In this episode we chat with Bakersfield wedding photographer Nikki from Darling Nikki Photography as she shares her journey into the world of capturing love. Discover her unique moody yet vibrant style that preserves the essence of color, and learn why connecting with your photographer is as crucial as the photos themselves.
Nikki shares memorable stories, from rustic horseback weddings to lively cultural traditions like the snake game with tequila. Gain valuable insights as Nikki offers advice for couples about budgeting, editing style choices, and the significance of understanding your photographer’s personality.
With eight years of experience, Nichole provides a glimpse into her pricing and underscores the importance of a second shooter for comprehensive coverage. Tune in for laughter, and practical wedding wisdom with Darling Nikki Photography.
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Evermoore Wedding Vendor Show where we chat with local wedding vendors in Central California about how they help couples getting married. This show is designed for engaged couples and for our fellow wedding vendors to learn about and from each other. Browse over 1000 wedding vendors on our Central California vendor directory. This show is brought to you by Evermoore Films, Kern County’s leading wedding videography company. If you’re looking for a local wedding videographer in Central California check out Evermoore Films.
Ep 5 – Part of a Huge Family – Darling Nikki Photography
Nikki: Every single wedding that I’ve shot, we’ve kept in contact and they are my family. And now I’m a part of all these journeys, you know, when they have their first kid and we’re doing family sessions, they keep me in. And when I show up at these events, it’s like Nikki and it’s open arms from grandpa and grandma.
And like, I love that my family is huge now because of this job.
Josh: Welcome to the Evermoore wedding vendor show, where we chat with local wedding vendors. I’m Josh from Evermoore films, the host of the Evermoore wedding vendor show. Also the home of the Evermoore wedding vendor directory where we have over a thousand local wedding vendors listed in the central california area Let’s get into today’s show Welcome to the Evermoore wedding vendor show where we chat with local wedding vendors to help brides and grooms get to know them and For us local vendors in the community to get to know each other.
So today I have with me Nikki from Darling Nikki Photography, who’s a local wedding photographer. She is one of our wedding photo video combo photographers. So if you’re interested in getting a company that does photo and video, you can work with both Evermoore Films and Darling Nikki to get photo and video as one team.
It’s a cool thing that we offer. And we’ve worked with Nikki a lot over the years, and we’ve got a great combo deal going with her. So Nikki, thanks for being on the show. Thanks for having me. Yeah, absolutely. Go ahead and introduce yourself to our listeners and tell us a little about what you do.
I’m Nikki from Darlene Nikki photography, primarily specialize in weddings. I also do families, you know, graduates the whole nine. I don’t do newborns. That’s about the only area that I don’t really, you know, do anything. And I’ll bet I have a lot of people to refer you to.
Josh: Very cool. Very cool. Tell us a little bit about your background, your experience.
How long have you been, you know, doing photos, weddings, all that good stuff.
Nikki: So I’ve been doing this for eight years now. This will be my eighth year. This wasn’t like, I don’t feel like I have a story. Most photographers do where they say, you know, I’ve always had a camera in my hand and I was in love with photography at three years old.
That wasn’t really the case for me. You know I was, I would say I was a creative in general. So I loved being in theater. I loved photography. I loved art and I did it all growing up. I was even a cheerleader. I did it all, but I always needed a creative outlet and that’s how I fell in love with photography.
So when I started exploring that I had a family member who was a wedding photographer. She doesn’t live here anymore. She’s in Oklahoma, but she took me on my first wedding where I was a second photographer and I absolutely fell in love with wedding photography. And I just remember being like at the reception and I’m like, I’m at somebody’s wedding.
I’m watching them do their vows. I’m watching their party. I’m a part of like the biggest day and this is awesome. And so I just, I fell in love with it right away. And I knew that was it. Full speed after that. I was geared towards weddings.
Josh: That is fun. That is fun. I know having done many weddings with you, I, you still have that same excitement, you know, you’re like, yeah, let’s go, you know, like, so that’s super fun,
Nikki: But it started out as a creative outlet, I would say it was a creative outlet.
