A little history...
I grew up in New Tripoli, a small PA farm town where my family spent almost every weekend building and renovating our 1860 farmhouse. My Dad created the design plans and taught himself how to build, do electric, plumbing, and duct work. My Mom was constantly on scaffolding. When my sister and I were little, we wore hard hats and had tool kits with toy hammers and screw drivers. Outside of careers, my parents were constantly dreaming, making plans, and then putting in the effort to implement those plans into reality.
My Dad’s background is in Industrial engineering and project management. After decades as a top leader for a Fortune 250 company, he created his own consulting firm. My Mom's background is in child psychology, and before becoming a parent, the preschool she created was named number one in the Lehigh Valley. Entrepreneurism runs through my blood. I love the idea of coming up with new strategies to increase production. I love managing the start to finish of big projects. I love the mix of down and dirty E-commerce work, vs, creating a beautiful editorial image, where one photo can take hours to style.
My education is in graphic design, but I’ve always been drawn to a camera. In high school I was on the school paper and I had one of the first digital cameras (with a hard disk...ha). In college, I was lucky enough to learn through film. I tried to gain as much experience as possible. I worked a photo job at the mall. I researched local photographers and I asked if I could shadow them. In 2004, I had a design project in college where I had to pull images from a magazine, scan them in, and then use those images to create a mock magazine spread. I loved the gorgeous images in Philadelphia Style Magazine and my favorite photographer was Jonathan Pushnik. I interviewed at Philadelphia Style as a graphic designer using that mock design spread with Jonathan's photos. A few months after I started my internship, Jonathan needed a last minute assistant and called Philly Style to see if they had an intern that could help him. That day, I drove to NYC with Jonathan to Diane Von Furstenberg’s apartment. All I had to do was hold some lights while he photographed, but being there felt so exciting and surreal, sometimes I wonder if it was a dream.
Jonathan Pushnik was kind enough to take me under his wing. After graduating from college, I did a 1.5 hr (one way) daily commute so I could work with him nearly everyday. He taught me everything about lighting, photo editing, and photo retouching. A year or so later, he asked me to be his studio manager when he moved his photo studio to Philadelphia. I left the corporate photography job I had at the time, moved to Philadelphia in a heartbeat, and worked with Jonathan for several years while I stacked my nights and weekends with freelance photo jobs. I’m beyond grateful that I got to learn from one of the best photo minds in the industry.
In 2010, I flew from the nest and took my business full time. Two photo friends, Steve Boyle and Colin Lenton, and I found a photo studio of our own. In my first January, I probably made $100, tops. It was terrifying. But, channeling into that entreprenureal, work hard, come up with a plan, visualize it, MAKE IT HAPPEN attitude, I did make it happen. And each year, I got more and more clients and did better and better. I’ve been listed as one of the top product photographers in Philadelphia, one of the best product portfolios worldwide, and my Philly studio was highlighted in the "You Wish You Worked Here" series by Philadelphia Magazine. I am so lucky to be in this field, working with amazing people, loving what I do from start to finish, and having clients and assistants who have become some of my closest friends.
The pandemic changed a lot of things, and for me, it negated the need to keep my big Philadelphia photo studio. I loved that space, but during the time that Philadelphia closed all non essential businesses, my clients started shipping products to my Glen Mills home, working with me virtually, some started coming to my house for shoots, and that stuck even after the city reopened. I realized it was time to create a studio at home. Que my 76 year old father, and his amazing building skills, and knack for always being there to help me. We had to work around his 4 day a week tennis schedule, volunteer consulting projects, and helping my mom watch all the grandkids every Thursday. But, after 9 months in the making, together we built a beautiful studio space, filled to the brim with natural light, right off of my Glen Mills home. My clients continue to come to me, or I travel to them, and I’m always prepared with ALL the set snacks. I’m so excited for this next chapter and I can’t wait to see you soon.
Agilent Technologies, American Heart Association, Ana Ono, Ashi Couture NYC, Barbara Ellick Jewelry, Benari Jewelers, Citi Trends, Comcast NBC Universal, D Home Brands, David Rovinsky Jewelers, D’Iyanu, Dropps, Five Below, Hamilton Jewelers, Inner Beauty Cosmetics, Lcor, Lyquix, Neff Associates, Nino Brand, Pearl Properties, Philadelphia Home and Design Magazine, Philadelphia Magazine, Philadelphia Style Magazine, Philadelphia Wedding Magazine, Post Brothers, Printfresh, QVC, Rolex, Skeem, SMMC, Standard Merchandising Company, Uncommon Schools
With work seen in
Cosmopolitan, Forbes, Prevention Magazine, Decible Magazine, Real Simple Magazine, Birdie, Women’s Health, Camera Ready Cosmetics, Club business international, Wildfire magazine, Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Nordstrom, Macys, The Business Journals, USA Today
“You can add Nell Hoving to our list of Philadelphia product photographers with close to 20 years of experience, showcasing a particular liking for fashion, beauty, and cosmetic items. Nell uses color and texture to complement the characteristics of a product, finding a composition that seems ripe for that moment in time. Elements just click into place in Nell’s photography, making her ideal for commercial and editorial campaigns of all kinds.” BY SANKHA WANIGASEKARA, Wonderful Machine
We’re serving up some serious office envy in our new series, You Wish You Worked Here, where we take you inside the city’s most covet-worthy jobs. From fashion-focused careers you didn’t know existed to just plain gorgeous desk setups, take a peek inside the glam life of Philly’s corporate and creative elite.
If you’re a fan of Shoppist’s print counterpart — the Scout section of Philly Mag — then you’ll probably recognize the work of Nell Hoving, the bubbly, redheaded photographer who shoots some of our prettiest pictures. Hoving’s airy studio, located in a light-filled corner of an old soap factory in Kensington, is a place of inspiration, with whitewashed brick walls, a sprinkling of vintage curiosities and huge windows that wash it all in light....