Today we are excited to be featuring the winner of the twelve images of the month from last year. A big congratulations to @nelsongomes_7803 for winning this award. Enjoy our conversation with Nelson and get inspired.

Tiny specs of cosmic dust by nelsongomes_7803

What inspired you to be a photographer?

Well ... it has a lot to do with my childhood experiences. I've always liked visual arts at school. My father had a kodak camera and when I saw it in action I thought it was like magic. Later in school I attended a photography club and  in college I learned to work with 35 mm films. Although I took a course in fine art, photography never really abandoned me. Neither did I!

Danae by nelsongomes_7803

What was your first camera and what do you shoot with today?
I started with a Practica SLX BX20. Currently I’m a digital photographer mainly, with a 6d canon and a 5d MIV.

When someone looks at your photos, what do you want them to take away from it, what are you trying to communicate?

First, I like to express myself, that's the most important thing. The image has to communicate something to me first. It may be a simple portrait, but it must have essence, a secret, a story; I always approach a basic concept and then explore it. Connotative interpretations are always different from person to person and I think this enriches the communication in the image.

cosmic dust by nelsongomes_7803

What is it that you love about photography?

Everything. Everything that I know and everything that I have not yet learned.

What has photography done for you?

Photography is currently trying to give me a way to live. It is not easy in a country that does not see art as a valid way to earn a living, or that sees only the simplest part; which is to press the shutter button, without realizing that there is a lot of effort, a lot of learning and a lot of investment.
Above all, photography gives me enormous satisfaction. That alone is very important.

Do you try to be conceptual or do you prefer to show the feeling behind a photo?

Sometimes one thing, sometimes the other ... depends a lot on what I want to do, or on the job in question. If you are doing street photography it is mostly about the feeling of the scene. The street is the main scene and it has to have drama, it must have emphasis in the moment. In studio, photography tends to be more conceptual.

bride to be #2 by nelsongomes_7803

How do you describe your style?

I do not like to think about my style. I do not usually label what I do. Maybe other people do or will.

If you had to choose one lens which one would it be and why?
Well, that's a very complicated question. I've always photographed with interchangeable lenses. For that reason I’ve learned to use the best of each one for each type of situation. But if I were forced to choose (with a gun pointed at the back of my neck) I would have to go with a Sigma art 35mm 1.4f. It's simply wonderful piece of glass!

What are your top 3 tips for others who want to become photographers?

First study. Study the basic principles of photography. Learn all about light and how it affects us.
Second, Take pictures. The more you photograph the more mistakes you'll make and the more you'll learn from them.
Third, be modest.

"don't look at me, look through me" by nelsongomes_7803

Have you received negative feedback from your work? What did you do about it?

About wrong techniques or my approach with failures. I always try to improve and be aware that negative feedback is grounded in personal opinion. I believe most people criticize in silence ... because what I do is not that important, for them!

Where did you learn to take photos?

Life teaches you. The personal experiences and the visual world around you teaches you how to photograph it. Then you have the teachers and the great examples of the masters. Life teaches you.

Raw vs jpg and why?
Raw! Always raw. Only in cases where the photos will be finished on the spot and sent. Then it will be in jpeg. But I believe a photo is never finished after we press the shutter button. If we think of analog photography, the pictures after being recorded on the film were worked on the dark room. This process of revelation and expansion is what we are doing today also in the digital age. We compensate for the light, the exposure time ... raw allows us to do it with more quality.

What do you carry in your camera bag?

My camera. Two or three lenses. Cleaning kit. Batteries. And when I walk with her in my back, I always take water, a good pair of sneakers and a smile!

glittering eyes by nelsongomes_7803

If you could have the gift of a great photographer who would it be and why?

My parents have always taught me that it is not good to ask for things. we must deserve them! It would be difficult to have a photographer of choice. I have many inspirations and I consider myself a very eclectic photographer.

What is the most common mistake you see people making when shooting these days?

The amount of shots they take without first thinking about the picture. You have to think first! You have to plan the photo in your mind first, then and only then you use the camera.

What is your dream location to shoot?
Any site can give you great results! Obviously if I had the chance I would go to Japan, Tibet or Mongolia... Planet Earth is the best place in the world!

"the (love) letter" by nelsongomes_7803

How do you decide on where to shoot a photo?

Obviously that depends on the client, on the budget and time.  Sometimes the best place is right in the studio.

What is next for you?

I like surprises. Maybe tomorrow I’ll decide!
For now I want to continue my personal projects in the area of intimate portrait and more conceptual imagery. There is much to explore there.
On a more professional level, well, I want to take my wedding photography to an ever better place.

What is your goal with your photography?

Happiness! Do more and better! And above all, fulfillment as a human being.