Tell us a little about yourself, where you live and how you got started in photography.
My name is Nicole Mason and I’m a wedding & portrait photographer, recently transported from Buffalo, New York to Portland, Oregon, where I already feel at home. I’ve had a camera in my hands since I was extremely young, shooting with both film and digital. I continued my education to study studio art in college, with a majority of those classes being in photography. I spent many hours in the dark room developing my own black & white film, and any spare time I had, shooting digital. I did an internship with a local wedding photographer and started second shooting weddings with studios in Western New York while simultaneously starting my own business when I was 19.
How do you describe your style?
I find it difficult to put words to my style, but my goal is always to capture the real moment, the feeling and emotion, whether it’s finding a unique way to frame the events that are unfolding before me, or setting up a shot in some light that catches my eye. I always strive for my images to reflect the way I see, but also to tell an accurate story of the subjects within them.
What or who really inspires you?
A couple of photographers that have inspired me for a while now are Sean Flanigan (A Fist Full of Bolts) and Michelle Gardella. They shoot everything in their own vision, fearlessly. What inspires me most when I’m shooting is the relationship that the environment has to my subjects; this is why I primarily shoot outdoors. Natural elements like wind, water, and light are so unpredictable. I love capturing the moments you never thought could happen, or never really see because they pass us by too quickly; a photograph can preserve that forever, and I think that’s incredible.
What are your top 3 tips for photographing weddings?
1. You’ve got to be ready for anything and be able to think on your feet. Things change in an instant, whether it’s because you’re waiting for grandma to get to family photos, or the bride is running late to the ceremony (which she has every right to be!)
2. Get to know the bride and groom. I’ve become good friends with many of my couples, and it makes it the best day ever, for everyone. When people are comfortable with you, you’re going to capture the real stuff and have fun.
3. Communication about time on the wedding day is key. Make sure that you know how much time you need to capture the best images of the couple, and make it clear to them as well, so you’re all on the same page.
To see more of Nicole's work, visit her at nicolemason.co.
From a very early age I loved taking pictures and looking at them in magazines and books, but the art of photography captured my heart when I was a teenager, on my first overseas trip to Wales. From that point, I began shooting with a little film SLR and having my friend model for me. In college I took some digital photography and visual communication courses as part of my communication studies major, and decided to pursue a career in photography. I became a legal business and took my first paid client at age 20, and it's been quite a journey and adventure over the past nine years.
I secretly bought a mail-order 35mm camera when I was 15, and took lots of ordinary photos of animals and nature for several years. Although I majored in art and studied photography in college, my career started in marketing and advertising, from the client service end. Then I had the most beautiful baby, found my old camera and realized how much I love photographing people.