Creating Personal Work

January 19, 2016


When I was in college I went to school for a good seven years. Yup, I said it. Two at a community college and five at James Madison University. The first year at JMU I thought I wanted to get into a program called “SMAD” – Students of Media and Design. I believed that I was going to be photojournalist. To get into this intense program one had to pass the intro exam. A whole semester later of learning about the birth of NBC and radio I took the exam &  failed.  My dreams of being a National Geographic Photojournalist were over but like other kids my age I was on the hunt to find my niche so I kept going. I KNEW something was missing in my life so I had to get back to my core – art. I became an art major. YES YES YES, I knew I was on to something here. My soul lit up when any conversation about Andy Warhol or art came up. After getting advice from some wise friends I decided to pursue graphic design, after all it paid well right? I loved EVERY ASPECT of being an art major. My creative juices were flowing and I was surrounded with like minded people who saw the world differently like me. I WAS LOVING THIS MAJOR until it was time to take my first graphic design class. I just wasn’t getting it. I could draw naked ladies all day long but lining up fonts just had me stumped. I thought, “I’ll get this eventually” and stuck with it for years. I was a class or two away from graduating with this degree. I had several professors approach me and express that this didn’t seem like my “niche” and that maybe I should rethink this major. Oh boy was that a blow to the heart. It wasn’t until one day I had a breakdown in my car before a typography class. My project wasn’t done and I was so far behind.   It was one of those moments where you know you need to let go of your pride and realize you failed, AGAIN.  I walked into class and told the teacher I was switching majors. So what if I had to be there ANOTHER year to complete my photography degree. I did it. I switched! I loved my photography classes and jumped out of bed with excitement to finally go to a major that felt right. The thing that I loved most was that my professors encouraged us to tap into our souls and really create personal work from the heart. I miss those days. Don’t get me wrong, I am beyond grateful that I get to be a wedding photographer and be a part of someones love story. How incredible and honorable is that!?? But I am more then a wedding photographer; I’m a street photographer, a fashion photographer, a portrait photographer, a creator, and an artist. I miss those improv photo shoots where I would call my friends and ask them to dress up in trash bags just because I had a vision.

Personal Work Photo Nicki Metcalf Photography

Or when I would have my friend Kyle come into the studio and put pipe cleaners in his hair just because I wanted to give his dreads extensions 😉

Personal Work Photo Nicki Metcalf Photography

What happened to those visions? Those last minute, sporadic shoots were so fun. I WANT MORE OF THAT. 2016 is the year I want to get personal & creative again.  I don’t know how I am going to do that, or what that entails but its going to happen. I actually WANT to wake up at 3 in the morning so excited about a wild idea that I can’t fall back asleep. Creativity comes when we put forth the effort, and take a leap of faith on an idea. – – When we tap into the deepest, wildest parts of our souls and just do it. I think we get too consumed with the idea of perfection that we don’t even try. I don’t want to be consumed with the craziness of life anymore that I don’t even create. What a waste of a beautiful mind. I hope that you too can make art that is simply . . . for you.

Creating Personal Work Nicki Metcalf Photography PhotoClifton Inn Virginia Wedding Photo_0159IMG_97661Clifton Inn Virginia Wedding Photo_0165Clifton Inn Virginia Wedding Photo_0166Clifton Inn Virginia Wedding Photo_0161Clifton Inn Virginia Wedding Photo_0162Clifton Inn Virginia Wedding Photo_0163Clifton Inn Virginia Wedding Photo_0160Clifton Inn Virginia Wedding Photo_0158


For More Past Work :

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



I see the beauty in imperfect things. As a Christ-follower, faith is central to my life, work, and connections. I am fueled by joy, known for my bubbly and sunny disposition, and always with a warm hug. Imperfect beauty inspires my love for all things vintage, abstract art, and real love stories. I love moments full of grit and emotion; life off the beaten path; stunning views along the shore; and the juxtaposition of New York grunge and laid back Cali-vibe. 

As a mother of two, I am very familiar with how quickly life’s most important moments fly by too quickly. I will calmly and seamlessly guide you through frames that will endure. I strive to capture your memories with one-of-a-kind images full of meaning. I cannot wait to connect with you! 

I bring all of these elements to my time with my couples. With over a decade of experience in the industry, I know how to gently guide you through poses that are natural and beautiful. The transition into this sentence doesn’t make sense. Throughout your day, you will feel the love from those there to celebrate
 you two. 
When I’m not photographing weddings, I enjoy long walks in the neighborhood with my husband, my kiddos Tuxie and Sunny, and my labradoodle Hokie.. Also, I am a huge dog-lover! I’m pretty sure heaven is full of dogs. I can’t wait to connect with you, and yes, your pup is always welcome here! 


FROM my journal


Creating Personal Work

Creating Personal Work

Creating Personal Work

Creating Personal Work

© Nicki Metcalf Photography 2022

Design by Tonic