Nicole Collier is an on-location portrait photographer based on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. We interviewed Nicole to find out how she got her business up and running, what keeps her inspired and why she loves to use Lensbaby with her personal photography.
When did you decide to become a professional photographer and how did you get started?
I registered my business name Nicole Collier Photography back in 2009 when I felt confident that I could produce quality portraits for clients. I guess it was the start of Facebook where my images were being viewed regularly, people would start to make comments that my love of photography should be made into a business. I couldn't agree more...since I no longer worked after having my 2 girls, I needed something that was going to fit with my family circumstances. And so began the journey of a photography business.
What type of camera and gear do you use?
I use a Canon 5dMII with a variety of lenses. I use my Lensbaby a lot for personal use. I have a Composer Pro with the Sweet 35 Optic, the Edge 80 Optic and the Scout with Fisheye. Otherwise I use 24-70mm 2.8, 85mm 1.8, 50mm 1.4 and 100mm macro.
You've done some really lovely portraits of your daughters using the Sweet 35 Optic and Edge 80 Optic. When and why did you decide you wanted to add Lensbaby into the mix?
It was after I saw Deb Schwedhelm use Lensbaby. I love the dreamy feel Lensbaby gives to images. The result is something unique and not something you can get from any other lenses. It suits my style of photography, I think, especially when I feel like doing something a little more arty.
We were introduced to your work when you participated in the Lensbaby Summer Story Challenge. You often use the storyboard format on your blog. How or why did you develop this style for your work?
I use the storyboards quite a bit as I think visually, it has more impact than a single image. Also, I didn't want to be uploading hundreds of photos to Facebook so I found that this was a clean and easy way to showcase several photos at once. I'm very conscious about not overloading my 'friends' with too many photos. My blog will then showcase the images individually so that they are larger and easier to view...unless I really love the storyboard!
What keeps you inspired?
Oh...sooooo many things!! My daughters (aged 8 and 5) inspire me a lot as they are quite creative little people and often will suggest certain poses or props. They really get into character when we set out to do a shoot. It's so fun! I'm inspired by them in the everyday things also. There's always a story to tell! I'm also inspired by new locations, new clothing, new puppy haha...anything that is different to what I have done before. I LOVE Pinterest! I love the variety of styles showcased. After browsing images on Pinterest I am always inspired to get the camera out and try something new.
You mentioned Pinterest and Facebook, what other social media platforms do you find yourself using for your personal or professional photography?
Instagram. I use it everyday for personal photos. While on our travels thru the USA/Mexico, I hardly ever took my 5dMii as it is so cumbersome when travelling with kids so everything was shot using my iphone. Some of my favorite photos are on Instagram. A lot of photographers use Instagram for their professional work so it's also a resource for inspiration.
See more of Nicole Collier's work at her website: NicoleCollier.com.au