Stephanie Vella

Stephanie Vella is a passionate travel, landscape and portrait photographer based in Sydney, Australia. She developed a deep love for traveling at her young age, and has currently traveled to over 15 countries, including Iceland, New Zealand, Canada, Finland and many more. In 2018 she became a member of our NiSi team and her beautiful works are printed on our product packaging and official fine art books.

NiSi is pleased to share with you the photography journey and fantastic photos of Stephanie through this interview.


Z for Zoe and S for Stephanie Vella


Z: Hi Stephanie! Glad to meet you! Firstly, could you share us three random facts about you?


– I learnt photography backwards.

– I studied film and television at the same college Steven Spielberg graduated from.

– I work full-time for NiSi Filters Australia.


Z: What got you interested in travel and photography?

S: I fell in love with travel at quite a young age. I was very lucky that my family would do an overseas trip every few years as I was growing up, so I was fortunate enough to see and experience many new places throughout my childhood.

In terms of my interest in Photography, well that’s quite a different story. My interests actually started in Photoshop when I was around 14 years old. I started doing different types of YouTube tutorials and slowly taught myself.

I really enjoyed retouching so my first job whilst I was studying film at university was working for a local wedding photographer. I would spend all day retouching wedding photos, even though I had never really taken a proper photo myself. At this point I was learning to fix mistakes I hadn’t even made yet. It wasn’t until I graduated university that I finally picked up my first camera and started taking photos instead of filming with it. I started out in portraits (family, maternity & newborn), in which I slowly started getting enough clients that I ended up starting my own business. I look a huge leap of faith and quit my full-time job to focus on growing my business. During this time I also decided to take my first trip to New Zealand, and do a landscape photography workshop there. I love learning and I thought that this would be a great way to see a country I hadn’t been too before. I had never taken a landscape photo before, other then happy snap photos whilst travelling. This is where it all changed. I instantly fell in love. That trip was about 3 years ago now and I haven’t looked back since.


Lake Matheson Taken in New Zealand With NiSi V6 + ND (6 Stops)

Lake Matheson

Taken in New Zealand

With NiSi V6 + ND (6 Stops)


As soon as I got back I started practicing shooting landscapes as often as I could, in-between portrait shoots. I then booked my first trip to Iceland so I could chase my dream of seeing the Northern Lights.

Having a background in retouching made this an easier transition for me. I had already started to develop a post-processing style, and having this experience gave me a bit of a head start when it came to processing the images I had taken.

I continued to learn and attend as many workshops as I could so I could continue to improve. I also attended a couple workshops hosted by NiSi Filters Australia, and that is when I was really able to take my photography to the next level. I learnt all about using filters to enhance a landscape scene, and it just changed everything for me.

Then, in September of 2018 I was lucky enough to be hired by the team at NiSi Filters Australia to work for them full-time. I have been given so many amazing opportunities including running their workshops teaching people the benefits of using NiSi Filters and how to use these to enhance their images. The exact same workshops I attended less than a year prior.

I am so incredibly grateful that I get to share my passion with likeminded people, and I am in an environment that I get to learn and constantly improve every single day.


Hopetoun Falls Taken in Victoria, Australia With NiSi Enhanced Landscape polarizer

Hopetoun Falls

Taken in Victoria, Australia

With NiSi Enhanced Landscape polarizer


Z: What do you find most challenging about becoming a landscape photographer?

S: I think the most challenging thing about becoming a landscape photographer is being unable to control your scene. When I was shooting portraits I had much more control over what I was shooting, and if something didn’t work I had the power to change it.

With Landscape photography we have to work with whatever nature is giving us that day. This is where I learnt a lot more about planning for my images. Planning ahead of time where the sun would be at particular locations, what the cloud forecast would be, the tides and the swell if shooting seascapes. Although, even with all this planning, sometimes nature can surprise you. Being adaptable is so important in Landscape photography. Know that sometimes you will not walk away with an image you are happy with, but for all the images that don’t work out, it makes it even more special when you get the one that does.


Seceda Taken in Dolomites, Italy With NiSi Enhanced Landscape PL for Mavic 2 Pro


Taken in Dolomites, Italy

With NiSi Enhanced Landscape PL for Mavic 2 Pro


Z: Being a female photographer, do you think there is a difference in the way you approach the medium and subject that differs from the males?

S: I don’t believe there is a difference in the way I approach shooting that differs from males. When it comes to landscape photography, I don’t believe that gender plays any role at all. The best part about photography is that is completely non-discriminatory. Anyone can do it, and all it takes is passion and a willingness to learn. Although for some reason, there doesn’t seem to be as many females in the landscape photography industry.

