Name: Nikki Dukes
What: Wedding, Portrait, and Event Photographer
Location: Saint Louis, MO
I am not sure when I first became hooked on photography, but the more I think about it, the more I think it was about the time I began to love lemonade. It was sometime in my midwest childhood. I know for sure that I “wasted” a lot of film in middle school, and likely more than my share before that. I remember spending Saturday afternoons taking pictures of skateboarders in the parking lot or learning the controls on my first digital camera by taking pictures of myself.
I survived my first photography class with a teacher no one liked. I learned her weaknesses for babies and dogs and squeaked out with an “A.” Thankfully she retired and I flourished in the next several years of photo classes; spending hours in the darkroom, a wet towel hanging from my pocket, I liked to stick my hands in the chemicals. The slimy feel of stop bath and fixer is addicting. It was then that my flirting with photography turned to love, and my flirting with my husband began.
I started getting little gigs and I was amazed that someone would pay for my work. My husband noticed a want ad on the wall during my freshman year in college and within the week, I was shooting
weddings for a local St. Louis company. My skills, style, and love for this industry grew and grew. Darkroom turned primarily to digital throughout college. Now, several years later, I'm out on my own.
Though organized by nature, I approach each shoot uniquely and with creativity. Inadvertently, I scout locations anywhere I go. It is my default, my automatic. I know the technical aspects of my trade and use them to try new ideas. With my camera around my neck, I am full of energy and liveliness. For sheer enjoyment, I look at photography websites, read photography magazines, and watch photography seminars on DVD. I think in photographs. It's simply what I do.
My style is varied, though consistently modern and often marked by high contrast. You'll find I use a mixture of black and white, vivid color, and muted tones to enhance my images . I've found that my photography somehow appeals to the daring and edgy as well as those who are fond of a more traditional look. I am not sure how that works, but I'll continue to shoot quality work that packs a pucker. And while I'm at it, I'll squeeze every drop out of this lemon metaphor that I can.
Everyday I am thankful for a supportive family. My husband helps to make the business a business and not just me taking endless pictures. Our son supports me unknowingly in his little body by providing me
with a subject as I continue learning my craft. And our parents and siblings across the globe tell me every time they see a new blog post how much they love the new work. Thanks to all of you for your encouragement and support.