My Business is Moving to Tampa

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My Business is Moving to Tampa

 

Family, Career Growth, and My Journey to Full-Time Entrepreneurship

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You are probably sick of hearing this, but in case you haven’t (and you are reading this for a reason)… I am moving to TAMPA!!! My husband and I are moving to Tampa Bay, Florida, and we couldn’t be more excited for a ton of reasons:

  1. Family

  2. Hubby’s Career Growth

  3. Full Time Photographer

 

Number One: Family

No. We aren’t starting our family just yet. You guys need to give me a few more years on that one. Daniel and I are from the Tampa area. Daniel was born in New York and moved to Riverview when he was 12 years old. I was born in Sarasota and moved to Brandon in 5th grade. So, it’s home.

 So... originally we had a guest list of 300 that we had to dwindle down for our wedding. Yeah, I would say we have a lot of family ;) Photo Credit:  Bri Cibene Photography

So... originally we had a guest list of 300 that we had to dwindle down for our wedding. Yeah, I would say we have a lot of family ;) Photo Credit: Bri Cibene Photography

Family means SO much to both of us, and we both have HUGE families. Like, huge HUGE. This move means so much to the both of us, because we miss out on life’s important, and not-so-important moments. With both of our careers it was difficult making the trip back to Tampa even though it’s only 3 hours away. We missed out on birthdays, parties, births, and other important milestones. But the part we missed the most? Just being able to pop on over, on a random Tuesday night, and have dinner with our family. Those are the greatest moments.

How’d we end up in Jacksonville? I will make this long story short… Daniel and I ended up attending Riverview High School at the same time. That is where our friendship began, and led to our relationship after high school. After high school, Daniel attended Jacksonville University and I went to school at the University of South Florida. After graduating in 3 years, I wanted to be closer to him (and have a non-long distance relationship). Also, the job market was a heck of a lot better for a new grad with a business degree in Jacksonville.

Daniel has only ever had one job, yeah he has been with Winn Dixie since he was 17 years old. He loves every second of it, and has worked his way up through the company. Crazy, I know. As for me… I went from a job in corporate America, to a Marketing Manager for a small business… yet, MY business was always on the back burner.

 

Number Two: Hubby’s Career Growth

This man freaking loves his job. I mean, I don’t get it, because it’s a grocery store, and he works at least 12 hours a day. But he TRULY loves it. Hey, more kudos to him, because someone needs to do it… and that someone DEF isn’t me. Some of you may know, Winn Dixie was struggling there for a bit, but Daniel has stuck through it, and it will pay off.

He has been so fortunate to work under some amazing leaders, gain an insane amount of exposure from corporate leadership, and progress his career at such a rapid pace. He started out as a cashier and worked his way up to now being second in charge at his store.

Winn Dixie is going through a ton of structural changes, both financial and at the store level. My husband has been a part of projects to update processes throughout the company. His store is also about to go through a re-model… which you probably think isn’t a big deal… but it is INSANELY amazing. Without boring you anymore, he is getting transferred to a great district and will have opportunities for advancement in Tampa. I can’t wait to see him flourish.

 

Number Three: Full Time Photographer

If you are still reading, give yourself a pat on the back. You a real one! This is the reason you clicked on this blog post… you want to know more about my journey into full time entrepreneurship.

I have to start by saying, I am scared, really scared. Yeah you read that right. I am petrified. Yet, I have never felt so happy and content in my entire life. I am not scared of failing, because I know I will fail, and I will accept that gracefully. I am scared to find out if I am enough, and if I have what it takes to run a business full time. I am scared that this decision could be a huge set back in my life. You know what I am more scared of though? Regret.

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I know this is the right, and only, time in my life I will be able to take a risk, and face entrepreneurship head on with every fiber of my being. Daniel and I have prepared as much as we possibly could, both financially and emotionally. We have taken as many steps as we can to make this thing work. Now, it is up to me to actually make it happen.

If you have been around since the beginning of my business, you know I started out doing #AllTheThings. I found a specialty in weddings and portraits, and after two years, I found my niche in branding and portraits. I grew my business in the wee hours of the night time and on the weekends. Throughout college and in my early 20s, I did enjoy myself, but not to the extent that my peers did. I didn’t go out every single weekend. I couldn’t go to happy hour every week. I simply had to work, and work my butt off. I spent every waking moment at my full time job, working on my business, and taking care of myself/house. That was it.

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVED everything about it, and I would never trade it for anything in the world. But, I still didn’t have the time to build the business of my dreams. It still wasn’t enough.

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I am proud to say that I can now put every ounce of energy into my passion. Into my business. And into myself. I know it won’t be easy to make this move. Hey, I am basically building a book of business again from the ground up.

