Singing, editing & a new dog!


Apologies for pointing out the obvious here, I am a photographer, but I’m also the lead singer in a band called Physical Graffiti, it’s your typical rock band, only we tribute to the greatest rock band in the world (personal opinion lol) Led Zeppelin. So, as you can imagine, it’s a bit like being a director in your own film when it comes to the promotional photographs for the band. I know what I WANT to see, however there is no-one to take the image..

I’m pretty much a purist when it comes to photographs… editing anything other than colour correction or a little exposure correction due to bad lighting conditions is not for me. Pretty much all of my images on this site are unedited, as shot, I got this addiction when taking images for If I’m going to edit a photograph, I already know what editing is going to be done and I plan for it before I take the photograph.. take the lara croft shoot for instance, I knew we would not be able to get that “magical glittery” feel when I took the shot, however I adjusted my lighting so that I could enhance the image to my liking, so I knew what that image was going to look like… so you can see my predicament when it comes to shooting a picture of my band with ME in it.

I thought, “well, as much as you don’t enjoy destroying a natural image Nikki, you just have to this once..” so, with the assistance of an 11 year old girl (my guitarists daughter) I managed to get the shot I wanted with the above poster in mind, the original image is below. The difference with Band photography, is that they normally want an urban feel to them, unlike weddings, which are pure & natural.. so, even though it goes against the grain, I managed to create our new promotional poster with photoshop.



Photoshop is an amazing tool, it can also be a hindrance! When I first started out in photography, I used to think “that’ll do, I’ll edit that later”.. but after a while, when you start zooming in, editing exposure, playing with the eraser.. you start to realise the original image would start to be become either fake looking or too noisy. I learned that you have to get the lighting right, first time, every time, even if you are editing.. so for a 15 minute job outside the garage by our rehearsal rooms I don’t think I did too bad.

Another thing to mention is we got a new addition to our family.. Basher, he’s a rottweiler x american bulldog.. absolutely adorable, I didn’t want a puppy and I didn’t want a purebreed as I have always had crosses, so I searched high and low for the perfect pooch for our family, He is utterly adorable with a great nature and he’s starting to get on well with our other two dogs Taz n Archie. We have over half an acre of space in our garden with trees, ponds and paths that he now happily plays in, excellent on the lead and brilliant with children. We’re really happy with him!

I’ve got a rehearsal Wednesday for our gig this coming Saturday at the Ruby Lounge in Margate. The last one was so successful they invited us back, we seem to be picking up steam now since we formed in April 2012, and then got our new drummer Ben, so, on the personal side of life.. everything is pretty cool for Nikki Darling.


Wedding Albums & Budgets

So, I’ve been experimenting with printing recently and I’ve been ordering various books, prints & various other items from a few companies,  I’m trying to look at options for all budgets. The pictures below are from an A3 landscape album I made which would cost £100 roughly, that’s the cost of the book plus my time. Not a bad price really when you consider that it enables you; the customer to have an eternal reminder of your big day.

album album_1 album_2



Obviously there has been an economic downturn over the recent year or so and this has had an impact on our “disposable income”. Which is why I have looked at my packages recently. They may have gone up, but I have realized, not being massively experienced within the wedding field of  financial management, that I must at least cover my expenses and be able to keep my equipment up to date. Even if I had one wedding a week at my old prices, I would never have been able to carry on with the wedding photography. I like weddings.. they’re all different, I think I have now reached a point where I know I am heading. I’ve recently met up with some local MUA’s and hairstylists, of which I will soon be adding a preferred suppliers list to give future couples advice on planning their big day, compiled from personal reference and experiences with the members, venues etc of the list… with that said, I shall leave you with a sample of the mid range wedding album I am able to now provide below!.

Portfolio Shots

I was digging through my old files and cleaning up my computer when I came across these, just some random shots of various shoots that seemed to have got missed out from my other galleries.. there are some of my children and our dog Taz, the chubby Labrador. I’ve been shooting weekly, but they are personal shoots to people and I only post my personal works on here to give you an idea of what I can do. I remember taking every singe one of these images and I’m pleased to share them with you.

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Mr & Mrs Raine

Nothing makes me more proud than being asked by a friend to be their photographer for their wedding. I have know the bride; Shayla for a number of years, we had our children at the same time and throughout the last 15 years we have remained in contact. Shayla is a qualified nurse and Gregg works in the cleaning industry. I remember her telling me he was “The One” years ago. When Shayla told me she was getting married I was shocked, as they had been together so long without real mention, I was even more shocked to find out they would be getting married on April fools day… I thought is this a joke? Well it wasn’t! Shayla asked for the images to be as natural as possible, no posing no directing just as is, the church requested no flash also which made it quite hard work, but fortunately there was lots of natural light!

