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Nikki Tran Blog | Designer. Artist. Photographer bio picture
  • Hello Friend…

    and welcome to the blog! I'm Nikki, a creative old soul who loves the romantic things in life. Tea time, tip-toeing through gardens, old and worn books, slow-dancing to records, painting by candelight, lakeside walks with Rusty, and starry-night picnics with Paul. This blog carries snippets of my life with just the two of us - I hope it brings you smiles and happiness as you snuggle in with your cup of tea and begin reading. Enjoy, friends! (Latest posts on the right!) --->

Here it is, friends! Our final official Behind the Scenes post!! (I forgot to post one in 2016 so this one is a compilation of the past two years of weddings and engagement sessions.) As I’ve said in my earlier (way earlier) posts, I love that we document these days because really, for awhile these were like dates for us. Our weekends and weeknights were dominated with traveling to the Cities and beyond for sessions and weddings and meetings. (When I look at our calendar from previous years, I can’t believe we made it through some months!)

I had so much fun looking through these. Typically when I’m going through a wedding and I see a photo of Paul and I, I’ll just throw it in a folder labeled BTS. I only come back to them when I’m ready to create these posts and clearly, since I haven’t done one since 2015, I don’t even remember taking or seeing half of these photos! Most were a treat to see, some made me shake my head at my facial expressions, and others made me slightly sad that this is really the end. It really is bittersweet but I’m still excited for what our future holds and I have to say, we’ve made some truly wonderful memories in this career. The people alone, the friends we’ve made – what can I say? You’ve made it quite worthwhile. And you’re the reason why quitting is so bitter. But! I’m thrilled we have these photos and any time I’m feeling homesick for weddings I definitely have enough photos to relive my favorite moments. :) (I’m having a glass of wine as I write this so it’s becoming more sentimental than I had imagined…oops. :))

So anyways friends, here we go – a chance to laugh at Paul and I, to see what things look like from our side of the camera, and to see what it looks like when there’s no wind to make a veil fly perfectly in the air. There’s a lot of us simply checking our light, or primping our brides and grooms, or just sneaking up on each other in the middle of a shot. I hope you enjoy it and again, thank you to all of you. You’re the knees to the bees. xoxo

The cute baby face! I forget what he looks like without facial hair!

Just smoosh yourselves together, please.
Meg!! Paul had knee surgery last year and Meg helped me out with a couple of weddings. :)

Oh, so much fun with these two!!

My goodness, I’m lucky. :)

Did I really have that long of hair?! Who knew.

Taken just this past Friday at our LAST WEDDING!!

I don’t feel like I have to hide my weird photos from you anymore.

This was an early session – that’s the sun rising, not setting. But we got coffee afterwards so it made it all better. :)

Meg again!!

In case you were wondering, Paul is my wind.

A horse at an engagement session! And he was the same horse that would pull this bride and groom on their wedding day! :)Hahaha we laughed a lot this past Friday. Andre and Ellen are too stinkin’ funny. Andre may have just almost fallen out of that chair at this moment. (And instead of helping him, I just laugh.)Yep. Nice face.Paul had a good time with the fish on Friday.How to Cut a Cake 101.Seriously, he loved those tanks.A surprise, freezing, Rice Park proposal. Just getting our lighting set up before Tom and Dana came walking by. :)Paul’s being replaced.Love these two. :) They gave this photo framed as a gift to us – it’s on our nightstand so we can see them every night. Not creepy at all. :)Here comes his weird faces! I’m not the only one.Still laughing and not helping.More perfect wind. (Tracy, you’re gorgeous.)I was also smitten with the animals this past Friday.Meg again! Just getting a room ready before Leah gets in her dress!He’s always too happy.One of my gorgeous brides from 2013!! Time flies.Paul wore “my blue” as a tribute to our last wedding. Nice boy.Aye carumba.Apparently there was no wind this day.Andre loves his GQ poses. (We all have the same last name now!!)That chair was dangerous as it had just kicked Andre off of it two minutes prior to this.:) :) :):) :) :)We have the same last name!! :) Love this girl!Pretending to get proposed to in the middle of the path.So thankful someone got this photo of us. Love this boy to death and so happy he was on this beautiful ride with me these past 5 years. Cheers, friends! :) xoxo

Hello, sweet friends. :)

Did you get to enjoy the bits and pieces of sunshine earlier today? I woke up early (or earlier than usual) and managed to get myself out of bed to see where the gorgeous beams of light were coming from in the hallway. Oh, the brilliant blue!! It was such a treat to see after so many days (or at least it feels like so many days) of rain and clouds. I even took photos while letting Rusty outside. I bundled up in my big, fluffy, rose-printed bathrobe – bedhead and all – and perused around the garden all while listening to the sweet song of birds. Sometimes it’s almost like they’re bombarding my ears when I come from my quiet, still house into a loud chorus of singing. But I forgive them.