And in case you are wondering… I will still be around in Jacksonville, I will take clients in the area, and I will travel. My portrait and branding photography studio will now have a home base in Tampa.

 

Want to know more about my services?! Click on an image below and fill out the form, and I would love to setup a FREE in-person or over the phone consultation with you!

amber-nicole-portrait-branding-photographer-photography-tampa-florida-hillsborough-senior-glamor
amber-nicole-portrait-branding-photographer-photography-tampa-florida-hillsborough-senior-glamor

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A Letter to My Husband

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A Letter to My Husband

A Personal Post Dedicated to Daniel as I Become a Full-Time Photographer

 One of my FAVE photos from our wedding day, shot by  Bri Cibene Photography

One of my FAVE photos from our wedding day, shot by Bri Cibene Photography

We are getting a little personal on the blog today. As most of you know, my husband and I are moving to Tampa, and transitioning into new stages of our careers. I am making the shift to become a full-time entrepreneur, and he is furthering his career in retail. 

Not going to lie… this season of life is hard. REALLY HARD. I maybe get to see my husband for a few hours a day… and one of us is usually sleeping. Here is the thing, I know this is all temporary. 

It is weird for me to not only share my emotions, but to share them so publicly. But this man deserves it, and it is worth every ounce of vulnerability.

 

A LETTER TO MY HUSBAND

Thank you. Simply, thank you. 

I can’t believe that you were put into my life with such purpose. You push me to be a better person. A better woman. A better entrepreneur. I don’t think I will EVER be able to show you how grateful I am for letting me follow my path, even though it is so risky. 

The year ahead of us is going to be the most difficult year of our relationship. The next year is also going to be the most rewarding. This year will set up the foundation for our family and our legacy. 

I appreciate your sacrifice of working long days, and coming home to a wife who has been sitting behind a computer screen for hours… and who might be slightly tired and cranky. But I appreciate your vision for the bigger picture and for our future, despite the lack of time we get to spend together on a daily basis. This will be worth it. I promise. 

You are the strongest, and kindest, person I know. I have never been more in love with you. Thank you for allowing me to follow my passion, and for believing in my dreams just as much as I do. 

 

This is marriage. The stage in life my husband and I are about to enter (I’ll be traveling back and forth to Tampa for weeks at a time through August) is the stuff people warn you NOT to do in a marriage. This is the stuff people gripe and complain about on a daily basis.  This situation WILL throw us curve balls every single day. 

I am beyond ready to make the leap into full time entrepreneurship, but he will be there WHEN I fail along the way. He has always been there through the long working nights, and the weekends full of photoshoots. 

I know this post isn’t like my other posts… but if you can take one thing away from this… get you a husband like mine ;) haha! I’m just kidding. 

The key takeaway here is that hard work will pay off, and if you are fortunate enough to have a support system like the one I have, you need to thank them. Thank them with all of your heart. 

 

ARE YOU FOLLOWING ME ON INSTAGRAM YET?

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Client Spotlight | The Willow Sisters

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Client Spotlight | The Willow Sisters

Branding Photo Shoot for Talented Twin Singers

Branding photos shoot for The Willow Sisters, an acoustic pop duo in Jacksonville, FL. Amber Nicole Portrait, a boutique, makeover, photography studio based in Jacksonville, FL. As the owner and lead photographer, she offers portrait photography in the greater Jacksonville area, Saint Augustine, the State of Florida, and is available for travel. She has developing her ethereal, natural, and bright style since 2012.

As soon as I heard this duo, I knew this was bound to be such an amazing branding shoot! Kristen and Brittany are twin sisters, who are as equally talented as they are beautiful. They star as the premier voices of an acoustic/pop duo called The Willow Sisters. They have some amazing cover songs over on their YouTube channel from “Pillowtalk” by Zayn to “Love Yourself” by Justin Beiber.

Branding photos shoot for The Willow Sisters, an acoustic pop duo in Jacksonville, FL. Amber Nicole Portrait, a boutique, makeover, photography studio based in Jacksonville, FL. As the owner and lead photographer, she offers portrait photography in the greater Jacksonville area, Saint Augustine, the State of Florida, and is available for travel. She has developing her ethereal, natural, and bright style since 2012.

These girls have an AMAZING chic boho style, and of course, clothes were supplied by The Copper Closet. We really wanted to go with a very natural scene, so Julington Creek Preserve was the perfect location. The heat was unbearable. The bugs were everywhere. But the sunset… ugh… just perfection!

