Today’s interview is with Rachel Nielsen!

Congratulations on being the November CMpro of the Month Rachel! Tell us a little about yourself and your photography.

Thank you so much! I am so honored to be November’s CMpro of the month! I am based in Salt Lake City, Utah and have been married for almost 13 years. We have 5 children (including identical twins) and live a wild and crazy life. Not really, but it does feel like that sometimes! I started taking photography classes and workshops almost 5 years ago and have been in business for about 4.5 years. I specialize in weddings but love photographing my kids as well!

Outside of photography, I love to waterski and scuba dive – summer is definitely my favorite season. I wear flip-flops for as long as I can each year, I can easily be bribed with a diet coke and I stay up late reading every single night.

headshot of girl by Salt Lake City Utah photographer Rachel Nielsen

As a mother to 5 children, do you find it difficult to manage your business while caring for them?  Any tips you could offer on time management?

It is definitely a fine balance of taking care of them while also managing my business. I am nowhere near perfect with it all. I have to manage my time carefully and sometimes even write in our family time on my calendar. My oldest three are in school during the day and the two younger ones are both in preschool a couple of times a week. That helps me to get the immediate to-do’s done during the day and then everything else that needs to be done, I work on once the kids are in bed each night. It is something I am always working on – I can be a workaholic. I did start saying no more this year, but I still need to work on it!

You’ve traveled the world but have settled down in Salt Lake City and are more than happy there.  What is it about SLC that keeps you inspired?

I love SLC for the huge variety. If I want to be in the mountains, the beach, in the city, etc…it is all right here and within about 10-30 minutes. There is a never-ending supply of inspiration. I also love that we have all 4 seasons. It is another thing that gives SLC variety – the same locations will look completely different month to month. It really is a hidden gem that most people don’t know about. The best part is that no matter where we go around town, it is really kid friendly and that is a must for me.

engagement portrait in a sun filled field by Salt Lake City Utah photographer Rachel Nielsen

girl standing in water picture by Rachel Nielsen

You photograph many types of clients but specialize in weddings.  How did you come to this specialty when so many don’t want to go that route?

I know that when I first started learning photography, I was terrified of photographing a wedding because I had read so many people saying there was no way you could pay them to do it.  The pressure, the fast pace, the constant adjustment of lighting, settings, etc… was and is too much for some people. I feel like I have grown so much as a photographer because of all of those things. I am not afraid to shoot in any kind of light or situation. With 5 kids, I am already used to a fast pace and keeping track of many things at once. I never saw it before, but weddings and I are a perfect fit, lol.

I still love photographing kids – my own especially. The expressions and spontaneity of their emotions is always fun to watch and capture. I thought for sure that is the direction I would specialize in and weddings just kind of snuck in there. Specializing in weddings was the best decision I made for my business a couple of years ago and I really love it.

bridal picture with lake and mountains by Salt Lake City Utah photographer Rachel Nielsen

bride and groom photo by Salt Lake City Utah photographer Rachel Nielsen

Crazy things happen at weddings.  Care to share with us one of your favorite wedding moments ever?

You are right, there never seems to be a dull moment! I work with so many great couples – I have really lucked out. But, I have had a few times where the bride and groom have been fighting on the wedding day (usually over family) and having to photograph their ceremony and formals when the couple is not getting along, let alone speaking, is tough! I have seen just about everything though – it takes a lot to phase me.

You’re comfortable with both natural and artificial light. Do you find you prefer one over the other?  What is your favorite way to use light and can you offer one tip on how we can use it?

I do love both kinds of light, but my very favorite is natural backlight. Whether I am shooting a wedding at noon or get to photograph during the golden hour, I will most likely set the shot up to be backlit. I have found myself gravitating towards it especially in the last 2 years. It is another one of those things that inspires me. I am completely enchanted with it.

One tip I can give is to keep moving until you are at just the right angle while shooting in backlight. Sometimes just one step to the left or right can make a huge difference in your end result.

girl running in field pic by Salt Lake City Utah photographer Rachel Nielsen

wide angle photo of couple with sky and lake by Salt Lake City Utah photographer Rachel Nielsen

backlit engagement photo by Salt Lake City Utah photographer Rachel Nielsen

Editing is something you are very knowledgeable about.  Are you a Lightroom or Photoshop user?  Within that software, what is your can’t-live-without-it tool and why?

I use both Lightroom and Photoshop. I start with my RAW edits in Lightroom and then finish in Photoshop. In Lightroom, my favorite tool is the sync button in the Develop module and in Photoshop, it is the Image Processor. I love saving time while editing and these two things make that possible.

You’ve been in the photography game for a while now.  What is one piece of advice that you would offer to new photographers?

My best advice is to not compare yourself to others and not to worry about what everyone else is doing. That is the fastest way to get discouraged. Always be on the lookout for new things to learn and try to shoot every single day. You will grow immensely with the practice!

family of five photo by Salt Lake City Utah photographer Rachel Nielsen

You have a Breakout coming up and those who participate will be entered to win a Sony RX-100.  Is this a camera that you use fairly often?  What is it that you like about this point and shoot?

Yes, I am so excited for my breakout’s release tomorrow and I can’t wait to give the camera away! The Sony RX-100 is a great little mirrorless camera that stays in my purse to grab shots of my kids when I don’t bring my big camera with me. I love being able to shoot in RAW and control the settings in manual all while keeping it my little purse. I love it!!

If you could only achieve one goal in the next 10 years, which one of yours would you be over the moon to accomplish?

Photography wise, I would love to see one of my photos on a magazine cover. I haven’t really been working towards that, but I would love to focus my efforts in that direction one day.

black and white portrait of boy by Salt Lake City Utah photographer Rachel Nielsen

bridal portrait by Salt Lake City Utah photographer Rachel Nielsen

girl laughing pic by Salt Lake City Utah photographer Rachel Nielsen

wedding photograph by Salt Lake City Utah photographer Rachel Nielsen

Thank you, Rachel, for the fantastic interview! Make sure you head over to Rachel’s website, facebook, instagram, twitter, pinterest, and google+ to view more of her gorgeous work and keep up with her happenings.