Advice from pro photographer Niki B

Here Niki B tells us a little bit about herself and offers some advice for all you photographers out there.

Posted 10/Nov/2008 - 2:29PM

Niki BNiki B. is an advertising, beauty and fashion photographer located in Vancouver BC, Canada. With her European roots and talent with various photographic genres she is always ready to take on challenging assignments around the world. She holds in her hands the versatility of a Canadian and European passport, which has allowed her to travel widely for her insatiable desire for new experiences. She's always ready to work away from her home base in Vancouver BC, specialising in fashion, beauty, advertising and landscape photography.

How have you migrated from landscape photography to the dynamic avenues of beauty, fashion and advertising?

The evolution of digital cameras made it convenient for me to enter the world of photography as my past studies within fine arts simply meant that I would be switching my medium. I entered into the world of landscape photography because nature's beauty inevitably surrounded me each day. I enjoyed hiking when the weather allowed me so I could capture the wild landscape. One day a fellow photographer asked me to take over for a fashion show assignment for a fashion magazine, so I took on the assignment. I really enjoyed it and made tons of contacts while shooting the one week fashion event. From then on my photography career transformed. Soon my photos were recognised by industry people for their unique signature style.

Photograph of model in black shirt by Niki BWhich types of business clients do you normally have?

I usually work for beauty product companies and local designers who need their products advertising. I help them generate more sales by producing quality work in all aspects. I also shoot musicians and that's an angle where I'd like to see my portfolio grow more since I'm also a musician myself.

Which gear do you prefer for different shoots and why?

Shooting techniques may change for different projects so I use a variety of gear depending on what each assignment requires. My favourite light gear for an outdoor fashion shoot is the Elinchrom for its portability and strength. For indoor shoots I like to use the Profoto for the colour of light it produces. Camera and lenses are able to fit the project but my favourite lenses include a 70-200 VR 2.8F and the fixed 60mm 2.8 F.

Beauty Photograph by Niki BWhat else should people know about the shooting, retouching and business of the beauty and fashion industry?

You should always work to improve your portfolio to establish fresh ideas. Try new light along with different shooting and retouching techniques. Make sure you print out your favourite photos since you may have to make changes to perfect them. Never give less than your best since your portfolio is worth only as much as the worst image in it. There are also consultants who can help guide you with your portfolio and it can be a good idea to seek their help if you aren't certain. Always try to get feedback from plenty of people so you receive criticism from different perspectives.

Having a strong signature style can help you stand out in a crowd so you can achieve a memorable presence. Since we are all unique people it should show in our work because this makes the world of photography more exciting. This way we can all find a place in the market to make money from what we love and who we are.

Photograph of model by Niki BIn your opinion, what makes a high caliber portfolio?

It's very important to know all angles of fashion, makeup and hair so you can shoot the trends before it's one that everyone wears. Be a creative director and don't be afraid to come up with ideas for the other members of your team since that may produce something even better. I come up with my creative ideas a lot for shoots and always pass them by to clients, makeup artists, hairstylists and stylists as brainstorming could lead to a better outcome. Make sure your focus revolves around the theme of what you're required to capture and what your clients need the most. Some clients aren't creative and may not have a creative director so it's important to project your ideas to create photos that will effectively represent their businesses.

Black and white photograph of model by Niki BWhat advice do you have for other new photographers shooting beauty and fashion?

Networking in the fashion industry is imperative, so you should show up to well known events since that's where you meet designers, support teams, and makeup artists. Always bring lots of business cards and know how to introduce yourself quickly and efficiently to make a lasting impression. Always have a friendly handshake ready and make sure you look fashionable so you fit in with the crowd. Dressing poorly diminishes your credibility if you're aiming for success in the fashion industry.

Model holding head by Niki BWhat does a photographer need to succeed in this field?

It's important to understand business and communication so you aren't afraid of contacting people with the possibility of refusal always existing. It's not enough to have a thorough understanding of how to take good pictures and use lighting with the use of technical knowledge. When you are accepted be aware of your value and don't sell your talent short. Since your talent is unique it should be of equal value to those who will require your services. Photography is like any other business so you must invest money, time and effort to be successful. After all, talent and hard work equals success as you capture the dynamic eras and beauty surrounding you. If you try your best to do it right then you can thrive in the field and it will take you where you want to go.

How does internet affect the business component of photography?

It's essential in our day and age to have a website link ready for work publicity and promotion. Just having so much as a simple site can be great to keep in touch. I promote mine whenever possible and you can check it out at


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