Business Name: Nicole Rodriguez Photography & Design
Where are you based out of? Indiana & Michigan
Are you currently a part-time or full-time photographer? Part-time. I am a full-time graphic designer for a non-profit.
What is your predominant photographic specialization? Weddings, portraits, creative
What camera(s) do you currently shoot with? Canon 5d Mark III
How would you define your style?
It’s hard to say, I think sometimes my style fluxes unintentionally. But I’m mostly inspired by documentary and lifestyle photography. I’m more interested in moments that are actually happening without being posed. Obviously shooting weddings, families, and portraits, there is some posing that has to occur, but when I do pose, I try to recreate moments that would naturally happen. I think those moments are the most beautiful.
What motivated you to become a photographer?
I used to have a distaste for photographers because it became such a fad for anyone to pick up an expensive camera, make a facebook photography page, and just like that be labeled a professional photographer. I went to school for Graphic Design and took a photography film class per requirement my freshman year. Against my will, I fell in love with the art behind photography. From then on I set out to perfect both the art and technical side of photography. I realized that most people only know the technical side of the camera, so I figured if I could master both, then I could really encapsulate what photography was at its core. By the time I moved to digital, I already knew manual mode pretty well since I started from film.
The following summer, I went to Kenya for a mission trip and I think that was the defining moment for me as far as my views on photography and style. I mean, I think that any foreign country or city is a photographer’s dream set, but there was just something so beautiful in the rawness of everyday life. I came home and researched documentary photography and photojournalism like a maniac, and finally felt like I could pinpoint what I wanted my audience to feel when they saw my work. I wanted my audience to feel when they saw my stuff. I wanted them to feel like they were there too or at least like they could envision what was happening outside of whatever was captured within the frame.
What is it that you try to convey with your work?
I try to convey the little moments that go missing. Obviously, there are moments at a wedding or shoot that you have to catch, but the ones in between, those are the sweetest because sometimes only the photographer sees them.
I don’t think a lot of photographers really take the time to think about the meaning of what they’re creating and tend to just produce without intention, which is easy to do. Ever since I had that breaking moment (overseas) so to speak, it’s difficult for me to not shoot without intentionality. For most of my shoots, I plan what mood I’m trying to portray and how I’m going to achieve it.
How do you accomplish that?
To achieve that, I plan. I draw out sketches of what things I want to try, poses, hand placement, etc. Sometimes I refer back to them, sometimes I have thought through them so much that I have them memorized in my head. I look for things happening behind the chaos and right before or after posing.
I think about the way that I want to move into certain poses, sometimes the flow of a shoot can help so much. It’s really easy to schedule a shoot, shoot, collect your check, edit, and return the photos to your client without thinking about the process. I do my best to evaluate post shoot what I could have done differently to make things go better, or what opportunities I missed, so that next time, I can work on those things. Likewise, I also attempt to do something new every shoot, so that I’m developing a style that’s unique to me, and always innovating-staying true to the art side of photography.
Have you had a photographer inspire your work, and if so, who and why?
I tend to be more attracted to photojournalists or photographers with a similar cinematic style. The obvious Ansel Adams comes to mind, but who isn’t inspired by her work? Even more so, I’m intrigued by Stephanie Sinclair and the content of her work. I don’t know that these necessarily pertain to the content of most of my work since I’m mostly shooting weddings and portraits, but I have a passion for the kind of work they do.
What is your most memorable accomplishment so far in your photography career?
I’ve won a couple of awards at the local level, and honorable mentions at the national level. I’d like to do more exploratory stuff and enter competitions and what not on a more consistent basis. It’s hard to make time for the creative stuff sometimes when you’re trying to make a living too.
What is one thing you have learned during your career?
There are a lot of other photographers out there. Good ones. It’s hard for me to accept that sometimes, but I think it’s helped me focus on the individuality of my own work, and helped me try to somehow bring something different to the table.
Which Photographer Supply Company products do you currently use?
I currently use the wooden USB drives and wooden boxes for client packaging.
How have Photographer Supply Company products helped your business?
I believe that everything visual makes some sort of statement. Packaging and delivery is one way to endorse your style and quality. When people are paying good money for something, they would much rather see something delivered in a pretty package it show that you as the photographer also value the investment as well.