About CJ

I love old cameras, old cars, old music, and old people. I am passionate about individuality, words well-spoken or well-written, and passion itself. I photograph people in any state, as long as I can do it my way. I am stubborn. I have learned to trust my instincts. My chosen methods of communication are photographs, music, and writing, and I believe they all accomplish the same thing in different ways. I adore making people laugh, whether it’s with me or at me.


I love using photography to make people feel important, regardless of which side of the camera they are on.




Known for her soulful and emotive portraiture, CJ Nicolai is a dedicated film shooter and proponent of photography as an art form.  Her work and workshops have been featured by the Analog Photography User Group (apug.org), Kodak’s ProPass Magazine, Black and White Photography Magazine (London) and Adore Noir Magazine.  Her writings on photography and art have been featured on innumerable blogs and sites, including www.aphotoeditor.com and www.theonlinephotographer.com.  Her essay What Every Aspiring Photographer Should Know has been translated into ten languages. Her photographs have been displayed and sold in numerous solo and group shows worldwide.


CJ’s workshops have been widely praised since her first one, which took place near London, UK in 2005.  Since then she has taught hundreds of photographers of all levels across the US, Canada, and the UK.  She has critiqued artists worldwide through the magic of the Internet.  Her students and alumni include many of the top portrait photographers working today.