The team at ONA loves to highlight emerging photographers and feature established photographers: it’s less about renown or experience and more about the feelings stirred by the images created. We’re constantly amazed by the incredible variety of photographers who use ONA bags: there’s no standard background, education, subject, inspiration, industry. The only constant is that they’re trying–and usually succeeeding–to tell a story in one captured moment.
Nick Onken’s seemingly boundless energy and enthusiasm is matched only by the long list of things currently keeping him busy: he’s a lifestyle and fashion photographer, an avid traveler, the host of a ShopTalk Radio. Based in Brooklyn but constantly globe-trotting, he has a knack for infusing a sense of carefree glamour (that sort of effortless je-ne-sais-quoi that is the ultimate aspirational lifestyle) into all of his images. We want to be magically transported into every single one of his sets, but we’ll settle for swooning over his photos.
Nick wears the Brixton in Dark Truffle.
ONA: How did you get into photography/videography?
NO: My first career was a graphic designer. I dabbled in photography a little because there were a few required classes in high school and college as part of the design program. It was merely a hobby for a while. When digital came out, I bought a camera to shoot imagery for my design work. More still lifes and such. I ended up convincing a non-profit client of mine to shoot a photo library in Africa and split the expenses. To my surprise, they agreed. Upon getting back, I realized how much I enjoyed it, and started shooting more. Next thing you know, I fell in love and slowly made the transition becoming a full-time photographer with a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. I’ve just recently started directing some video pieces.
ONA: What camera do you shoot with? What is your “go to” lens of choice?
NO: I typically shoot a Canon 1Dx. I have 4 go to lenses of choice depending on what I’m shooting; 20mm f2.8, 35mm f1.4L, 50mm F1.2L, and the 70-200mm f2.8L II IS.
ONA: What sort of project drives your creativity? Follow Up: What is your dream project?
NO: It’s funny because there’s not necessarily a single dream project. I love the variety of being on different types of projects from travel, lifestyle, fashion, portraits, and charity work. My style lends to shooting many different types of content. What I really dream of is combining them all. Shooting beautiful models, in exotic locations, and capturing moments.
ONA: What is the hardest thing about being a photographer/videographer?
NO: The hardest thing about being a photographer is the business and hustle. It’s feast or famine, and a lot of sacrifice. No matter where you are in your career, there’s always a lot of office work that it takes to build a business.
ONA: Describe your style of shooting.
NO: I shoot in a “capture the moment” driven style. I shoot real moments in an aspirational sense. Across different types of content.
ONA: In one sentence, what advice would you give to a photographer/videographer just starting out?
NO: Make better pictures, and show more people. The hustle of photography boils down to that.
ONA: How did you hear about us?
NO: Through friends that were telling me about these cool camera bags that don’t look like camera bags.