So, today’s post is going to be something that I’m adjusting to both on the blog and mentally (first music, yes?). I’m sharing my little world of painting, and to be honest, it’s not easy. Sharing my process or steps to my work is like I’m officially saying, Hey! I call myself an artist!

Ahhh!! Just the thought of saying that makes me feel so exposed!

And I say this because it is very hard for me to accept that I may have talent. I know I’m not alone – you’re out there, too. Shying away from your beautiful gift and squirming when people compliment you. It’s an epidemic! Even after playing the piano for 23 years, I’m still uncomfortable when people ask me to play for them. And even photography! If someone compliments me, I try to pass it off as “Oh yea, well the lighting was really great that day.” My goodness. (Shaking my head at deliberate talent sabotaging.)

Just like it was hard to actually tell people, Hey! I’m a photographer!, so will it be difficult to acknowledge the fact that although I’m not Van Gogh or remotely close to,

I am, I suppose, a bit of an artist.

Alright – it’s out there! So, moving on!

If you don’t already know the story, I had been wanting to learn how to paint for years. I wish I had taken painting classes in high-school or even college, but I did not. I did paint a “mural” on my bedroom wall when I was 16 that will go down in infamy with my family; I saw it as a gorgeous sunset on the beach and they saw it as a bunch of blues and oranges with random v’s (for the flying birds of course!) Oh well. :) I have loved the idea of “being an artist” for as long as I can remember. When I was little I would go upstairs to me and my sister’s bedroom, pull out a bunch of papers and notebooks and crayons and pencils, turn on the Beatles records, and just draw (I wonder if my own family knows that’s what I was getting up to way back then). I’d draw wedding dresses, people I knew, things from my future life, potential husbands (I was very much into being married), and more dresses and shoes (shoes were always tough for me). My mother likes to remind me that in pre-school my teacher would show her how detailed and carefully colored my artwork was. Instead of just coloring the entire Christmas tree green like most 3-year-olds do, I was paying more attention to the patterns on the small ornaments on the tree, making sure to color them first and then color in the rest of the tree, always staying in the lines.

While I had always loved the idea of being an artist, I had no future goals for it and didn’t think I had a talent for it whatsoever. Although I did have one thing I held onto throughout the years – I wanted to write a book of some sort and illustrate it myself. That was it. Something simple. I focused more on being a writer than I ever did of being an artist.

And then in 2014 on one random day when I was 25, I was telling Paul my lovely bedroom wall story and that I wished I had taken some sort of art classes in school. My great-great-uncle was an artist you know. Maybe I have some of his genes in me. Paul, being the ever-supportive and wonderful person that he is, told me to just go for it! Go for it? I don’t know how! Why can’t you teach yourself, Paul would say. You’ve taught yourself photography, Photoshop, web design…I could teach myself! (It’s important to have a significant other who doubles as a fairy godmother/father). So I went to Michaels on a rainy morning while Paul was at work and picked myself up a bunch of stuff that I had no clue about. There’s different kinds of paper? What in the world is cold-pressed? Why are there so many brands of paint?! I wish I had a magic wand that would spin and just point to things I needed, like a fairy godmother compass. But, I managed and I went back home delighted with my new purchases. I laid them out all nicely on my desk table, organizing it so I would truly look like an artist.

Well, you and I both know that no matter how something might appear, that’s just not always the case. My desk looked lovely, but then I attempted to draw a vase of flowers. Friends, I didn’t even watercolor the right way! I didn’t even buy the right paints! At the time I thought I was doing it so well, I’m so clever, I thought. No, no I was not. But, as time moves on so does our skills. Now I can safely say that I love the brushes I use, I can tell good paint from not-so-great paint, I can tell the difference between different paper, and the most important piece, I now use water when I paint. (Yes, yours truly didn’t mix the colors with water on my first official attempt of being a watercolor artist. I’m still shaking my head at myself.) The best part is looking back at my work from even just a few months ago and being so proud at how much better I’ve gotten. It was the same with photography, looking back at weddings in prior years and realizing how far I/Paul had come.

