named Saidpur. I literally walked into people’s homes and introduced myself as a photojournalist, then asked them to let me photograph them while they went about their daily routine. It was heartwarming when these families did not let me go back to the office to file my images until I ate food with them at their Iftar spread. During this first assignment, I learnt that the people who are our subjects can see us as more than just photographers.

As well as being a photojournalist, I also run a wedding photography company, so it was really exciting for me when I got to shoot pictures of a mass marriage ceremony in Karachi while on a Reuters assignment. A total of 80 couples from Pakistan’s Hindu community were taking wedding vows at the same time. I found it absolutely amazing that almost every groom I spoke to in order to get details for the captions responded with their own personal particulars but were clueless about their bride’s name or age. The reason was that these marriages were arranged by matchmaker organisations or families – the couple hardly participated in the process.

I learnt my biggest lesson while covering the story of a plane crash at the Karachi airport. Families were gathering to hear the fate of their relatives and I saw a few of my fellow journalists thrusting microphones in their direction and asking them: “How do you feel about the plane crash?” I definitely learnt then what I would never ask.

As a woman born and raised in Pakistan, I love shooting pictures showing my own view of the life led by an average Pakistani woman

Behind the Scenes

. India. Mansi Midha
Reuters photographer Insiya Syed stands with her camera in Nizamuddin in Dargah, India