The Willow Sisters recently collaborated with Palm Trees & Power Lines for this unique cover of Ariana Grande’s “Dangerous Woman”

Brittany and Kristen’s style and brand fit so well with what I LOVE shooting most. Super chic, very girly, boho inspired branding resonates with my inner “hippie.” The Willow Sisters are currently working on original songs, but for now, head over to their Facebook or Instagram to keep up with their latest covers of hit songs.

I want to tell YOUR story, book your dream branding shoot here

 

If you enjoyed this, check out these posts!

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Man, I Really Screwed Up

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Man, I Really Screwed Up

Learn From My Mistakes, and How to Overcome Your Biz Failures

As a young entrepreneur, I entered the business realm knowing that I would fail along the way. I knew that I would drop the ball somewhere. Everyone always tries to give you advice on how to recover, but you never know until the situation arises. Everyone tells you “oh, everyone goes through this, it is how you succeed one day!” What they don’t tell you… how much it actually breaks you down.

Learn from my mistakes, and how to overcome your biz failures. Amber Nicole Portrait, a boutique, makeover, photography studio based in Jacksonville, FL. As the owner and lead photographer, she offers portrait photography in the greater Jacksonville area, Saint Augustine, the State of Florida, and is available for travel. She has developing her ethereal, natural, and bright style since 2012.

Friends, I am never one to shy away from the truth. I have had my mess ups, some small, and some big. It happens. But, the hard part? I am SUCH a people pleaser, and it literally tears me down to know that someone is not happy with me. It depletes my energy to the point where I will lie in bed all day.

There was one time in particular, that I am hoping you can relate to, that I lacked communication. I want to provide you with the “solution” I came up with. I actually lost out on a great customer. She was a first hand referral from someone REALLY important, who put their reputation on the line for me.

So, I currently share a studio with a makeup artist, and her friend’s mother was looking for updated head shots. I thought, great! I would love to add this work to my portfolio, and a word of mouth referral, from a friend, is the strongest lead that I know of. At the time, I was going through a lot personally, and I was planning my wedding. That is not an excuse for anything, but it gives you insight on to why my mistake happened.

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So, the makeup artist’s friend filled out my inquiry form, and I got her rolling along in my booking process. If you know me, I am never one to shy away from communication. Most of the time you can’t get me to shut up! But for some reason, I was so bogged down with stress and life, that my communication moved at a snail's pace.

I would go days without responding to her emails. I felt like a terrible person, but I also thought, hey, she isn’t going anywhere, this was such a strong lead. A few weeks went by, and I still didn’t have her completely booked, I know, really terrible management on my part. I then received a very short email:

“... We have booked another photographer.”

I was mortified, and I immediately broke down, and felt a pit in my stomach. I thought to myself, “what have I done?”

Listen, we are humans, and we all make mistakes. In my life, I have found that the best recovery is admission. I immediately emailed her back with my sincerest apology, and I owned up to the lack of communication.

Did I ever hear from her again? No. Do I ever expect to hear from her again? No.

The biggest thing to take away from my experience is to own up to your mistakes. Once I did so, I felt the pit in my stomach go away. I know I will never be able to resolve the amount of disservice I offered to this customer. I will never be able to fix that. What I can do is learn from the situation and admit to my faults as best I can.

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3 Reasons You Should Start Selling Prints Today

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3 Reasons You Should Start Selling Prints Today

A Look into Why and How I Sell Printed Products to Clients

3 reasons you should start selling prints in your photography studio! Amber Nicole Portrait, a boutique, makeover, photography studio based in Jacksonville, FL. As the owner and lead photographer, she offers portrait photography in the greater Jacksonville area, Saint Augustine, the State of Florida, and is available for travel. She has developing her ethereal, natural, and bright style since 2012.

So I started my photography career at one of those Olan Mills type of photography studios in the mall. But we weren’t Olan Mills, we were Studio One to One. I learned so much during my one year stint at that little portrait studio. I had to deal with a high-volume environment, while managing an in-person sales (IPS) system. After I left that job, I NEVER wanted to sell prints EVER again. It was way too stressful and I felt like a sleazeball, car salesman.

But, oh, have I changed my mind! Beginning in 2017 I switched my business from a “shoot and burn” business model to a boutique, portrait studio experience with in-person sales and printed products. Here are three reasons why I will never look back, and why YOU should introduce prints into your studio.

 Number 1: Drastic Increase in Income

I introduced printed products into my business as I switched from a shoot and burn wedding photographer, to a niche, portrait only studio. I had to introduce products to subsidize the income I was going to lose from higher priced weddings. Yes, the income replaced itself as I introduced products, but what I was also able to do was astounding. I now work LESS hours, make MORE money, and provide the HIGHEST amount of service possible to my clients.

