Meet Nick | The Ola Collective Photographers

Nick is our resident portrait artist and videographer. His gentle, friendly approach helps set all his subjects at ease, and he loves spending time getting to know people and capturing them in their truest light. His intimate approach makes for a stunning portfolio of senior portraits and fashion photography. In addition to portraits, Nick has extensive background in videography and media production, and he is our lead videographer for wedding and proposal videos here at Ola Collective. Check out our interview below to learn more about Nick!

First of all, can you tell us a little about your background and where you come from?

I was born on Oahu, and raised on the west side. I've lived in the Wai’anae community my entire life, aside from my time at college in Los Angeles. I’m ethnically Dutch, Indonesian, Yugoslavian and German.

How did you get started in photography?

I actually started video production in 8th grade, which means that at this point, I've been doing it in some shape or form for 20 years. Still hard to imagine it’s been that long! My beginnings at the Waianae Intermediate’s Mass Media program, and then Searider Productions at Wai’anae High School really set me up for years of success, learning, opportunity and fun. Searider Productions in particular gave me the opportunity to compete for and win national awards, travel to 18 different states as well as China (twice), and produce commercial work. Eventually, I came to the realization that I REALLY like to take still photos as well, possibly more so. I’m finding a healthy and sustainable balance between the two.

What are some of your favorite things to photograph, and why?

I love to shoot people, because I'm a people person. I give wildlife, still life and landscape photogs a lot of credit because those are things I don’t think I could ever do well. People though, I’ll keep at that for life. And above all else, I love to document passion. I love shooting people who live - people who are expressive and energetic, deep and complex. That makes me feel alive.

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What is your biggest motivation and inspiration to keep taking photos?

My biggest source of motivation to keep being a photographer is the feeling I get when I shoot. It’s a mix of exhilaration, a healthy pressure to perform, a sense of wonder, and a satisfaction thats hard to find anywhere else. When I capture an image I’m happy with I let out an audible “YES!”. It makes me legitimately happy, and that makes my client happy and usually puts them at ease. That is the most important part of the dynamic, in my opinion: the client / photographer trust. The mutual belief in one another. That’s another great feeling to shoot for…the feeling I get when I show my client their photos, and they also say “YES!”or are brought to tears. Nothing quite like it.

Can you tell us about one of your favorite adventures?

In the literal sense, I’ve been on a few adventures in my 33 years on Earth. Many neighbor island trips, Shanghai and outlying towns, Lima, Cusco and Machu Picchu, two separate road trips along the coast and through the redwoods from LA to Oregon. My favorite adventure so far though, was a trip I took to Osaka, Japan with my girlfriend, Olivia. The energy, the beautiful people and culture, the food, the feeling of being in places like Nara and Kyoto, are memories Iʻll never forget.

Photography itself has been a 20-year adventure for me. Discovering what I like to shoot while wading through everything I've had to shoot: families, couples, kids, kupuna, weddings, funerals, educational work, commercial work, beauty, fitness, lifestyle, documentary…distilling all of my experiences into and through my perspective, to discover my passion for witnessing and documenting passion.

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Check out some of Nick’s beautiful videography below:

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