Spotlight | Iris Photography

images of high school seniors

My Start

My start as a photographer was not very different from many photographers out there. but my love of art goes back….waaay back…I started taking art lessons privately in the 2nd or 3rd grade. Started with charcoal drawings…went all the way through pastels, oils, acrylics, pen and ink, name it. I always liked photographing things…though I was not particularly ‘good’ at it. After I graduated high school, I parted ways with my artistic self to pursue a career in sports medicine..and then on to a Masters Degree in Education. It was only after I had my 2nd child and a broken point and shoot did I discover my love of photography. I had a friend of mine, who is a wildly talented graphic designer and photographer, help me choose my first DSLR. I really just wanted to take pictures for scrapbooking. haha..  I have not even finished one. single. scrapbook.  After some encouragement (read: pushing: from my photographer friend, and husband, I decided to take things more seriously. Early on, I could still not bear to call myself a ‘photographer’. To me, I had not yet earned the right to consider myself in the same company of those I had admired, knowing I had a LONG way to go when it came to learning my craft. In 2007, when we moved to Missouri from Arizona, I began building my portfolio..and I am still here…working from my home-based studio.

photographs of women

My Style

My style can be described as: IT REALLY DEPENDS……Not very forthcoming, right? The truth is, they style in which I shoot something, and the feel of the final image is determine greatly by my subject, what they are wearing, if they are shy or bold, mature woman or infant…It really depends. But always, I try to inject a bit of attitude into my sessions. I am a drama queen, what can I say?

I tend to find inspiration when I am working out and am able to zone out and focus on  nothing…the rhythmic nature of cardio (makes you wanna run, doesn’t it?) kind of allows me this out-of-body mode where I can let my mind wander. When it comes to personal or competition work, I often find myself reverse-engineering my ideas. I have a word, and think about how I may illustrate it…or I find an object, and imagine what kinds of stories I can tell with it. Song lyrics and lighting from movies give me lots of inspiration too.

My Love

What do I love to photograph??? So many things..because they all scratch a particular creative itch. But, since I have to answer this question, I would say, in no particular order…women, high school seniors and kids. I will also add that I really wish I were better at landscapes! I am in awe of some of my colleagues landscape work!!

Images of children and babies

My Fear

My biggest fear in my business: That is a tough one. I will always be learning my craft, so failure there in terms of technical aspects and ideas flopping is just part of the territory, so I am not afraid of that. I guess that my biggest fear is business related, and it is related to me often getting in my own way. Sometimes I will self sabotage in order to stay in my ‘safe zone’. Fear of success. Doubting my own abilities. Oversharing…but I am being honest. That is me….no filters. LOL..ask anyone who knows me.
I hesitate to use the word “proud” when it comes to my accomplishments. I like to use the word “satisfaction”. I have been working toward my Master Photographer degree through PPA for the past handful of years. In the meantime, I have earned numerous awards and have received the ‘stamp of approval’ from photographers I admire. I have been named MO Photographer of the Year for the past 2 years. This is all greatly satisfying/ validating. However, it all pales in comparison to the feeling of satisfaction from delivering prints to a client, and seeing delight on their faces, and sometimes, tears of joy in their eyes. Touching lives. Being so privileged to be chosen to document snippets of their lives and preserve them for generations.

My Dream

If I could do something fearlessly??? Assuming money and time are not a factor…I would travel the world and take in as much beauty as my eyes and camera could handle….and make a living doing it.

Nichole Manner Iris Photography

Check out more of Nichole’s work one her website.