I don’t believe in hiding anything from you all, so I have included what my average sale used to be with a shoot and burn model, compared to a boutique, product model.

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As you can see the average sale is very close in price. I am able to take 2-4 portrait clients a month, where as I would only take 1 wedding client, and 2 portrait clients per month on my shoot and burn model. Prints have allowed me the freedom to attract my ideal client, and work with the people I want to.  

Number 2: Provide Clients with Timeless Heirlooms

I always tell my clients… “It is difficult to frame a USB and mount it above your fireplace mantle!” It is how I feel about digital prints now-a-days. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE sharing photos all over social media for my friends and family to see. But there is something about printed photographs that make my heart skip a beat.

I am not one to usually go the old school route, but we need to get back to the days where you have a family album, or a huge 30 x 40 framed picture of your loved ones, hanging in the living room. There is something marvelous about archival quality prints that you can pass down to your children, your children's children, and for many more generations.

3 reasons you should start selling prints in your photography studio! Amber Nicole Portrait, a boutique, makeover, photography studio based in Jacksonville, FL. As the owner and lead photographer, she offers portrait photography in the greater Jacksonville area, Saint Augustine, the State of Florida, and is available for travel. She has developing her ethereal, natural, and bright style since 2012.

I remember coming across old portraits of my grandparents when they first started dating, and it was the most precious thing I had ever seen. Being able to share those moments with your family is priceless. Give your clients the gift of printed photographs.

Number 3: Not a One Time Sale

This is by far the best reason I switched to printing products, rather than delivering images in a gallery or on a USB. You can turn your current clients into repeat customers, and tap into their network of family and friends to sell more!

Ok let’s start with turning your current clients into repeat customers. My print packages come with 6, 12, or 20 photographs delivered in a portfolio box, plus I have a few a la carte options. If a client doesn’t select the largest package, I will hold onto whatever prints they do not buy. Later on in the year I entice them to buy the remaining images. I could create a “fill your box” promotion, and tell clients to buy their remaining prints, and they would receive a gift of some sort. Or I could offer print credit for their next photo session when they buy their remaining images.

That may sound a little confusing at first, but it is the easiest way to get clients into your studio again and again. This will give you consistent income throughout the year, rather than a seasonal push. P.S. I do not offer a discount that will subtract from the value (i.e. half off, buy one get one free, etc.). I only offer incentives that add to the value of the purchase (i.e. Gift with Purchase, Print Credit, Gift Cards, etc.). This all boils down to a psychology thing… and that is an entirely different blog post!

3 reasons you should start selling prints in your photography studio! Amber Nicole Portrait, a boutique, makeover, photography studio based in Jacksonville, FL. As the owner and lead photographer, she offers portrait photography in the greater Jacksonville area, Saint Augustine, the State of Florida, and is available for travel. She has developing her ethereal, natural, and bright style since 2012.

You can also sell to your current client’s family and friends. Your portrait clients have friends and family that would love to own photographs of them. So why would you not sell to them as well? You can create a reveal session, and online ordering system, that would allow your client’s family members to buy products from you! Plus, once they get to know your work, they may come in for a session of their own. Offer your clients a secure site or online invoice, and send them a link to forward along. If their family members would like to see the photographs before buying, set up a premier ordering session via Skype. The possibilities are endless my friends!

3 reasons you should start selling prints in your photography studio! Amber Nicole Portrait, a boutique, makeover, photography studio based in Jacksonville, FL. As the owner and lead photographer, she offers portrait photography in the greater Jacksonville area, Saint Augustine, the State of Florida, and is available for travel. She has developing her ethereal, natural, and bright style since 2012.

So I have to ask you, what is the main thing holding you back from selling prints and products in your own studio? I would love to hear from you, so feel free to leave a comment below or shoot me an email. I would love to help work through whatever blocks you are facing. I promise you this, IPS and products are the future to sustainable income for your photography business.

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Client Spotlight | Rebecca’s Portrait Session

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Client Spotlight | Rebecca’s Portrait Session

Rebecca’s Story as She Fights Breast Cancer

Client Spotlight - Rebecca's Portrait Session. Rebecca’s Story as She Fights Breast Cancer. I don't even know where to begin with this beautiful woman right here. Rebecca is only 28 years old, and she is in the fight of her life against breast cancer. Rebecca's laugh and smile is infectious in every way, and her beauty and strength amaze me. Rebecca contacted me about a week before her scheduled double mastectomy, and I brought her into the studio right away! We spent the day glamming her up, and listening to her story. There was a ton of laughter, quite a few tears held back, all while we created wonderful, timeless, heirloom portraits.

