Artistic Collaborations

I occasionally will work with people for a variety of reasons without pay, mostly for honing and developing my skills.  The reason for this, is because I do not believe in "learning" off of my paying clients.

The only way I will take a commissioned job is if I know without fail that I can produce the end product.  I get a lot of requests for unique composite work.  So I have to really practise this style under many different types of lighting conditions and blending with back plates.

Here is a couple of art pieces I recently worked on.

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This shows the use of the back plate and the way the subject was lit, to produce a similar lighting environment.  Normally this style of imagery takes upwards of 5-8 hours of post work to create the desired result.

This shows the use of the back plate and the way the subject was lit, to produce a similar lighting environment.  Normally this style of imagery takes upwards of 5-8 hours of post work to create the desired result.

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The Making of an Artistic Portrait

I live in a smaller community, with a lot of young families.  I moved here for many personal reasons and my photography was not one of them.  I have a lot of interest in my artistic portraits, but I seem to have fallen into the $150 portrait club.  There are a lot, like most towns and cities across the United States and Canada, with burgeoning and upcoming, new and hobby style "photographers".

You could very likely hire many of them for $150, get a cd of lower quality images, or "good enough" images.  This is the way of the world with easy access to DSLR's and Social Media, quick out of the box website building sites.

So when I get asked "How much do you charge?" I prefer to get a phone number, give you a call, chat about the process, expectations, what is involved and what you can expect.

I can't easily just "send a price list" out because their are so  many varying things that could be easily misunderstood, or processes that are not clear in a simple price sheet.

"Why are you so much?"

First, for what I do, and the time and talent that I have, the cost is based on product and the quality of the art you get in return.  The years (and I mean years) it took for me to learn and hone my skillset to be able to produce this type of art.

I am not a photographer.  I am an artist.  So the camera is just one part of my method to creating. The posing and placement of light, props, are key to the overall resulting piece.  The ability to strongly work with my equipment and know it inside and out, is not something every photographer can do well.  This is fact.  The selection of the images for the final product is important.  Lastly, the ability to manipulate the pixels in Adobe Camera Raw and photoshop are my canvas and my brush.  I have a talent that is not easily replicated.

When you hire me to create for you, you are getting something no one else can do.  This is not common, it is a high end product.  So in saying this, the acquisition of luxury items tend to be more expensive, because they are rare and valuable.

For example, below is an image taken outside in the winter of my grand daughter.  I had no flash with me, it was a very quick couple shots, because she was cold and not altogether into getting her picture taken that day.  But the after result is stunning and an image I will cherish for always.  Which one would you prefer?  The sentimental value of the art piece is priceless.  Putting a price tag on art is difficult at best, but worth paying a premium for a luxury item that is not easily accessible.  would you agree?

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There are many ways to incorporate art into your home or your interior design.  But wouldn't it be more personal to make that art of someone that means the most to you?

Here are a few more examples of photography versus the art I create.

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Under the Tuscan Sun - A Poppy Field of Dreams

In May I taught a workshop in Tuscany, Italy.  It was the perfect landscape for my romantic creations, with one of my favourite muse's.  Asha and I have been creating together for many years and this was the perfect opportunity for us to create something beautiful together.

My very amazing husband took the drone footage, and finally, after five months, I made it a point to sit down and edit the video and the images.

I hope you like these art pieces.  Feel free to follow me on instagram at @nikkiharrisonart and Asha @ashaurielle for more beautiful images.

A New Adventure - with an Old Skillset

I know so many of you are young women, starting your lives, getting engaged, getting married and having your babies.  I have had so much fun working with young women, and through these interactions, I adored you and developed such a motherly bond with you all.

As an older woman, a wife, a mother, and yes {gasp!} a grandmother, I enjoy watching these moments so much with all these special women who have become a part of my creative life.

As a tribute, a change, and maybe a natural transition to this, I have decided to start shooting weddings.  Now, I have shot a few before, and I have said I will never do it again, but the love and shared glee that I feel watching "my girls" grow and evolve and the constant "when I get married you will shoot my wedding, right Nikki?!" has made the decision seem to have become a natural transition in my life and my career.

I want all my #NikkiBrides to join my world, my community and realize I want you to be a part of my life, of my community and to not just be a "client".

