We are so excited to welcome the amazingly talented Nichole Van to the Blog! Learn more about Nichole in our Photographer Spotlight and visit her at her website NicholeV Photography. Thank you so much Nichole for sharing your work with us today!
Where did your inspiration for photography begin?
Mmmmm, my journey to becoming a photographer was a rather long one. I always loved art and photography in general and was a hobbyist photographer for years. But I think that like so many people, I became truly serious once I had kids. Everything comes together when you have a new baby, I think. Wanting to capture every moment and then most of us take time off from our “real” jobs with a newborn, so we actually have a little free time to practice. That’s how I morphed from hobbyist to professional.
How would you describe your photography style?
I think of my style as drama. Everything has to be bigger and more fantastic than real life for me. I want to take a scene and distort or blur or somehow twist it into something that is larger than life.
Did you study photography in school or are you self taught?
I’m mostly self-taught with my photography. My undergrad degree is in art history, so I studied art for years and I think that that helped as well. But most of my photography education came from online forums, fellow photographers and just a lot of trial and error.
Do you shoot Canon or Nikon, and what is your favorite lens?
I shoot Canon and I currently shoot with a Canon Mark III 1Ds, as well as the Canon 5D Mark III. And I always get asked what my favorite lens is and it’s impossible for me to decide as it entirely depends on what I’m photographing. That being said, I do have favorite focal lengths: 16mm and 200mm. I often shoot an entire session using only those two focal lengths.
Do you have any tips for photographers on how to find the light?
Oh man, this is a huge question! I actually have written literally hundreds of pages in my workshop textbooks that talk about this, using both natural light and flash. A simple tip is to have clients look up at you when photographing a portrait, instead of having their head at the same level as yours. Looking up opens up the eyes and creates much larger catchlights.
What is your favorite subject to photograph?
Obviously, I love photographing my children. My daughter, in particular, is still my muse. Give me an amazing over-the-top dress for her and a romantic location and I’m in heaven!
What is a good lesson you have learned this year in photography or in your business?
When you’re in Venice, Italy and you drag your jet-lagged body out of bed at sunrise for a shoot, make sure your camera battery is charged. Cause nothing is worse than being in the perfect location and setting up the perfect shot, only to realize you have no battery. That was a very sad morning.
If you could encourage a new photographer in one area, what would it be?
Get it perfect in camera. Don’t rely on post processing to “fix” your images. Assume that your client will see every image you take exactly as it comes out of camera and then shoot to make every image perfect. Most workflow problems can be solved by having better images in camera.
Oh and learn to love your on-camera flash. Weird, I know, but seriously, using a speedlight well is THE most useful skill! My speedlight has saved me more times than I can count.
What do you love most about being a photographer?
Being in the business of happiness. When people call me to book a session, it’s almost always a good thing. It’s not like being a doctor or car mechanic or some other profession where people only come to you when something is wrong. I love being in an industry that celebrates the joyful moments of life.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Right here, doing what I love most, creating beautiful images for my clients.
About Nichole: Based in Utah, USA, Nichole Van specializes in turning everyday life into art. Nichole loves expressing the unique beauty of every client, creating artistic images that make people gasp when they see them. Nichole has won numerous international awards, including portrait of the year from WPPI, as well as being a finalist for Grand Imaging Awards from PPA. She has also been featured in Rangefinder and Professional Photographer magazine, as well as numerous local and online publications. Nichole provides instruction to other professional photographers and has presented classes at WPPI’s international convention, as well as IPPA. Nichole currently holds an Accolade of Photographic Mastery from WPPI.