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Black Film and Photography Spotlight: Nick Branch
By Betti Halsell, Staff Writer
Published January 12, 2023

Nick Branch has worked with a variety of people, including actors, models, and social media influencers; he also captures images of his wife for her acting career. (Courtesy of Nick Branch)

California native, Nick Branch, is an artist that specializes in portrait-style photography. He tapped into his creative ability by sketching and developing his visual eye. Branch would begin his photography journey by capturing images for his school magazine.

Branch’s mother nurtured his talents by setting up an opportunity for him to intern in the sports section of his local newspaper, the Athens Banner-Harold. He attended Savannah College of Art & Design, in Atlanta, Ga. Since then, Branch has been into photography for over six years.

Photo by Nick Branch

Branch has worked with a variety of people, including actors, models, and social media influencers; he also captures images of his wife for her acting career. Branch is hired professionally as a brand photographer for luxury fashion line, Elyse Walker— in addition to working freelance jobs.

Branch shared that his editing depends on the project, he explained beauty retouches can take an hour or more, whereas some projects take 15 minutes to edit. Branch shared that his freelance schedule is ready for collaborations and looking forward to capturing images all over the city. Branch is inspired by artists like Gordon Parks, Dawoud Bey, and Zora Neal Hurston.

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He reflected on his style of art and considered how Black people are not captured well because of the lack of knowledge and experience in working with darker tones. Branch mastered his skills when he was capturing images in Atlanta, GA.

Photo by Nick Branch

“When I was in Atlanta, I captured images of nothing but Black people—I think it’s just the way I see Black people or the way Black people see themselves, we know generally, a lot of light blows us out.”  If an image is blown out, the photo is overexposed to lighting and it doesn’t translate well to viewers.

Branch considered the difference between images shot in Atlanta and here in Los Angeles, “A lot of the headshot photographers here don’t know how to capture images of Black people and they tend to use the same methods they would use to capture images of non-Black people.”

Photo by Nick Branch

Branch emphasized lighting affects how the skin looks in photos. He stressed there is a difference in the way the world sees Black people and how Black people see themselves. “Our skin absorbs a lot of light, so we don’t need a lot to have our skin glow.”

For more information about Nick Branch Photography, go to www.nickbranchphotgraphy.com or follow his Instagram @nickbranchphoto. Email [email protected] for consultations.

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