Featured Artist: Nikki Hollett

Nikki Hollett is a wedding and lifestyle photographer based on Vancouver Island. She is specializing in capturing intimate and raw moments between couples & families. Let's learn more about her work and how she incorporates the Terrain presets and creative profiles in her workflow.


Tribe Collective: Tell us about yourself. What is your background, and how did you get into photography?

Nikki Hollett: My creative journey started about a decade ago when I was given a Canon Rebel as a gift. I fell in love with creative composition and documentary photography very early on. I was searching for a creative outlet and that camera was the first thing that offered me that. Around that time I chose to enroll in Art School to study Jewellery and Small object design. I honestly never even considered pursuing photography at that point. Over the next 5 years, I was divided between the role of motherhood and creative business owner. I started picking up that Canon Rebel again after many years away from it and used it for very basic product photography for the jewelry I was making, as well as documenting my motherhood journey.

I am a "do it yourself" kinda gal so I felt like it was time to invest in myself rather than continue to pay other photographers to do the commercial sessions I needed. I upgraded to a Canon 70D and bought myself a 50mm lens and signed up for a manual exposure course online. From there everything changed. Fast forward 6 months later, I closed down my jewelry business to pursue my passion for photography.


TC: Can you provide us with a list of the gear you use on a regular basis?

NH: I use a Canon 6D as my main body and have a Canon Markii as my backup. I go between a sigma 24-35 2f lens and my Canon 85mm 1.8.

TC: What does your post-production process look like?

NH: I typically import directly to Lightroom with a Tribe preset. My favourite had been LXC3 but the new Terrain pack is quickly becoming my new favourite! If I don't use Terrain presets, I typically will apply a Terrain creative profile. I, from there, adjust white balance, exposure and a bit in HSL if needed. Then I do a lot of brush work to add depth and enhance the subject.


TC: How has your photography style evolved over time?

NH: Well, I feel like it is evolving daily at this point! I am still finding my voice and style so every time I go to a session, I am digging a little deeper into what I want my style to be and what naturally comes forth when I am in the flow with my camera.


TC: What are your favourite tools for capturing, editing, and enhancing your photographs?

NH: Honestly, the biggest tool in my tool box for enhancing the images I make are the Tribe presets. It took me a bit of time to learn how to use them to really bring my images to life but now I feel like the photographs I am seeing in my mind when I am shooting, are reflected in the finished work I am creating. I make my own brushes in Lightroom for individual sessions and I find that really elevates the work I do.


TC: What is your greatest piece of advice for emerging photographers?

NH: That is a question I don't know if I am at the place to answer, haha! Or maybe I have a unique insight into it because I feel like I am very much still emerging for myself at this point! So I guess if my future self were to offer my current self some advice it would be, don't be afraid to be open-hearted. It is a bit terrifying to put yourself out there when it comes to the art you create. But if you never share that honest and real part of your creative self, your peers and clients will never really know the true YOU. And isn't that what we truly want? To be respected for what makes us truly unique and individual.


TC: What type of photography do you most enjoy?

NH: I love capturing emotive connections so for me its all about families and couples. But I also love collaborating with other creatives, so I try to do a big creative shoot every few months to build community and push my skills and creativity.

TC: What are you discouraged about in your work/business? What encourages you?

NH: Comparing myself to other photographers is my daily struggle. I sometimes forget how far I have come in a short time and that doubt in myself prevents me from taking bigger steps in my business. One of the most encouraging things for me is when I get the courage to share my work with peers and photographers I look up to, that I often am left with a deep sense of pride in the photographs I have made.


TC: When was a time you thought you would/had failed? How did you overcome it?

NH: This summer I took on my first wedding and elopement without any experience in those areas of photography. I have only been taking clients for 6 months so my mind said I wasn't ready to take on such high-pressure jobs so early on in my career, but I just couldn't pass them up since it is the direction I want to go in. Leading up to both of those days, I had the worst anxiety and told myself I was going to do a horrible job. But once I got in the flow of the day, I just trusted myself and let all the fear and self-doubt go. I felt so proud of the work I did and yet it pushes me harder to be even better next time.


TC: What defines success for you as a photographer? If you never achieve that, will you still be satisfied with what you do?

NH: For me, success would be the ability to travel through my photography business, documenting elopements and families around the world. 

I feel like by the age of 30, I have had so many goals reached in my life that just finding photography and tapping into the joy it brings me on a daily basis is satisfaction enough. I know that sounds cliche but it's the truth.