Growing up, Nikki To wanted to be a human rights lawyer. Her plan was pretty straight forward, she would complete her economics and social sciences degree, then do a postgraduate law degree, helping humanity in the process. However most things don’t go according to plan, and something was niggling away at her. ‘I was in my last year of study, and I missed being creative,’ she says.
To combat this feeling, Nikki enrolled in a number of evening classes at the Australian Centre for Photography, and things took an unexpected turn. The niggling subsided, and a new direction became clear. Nikki decided to become a photographer. Once she graduated, instead of pursing law, she spent four years working as a photographer’s assistant.
About a year ago, after many years of assisting, Nikki started to freelance full-time and became her own ‘boss lady’. In the short time since, she has amassed an impressive list of editorial, commercial and hospitality clients including Qantas Magazine, Broadsheet, Peppermint Magazine, and some top restaurants in Sydney such as The Apollo, Cho Cho San, and Longrain. Nikki is also one of our own favourite collaborators. As one of The Design Files’ go-to Sydney photographers, she shoots many of the stories we publish weekly.
Besides photography, Nikki’s other great passion is food, and documenting Sydney’s culinary scene is one of the highlights of her job. Last year she shot her first cookbook on Lord Howe Island. She even had the opportunity to shoot one of her foodie heroes – Jamie Oliver. ‘That was a memorable shoot!’ she confirms. ‘I shot Jamie Oliver on a farm down in Canberra. It was a pretty intimate shoot, no media, and it was pretty cool to watch him working behind the scenes.’
We love working with Nikki. She has good vibes and the talent to match. She’s up for any challenge, and always keen to keep learning and developing her skills. As long as she gets to continue doing what she loves, she’s happy. ‘I always try and tell the story of what’s in front of me.’ she explains… ‘I just want to keep telling stories.’
To see more of Nikki’s work, view her photography folio here.