It was a way for me, you know, creatives, we know we all need that outlet. And so that’s how it all started.
Josh: Very cool. Very cool. So I know you do the wedding photography. What, what other services, what other types of photography do you do? I know sometimes at weddings as vendors, we don’t always get time to chat and kind of get to know each other.
She’s kind of like, Oh yeah, there’s Nikki. She’s a wedding photographer. It’s like, okay, that’s great. You know, so tell us a little bit more about what you do.
Nikki: So I do wedding photography. I also do family portraits. I would say that’s my next in line. I do graduates. I do events too. I also like to do events a lot.
Just as much as I like to do weddings, I love business events, mixers, company parties, stuff like that. I also do background acting, which is totally . There you go. You know, but I, I didn’t, I didn’t know that. Yeah. So I’ve been on, I’ve been on shows like This is us, Fuller House. I’ve done a lot of stuff like that.
Also a creative outlet. You know, I just got to have I don’t like having one day match my next day. I need it all to be different, you know? So I just have all my multiple creative outlets and I love it.
Josh: That is fun. So see, like, even though we’ve worked together for I don’t know how many years now, like, I didn’t even know that which just goes to say, we never get enough time to talk on a wedding day as vendors.
Nikki: I was actually talking with Tracy from Oh, so pretty. And I was telling her it’s time for us to have a Christmas party this year as vendors and get to actually hang out with each other and go to our own party.
Josh: Oh man, that, that is funny. Yeah. Cause it’s like, you know, on a wedding day, you know, we’re just, we’re hoofing it all day, which is, that’s our job and we’re happy to do it. Like we’re not complaining at all, but,
Nikki: but, but we want to dance so bad,
Josh: that is fun. That is fun. Yeah. That, well, that is great. So, so now we know when I make my next movie, you know, we’ll, we’ll, we’ll call you so. There you go. So I know with, I mean, with a lot of things, there’s a saturated market. And so both, both from a perspective of being a wedding vendor and being like, Oh, there’s a hundred other people doing what I do, you know, here in my town.
And as a couple who’s looking for. One of a hundred to be like, well, who should I choose? Tell me a little bit about, you know, what sets you apart? What’s kind of your unique selling points. What’s unique about your style. So that as, as couples are looking for you what, what, what should they be thinking about as they’re looking for you?
Nikki: So to be totally truthful, cause I always keep it 100. I Would say for every photographer, like my style. I don’t even consider it unique. Because I feel like California in itself is just completely loaded with talent and where my style is. There’s another photographer who has a style like mine.
So I would say that what sets me apart is me. You know, so I think that it’s important to get to know the vendor because you’re going to be spending the entire day with this person. And so it’s not necessarily, I know you have a price point and you have a style. That’s number one, right? You have a budget, you have a photographer.
I mean, you have a style that you want, an editing style, narrow that down, and then you get to know the person because that is what will set me apart. Is me, you know, you want to make sure that you mesh well with the person, you’re going to have this person in your face all day with a camera. And so you want to make sure you like them because if you don’t, it’s going to be a long day.
Josh: Yeah, and I think unfortunately, you know, because we’ve both been doing this for. A long time, we’ve all seen those times when there’s that mismatch and you’ve got a vendor and a couple that’s not, not, not jiving together and you just, you just see the clash happening throughout the day. And you’re just like, man, if you had only hired communication, right, right.
If you’d only hired the person who was the right fit and sometimes, you know, there’s just nothing that can be done about it or it’s a last minute wedding or there’s a budget issue or whatever. Like, you know, there’s legitimate reasons for it to happen, but generally speaking, you know, there’s. You know, everyone’s got their people and there’s enough of us who do this you know, as vendors and there’s enough couples that we can all find each other, you know, so to speak.
So that’s fun. Well, speaking of style, how would you describe your style of photography for couples who are interested?