If you want to become a #NikkiBrides, I would love you to use my hashtag in all your personal Instagram posts, and to spread the excitement of your wedding, and join my new wedding community!  If you know someone who is getting married and want to be one of my first wedding's, please share this, join my #NikkiBrides community and welcome into my fold.

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I am focusing to start on only 12 weddings a year.  One a month.  The reason for this is so that each one gets all of the attention and time it deserves.  I've been a portrait photographer for a long time, the technical and creative aspects to photographing a wedding are the same things I do every day in my UNWedding work.  For this reason, I will not offer reception coverage, only the events leading up to it.  If you really want the reception covered, I'll make sure to find you a photographer that LOVES covering the receptions!

My first wedding has been booked - in a magical winter wonderland in December.  The bride is so beautiful and the surroundings and environment are so spectacular that I am over the moon with excitement, so stay tuned for my first 2017 #Nikkibrides to be shared and displayed with the world!

Wedding Instagram:  @nikkiharrisonweddings

Artist Musings

My love of art, in the true sense of the word, goes back.  I am enthralled with the renaissance period. Its rather ironic really. Photographers try so hard to "perfect" the person, skin, colors, etc. and painters try so hard to bring that realism back to the image they are creating.

I use photography to create art.  It is but one tool in my tickle trunk - not the only one.  My love of art and painting has merged into my style and my brand.  There is nothing more meaningful and true to my passion than creating art.

Recently I worked with a whole group of women from Vancouver, they are gorgeous, young, talented designers, and models.  We worked together to showcase their designs in a modern spin of the old Master's styled paintings.  I am working on an incredible image that I have yet to complete or reveal, but it is going to be one of my most loved pieces when it is complete.  

In the mean time, here are a couple images I created from a that effort.

The Power of the Print

Last year I started printing my own fine art prints, on world class papers and museum quality archival inks.  The transition from "photographer" to "artist" was complete.  

What I do, my process and the way in which I feel about my work, is far and different from clicking the button of my camera, freezing a moment in time.  It is deciding on a theme, a story, which involves wardrobe, accessories, studio, flash, equipment, and yes, finally, post.

I leave the lifestyle photography to those who excel at it.  I cannot do what they do, nor do I want to.  I see most lifestyle images, of children, women, and I see the large open area for art.  It actually is more than something I can visualize.  I can "feel" the potential, if that makes sense.

I get asked a lot if I have a vision in my head about what the post will look like on my images, as I prepare the session, styling and light of a look.  My answer is 90% of the time, no, sometimes yes. If my clients are very specific in what they are looking for, then yes.  But most of the time it is something I feel, as I edit.  Art is really all about feeling, after all.

I will sometimes start by building a set first, then wardrobe will follow that.

I will sometimes start by building a set first, then wardrobe will follow that.

I made the skirt and head piece, and added accessories and a black body suit.  Sometimes the items in the more thought provoking imagery are very simple to put together.

I made the skirt and head piece, and added accessories and a black body suit.  Sometimes the items in the more thought provoking imagery are very simple to put together.


Before I started printing my own art, I would send images off the either the big lab printers, or smaller boutique printers, with always the same issues.  My images were too dark.  I would spend countless hours trying to calibrate my monitors, make sure that what I was seeing on my screen would translate onto my prints.  Very rarely, mostly darker images would come back to me..

Now I take full control of the imagery, the colors, the contrast, the paper type, and the final outcome.  Seeing my work on the best Hahnemühle paper is a joy I find hard to express in words.  My two all time favourites are PhotoRag® Satin and Torchon.

The power of the print is impactful, they are timeless, there is no need to worry that your phone or other item will crash or get lost/stolen and you will lose all your precious memories.  The print is on your wall, a constant reminder of those people that mean so much to you. Or perhaps a piece of art that you really planned, and commissioned so that it would look incredible in your living space.  People can design a complete art piece based of tones, feel, style and coloring to match a designed room.  The results are spectacular.

People assume they need a huge print, when in actuality, if you get a large matt and ornate frame, the size of the print can be smaller.

People assume they need a huge print, when in actuality, if you get a large matt and ornate frame, the size of the print can be smaller.

So the next time you are considering investing in a piece of art to decorate your personal space, why not consider investing in a timeless work of art that has more of a personal appeal to it?  Perhaps your family, yourself? Mother/Daughter portraits can be amazing pieces of art that don't have to be lifestyle or typical.

World Photographic Cup - Bronze Medal Winner

To say my first year of competing in portrait photography salon's was exciting is just an under statement!

