Friday Feature ~ Nicola MacQueen Photography

Please join me in welcoming the lovely Nicola of Nicola MacQueen Photography as this weeks Friday Feature and one of the newest members of our wonderful team here at Inspire Me, Inspired Be.

Not only does Nicola take beautiful photos of wildlife and nature (and how lucky is she to have gorgeous Scotland as her natural back drop!), she also captures the genuine personality and essence of each of her subjects, as well.

So, grab a cup of coffee on this fine Friday morning, and get to know her a little bit better.

 

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*CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF…..

I’m Nicola behind Nicola MacQueen Photography. I’m 37 years old and I’ve been married to my lovely husband, Murray, for almost 10 years. We have two amazing girls, Maria (8) and Iona (4)…oh and 4 fish….Jaws, Kenny, Pinky, and Sushi!

I’m originially from Northern Ireland, but moved to Scotland in 1999 to start my Nursing degree. I always vowed I would go back home once my degree was finished, but then I met Murray and we’ve not been apart since.

My girls feature a lot in my photography, much to their annoyance at times! Living in Scotland is a photographers dream….with all it’s stunning highlands and coastlines. I’ve very lucky!

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*CAN YOU TELL US HOW YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY JOURNEY BEGAN AND WHERE YOU SEE YOURSELF IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS…

My passion for photography really took hold when my girls were born. I wanted to capture all the precious moments. I be a lot of mums can relate to this….something in you just changes!

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“Sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”

That quote is so true in my life, as I lost my mum to cancer when I was just 16 years old. All I have now are pictures, and unfortunately, I don’t even have that many of me and my mum together, as I got older. But what I do have are so special to me.

I want to capture every moment shared with my family…and I want to do the same for others. I adore nothing else than to have my camera in my hands, snapping the time away! There is beauty everywhere…I just want to capture it all…whether it’s a portrait, a family session, a flower, or an animal.

I have really only taken my photography seriously in the last year and I have learned so much. It has been so much fun and an absolute pleasure meeting like minded friends through the online groups – their support is invaluable!

I would love this journey to continue and to develop into a business – one where I have the confidence to call myself a “professional photographer”.

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*ARE YOU WORKING ON ANY PERSONAL PROJECTS? IF SO, CAN YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT THEM?

I’m not currently working on any projects, though every day with my camera is a project….to produce something new and different! I’m loving experimenting with freelensing and prisms, just now. I will be bringing a challenge to Inspire Me, Inspired Be for the month of July….so keep a look out!!

*WHAT IS IN YOUR CAMERA BAG?

I’m a Canon girl…so in my bag I have a Canon 1200D, Canon 70-250mm, Sigma/macro 70-200 kit lens, my 50mm (which is barely off my camera), my speedlite…oh and let’s not forget the A-MAZ-ING Helios 44mm – a vintage beauty! Another gadget I’m loving just now is my prism. A “must” for any camera bag!

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*WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE THUS FAR IN YOUR JOURNEY AND HOW DID YOU WORK THROUGH IT?

Oh, let’s see…my challenge so far is balancing everything, such as work, life, children, studying and trying to pursue my photography. Sometimes, things just have to give a little! Another challenge, I suppose, is “self doubt”…am I good enough? Are my images of good quality? Etc. But being involved within the online groups and receiving all the support and love for my images has been wonderful! Now, I’m a member of the amazing Inspire Me, Inspired Be team, I must be good enough….right?!

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*TELL US ABOUT YOUR DREAM SHOOT…

My dream shoot…Oh I have so many! I adore “dreamy light” so I would love to shoot in a field of long grass and wild flowers during golden hour. My other would be a Bride in an old building ,with exposed brick and a big window – filling the room with gorgeous light.

*IS THERE A TYPE OR STYLE OF PHOTOGRAPHY THAT YOU HAVEN’T TRIED YET BUT WOULD LIKE TO VENTURE INTO ONE DAY?

I’d like to learn and explore more with flash photography. I do think my passion lies with natural light, but I would still like to have this “under my belt”. Long exposures is another area that I’d love to do more of.

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*WHAT IS AT THE TOP OF YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY WISH LIST?

Full frame with a killer lens…need to save lots of pennies….but I can dream!

*WHAT KIND OF TOOLS DO YOU USE FOR POST PROCESSING? EXPLAIN YOUR WORKFLOW…

Lightroom is my first port of call. This is where I will cull my images, decide on what’s a “keeper” and what’s heading straight for the bin. I only used Lightroom before, but I’m now finding (slowly) my way around Photoshop. I recently purchased some actions, which I love. This has actually helped me navigate Photoshop much better. My favorite actions so far are: Greater than Gatsby, Florabella, Vsco, and Jessica Drossin’s textures. The Pretty Presets are great for trying something different with double exposures.

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*HOW DO YOU EDUCATE YOURSELF TO TAKE BETTER PICTURES AND IMPROVE YOUR OWN WORK?

I am completely self taught….with a lot more learning still to do! I have spent many hours reading, taking online photography courses, watching tutorials….thank God for YouTube and many more hours of practice.

It has only been within the last year that my photography journey has really taken off and gone to that next level. Online groups, such as the amazing Inspire Me, Inspired Be, By HeArt, Artists Inspired, and a UK based Tea Break Togs (plus many more) have helped massively. The support  and love shared within the groups for my images has given me the desire and enthusiasm to do better. I love seeing how everyone else in these groups are also growing in confidence and producing some spectacular images.

*AMONG YOUR IMAGES, DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE? WHY?

Oh this is so hard…I think I have a favorite until the next set of images arrive. Because my editing skills are expanding and developing, so are each of my images. But my favorite at the moment would be of my little girl, looking at a flower she’d just picked. I just love her expression.

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*WHOSE WORK HAS INFLUENCED YOU THE MOST? WHO DO YOU REGULARLY STALK?

I can’t honestly pick one particular person who has influenced me the most. Truth be told, every single person whom I have interacted with or hit the “like/love” button for…their images have inspired me in some way. Whether it’s to try and captures a similar style or to edit in a different way…to use different equipment. Whatever it has been, it has been so important and helped me massively in my photography journey….so THANKS!

*WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WISH YOU KNEW WHEN YOU FIRST STARTED TAKING PHOTOS, THAT YOU FEEL IS INVALUABLE NOW?

I meter the light when in manual mode. I used to re-meter almost in between every shot – so time consuming and frustrating! Since spending time one on one with a local photographer, who is amazing and me another way, I simply get my settings, set my meter for the light (providing the light doesn’t change all that much), and I just shoot away! Light bulb moment!

 

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*DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE IN THREE WORDS…

My style….Do I even have one?!

I guess I aim for my images to be….emotive; true; natural.

*GIVE US THREE RANDOM FACTS ABOUT YOURSELF…

I am learning to swim at age 37.

I used to play a lot of instruments: piano, French horn, clarinet, and accordion.

I love onion and vinegar on a sandwich…together with nothing else!

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Thank you so much, Nicola, for taking the time to let us all get to know YOU just a little bit better! I think we can all agree that you are SO very lucky for getting to see the beauty and scenery of Scotland on a daily basis (I’ll get there one day!!).  I have loved getting to learn and share a little of what makes you tick and I look forward to working together with you, as part of this wonderful and inspiring team!

Keep the beautiful images coming!!!

~ Tammy

 

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