Nikki: I would say it’s on the moodier side and but I still have color intact. That’s the one thing I think that’s a little different about me is, you know, you get, there’s bright and airy and there’s colorful and there’s dark and moody, and I feel like I’m kind of in the middle where there’s moody, but also I keep color.
Intact and that’s something I don’t think people realize is that sometimes with dark and moody photography. You’ve got to look at the colors. Sometimes they’re saturated some, you know, so if there’s a color in your wedding, that’s super important to you to be intact in your photos. You have to pay attention to their work.
Josh: Yeah. Yeah. A hundred percent.
Nikki: Yeah. I’m like Cody with colors still intact, I guess. Yeah.
Josh: Yeah. Yeah. I would say that’s a great explanation. Yeah. Knowing, knowing your work. So yeah, that’s great. Yeah. Let’s see how as you, cause obviously you have a style, you have, you have your, your personality, you have your, your approach.
How do you. How do you tailor your approach to the specifics of a wedding? Cause every couple’s different and everyone wants something different and they might have different photos they want or different, you know how it is, especially as a photographer. Sometimes people are coming at you with here’s 50 Pinterest photos that I like.
How do you tailor what you’re doing to meet the specific needs of each couple?
Nikki: So I would say I’ve always told my couples if they do have a Pinterest board to share it with me. Not that I’m going to mock the photos or copy the photos because that is way too much to be on my mind during the day is to be following your Pinterest board and also trying to capture the day.
Because as creatives we need to be free. We need to be able to like step back and be like, Oh my gosh, this would be prettier. This would be, you know, we can’t follow a Pinterest board, but I, I encouraged them to share their Pinterest board with me so that I can get inside their mind. So that way I’m gearing up for the wedding day.
I’m like, okay, I see what they’re doing here. Like I see, I see what she likes. And so I try to have that in the back of my mind as I’m going throughout the day.
Josh: That is perfect. Yeah. Well, good. That is actually a great time for us to take a little break. So we will take a little break. And when we come back, Nikki is going to share some fun memories that she’s had along the way in her journey of wedding photography.
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Josh: You know having done this for eight years. You’ve probably got some some great memorable stories, that you’d love to share with us
Nikki: Yeah, so I have a lot of them that i’m not going to share but I have two that I will share.
I had it was actually one of my Earlier weddings. When I first started this, I was shooting a wedding in Woody, California. And the bride bridal party, everybody rode in on horses over the mountains in Woody and like iconic for me. So when that happened, I was just like, Oh, you know, it made me actually like thrive to get more unique weddings.
Like. Asking questions when people are booking, where it’s taking place, what’s the idea, what’s, you know, just so I can kind of get a little choosier about my weddings and, you know, stuff like that. And then my second story is I, this was recent. I went to a wedding where they have a tradition where the bride and the groom, they stand on chairs and they have tequila bottles and they’re say the women would go first and they would create a snake.
They would hold hands and they run as fast as they can throughout the wedding venue. I don’t know if you’ve seen this before. Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Okay. So you know what I’m talking about? This was my first time seeing this. So I was like. What is going on, but I was all smiles. I absolutely loved it. I really wanted to join in, but they were all holding hands, going full speed throughout the whole venue.
They go under the bride and groom and they get tequila poured in their mouth. Okay.
Josh: Okay. I haven’t seen it with a tequila poured in the mouth.
Nikki: You haven’t?
Josh: I’ve seen plenty of versions of the snake, you know, and there’s a lot of different names for it, but I haven’t seen it with tequila in the mouth.
Nikki: They would stop each person and pour tequila. Okay, so I had a wedding just recently where they did it again. And this is my second time seeing it, but this time the guys held hands and did the snake. The groom was in the middle of his groomsmen. So this snake would try to run into the groomsmen and knock the groom off.
Down to the ground. Like that was the goal. It was so chaotic. I loved it.
Josh: Oh, that is fun.
Nikki: Yeah. I like seeing new traditions. I like seeing I like seeing different cultures and that’s kind of a cool part of this job is getting to see all the cultures and, and the way they do things, the different traditions that they have.
