Noelle Neff is an award-winning photographer and founder of Noelle Neff Photography. Her career as a professional photographer grew primarily from her love of wedding photography. She then expanded her area of expertise to include travel, sports, speakers, fine art, and portraits. Though she photographs a wide range of subjects, her work is unified by a distinct style. Neff has received acclaim for the originality of her style.
Neff went to the University of Miami, where she pursued various interests including English, the sciences, and Art. Her photography skills earned her many opportunities to work as a photographer, even while in College. A photograph of the famous writer Judy Blume was published in the college’s literary magazine, and then picked up by the main steam media. As Neff’s work began to circulate more widely, she built her network and received more job offers. Her professional career took off in leaps and bounds when she decided to work for herself long term, and formed Noelle Neff Photography.
Neff also holds informal gatherings for Miami-based women entrepreneurs at her down-town Miami offices and studio. She enjoys supporting new business owners, and sharing what she has learned on her journey. Neff also shares widely about her experience with nurturing and harnessing her own creative strengths.
Neff lives in the outskirts of Miami with her two cats. When she is not working on her business, you might find her reading a good philosophy or personal development book. IN her spare time she also sings with a group, participates in service-based charity, and spends time at the beach.
What is your favorite thing about traveling?
My favorite thing about traveling is, with-out a doubt, the food! And the eating out experiences, in general. I just love the whole experience of it, from meeting the server, to taking in all of the smells.
Is traveling a hobby or a lifestyle for you? How did you get started?
I’d love to say it’s a lifestyle, but for right now it is a hobby. My business is my life, and travel seems to be what I do to break out of my routine and get some relaxation and fun into the mix. I love my routine, and my work, but sometimes I just need a good trip so that I can unwind and expand my horizons. Sometimes my work and travel intersect, and I really enjoy the cross-over. I actually got started with traveling when a friend hired me for a magaziine shoot she was doing in Indonesia. I came back from that trip with a completely new perspective, and I thought, “Wow, I have to do that more often!”
What is the most beautiful place you’ve been to?
I’ve been to some pretty incredible places, so that’s a tough one. I see beauty everywhere! But I suppose the most beautiful place was Rome, Italy. I love nature and landscapes, but there was something really extraordinary about the architecture and man-made art in Rome that really took my breath away.
Do you have any exciting travel dates planned for the future?
In high school I was an exchange student in Tokyo, Japan. I have kept in touch with my host family in Okayama this spring. I am really looking forward to reconnecting, and seeing all of my favorite places in the city.
What are some travel tips you’d give to someone inexperienced?
My travel tips for the inexperienced are pretty simple. Be kind, suspend your judgement, and pack light. One of the most important things you can do with visiting a new culture is to just be nice and respectful to people. It will transform your interactions with others. I say suspend your judgement because when we live in very predictable lives for a long time, we start to expect things to go a certain way. When traveling you have to stop trying to control everything, and you have to accept differences. Putting judgement aside really helps me to stay open to new experiences. And pack light because no one wants to be dragging extra gear through airports! Been there, done that! I learned my lesson, so I try to pass it on to any new travelers that I encounter.
Where would you like to go?
I’ve always wanted to visit Costa Rica, but I haven’t made it yet.
Where would you like to revisit?
I’d like to revisit Paris. I went when I was in my teens, and I don’t think I experienced it to its full potential.
Do you travel alone? Why?
I travel alone, mostly because I am not married, and it is convenient to follow my own schedule rather than arranging trips with friends or family. When my close friends or family are available to join in, its great, and I welcome it. But I’m not afraid of booking a solo ticket when the mood strikes me, even if no one else can join in on the fun.
If you could pick the top 3 places every person should go, what would they be?
Tokyo for the beautiful chaotic liveliness. Big Sur, California for the natural beauty, and Rome, Italy, for its art history.
Do you travel light or do you pack up the house?
I travel uber light! I love feeling free as I move around. I actually travel with carry-on luggage only, whenever possible.