This week’s Industry Chat features one of the most sought after photographers in the plus size industry and beyond, Nichole Alex. Nichole is one of those people that I heard about over and over from every plus model and influencer a million times (all good things of course) before I actually got the chance to work with her. But the first time we worked together, we really didn’t get the chance to get to know one another. It was for the Skorch Magazine and Torrid swimwear collaboration. We had six models, three artists and we were working on a serious time crunch. Then in typical "me" fashion, I booked another client immediately after this shoot and wasn’t able to stick around and chat with anyone (or take the group picture, which I’m STILL bitter about).
Fortunately though, I’ve had plenty of opportunities since this shoot in Summer of last year to not only work with Nichole, but also get to know her as a friend. I’ve worked with so many photographers and it’s amazing when you come across a fellow woman who is not only wonderful at her craft, but also understands what it’s like to be a hard working plus size artist in this industry. Which is why I’m so happy that she was willing to share some insight and inspiration with all of us! You can read our full interview below...
Q: How long have you been a professional photographer and how did you break into the plus size industry?
A: Professionally, I have been a freelance photographer for about 7 years. I kind “fell” into the plus size industry after being hired to shoot for an independent plus size designer. Being a plus size woman myself, companies and models see that I can relate to them and I have a good grasp on how to photograph plus size women.
Q: Share one of your favorite photos of your work. Why is this your favorite? (Makeup, hair, lighting, model, everything?)
A: I shot this image (pictured below) a couple of years ago at a workshop, and it has been one of my favorites since. There are a lot of things I like about it such as the lighting, color tone, and the models eyes, but what I like most about it is the clean, luminous, natural look of the makeup. The model has a full face of makeup on yet her skin’s natural texture still shows through.
Q: What do you look for when choosing a makeup artist to work with? What should up and coming artists keep in mind when they are contacting photographers for work?
A: I look for a balance between skill and work ethic. Skill is important, as makeup application can either make the photographers work easier or harder, but work ethic is just as important. I would rather hire an average to good makeup artist who is always on time and is great with the team and talent, than a makeup artist with amazing skill but a bad attitude on set. If you have outstanding makeup skills AND a wonderful attitude, then you are golden!
Q: If you could work with one artist or brand of your choice who would it be and why?
A: I wish I had a simple answer for this but I do not. I could easily say I would love to have my work in Harper’s Bazaar, or photograph my favorite celebrity, but honestly I just want to grow as a photographer, constantly improve and work with bigger and better companies as I work my way up. I have a lot of brands, companies and models on my wish list!
Q: What advice would you give to an up and coming photographer trying to break into any kind of industry?
A: It is really hard to make photography your full time career so you have to stay diligent and set goals. Shoot, shoot, shoot as much as possible so that you are constantly learning and improving, even if that means doing unpaid photo-shoots. Take advantage of learning from other photographers. Assist them on shoots, take workshops, and join groups of likeminded photographers. Lastly, find your niche. You will have a lot more success if you hone in on a certain type of photography. Companies and clients like to see consistency.
If you want to know more about Nichole or book her for a shoot, check out her social media links below!