To help celebrate and support women in landscape photography I have recently created a community. I hope that we will get more women out there enjoying nature and falling in love with landscape photography. This group can be found here (


Cronulla Rock Pools Taken in Sydney, Australia With NiSi S5 + ND (3 Stops) + Medium GND (3 Stops) + Enhanced Landscape polarizer

Cronulla Rock Pools

Taken in Sydney, Australia

With NiSi S5 + ND (3 Stops) + Medium GND (3 Stops) + Enhanced Landscape polarizer


Z: When did you start using NiSi filters and why?

S: I started using NiSi Filters after attending my first NiSi Filters Australia workshop 2 years ago. I learnt so much about them in such a short amount of time. I instantly saw the benefits and the creative opportunities I would have whilst using them, and have used them for every image I have created since.


Horse Head Rock Taken in NSW South Coast, Australia With NiSi V6 + ND (6 Stops) + Soft GND (4 Stops) + Enhanced Landscape polarizer

Horse Head Rock

Taken in NSW South Coast, Australia

With NiSi V6 + ND (6 Stops) + Soft GND (4 Stops) + Enhanced Landscape polarizer


Z: Which NiSi products do you usually use in your work?

S: For every single image I use either a Medium 3 stop or a Soft 4 stop grad filter. If I am shooting around water I will also use the Enhanced Landscape Polariser that is built into my holder. Then, depending on the situation and then image I want to create I will switch between either a 3, 6 or 10 stop ND filter.


Dragon Head Rock Taken in Mornington Peninsula, Australia With NiSi V6 + ND (6 Stops) + Soft GND (4 Stops) + Enhanced Landscape polarizer

Dragon Head Rock

Taken in Mornington Peninsula, Australia

With NiSi V6 + ND (6 Stops) + Soft GND (4 Stops) + Enhanced Landscape polarizer


Z: Among all the photos you took with NiSi filters, which one is your favorite? What went into creating it?

S: This is a hard question, and the answer constantly changes, but my current favourite is this shot I took at Lago Di Brais in the Dolomites. This location is literally picture perfect, so I feel like I can’t really take much credit for it honestly. For this image I used the V6 holder with Enhanced Landscape CPL, 4 stop Soft Grad Filter and the 6 Stop ND filter.

I am also lucky enough to have this image featured on the box of the new NiSi Switch Kit. It’s very cool to see my image on a NiSi product!


Lago Di Brais Taken in the Dolomites, Italy With NiSi V6 + ND (6 Stops) + Soft GND (4 Stops) + Enhanced Landscape polarizer

Lago Di Brais

Taken in the Dolomites, Italy

With NiSi V6 + ND (6 Stops) + Soft GND (4 Stops) + Enhanced Landscape polarizer


Z: Could you share your most impressive day in shooting?

S: I have been fortunate enough to experience so many amazing moments but the one that stands out the most would be seeing the northern lights in Iceland. This was by far the most incredible, awe-inspiring, memorable moment of my entire life so far.

I had already been in Iceland for 5 days with no sign of the lights!

The weather wasn’t on our side and the forecasts weren’t looking great either. We were scheduled to stay further up the north, but an unpredicted storm struck and the roads to our next destination were now closed!

We were given the option to either stay and try continue to our next destination, or to skip it, drive back down south and give seeing the lights another crack.

The vote was unanimous.

We drove around for hours chasing unsuccessfully before we decided to just stay in one spot. It was freezing cold, and cloud cover was moving in very fast. We all stood there for what seemed like forever, and just before we were about to call it a night, the sky lit up with the most incredible sight I had ever seen.

Years of dreaming and anticipation had all lead to that moment. Tears started to fill my eyes as I watched the sky do the most beautiful dance. My whole world stopped for those few minutes. I was in complete awe of our world and of nature, and truly felt unworthy of its beauty. It felt as if all the stars had aligned for us to be there in that moment, and even though there were other people around me, it felt like I was the only one there.

I still get tears in my eyes when I think back to that night. My photos really don’t do it justice, but all I know is that it’s the exact moment I knew I wanted to continue to travel the world and attempt to capture it’s beauty for the rest of my life.


Taken in Iceland

Taken in Iceland


Z: What advice would you pass on to someone looking to get a start in landscape photography?

S: The best advice I could give is to just keep practicing. Never stop learning. Get out there whenever you can. Appreciate the beauty around you and do your best to capture it through your own eyes. Everyone is unique and sees the world differently, so use that to your advantage when creating your images.



Taken in Sydney, Australia

With NiSi Natural Night filter


Z: Any plans for the coming months, photographically?

S: Unfortunately, with the current COVID-19 situation all my photography plans have been put on hold for the foreseeable future, but I am spending this time dreaming and planning trips for the future that will include Iceland again, exploring the USA and hopefully Canada also!


Sugar Pine Forest Taken in Laurel Hill, Australia With NiSi Enhanced Landscape polarizer

Sugar Pine Forest

Taken in Laurel Hill, Australia

With NiSi Enhanced Landscape polarizer