The Photographer Spotlight is a recurring feature on the DFP Education Blog, where we chat with a member of the Documentary Family Photographers Community so we can get to know them better.

We are chatting with another one of our DFP Moderator Team, Nicki Navarro, from Northeast Indiana. She has an incredible sense of humor, is multi-talented and is nice AF.

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Tell us about yourself! Give us an uninhibited, short and snappy bio in 10 sentences or less:

I’m a proud multipotentialite. If you haven’t seen that Ted talk, here is the link. It’s pretty amazing. I have a ton of varied interests including, music, comedy, birding, and of course photography. I grew up in a suburb of Chicago but Seattle was my absolute favorite place to live. I’m currently living in Northeast Indiana with my two kids, husband and ridiculously awesome cat. I love ice cream, autobiographies and people with interesting voices.

Do you photograph anything besides documentary work? If so, how do you balance that?

I do. I shoot boudoir. I also like to collaborate with clients who are looking for more cinematic portraits. I tend to work in bursts, I’ll book a string of boudoirs, and then make sure I’m following it up with some documentary or fun creative sessions knowing I’ll get bored if I don’t keep a good mix going. When things get monotonous, my work suffers.

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Are there any projects you are currently working on? Tell us about them.

I’m the photography coordinator for my city’s Roller Derby team. As the season gets ready to kick off I’ll be spending some time getting their team poster and head shots done along with recruiting our photography team for the season. I’m also hoping to gain access to a very controversial group in our area. I’m hoping to spend about 6 months documenting them. I’ll update everyone on that once I know I have the gig.


What do you struggle with and how do you overcome those struggles?

I’m easily overwhelmed. I don’t enjoy having the kind of schedule that has me wondering where I’m going to pick up my dinner. This year my kids have more serious commitments in their activities and making sure I have alone time, and time to breathe has been more of a struggle than it’s been in the past. I have to take time when I need it. Sometimes that means I turn my phone off for the day or just sit on my porch and drink coffee for a few hours. I’m not effective or creative when I’m stressed, so I have to manage my stress.

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If you could give other photographers one piece of advice, what would it be?

Don’t look too much at other people’s work on social media, take breaks from your news feed. While it’s inspiring to look at the work other people are doing, if you start to feel inadequate because of it, take a break for a while. I’ve gone through times where I’ve hidden every photographer I have on my Facebook newsfeed because I just needed to focus on my own voice. There’s no shame in that. We all have times when we feel we’re not good enough, it’s important to remember that your journey is about you and not someone else work. If you’re going to look at a lot of work, spend you time studying the masters.

Nicki when she was a kid

Nicki when she was a kid

Okay, Nicki, you for sure have to keep us updated with the controversial Roller Derby team! Now we’re invested ;)

Thank you for taking the time to chat with us!

And for our readers, meet us back in the Facebook group and join the discussion where you can ask Nicki more questions on her Ask me Anything thread.