Meet Nicole Kotrbova, passionate kids and fashion photographer with lots of experience. She has traveled the world, can work under diverse circumstances and has an exceptional connection with children as well.
Production Paradise: How did you get into photography?
Nicole: Well, I felt very drawn to the camera since I was a kid. So in my teen years, I tried being in front of the camera. I loved it but I think the camera had different plans for me. Some years later I started dating a guy that used to work as a photographer in the local newspaper so he had a great camera, several lenses, etc. I really wanted to understand all the technical words he used when he talked to his photographer friends, so I attended a small camera course led by our friend. And then what happened was just amazing…I couldn’t put the camera down.
Production Paradise: Tell us about your first big photoshoot.
Nicole: Shortly after I started taking photos, my boyfriend and I left for an “around the world” trip so you can imagine that I had a lot of inspiration everywhere I pointed the camera. I felt absolutely attracted to portraits and even more to fashion photography. I remember I was sitting in this beautiful cafe in Vietnam when I skyped my friend (fashion designer) and told her about this idea I had for a photo shoot. She really liked it, so just a couple of days after returning from almost a year-long travel we did a great shoot together. It happened to be an amazing photo shoot with photos that I consider still my best work. They were published in PhotoVogue and many other places.
Production Paradise: What would you consider your most memorable work assignment?
Nicole: I think my biggest photo shoot was a kids fashion shoot for an Italian company. The art director arrived in Prague with all the clothes and we had a week to do casting, pick the perfect locations, travel, and shoot. It was great. I think we did a great job, for me it was also my first big job where I had to take care of everything, from contacting the model agencies and looking for locations, to getting the whole team together. I would say my assistant and I did a pretty good production job. The art director tragically passed away a couple months later so we never got to work together again. I think it will always be so memorable also because of the big loss of an amazing person.
Production Paradise: After becoming a mother, you mostly switched from fashion to kids and baby photography. How do you like your new focus and what’s the most exciting about it?
Nicole: After eight years of living in Spain I moved back to Prague, where I was offered a job as a photo producer in the relaunch of “Respekt” magazine. Shortly after I got pregnant. When my baby was born I really wanted to get back to doing photos and I also knew I needed a job with flexible times. I started working for a newborn photography studio. Later I found out that I just love natural lifestyle photos; the posed newborn photos are beautiful but just not my style. I started working on my own and absolutely fell in love with this job. Kids are great, they have such a pure soul and you become one of them. And my clients are always so grateful. So now, since my kids are a little bigger, I do more of catalog work, combining my experience in fashion with my work with kids. I think it is so important to know how to get along with kids if you want to work with them. There is a huge difference between working with adults and kids.
Production Paradise: How is working as a photographer in Prague different from Barcelona?
Nicole: I loved working in Spain, but I must say that Prague is my big love. I really like how the city is compact, very accessible and friendly. Also, of course, the prices are very different in Prague. The whole production comes out with totally different numbers. On the other hand, even though the prices are lower we have amazing artists here, so the job is very high quality.
Production Paradise: What are the benefits for international clients to work with a photographer based in Prague?
Nicole: I’m pretty sure that anyone who has visited Prague will say that it is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, but we also have absolutely amazing countryside locations just an hour away from the city. As I said before, the whole city is compact and I love that. One of my friends used to say that he could be anywhere in Prague within 5 minutes by car. Also, the prices are lower in Czech Republic. The entire production budgets are quite different than for example, in Spain or England. But we do have great artists and production professionals here, so you wouldn’t lose in quality. And of course, the Czech models, both: kids and adults, are one of the prettiest in Europe.
Production Paradise: How do you promote your work and what do you think of Production Paradise in regard to self-promotion for creatives?
Nicole: My first contact with Production Paradise was eight years ago when I won “Fashion Photographer of the Year” and one of the prizes was a year membership with Production Paradise. I was so surprised with the feedback, I got several very interesting assignments from a company in Ibiza, Estonia and the job for the Italian company mentioned before.
Production Paradise: What are your professional plans for the future? Do you think you will stick to kids photography?
Nicole: Right now, I can definitely say that my plans are inside the kids photography industry. I just love working with them. In my free time, I like to read a lot about respectful learning and education with kids. I always try to communicate with them the way I like people to communicate with me and the results are amazing. I think I can say that my clients come back to me not only because of the photos but also because their kids like spending time with me and my camera.