CJ and Jennifer Nichols met while working at a summer camp near Yosemite in 2000 and bonded over their shared love of photography. They’ve been documenting weddings together for over 8 years and feel fortunate to do what they love most. When they’re not behind the camera, they’re often traveling or playing music with their two daughters. The Nichols strive to tell the story of your wedding day or special event through a blend of photojournalism and creative portraiture. They serve Austin, TX and Northern California and are available for travel worldwide.

Jennifer recently shot this featured session at various spots on the east side of Austin. The east side is full of color, character, and has some grittiness to it, so she knew it would be a good fit for this stylish couple. When she has couples that like an urban look, the East side has lots of great options to work with. Nichols also shares insight into how she plans for each portrait session.

Photo Location: Shangri-La, an original East Side Bar in Austin, TX
Photo Location:
Shangri-La, an original East Side Bar in Austin, TX


It’s All About the Light

Nichols said. “You can have a great background or location, but if the lighting is too harsh or dappled and uneven, you’re going to have a difficult time capturing nice images.” Nichols typically looks for even lighting in shaded areas, or has the subjects with their backs to the sun, which creates a nice, back lit effect. Nichols also tries to schedule shoots about two hours prior to sunset to utilize the warm, soft light that you’ll find closer to sunset.

Photo Location: Hillside Farmacy is an East side antique-chic eatery.
Photo Location:
Hillside Farmacy is a popular chic East side eatery.


Finding the Right Location

For engagement sessions, Nichols likes locations that offer a variety of backgrounds rather than shooting in one location. She wants to keep moving and walk around while shooting to loosen couples up and help them feel more comfortable. For family session with small kids, natural areas like parks work great so she can chase the little ones around in the grass and grab some fun candid shots. And for bridal portrait sessions, the couple typically shoots in one location since it can be difficult to cover a lot of ground in a wedding dress. Wedding venues or hotels work well for these types of shoots since they offer both an indoor and outdoor option for brides.

Nichols always keep an eye out for interesting locations when driving around town so she can have backdrops ready based on a client’s preference.