Meet Nicki Sebastian! Nicki is the founder of Motherhood Portraits and will be holding a portrait session in our Venice shop December 8. We asked her a few questions to learn more about her life as a mother and LA based lifestyle family and editorial photographer.
B+G: Will you tell us why you decided to start Motherhood Portraits?
Nicki: Motherhood Portraits came from my own desire to be in front of the camera more with my kiddos (jury's still out on that goal). I realized that most of the images that I had on my phone, in albums, and in frames were of my husband with our girls—and while I cherish those beyond measure, I found that there was very little proof of my existence! And when I expressed this to my mama friends, I found that many of them felt the same. And so began my quest to give mothers the gift of images with their offspring.
B+G: What inspired you to become a photographer?
Nicki: I've always been a creative at heart, and growing up, I lived for taking pictures of friends and then developing them and sharing my double prints. But the real motivation happened in college when I found that I spent most of my time in the dark room and slacked on my other assignments for classes that were part of my first major, biochemistry. I quickly switched to focus on visual art and fell in love with the medium—and haven't stopped clicking my shutter button since.
B+G: How has becoming a mother influenced your work?
Nicki: I've been photographing families for years, but it wasn't until I had children of my own that I really found an empathetic perspective—and I think my work grew exponentially at that point. The way I see my children—in the beauty, in the chaos, in the stillness, in the innocence—is exactly what I want to convey on camera. It's forever a growing experience and a work in progress, but that's the wonderful part about doing this for a living: I'll never "arrive" and I'll always strive.
B+G: Any other special projects you're excited for or recent ones you call tell us a bit about?
Nicki: I've been buried in family sessions as of late (because it's the season for holiday card photos), and while this time of year can feel like a big festive frenzy, I honestly relish in the fact that I get to see families grow and change year after year. And some of my very favorite photographers hired me to photograph their own families, so it has been a huge honor to work with my idols in that capacity.
B+G: When you're not behind the camera, what are some favorite activities you like to do with the family?
Nicki: We live near the beach, so we try to take the girls as much as possible and enjoy our new "backyard"—which is a big part of the reason we left New York three years ago to start our lives over in Los Angeles. I also love to run, and I'm currently training for the LA Marathon—definitely not an activity that sounds "fun," but it's my release, and also my time to think and plan and creatively scheme!
B+G: What are your favorite neighborhood spots to take the family?
Nicki: So many great west-side haunts! I am obsessed with Scopa's pasta, I love shopping at Midland in Culver City, we always buy our adult beverages (and my chocolate oat milk) at Hi-Lo, I get my throw pillow fix at Gjusta Goods, and we often frequent Playa Provisions (for lobster rolls and ice cream) after our beach hangs. I also spend more time and money than I'd like to admit at Pitfire Pizza—their seasonal pumpkin pizza is my addiction.