Will Nicholls

Those who first meet Will are often taken aback by his youthful appearance. Then they see his portfolio and list of accomplishments and are taken aback yet again. Will’s award winning wildlife images give the viewer a rare glimpse into the behaviors of a wide range of species. As an aspiring naturalist, Will proves that deeply understanding your subject can help to bring out their true personality.

Will uses Zenfolio to showcase his portfolio and sell directly to his clients. He loves the clean interface and quick loading pages that show off his work in the best way possible. He also loves how easy it is for clients to purchase prints and products, no matter where in the world they are located.

Where were you born and raised? Where have you settled?

I was originally born in London but I moved up north to the Northumberland countryside about 8 years ago. It’s a huge change from an urban environment and I love it. There is so much wildlife on my doorstep!

What type of photography do you shoot most often? What type of photography are you most passionate about shooting?

I am a wildlife photographer through and through — I love it! I have dabbled in other photographic styles when necessary but I feel at home when photographing nature. One of the best parts of wildlife photography is trying to capture a moment of incredible behaviour on camera. I strive to capture the characters of the animals I photograph in my images, as it gives a personal touch to the picture.

How long have you been a shutter releaser? What led you to this profession?

I started photography in September 2007, and the time has flown by. I find it really hard to believe that I have been photographing for almost 6 years now, but I guess that shows how much I love it!

How has Zenfolio helped your business?

Prior to Zenfolio I had a reasonable website design, but it was incredibly slow to load and browse. I’m pretty sure this lost me a lot of business, as people got tired of waiting for pages to load! Then I discovered Zenfolio and set up a trial account. I customised a website and instantly fell in love with the whole interface — I signed up that same day!

The designs are beautiful and built with photographers in mind. The aim of the website is to show off your images and Zenfolio does that perfectly. The shop is integrated straight into the gallery, meaning people can buy as they browse without having to go through an awkward ordering process (like that which was on my old website). Most importantly, it is super quick to load too!

Tell us about your work flow, what editing program do you use?

I use Photoshop Elements 11 to edit my images. I do basic editing, treating Photoshop as if it is the darkroom for digital photography. I edit my RAW files in Photoshop and then do slight adjustments afterwards, including cropping/levels/sharpening.

Do you have brand loyalty for Canon, Nikon or something completely different?

Nikon! There is no alternative‪…

What is the best part of being a professional photographer?

I’d say the best part is being able to earn your living from doing something that you love. It allows me to do exactly what I want to do, whilst being able to earn money from it on the side and pay the bills. It also allows me to travel and see some incredible animals from different parts of the world.

Are your photography skills self-taught or were you classically trained?

I am a self-taught wildlife photographer, and as a result I am very critical of my own work. But this is a good thing — it means I am always striving to improve on my last image, and hopefully then improving my skills overall!

What advice would you give a new photographer just starting out?

I’d say don’t give up at the first hurdle. Look at other photographers’ work for inspiration and instead of thinking “I may as well give up”, think how you could take a better photograph than theirs’. With practice, it’ll be your images people are looking at for inspiration!

What was your first published work?

My first published work was actually on the back of a competition called the British Wildlife Photography Awards, in which I had managed to secure the overall prize in the young category in 2009. It’s the best feeling ever seeing your images in print! It is great to take images and keep them on your computer for your and your friends’ viewing, but it’s great to show them to the world too.

What inspires you as a photographer? Or who?

As cheesy as it sounds, I get my inspiration from the wildlife itself. I am a wildlife photographer, but I also double up as a naturalist as well. I love to study my subjects and learn about their behaviour and their interactions with other species. My aim then is to capture this behaviour on camera!

Is there a trade secret you care to share with us?

I think the biggest secret to wildlife photography is to learn your subject. I can’t stress it enough. Portrait photographers have the handy tool that their subjects speak English and they can tell them what to do. But with wildlife, you have no communication with your subject! As such, you need to learn their behavioural patterns and be ready to click that shutter as soon as they strike a pose!

What is the very first camera you ever owned?

My first camera was a Fujifilm Finepix s6500fd. It was a compact camera, and “did the job” for the first part of my photographic career. Even so, I quickly outgrew this but it was a good buy to use to see if photography was something I wanted to pursue.

Tell us something about yourself that we would never guess.

I am actually capable of early morning starts (even as early as 2.30am!) — not the average teenager at all! Although if given half the chance I will stay in bed all day…

What piece of equipment or doohickey do you have with you on every shoot?

Recently I bought myself a Glidecam HD-2000. It’s an amazing piece of kit, allowing me to take smooth video footage that looks like the camera is flying. (Oh yeah, I shoot video too!). This spends a lot of time clipped to the side of my camera bag nowadays so I can take a sweeping shot at a moment’s notice.

Do you have any final words of wisdom on being a first class shooter?

Break the rules! There are loads of rules about how to take a good photograph, but you’ll soon start to see that not all images follow these rules. Rules are made to be broken, and it may just give you the perfect shot.