Colie James, Unraveled | An Interview

Colie James in an in-home family photographer + filmmaker based outside Boulder, Colorado.  Just in case you are wondering, Colie is a nickname for Nicole so you pronounce it "cole-ee". She loves documenting people who make funny faces, constantly give their children hugs and kisses, and who prefer to start their session at home in their PJs.  When she is not photographing families, she is usually at home binging the latest Netflix/Hulu show with a cocktail. We are so stoked to have her as an instructor inside the Academy teaching on how to use your flash – it was a much requested topic and she breaks it down so simply.

For More Inspiration from Colie:

Instagram | Website | Facebook

Check out her Course Included within the Academy: Sunshine in a Bag (All About Flash)

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Here is Colie, Unraveled…


What inspired your art?

The family unit inspires my art.  My family is so different than what I expected in my 20s that I loves documenting and observing other family units.  

What do you shoot with? Camera body and favorite lens?

I totally need to “Marie Kondo” the contents of my camera bag, so no judging.  

Cameras - Nikon z6, D750, D700, F100 (x2); Fuji XH1, x100F

Lenses - Nikon 35mm 1.8 s, Sigma 50mm Art 1.4, Nikon 24mm 1.4, Nikon 85mm 1.8, Fuji 16mm 1.4, Fuji 23mm 1.4

My favorite is my last purchased, Nikon z6 and the z-mount 35mm 1.8.  This combination gives me amazing video, images that are sharp from corner to corner with IQ that surpasses my D750, and the ease of shooting with EVF/switching between video + images is better than the Fuji experience.

What other ways do you express your creativity?

Most of the time I don’t consider myself a creative, nothing outside my photography is particularly creative.

How do you de-stress at the end of the day?

Ordering takeout and binge watching episodes of Law and Order with my husband.  I actually turn my computer off when I head to school for pickup so that when my family is home I can be present and enjoy their company.

What kind of music do you listen to while editing?

The truth is I am typically listening to potential songs for films while I edit.  Some of my favorite artists to use in my family films are Holley Maher and The Careful Ones. The one thing that drives my husband insane is that I listen to the exact same song all day long on repeat.  He frequently hands me headphones to spare himself.

What is your favorite book?

I honestly can’t remember the last book I read and I have to save my eyes for editing my films. So while I used to read 1-2 books a day in my 20’s, I have likely only read 5 books since I became a mother.  I loved Humans of New York Stories, but that might not count.

Name one movie that inspires you.

Hidden figures.  Aside from a childhood dream of being a Solid Gold dancer, I aspired to be Katherine Johnson and working for NASA.  

How do you handle self-doubt or creative slumps?

I will usually reach out to someone I have always wanted to shoot and offer up a family film.  While Chloe inspired me out of creative slumps in the past, I would rather spend my time with her playing Wii or taking her out for a meal.  Taking pictures of us takes so much work and feels so forced, I would rather hire someone to get IN the frame and spend my creative efforts outside my own home.  Every family’s story is different and amazing, so I am often very inspired after all non-paid clients sessions I do because there is no pressure to deliver.

What has been the most difficult part of your creative journey?

Social media usually makes me run for the hills and I frequently delete apps off my phone to take a break.  There is just so much noise and competition (sometimes only in my head) floating around.

Who is one of your favorite photographers?

After 5 years, I still have a schoolgirl crush on Andrea Hanki.  Her work is just amazing and was super inspiring while I was trying to figure out my own style within the in-home documentary/lifestyle genre.




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