Today’s wedding photographer interview is with Nicola of Nicola Harger Photography, based in Nashville, Tennessee! Enjoy:

Tell us a bit about yourself and your company.

I’m Nicola, a Nashville-based destination wedding photographer. I photograph weddings in a documentary and artistic way, looking for the moments that make up your story together as a whole. I love how weddings bring together families, cultures and traditions, all merged into one day of celebration – and traveling for weddings only heightens the beautiful mix  of cultures a wedding day brings.

Read the full interview after the cut!

How did you get into wedding photography?

I have a degree in photojournalism, but after working for a few newspapers in Minneapolis post-college, I didn’t’ feel like what I was doing was what I was looking for. I started shooting weddings on the side to help out a few photographer friends before falling in love with the practice of making art for everyday people, on the happiest day of their lives. I started shooting weddings myself a few months later, to present day. I love what I do.

What is your favorite part of the wedding day to capture?

First looks are always my favorite part of a wedding day. There’s so much emotion, so much feeling leading up to a moment when everything suddenly feels real. I also really love photographing the families of the bride and groom throughout the entire day – their reactions to the story can be incredibly moving.

What is your favorite venue and why?

I really love shooting in different places whenever I can, so I don’t have a favorite venue to-date. That being said,  mountains (or hills, depending on where you are in the world!)  will always be my favorite ceremony site, whether it be on either coast or overseas. There’s something about pledging love in front of your loved ones in a beautiful terrain – it makes my heart feel all the feelings.

Nikon or Canon?

Canon, but that may change soon! I’m also a film shooter, so I love my Pentax 645n.

What is your dream location to shoot a wedding?

The Isle of Skye in Scotland is on my bucket list. I’m hoping this happens within the next few years – anything out that way would be incredible.

If you could shoot any celebrity wedding (past, present or future), who would be the lucky couple?

Probably Meg Ryan, and in my dream she actually marries Tom Hanks, like in “You Got Mail.” They would have an intimate wedding in New York City in the winter, probably.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned, and would pass along to other new wedding photographers just getting started?

In a world that values branding, marketing and online presence (social media) so highly, I would say more than anything you have to know your camera and perfect your skill set before anything else. Anyone can gather a large Instagram following over time, but that doesn’t mean you’re a good photographer. Anyone can have a killer brand, but without meaningful photos, you lose your purpose. Know your camera, read the manual, and then work on your craft before anything else.

What tips or advice can you give to couples who are looking to hire a photographer to cover their big day?

It’s tempting to hire a friend to cover your wedding photos to save money, but I can’t tell you how much of a mistake that will probably be. Wedding photographers are trained in their craft to photograph your day in a way other genre of photographers may struggle with – make sure you hire someone who knows what they’re doing, is a wonderful person to be around and can show you a full wedding before you sign a contract. These are the only photographs you’ll carry with you for the rest of your years – make sure they count.

Lovely work Nicola, thanks for sharing! For more information about Nicola Harger Photography, please visit her WeddingLovely Vendor Guide profile or head straight to her website.

Do you have any questions or comments for Nicola? Add them to the comments below!