Zenfolio | Nicole Smith | About

(Photo credit: Joan Heffler Photography)

Based in the Capital Region of Upstate New York specializing in outdoors, landscape, nature, industrial, architectural, events, special occasions, commercial and editorial photography.


I strive to capture the understated beauty in the places I travel and subjects I stumble upon throughout Upstate NY and beyond. You'll likely find me pulled over on the side of the road photographing anything from old trains, railroads, abandoned buildings, old barns and the countryside. You might also spot me somewhere out in the Adirondacks or Catskill mountains. More than anything, I love photographing what seems to be an ordinary scene and capturing it in a way that gives it a fresh perspective.


My background

I've always been into photography but became even more involved in it when I bought a used DSLR camera off of a friend in January 2016. I realized I wanted to do much more than just shoot on "auto" but making the switch to "manual" was a learning curve. I was sitting in a laundromat one day not too long after buying the camera and found a photography specialization course on Coursera which was taught by Michigan State University professors. The very next day I began what became a 9 month long journey to learn the basics and beyond of photography. After completing my capstone project which I called "Traveler", I earned a certificate, joined a prestigious group of alumni and gained the confidence and skills I needed to move forward. A year after buying my DSLR, I was Featured Artist of the Month at IL FARO Restaurant & Bar and that's when the work and fun started :)


Events | Recognition:

  • Cover Photo Contest Winner - Capital Region Living Magazine; June 2018
  • Featured Artist of the Month - IL FARO Restaurant & Bar; January 2017
  • Silent Auction Contributor - The Legal Project 22nd Annual Pro Bono Reception; October 2017
  • Contributing Artist - Nancy Lane Farms fundraising event benefiting The Legal Project ; September 2017
  • Exhibit Contributor - Michigan State University Kresge Art Center; November 2016


More about me

Believe it or not, I went to school for something way less interesting than photography or art. I hold a B.A. in Communications & Rhetoric from the University at Albany and an A.S. from Hudson Valley Community College. I discovered the specialization course I mentioned above around a time when I was contemplating my future and was grieving the loss of two family members. I worked at a law firm for several years as their HR Administrator. Today I work for an insurance broker as an HCM Technology Administrator. For now I enjoy photography on the side of my day job still traveling and capturing those memories as I go. My other hobbies include cycling, aerial yoga, hiking, camping, antiquing, decorating, reptile keeping, rescuing animals and spending time with my extended family. Mr animals include a husky, 2 cats, a boa constrictor, a few green tree pythons, a bearded dragon and a few tortoises (huge animal lover if you can't tell). I am also engaged to the most genuine, kind and supportive human being. Thank you for pushing me forward and keeping me grounded, Rayne.


Two things define you: Your patience when you have nothing and your attitude when you have everything.

― George Bernard Shaw