I entered (at the urging of image salon judge Jeff Dachowski's insistence) the PPA {Professional Photographers of America's} Annual Print Competition.  He mentored me and helped guide me through the technical waters of competing, rules and regulations.  I have always been a fly by my seat, don't follow any rules sort of gal.  That is not the way it is in competition.  There is a specific way to shoot, light, pose and edit.  

I submitted four images that I thought were good, but looking back now, not really any of them wowed me.  I was at a loss for selecting images for competition.  I went 4/4 first time out of the gate, which means that all of my submissions were accepted as merit images.  This is a pretty good achievement for a newb!  After that the images move along to the IPC in June, to be judged again, and deemed worthy or not to enter the Loan category, which is almost the highest honour.

I ended up with a gold medal for my first year competing, and I can say it lit a fire under my butt to do better.  I'm determined to do so much better this year!  I have started printing all my own client work now, on the most high end museum quality paper by Hahnemuehle, and the print for competing will look brilliant - I'm very excited to have full control over my workflow now.

In September I was approached by Andre Amoyt of Montreal, here in Canada to see if I would be interested in judging for the World Cup of Photography.  But when he looked at my portfolio he asked if I would consider competing instead.  UM, hell YEAH!  I had the bug now.

The images I selected were again, not my best work, and in all honesty, I am sort of sitting here wonder what possessed me to choose the one image under the portrait category.  Certainly NOT my best work at all.  But that is the image that made it all the way to the top ten finalists and then received a bronze medal!  Shocked me.  I hope to submit again for 2018 and actually like the image I submit, but then, maybe it won't even place?  Competition is so very subjective.  You have to do with and enjoy the process and the ride, and learn from it to get better all the time.  

Here is an article wrote about me by our local news source, it was sort of fun!!

 

Enchanted Couples-Engagements by Nikki Harrison

In order to merge my passion of magic and whimsey, I have decided to start creating portraits for people who are in love.  They can be couples who just want magical portraits that document their Fairytale, or newly engaged couples that want to memorialize their love in a more magical, Fairytale type fashion.

Know someone who might enjoy these?  Sharing is always welcome.

Meet Darah and Rylan.

Magical Moments - a Fairytale

I love styling, I love the story and emotion it can bring to a set AND your model.  I would love to work with this style of photography much more.

We had an amazing team for this series - our model is Aislinn Rose of DejaVu Model Management here in Kelowna who is frequently away working internationally.  She has been home for a bit and I finally managed to do a collaboration with some incredible talent here in the valley.

Make up by my sweet talented Saara Labib and this crazy hair was styled and added onto Aislinn's already long, luscious red locks by Tanya Milnes.

Dress and over skirts were created by me,  I really love the way all the styling came together.

These were taken with natural light, in the evening with thunder crackling all around us, and slight sprinkles of rain, with an ominous threat of a torrential downpour.  We managed to get all the shots we wanted without a catastrophe of rain, however!  The following images showcase a head piece and a fan that were borrowed from another amazing photographer here in the valley, and then completely revamped to suit this shoot.  The full dramatic skirt is also made by me.

So for the last look we just took off the head piece and shook her hair a bit to get a really emotional dramatic look.  The wind kicked up and we knew our time was about over before the rains hit.  I have to say, Aislinn was one of the best models I've had the pleasure to work with, her professionalism and attention to detail is stunning.  {Note how delicate and beautiful her hands were in every shot…}.  Thanks to everyone for making this series turn out so well!

Senior Portraits with a Fantasy Flair

So your high school senior is looking for images that are different.  What is different?

What is so unlike anything else out there, that all her friends and school mates will be in awe?

Take a look at some mind blowing portraits that might just make your girl jump up and down with glee...

Travel is available - please contact me for dates when I am going to be in the U.S.

Bridal Portraits - Kelowna - Okanagan - Vancouver

This year I am doing Bridal Portraits as an added offering.  Avoid the stress of the BIG DAY.  So many things happening, so many things to forget to do, etc.  Book a day before (or after) that day, get into your gorgeous gown again.  Grab your groom or your Maid of Honor and create some works of art.

Choose from either a magical outdoor location in the Okanagan, or some romantic studio or set styled sessions.

Book yours today!  Session fee's are ONLY $150 for studio or locations within 20 minutes from the Kelowna studio.  Contact us for details!