And I just, I’m like, get to be a part of it. And it’s so cool.
Josh: Yeah. I mean, having done this for 20 years and It’s so true. You get to to just see so many different people, different cultures, different traditions that even within like for a while, I did a ton of Indian weddings, like 10 years ago, I did.
I just had tons of Indian weddings for a while. And it’s just interesting because you think, oh, it’s an easy wedding. They have the same cultures. It’s like, no, there’s, there’s Sikh and there’s Hindu and there’s, you know, and then every, every village from India has its own cultures and traditions. I mean so it’s like, Every single one of these Indie weddings is unique and different and there’s, someone’s doing something different than, you know, than the last time because there’s always some little new, little new ones.
So it’s just so fun to like see so many different things. And well, just to go to that, you hear sometimes people who’ve been doing it for 10 years, 20 years, whatever, and they’re, and they’re jaded, you know, and, and, and we know what that’s like. You know, you see the people and they’re just like, ah, yeah, weddings.
They’re all the same. And it’s just like, okay, yep. It’s time for you to be done. But, but it’s not true. It’s not. I’ve done this for 20 years and it’s like I’ve never seen the same wedding twice.
Nikki: Me either. Yep. And it’s not like we, it’s not that we just get to see it. It’s like for wedding vendors, we spend so much time with these people.
And so such, you know, close quarters that it’s actually like, we’re like a part of the family getting to, to witness this stuff. And it’s just a different vibe, you know, when you’re that close to the client,
Josh: let’s, let’s switch gears here and talk about some advice for couples. So if you, if we’ve got a couple who’s planning their wedding I mean, just stop, just, just Why wide open field here?
What, what advice would you have for couples planning their weddings?
Nikki: So number one is like I said before, you know, there’s people that have a budget that they can’t obviously get out of. So you set your budget, your editing style. Those are two most important things. And I know a lot of people try to like, say they like dark and moody, right.
But they can’t find a photographer that’s within budget. I would just never. Never try to cut corners there because the editing style is so important. If you like dark and moody and you book bright and colorful because of cost, you will regret it a hundred percent. And I would say that next is the personality.
You get to know the vendor because like I said before, You’re going to spend the whole day with this person and you have to be able to vibe with them. And it’s not that they’re a bad person or you’re a bad person. It’s just personalities sometimes just don’t mesh. They just don’t. And so you’re going to spend the whole day.
Make sure you guys get along. Make sure you’re laughing together. Make sure you have, you know, even the same sense of humor because that’s really important. You want the day to be fun. Yeah. So I would say that. And then if. If we’re going into photography, I would say request a full gallery. thAt’s something that I don’t think a lot of people do that is important because you have to remember on Instagram, Facebook, our websites, we’re sharing our best work.
And so you have to get the full gallery and you have to say, you know, do I like the way they shoot their details? Do I like the way they shoot the getting readies? Do, you know, there’s a whole wedding day from start to finish and I would say definitely request a full gallery.
Josh: Yeah, for sure. I think that’s excellent.
So let’s talk about budgeting because, you know, you brought it up already. It’s a hot topic for people. What general budgeting advice for wedding photography specifically would you give couples?
Nikki: That’s a tough one because I feel like I’m in the middle ground of pricing and I’m not. I’m not cheap by any means, but I’m also not very expensive.
There is a price range that you need to be wary of. Okay. And like, when you’re looking, you’ll figure it out and you know, and that goes hand in hand with asking for their full work and having, setting up an interview and, you know, the whole nine. So I would say, you know, you set your budget, but if you’re going to spend money in any area, you know, I would, I would video photography, wedding planner, if you’re going to get one and the DJ is so important. It is so, so important. It will make or break that wedding.
Josh: Yeah. Yeah. Those are your key vendors. They’re the ones that you’re, you’re going to spend the most time with on the day that are going to have the most impact on how your day goes.
