Weekly Artist Feature

Hello everyone! I hope you all are having a wonderful Monday!! This week we have with us as Guest Judge Nikki from Nikki Smith Photography!! Nikki’s work is amazing!! I’ve got to know her work through our weekly themes and I must say she’s truly become a favorite of mine! You’ll want to follow her if you aren’t already! This week she has chosen for us the theme {In my life}. Can’t wait to see how you all interpret it! Have an amazing week everyone!

Eve

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A little about Nikki

I am a Florida-born, beach-loving wife & mom of 2 girls, ages 11 and 1, 2 dogs and 1 cat.  My husband’s job keeps us on the move a lot, and I have been lucky enough to live all over the United States—from Maine to Hawaii and everywhere in between.  Currently, I am based in Northeast Florida, which works out great for me because the ocean feeds my Piscean soul and I feel a deep need to be near it all the time.  When I’m not taking pictures or spending time at the beach, I refinish old furniture in my spare time and am always looking for new projects.

What does photography mean to you?

Photography to me is storytelling.  Whether it’s a booked session or just me looking for inspiration with my camera in hand, I always want there to be a story in my images.  I think its so important to be able to look at a photo and remember the moment just as it happened and I hope that I can convey that, even just a little bit, every time I capture something new.

When did you start pursing photography?

I’ve always been so interested in photography, even as a kid and a teenager, but it wasn’t until my husband and I went to Paris that I really fell in love with it.  That was so long ago and we were broke newlyweds so, I couldn’t afford for it to be much more than a hobby, especially because digital cameras were just emerging and were WAY out of our limited budget at the time.  Years later, after my first daughter was born, I took her to a mall portrait studio (you know the ones….) for newborn photos and I walked out of there with a pile of photos that I was guilted into buying and looked nothing like my actual baby.  It was at that moment I knew that I could do so much better than the pile of images I was sold, so I bought a better camera, learned everything I could and 11 years later, here I am.  I am completely self-taught.

What motivates and inspires you?

I think like most moms, my children inspire me very much.  My oldest is my muse (my littlest might be, too, but she’s still very new to the world and not interested in mommy’s camera being pointed at her).  Life around me inspires me, too.  The way the light hits my coffee cup first thing in the morning, the way the dew sparkles on the grass at sunrise, the lizard on my lanai, puffing his orange neck out looking for his evening meal.  I try to look EVERYWHERE for ideas and images.  As soon as I start to feel a creative block or start to feel like I’ve been shooting the same things over and over again, I look for challenges that will help me stretch and grow out of my comfort zone.

Can you share with us a few of your favorite images and why you love them so much?

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How cool is this guy???  This was a one-off, silly moment from a senior photo session and it just translated so, so, SO perfectly.  I adore this photo.  The camera can tell when you’re having fun.

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This photo makes. me. SWOON!!!  And, I’m such a chicken, it almost didn’t happen.  There has been an unusual amount of snake activity in our neighborhood (the scary, poisonous kind, not the scary-but-wont-hurt-you kind–seriously, a neighbor was bitten. Twice!!!) and I’d sworn off all backyard activity.  But, as soon as I saw the moss on the side of the tree in my yard glittering with raindrops, I grabbed my camera and bravely went back out into the yard because I *had* to catch what was happening.  Gorgeous morning light will make you do some crazy things.

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This girl is my muse.  I could photograph her all day long, and I adore this photo of her.  Those freckles, those soulful eyes, knowing how much she loves her flute.  Every time I see this photo, I am reminded of the Hans Christian Andersen quote, “Where words fail, music speaks.”  This image just embodies that so perfectly for me.

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I am a lover of old gospel and this hymn is one of my favorites.  In a gives-me-chill-bumps-when-I-hear-it kind of way.  But, it also sums up exactly how I feel about photography.  I just love to tell the story.

What advice would you give another photographer just starting up?

Shoot what moves you.  If you love it, capture it, and it will show in your work.  And don’t be afraid of failure.  Failure is where you learn and stretch and grow.  It’s frustrating as hell, but it’s also where you find new inspiration and new creativity.   Finally, your only competition is yourself.  If you’re better today than you were yesterday, it doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing or not doing.  Being the best you that you can be is all that matters.  ALL of this stuff is what I constantly tell myself.

Nikon or Canon? What lens is attached to it?

Canon.  I shoot with a 7D and I love it so much.  It feels like a natural extension of my arm and I can’t imagine using anything else.  *Usually* its my Canon ef 85mm f/1.8, but I’ve been having a little bit of a love affair with my 70-200 lately, so they’re competing for my affection right now.

Lightroom or Photoshop? Both?

Photoshop.  I go through phases where I think that I would like to learn Lightroom and use both, but I just LOVE Photoshop so much, I never fully commit to the idea of giving Lightroom a try.

One thought on “Weekly Artist Feature

  1. eclecticschooling says:

    Beautiful images! Loved hearing about her journey and what inspires her. Thanks for sharing this lovely artist!

    Like

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