Recent grad starts photography business


by Kit Murray

Over the course of two years, recent MSUM graduate Lydia Nicholson has successfully launched Two Pines Photography in the F-M area.

When Nicholson was 9, her grandmother gave her a camera. Growing up on a farm, she loved taking photos of animals and the outdoors in general. That passion has influenced her current aesthetic.

“Nature (has always) really inspired me,” Nicholson said. “It’s something that’s always changing. It’s so important in photography.”

Now, she photographs weddings and senior portraits. Nicholson gives couples complimentary engagement sessions to get to know her clients before their weddings. This helps her become more familiar with their personalities and what kinds of products they want. Nicholson describes her photography as comparatively dark.

“I’m an eclectic natural light photographer,” Nicholson described, adding that shooting outdoors allows her to accentuate this style. “I really kinda like dark, moody photos.”

Originally, Nicholson’s business was called Lydia Thomas Photography, only using Two Pines as a watermark. But registering her business after she married and changed her last name motivated her to rename what is now Two Pines Photography.

“I would love to keep doing this,” Nicholson said. “I just booked my first destination wedding (in the Dominican Rebublic). That’s something I think I would really like to get into more.”

Nicholson doesn’t have a physical studio and prides herself on taking all photos outside. When clients ask to do indoor or studio shoots, she refers them to another photographer. Nicholson said it’s because natural light is essential to photography.

Setbacks have been few and far between, but there are difficulties in being a business’ independent owner. Nicholson said she’s had to learn some tricks to effectively balance her personal and business lives, especially after shooting 21 weddings last summer.

“This year, I have a better work flow figured out,” she said. “I’m trying to take one weekend off a month to just chill and go camping or something.”

When she’s not shooting a wedding or taking senior portraits, Nicholson is spending time with her husband and family. She indulges in nature by hiking and biking, but also enjoys reading.

When asked what her dream job is, she replied, “I think I’m doing it.”

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