The big day arrived and the bridal preparations were on.. the bridesmaids were cheerful, Shayla’s mum was in a great mood and everyone was sipping champagne. Shayla thought her nerves were under wrap until she thought the dress maker wasn’t going to arrive, suddenly there were tears rolling down her pretty face and she looked so worried, but alas the dresser arrived and Shalya managed to shake the nerves… I almost blubbed with her to be honest! The car arrived and I rushed off to the chapel. You can never tell how the groom is going to react to photographers, but Gregg met me with a huge smile and he seemed to be less nervous than Shayla, which is funny, because if you knew Gregg, you wouldn’t think he’d pose for pictures that’s for certain lol. He’s a biker, although he was wearing a suit (shocked again) he still had his Alchemy style rings on (heavy ones with skulls), true to Gregg’s style it was actually a nice touch I thought.

The ceremony was at St Catherines Church in Manston. It started at 2pm, Shayla pulled up in the car and entered the church, as she walked down the aisle, you could see tears welling up in everyone’s eyes, Shayla was positively beaming with her younger brother Adam linked to her arm, as he was giving her away.. the service was really lovely and I watched the couple smile all the way through.. when asked if “anyone had any reasons for the not to be married” all the guests laughed. The signing of the register was a quiet moment and I managed to get a cheeky shot of Shayla with her wedding certificate.

The highlight of my day (other than the wedding) was Jordans speech, Jordan is Shayla’s son, he is the same age as my daughter Chloe. He interrupted the reception to let everyone know that Gregg has always been like a Dad to him, in fact he is his Dad… I must admit, bursting into tears at this point was really hard for me, as I know Jordan quite well and he is such a wonderful kid, he wants to be a photographer when he grows up, so it’s quite likely that he’ll be at a few weddings with me at a later date.. I let him have a go with my camera and he took some stunning natural shots.. so we’ll have to see.

It was an amazing day, I enjoyed it thouroughly.


Mobile publishing

This is a test post really, getting used to being mobile and using my website.Quite ingenious actually considering computers and the internet the sort of thing you would see on star trek when I was a kid..  so thought I’d give this shizzle a go.


The summer is well on its way, so here’s an image in ode to spring!

Wicked Sister

I had the pleasure of taking some images for a local Kent band called Wicked Sister. I was asked to do this by the very talented Nick Bennett, who has been playing the piano since he was just 3 years old. I met his fellow band members Tracie the lead singer, Paul on lead guitar, Graham on the bass &  Ed on the drums. The main focus was to be towards their new singer Tracie. I enjoyed doing this shoot and I’m looking forward to working with them again in the near future, maybe in a derelict building somewhere, or in some water in the summer possibly… ideas ideas! Don’t forget to add me on FACEBOOK

Anthony & Gillian

A selection of images taken by Nikki at Anthony & Gillians wedding.

Lara Croft Model

This is a recent project with local model Roberta Goncalves, she came to me with a few ideas for her portfolio, one which excited me was “Lara Croft – Tomb raider”. So we planned the shoot out and location, which turned out to be a disused graveyard. Roberta was an absolute treat to work with. Ian Blyth was our editor for this shoot.


Margate Photography fashion project 2

This is a collective formed after various shoots in Margate, Kent by local contributors. We took inspiration from Iggy Azalea’s video “My World”  using Chola girl styling for hair and makeup on Fern Culpitt, we also had portfolio suggestions for Kailey and her Fishbone Tail Plaits for Lucy, plus any outfits we fancied! Though it was a pretty miserable day, we managed to get some cute pics!

Models – Lucy Lu, Fern Culpitt & Kailey

Make up artist – Models own

Hair stylist – Kailey Katrina Price

Styling/Wardrobe – Lucy Lu, Nikki Darling, Fern and Kailey

Lighting – Ian Blyth

Photography – Nikki Darling


Margate Photography fashion project

This is a collective formed after various shoots in Margate, Kent by local contributors. We took inspiration from magazines like Elle & Vogue, we also had portfolio suggestions for Kailey & Abi using vintage styling for hair and makeup on Fern Culpitt. A good day

Models – Lucy Lu, Seraphena Jackson & Fern Culpitt

Make up artist – Abi Baker

Hair stylist – Kailey Katrina Price

Styling/Wardrobe – Lucy Lu & Nikki Darling

Lighting – Ian Blyth

Photography – Nikki Darling