Nicole Van Tassel is the lady behind the lens of NicoleLee Photography
. This mom of three finds inspiration in her children and the love her clients share.
How did you get started in photography?
Photography has always been a love of mine and really became a creative outlet for me when I had my children. I started doing photo shoots for friends as a gift to them and it slowly evolved into a business that I had always dreamed of. I’ve taught myself as I’ve gone along and continue to learn new things about small business and photography as I go. There is never an end to the learning, growing and creativity you can experience as a photographer!
What do you love about wedding photography?
The story. A bride and groom’s wedding day includes a very unique story that no one else could ever duplicate. Weddings offer an amazing opportunity to document a very intimate and personal event in someone’s life. I especially love all of the different people I meet, the details planned out, the emotional connections between the couple, their families and friends, and the chance to capture that in a creative and fun way.
What is the biggest challenge you face when shooting a wedding?
I think the biggest challenge for me when approaching any wedding day is the basic fact that it’s long! I usually start capturing the bride’s day a few hours prior to the ceremony’s start. Then there are the beautiful ceremony events, followed by family portraits, the bride and groom portraits (my favorite time of the day), and then the exciting happenings of the reception. It’s honestly like running a marathon all day and can be quite exhausting but in a fun and exciting way!
What should clients know about your style of photography?
I love to have fun, I love to be spontaneous and I love color. Therefore my photographs tend to capture just that…happy moments with a splash of color and you never know where that will take us. One of the best parts of wedding photography is that you are given the permission to “people watch” and capture moments happening without them even realizing. Those real life moments are some of my favorite photographs, don’t get me wrong the posed photos are nice also, but the less stiff and relaxed photos are what I am drawn to.
When you're not behind the camera, what do you like to do?
I spend the majority of my time taking care of my three young children and love the role I play as their Mom! We spend a lot of time playing with play-doh, coloring, visiting with friends, reading together, and snuggling. When I’m not fulfilling the demanding role of Mom, then I enjoy going on dates with my husband, reading, cooking, and shopping! I am also actively involved in several ministries at our local church, which I love.
How can the couple help YOU on their wedding day?
Tell me everything! I feel more prepared when I know the timeline of the day, names of family and bridal party members, and what you expect. Every bride, and groom, too, has the picture perfect wedding day in mind and unless that is shared with your photographer we won’t know how to best give that to you. If the limo photos are really important to you then share that with me. Maybe you prefer to do a “first look” instead of meeting at the altar. And share with me any ideas that you may have as well. I always come prepared and have tons of creative thoughts but if there is something special you want to try then please share! This is YOUR day so speak up, I would rather know then try to guess what you want!
How has your photography style changed over the years?
When I started capturing photos for friends I was so concerned about getting a good smile or framing the shot perfectly that I missed the personal element to the photograph. I like to think now that I strive to not just capture a smile or a photo but to freeze a moment in time that will be remembered forever. It’s not just about the subject but more about their story and their connections with each other. When you look at my photographs I want you to smile, shed a tear or simply giggle, not because you know the clients but because you can feel a connection to the image. I want to tell their story, not just take a photograph.
What sorts of things inspire you when you pick up your camera?
Two things inspire me the most…my children and the couple’s unique love story. I first get my inspiration from my children, their innocent perspective of life, their love of story telling, and their sweet spirits. I also love listening to a couple tell me how they met, how they spend their free time, and what makes their relationship special. From listening to them talk and sharing their lives with me I can create images that better tell their story and are special to them.