I tell you this story for a couple of reasons:

a. My blog and business will become more intertwined with my art and so I thought it deserved a proper introduction. :)

b. This stuff gives me butterflies constantly. Sometimes I take things for granted when I talk to myself all day and I don’t realize how much of a gift something simple like watercoloring can be.

c. Maybe you’re someone who thinks it’s too late to discover a talent or to live out a dream.


You’re never too old for either of those wonderful things. 

So friends, now that you’ve been properly introduced to my beloved interest, you will be seeing more posts relating to watercolors, designing, as well as photography. I hope you like what’s to come – I’m pretty excited with how this blog is going to be transforming and I can’t wait to keep sharing it with you. :)

Have a wonderful weekend! We’re shooting our LAST OFFICIAL WEDDING ON FRIDAY!!! Can you believe it?! But don’t worry – since it’s our last wedding and since I forgot to post my favorites and behind the scenes from last year, there will definitely be some of those favorites coming soon on the blog. :) xoxoxoxo

  • NanaMay 25, 2017 - 7:15 pm

    My dear girl you have so much talent wheather it is writing your blog,taking pictures or painting. I do think you should consider doing cards like Penny suggest.Love you more.???ReplyCancel

  • Penny PlaceMay 25, 2017 - 12:18 pm


    Just read your blog and loved it….just a thought.

    I need birthday an anniversary cards….would that be something up your alley?


Hello, dear friends. Grab a cup of coffee and let’s chat, shall we?

I’ve been quite a flake this past year (for lack of a better word). Or at least I’ve certainly felt flakey. I announced my decision to quit my photography business a little over a year ago (our last official Nikki Tran Photography wedding is this Friday!) and have been flitting between ideas for so long I feel like I’m a little kid deciding which toy I want more on the shelf at Toys ‘R’ Us. I’m the poster child for Changing My Mind. And for the last year I’ve felt like something’s missing, like my life wasn’t being fulfilled enough. And when that thought started to creep in my mind, I began to downplay that thought by telling myself I’m just being entitled, or something like that.

Who was I to want more than what I already had?

I had a beautiful home, a perfect husband, a darling puppy, enough nieces and nephews to make my heart burst, and we were/are financially stable.

And then I began to think that maybe I had made a huge decision too quickly. Was I a failure for quitting photography, something I was actually good at it?? I had poured nearly 5 years of my life into it and now it seemed it was all gone. Earlier this year I cleaned my office out and I saw my old gift boxes and business cards, welcome packet materials and notebooks, all fall into the garbage. A slight panic ensued.

I tried to get passionate about something, anything really. I opened the Etsy shop thinking my energy would come back and I’d be awake until 2am painting away. I tried to resuscitate my Photoshop actions, holding onto any little strand of hope that it would ignite some passion back in my heart. I even began trying to write my book – the book I’ve been dreaming I would write/illustrate since I was in high-school. Nothing lasted, it was like dry sticky tape. Nothing stuck and I began to feel slightly hopeless, like I would soon just be pulled away with the current, never able to accomplish my big dreams and never able to say I own my own small business again (something I was incredibly proud of during those years). I would be lying if I said I had no regrets at all during this past year, but then something fabulous happened.

I got my spark back.

I don’t know why it happened, or why it took so long to happen, but I feel like I did back when I was in school and cramming my study hours with photography and contracts and website design. Maybe it’s because I’m combining all my talents and loves into one funnel – there’s no shortage of creative outlets to supply. I can switch from painting to Photoshop to writing to designing to business tasks.

It consumes me, friends. I go to bed at night (not yet able to stay up until 2am – I was younger then :)), reading business books, jotting down notes, smiling to myself, and sometimes even shedding a single tear from complete joy. I keep my notebook and books with me at all times because I really cannot get enough of it. I listen to podcasts and webinars on creative businesses whenever I have a spare moment, and I can talk Paul’s ear off about new things I’ve learned or ideas that have popped in my head or tasks I’ve accomplished.

And you know what makes me so entirely happy? You guys are with me through this, too. You’ve been there since I started photography in 2012, you’ve been there when I was so excited about new weddings and trying to create this blog, you’ve been there for my family get-togethers and garden projects, you’ve been there during my “retirement” announcement, and you’re still here for this new adventure. I wish I could squeeze you through the computer screen and give you the biggest hug. And I wish instead of me just talking to you, we could talk about what’s going on with you. Are you chasing dreams? Do you have something exciting that you’re working on? Is your garden blooming and you’re just bursting with happiness? Even if I can’t see you, just know I appreciate you. And thank you for riding along all these years. :)

Xoxo times a million.