My name is Nadiya Imani Nacorda and I am a photographer based in Richmond, VA. I started diving into the world of photography in high school by making portraits of my younger siblings. I take a meditative approach to my work and, in turn, I need to feel my way through creating photographs. I need to experience the energy of the couple or the street corner or the busy dance floor in order to translate that feeling into an image.
My gear functions as a reflection of my process. For me, that means being as minimalistic as possible. I don’t want to feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed while moving through my artistic process. The technical and methodical interrupts the emotional movement I need to have when shooting. To be at my best, I need my equipment to be an extension of that emotional movement.
For weddings and portraits, I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark IV and III. I use a HoldFast that I love, and shoot with both camera bodies during a wedding day, switching out lenses depending on the part of the day. I also have a Canon 5D Classic that I love to bring out every now and then. It’s so rudimentary and straightforward that sometimes it feels good to strip away all the digital modes of the newer 5Ds. I find the images come out a bit softer, and I am a bit of a sucker for the nostalgia.
My lens selections are also minimal with all prime lenses: Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art, Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art and Canon 135mm f/2.0. I also have a Canon 50mm f/1.4 as a back up that I keep with me.
My absolute favorite lens in the Sigma 50. I’ve always loved the natural focal length of the 50 and I find Sigma’s Art lenses are unbeatable. I am consistently in love with the tones it produces and the mad sharpness when shot wide open. I probably use my Canon 135mm the least, but it makes a valued appearance during ceremonies and receptions.
For travel and fine art work, I typically shoot film—either 35mm or 120mm. I fell in love with the Hasselblad 500 CM while in my final year of art school and although we’ve had some breaks over the years, (I had a Contax 645 for about a year or so) I still come back to the heavy, boxy, and loud Hassey.
As far as flashes go, I have a Yongnuo YN-560 II that I use very minimally during receptions when available light doesn’t suffice and/or the sun has already gone down.
Lastly, I truly believe that it is the artist that makes the work and not her tools. Overall, your gear is defined by you, not the reverse. I developed my kit over several years and it will continue develop as the years go on. Regardless of the new trends and new releases, staying true what works for me is always the most important.
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