Nikki: And if you have to push the wedding date back to be within the range of that photographer, you want that videographer, you want the DJ, you want, if you need to push the date back, do it.
Josh: Yeah. That, that, that is some good advice. And then. Let’s just talk also budging as far as you. So if, if couples at this point in the, in this podcast, they’re just like, man, okay, I love Nikki, what she costs, you know, what’s it look like if you want to just give us kind of a general concept of, of the price ranges you run in and what kind of maybe comes in a typical package, you know, like what’s a typical couple doing with you.
Nikki: So I right now I have five and seven hours. I do offer more, but that’s just kind of like, we’ll talk about your day because, you know, I, I know, you know, with like Indian weddings and stuff like that, they could be three days long. So we, you know, that’s, that’s a whole custom package, which I do offer, but just like straight on the website, five and seven hours 1700 – 2,000. For those two, that includes two photographers. I always book a professional that has their own business. So that way that if they need to go shoot the groomsmen and I need to be with the bride, that I can trust that they are doing just as good a job as I’m doing and that they’re a professional and they know, you know what they’re doing.
And then it includes a mini engagement session. So that way you can get pictures for, you know, invites or Post them up at the wedding. It includes a full gallery. Edited you guys can download from the website You can order prints professional prints professional anything from your gallery that includes any pre meetings and any you know, anything we have from start to finish I’ll help with your timeline if you don’t have a wedding planner I’ll take care of your timeline for you.
Usually me and the Videographers and djs we all work well together to kind of get that timeline done for them And so there’s that I have an elopement package as well and that’s I mean, it’s standard 700 It’s it’s three hours. It’s just me. It doesn’t include a second photographer so that’s just like micro weddings and it has to be under 25 people So I do offer something really small for that quick getaway kind of thing.
Okay doesn’t include travel of where we’re going. But yeah
Josh: Yeah, awesome awesome so Nikki, I’m guessing that in the eight years you’ve done this, you probably have, you know, some, some fun, you know, testimonials or, or client success stories that you might want to share.
Nikki: So this is going to be a broad answer, but it’s something that I feel really confident in that all my clients could tell you.
And that is that every single wedding that I’ve shot, we’ve kept in contact and they are my family. Like, I’ve built such great relationships with everybody that that’s one thing that I pride in is that, that, you know, they’ve carefully chosen me personality wise, style wise. And so afterwards we’ve kept in contact and now I’m a part of all these journeys.
You know, when they have their first kid and we’re doing family sessions, I had a wedding last year and now I’m shooting her daughter’s quinceanera this year and it’s just, Keep me, they keep me in. And when I show up at these events, it’s like Nikki and it’s open arms from grandpa and grandma. And like, I love that.
I love it so much. And it’s a huge part of my job that I don’t think people think that I, that I cherish, but it is probably number one. I love it. My family is huge now because of this job.
Josh: Well, that is awesome. That is awesome. Well, if, if couples are interested in joining that family how can people get in touch with you?
What are the best ways to get ahold of you? Websites, socials, phone number, all that good stuff. How should people get in touch with you?
Nikki: So darling Nikki photography, no spaces is Facebook and Instagram website, www. darlingNikkifotography. com. All my pricing, booking details, everything is an open book on my website.
I don’t want anybody having to wait 48 hours to get an answer for pricing or anything like that. Everything’s right there. And you can message me any way you feel comfortable.
Josh: Awesome. Awesome. Well, thank you Nikki for being on the show. Is there anything that I didn’t ask you that you feel like you’d like to share
Nikki: I think that covers everything
Josh: Perfect. Perfect.
All right. Well, thank you Nikki for being on the show Thanks everyone for listening and we’ll look forward to seeing you next week on another episode of the Evermoore wedding vendor show If you like today’s episode be sure to like comment and subscribe on apple itunes and youtube where we have the video version of the Be sure to leave us a comment or review let us know what you like And until next time, I’m Josh from Evermoore Films.
Be sure to tune in next week for another episode of the Evermoore Wedding Vendor Show.