July Photographer Spotlight: A Snapshot of Nelly Saraiva

Diving into a new profession can be a daunting thought for most anyone. After going to school for years studying one profession, there are likely quite a few that tend to stick with that profession or a slight variation of it.

That’s more of the “playing it safe” route.

In this month’s post, we talked to a photographer nearing in on a decade of work in the field. Nelly Saraiva took the road less traveled and did a 180 degree turn when she took a career shift from straightforward world of accounting to the adventurous arena of photography.

Here’s an excerpt from our conversation:

AF: What drove your passion to become a photographer?  

NS: Photography was always something I liked to do but never thought of it as a career choice. I was actually an accountant for many years. During that time, I was a controller for an online photography gear company and after showing some customers and colleagues as well as the candid work of my children, I was told I had a great eye.  

AF: Can you tell me about your journey to where you are today in the photography world?  

NS: I never imagined I would be a photographer, but after getting some encouragement from a few photographers I decided to “try it”.

No education ,no anything – just decided to purchase some lights and a backdrop and go for it. I would coerce the parents of my childrens’ classmates to let me use them as subjects. Although I got nothing but compliments, I don’t think it went well as obviously, I was clueless as to what I was doing. I decided at that point I probably wouldn’t like studio work anyway, so I decided I wanted to try my hand in wedding photography.  

I believe in romance and love stories and just thought it would be something I would like. I was always quite shy so I wasn’t sure if I could manage the customer relations part of it or manage a wedding party. Before investing time and any more money into it, I coerced a local wedding photographer that I admired into letting me go with her to a few weddings in exchange for me doing her accounting and she reluctantly agreed. It turned out she liked my work and I became her second shooter that year.

I was completely learning on the go and would spend hours and hours reading about techniques and practicing them. I also invested in workshops with some of the industries top wedding photographers. Shortly after that, I was booking 25+ weddings per year and quit my accounting job a year later to do photography full time. That was in 2010.

AF: What type of photography equipment do you use on a regular basis?  

NS: I switched from Canon to Nikon two years ago and there’s no turning back! I love my D5 and also have a D750 as a backup but am hoping to upgrade that to a D850 soon. My heaviest, but a favorite, lens is the 70-200mm f/2.8. I probably shoot 75% of my wedding work with it but also fall back on my 35mm f/1.4 & 85mm f/1.4 for my boudoir work. I also have a macro and ultra wide angle I use in the right situations as well.

I love to play with highlights and shadows in my work so having the Nikon SB-5000 flashes with Photix triggers and Mag-Mod modifiers are important for my off-camera lighting as well as the Westcott Ice Light.

AF: Do any of your pieces of photography equipment require reliable access to power?

NS: Although I normally have plenty of batteries, I love having the Omnicharge with me in case I need to quickly recharge anything. I primarily use it for my laptop on wedding days. I download all my images at the reception to prepare for a same day slideshow. The process drains my laptop battery very quickly and I don’t always have access to power so the Omnicharge is perfect and discreet for working on my laptop.

AF: How did you come to learn about Omnicharge’s products?

NS: I won’t take credit for this one. My husband, who’s a wedding DJ and electronics guru, somehow came across the crowdfuning campaign for the Omni 20 and preordered two – one for me and one for him.

AF: How often do you use Omnicharge’s products?

NS: I use the Omni 20 often. I use it on the days I’m shooting a wedding and I travel with it all the time. I love that’s it’s small and not overly cumbersome so it’s a great way to charge my cellphone and other electronics on the plane or when power is not readily available.

AF: Since using Omnicharge, how have your photoshoots changed?

NS: Yes, I’m not sitting on the floor in a wedding reception ballroom working off a laptop I need to be connected to power.  

AF: What would you say to other photographers about Omnicharge that are looking for a reliable power source in the field?  

NS: I’ve probably only tapped into some basic usage of this unit, certainly, but it could be used with more high powered lights and other things.

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