Mom To Mom: Q&A With Nicole Long, Photographer And Mom/Life Balance Pro

Meet Nicole, a Southern California photographer who is balancing work and mom life like a total pro! When it comes to pursuing what they love, Nicole has shown how you can turn a passion into a career and be a superstar mom at the same time.

Come get to know Nicole a bit better, and learn a few photography tips along the way.

Megan Block: Hello, Nicole! It’s so nice to get to know you a bit better through this article piece. Let’s have the readers get to know you a bit better too. Tell us about yourself and your family.

Nicole Long: My name is Nicole Long. I am a photographer out of Southern California, and my most important role is being a mom to my two beautiful kids, Catherine (9) and Keean (7). I was born and raised in Orange County, CA. My hobbies, outside of photography, include rock climbing, hiking, surfing, playing soccer and gardening. As you can see, we are a pretty active family and love the outdoors. 

MB: What initially got you into photography?

NL: I have always loved art and finding a way to express myself. When my daughter was born, I was not happy with the style of photography in the area, and it was a lot to pay for, [especially] for something I already could see did not fit my personality. I decided to pick up a camera and try maternity photos myself, and the rest is history.

MB: What was the first camera you owned, and what is the current camera you are using?

NL: I first had a base model Nikon D3500 I bought from Costco, and I now shoot with a Nikon D850.

MB: You seem to be a jack of all trades when it comes to photography. What would be your favorite type of photography to shoot?

NL: That is tough! I would say it is between nature and brand shoots. Nature is beautiful on its own and holds so much magic and emotion, without guidance. I love brand or styled shoots. I definitely think outside the box sometimes, and the creativity that comes from collaborating makes the shoot fun!

MB: When it comes to shooting couples and families, what are some tips you can give our readers to prepare themselves before meeting a photographer for a shoot?

NL: There are some great tips, for example, on Pinterest, for getting to know flattering poses. Of course, your photographer will help you, but this always helps my families or couples feel comfortable if they are nervous. Also, when picking out clothing options, I always recommend to avoid matching the scenery. Like in a photoshoot at the park, you would want to avoid a green color palette. A great reference for picking out complementary and contrasting colors is to check out a color wheel. 

MB: It’s almost holiday photo time. Any tips for our readers on how to make the most of their session with their photographer?

NL: Being up front and communicating your wants, needs and expectations, prior to the session, is important. That way you are not taking up your shoot time trying to communicate a moment you want captured. You will be in good hands, and if there is something specific you want, let your photographer know.

Also, have fun! Do not come in worried you won’t capture that perfect picture. Your photographer will help guide you and make you smile. 

MB: Being a mother and photographer must mean you capture a lot of fun moments with your children. Any tips on getting your kids to cooperate when it comes to taking a photo?

NL: Be silly and not so serious! We all goof around, play music and dance during a photoshoot. This way we are not only capturing a moment but we are having a great time too. 

Sometimes it takes a little extra to get them to cooperate, and I throw in a treat during or after the photoshoot. 

MB: What are some of your favorite hobbies when you are not busy taking photos?

NL: Hiking, drawing, surfing, gardening, playing soccer and rock climbing. I have a lot of energy, along with my kids, so we stay as active as possible. 

MB: What are the best times of day to capture a good image using minimal equipment such as a phone? 

NL:  There is no doubt about it, golden hour, or magic hour, is the best time of day using all or minimal equipment. Golden hour is the period of daytime after sunrise or before sunset. This small window of time doesn’t have the sun shining down directly. The rays come in at an angle, diffusing the light. This softer type of light is typically more flattering. 

MB: Any other photography tips and tricks for our readers when it comes to shooting a great photo using their phone?


  • Clean your lens to ensure sharp images.

  • Take photos from the back camera. The front usually has lower resolution.

  • Select a focus area. Your phone will make this the sharpest/clearest point in your image.

  • Avoid zooming in, you will lose resolution & quality.

  • Use the rule of thirds. This is a composition guideline that places your subject in the left or right third of an image, leaving the other two thirds more open.

  • Go hands-free and use a tripod. This helps avoid shaking or fingers getting in the way of your lens. 

  • Edit in apps like Adobe Lightroom.

  • Have fun, and be creative!

MB: Lastly, if our readers wanted to book a session with you in the future, what is the best way for them to contact you? 

NL: You can reach out to me on my website, Instagram @nicolelongphotography or email [email protected]. I would love to capture your moment!


We had a great time doing the Q&A with Nicole Long to get her perspective and some bonus photography tips! Tell us what you think in the comments!

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