“The fact that photography captures a “moment” is one of the most beautiful things about it to me. A moment does not freeze in the real pace of life, and to have those slivers of time captured in frames, is to me, something magical.” Nicole Mason

To live and work as an independent artist certainly is a daunting task. There are a ton of challenges to overcome as a freelance creative and it definitely takes a lot of guts, heart and persistence. You have to believe in yourself and your work even if others don’t. Many creatives out there proved to us that it’s worth following your dreams; one of those inspiring personalities definitely is the Portland-based photographer Nicole Mason. If you look at her beautiful work, it’s clear that there lies a strong aesthetical vision behind her pitch-perfect and stirring imagery. She not only manages to capture those fleeting and intimate moments, but she also knows how to play with light, textures and tones. But there is so much more to find out about the creative mind, her astonishing journey and how she found her own voice in the world of photography.

If you are curious to find out more about the multi-talented artist and globetrotting photographer from Portland, make sure to scroll down as we unfold her inspiring story and shed some light on her brilliant work.

Growing up in a small town near Buffalo, NY with her parents and her older sister, Nicole always had an artistic background and very supportive parents helping her do what she loved the most. Her grandmother who lived in the Tucson area was also an artist and whenever the family went on a road trip to visit her, Nicole always took her camera with her – a 35mm film camera her parents gave her when she was seven years old. Throughout her childhood, she was always taking photos and her interest in cameras kept on growing, but she never imaged doing it for a living.

With 17, she got her first DSLR camera as a gift from her parents and it was clear from here that she wanted to keep on being creative. In college, she started taking film photography courses learning the history of photography and how to shoot and develop 35mm black and white film. Nicole began interning with a local wedding photographer to pursue her passion for photography, so her first job wasn’t at a restaurant or in retail – she started working for a photo studio and on the side, she began to grow her own little business a wedding photographer. After graduating from college, Nicole packed her bags to spend a few months in Canada and then visited Italy for a arts & music-focused program. It certainly opened her mind even further to live a more independent and adventurous life.

“I always think of this time as something that set the tone of the way I wanted to live: creatively and adventurously.”Nicole Mason | Source: theglossary.co

After returning from Europe, Nicole went on to study studio art as her major for three years and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She kept on building up her career as a photographer, mostly shooting wedding and family photos. Her love for the outdoors was unbroken and she decided to pack her bags once again to hit the road and live out of her van before making her biggest move yet. In 2014, Nicole decided to escape her hometown and relocate to Portland, Oregon. The Northwestern nature and outdoor possibilities always were a huge attraction to her. Also, connecting with the creative community of Portland helped her a lot as a newcomer to make her feel welcome. Nicole is obviously not a newbie to social media; she often gained a lot of inspiration from other like-minded bloggers and photographers. Building up a large following on Instagram over the years also helped her to engage with the community and attract new clients. But overall, it was always most important for Nicole to build up real-life connections with the people she met on social media.

“The thing about social media, is that if you stay within its boundaries of the internet, it’s probably not going to get you too far. For me personally, a huge step was taking interactions on social media, into real life, and using it to connect with people face-to-face in real conversations and real connections.”Nicole Mason | Source: bradleylanphear.com

Last year in April, Nicole rented a new studio space and started to shoot fewer weddings and focused more towards photography for brands. She now works with a small team on realizing exciting projects. With her natural, warm and minimalistic approach to photography, Nicole Mason had us amazed straightaway. We are more than lucky that we had the chance to share her inspiring story. So it’s definitely worth following her on Instagram – you can also purchase her amazing presets as well as Instagram story templates over on her website.


*numbers current at the time of writing.

Copyright: All images are copyright protected and property of Nicole Mason.