I don't even know where to begin with this beautiful woman right here. Rebecca is only 28 years old, and she is in the fight of her life against breast cancer. Rebecca's laugh and smile is infectious in every way, and her beauty and strength amaze me.

Rebecca contacted me about a week before her scheduled double mastectomy, and I brought her into the studio right away! We spent the day glamming her up, and listening to her story. There was a ton of laughter, quite a few tears held back, all while we created wonderful, timeless, heirloom portraits.

Client Spotlight - Rebecca's Portrait Session. Rebecca’s Story as She Fights Breast Cancer. I don't even know where to begin with this beautiful woman right here. Rebecca is only 28 years old, and she is in the fight of her life against breast cancer. Rebecca's laugh and smile is infectious in every way, and her beauty and strength amaze me. Rebecca contacted me about a week before her scheduled double mastectomy, and I brought her into the studio right away! We spent the day glamming her up, and listening to her story. There was a ton of laughter, quite a few tears held back, all while we created wonderful, timeless, heirloom portraits.

Rebecca wanted to have her portrait taken before her double mastectomy, to document this time in her life, before her body drastically changed. I LOVED photographing the outfits she brought in! But my favorite was this beautiful white, lace, cocktail dress that fit her figure so perfectly. My legendary pink backdrop made an appearance, of course! I have to say, the backlit images, are just angelic.

 My lovely studio mate, Carrie of Carrie Wilson Makeup, dolled Rebecca up in the most natural and dewy makeup, with beautiful, soft, wavy hair. This effortless and timeless look allowed Rebecca’s inner beauty to shine through, and I mean c’mon… just look at that million dollar smile.

My thoughts and prayers are with Rebecca and her family, as they go through this life changing experience. I have only known her this short period of time, but I know she is strong and will persevere through this! Go kick cancer’s butt! #BeckyStrong

 I want to tell YOUR story, book your dream shoot HERE!

 

If any part of Rebecca's story resonated with you, I must ask you to give her the gift of portraits. Rebecca has already purchased a package of portraits, but with your help, we could give her the biggest package I offer! These are memories and heirlooms for her to cherish, and what better way to celebrate life! Please CLICK HERE for Rebecca's donation page!

If you liked this post, check out these!

 

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If Only I Knew What I Was in For

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If Only I Knew What I Was in For

5 things I Wish I Knew Before Starting My Business

I have been a photographer for 5 years now. This has been one heck of an emotional rollercoaster. Don’t get me wrong, I am very grateful for everything photography has brought me at such a young age, but there are a few things I wish I knew before I started on this adventure. So, here are a few things I wish I knew when I didn’t have everything figured out. (FYI, I still don't have everything 100% figured out, but does anyone ever?)

5 things I wish I knew before starting my photography business. Amber Nicole Portrait, a boutique, makeover, photography studio based in Jacksonville, FL. As the owner and lead photographer, she offers portrait photography in the greater Jacksonville area, Saint Augustine, the State of Florida, and is available for travel. She has developing her ethereal, natural, and bright style since 2012.

Number 1: Uncle Sam Wants His Money

Ladies and Gents. Just give the government the money and the paperwork they want. You will thank me for this later.

When I first started, I thought all I needed was a logo, a Facebook Business Page and a rinky-dink website that I created on Wix. Oh boy was I wrong. Here is the thing, I went to college. I was a business major. Up until this point in life I didn’t realize that I didn’t know SQUAT about being an entrepreneur. They don’t teach you how to run a business in school.

So before you even think about charging anyone, you really need to get your biz s**t together. Now this varies state to state, and I am by no means a “tax/legal/insert whatever else you want to here” expert. My best advice to you is hire an accountant or go to Legalzoom and get your ducks in a row.

Oh, and last thing, pay everything on time. I forgot about my state sales tax for two quarters, and I was hit with a $150 fine. That is a lot of money to a small business, so just do it, and do it on time.

 

Number 2: Don’t Buy Stupid Stuff

This is pretty self explanatory, but keep in mind the expenses you might be racking up, without a whole lot of income coming in.

I started out my business with a Rebel T3, and I thought I was a BALLER!!! I used the heck out of this camera and the kit lens for about a year and a half before I even bought my nifty fifty. I shot my first two weddings on this camera alone (not the best idea FYI), and I got through a ton of portrait sessions with this bad boy. I also used to edit all my photos on a tiny 13” Acer Laptop, that needed some color calibration.

At the beginning of my business, I thought I needed the latest and greatest camera bag, and random camera accessories, rather than saving that money and investing it later. Even if you are not a photographer, try and take something away from this. I have operated a debt free business, meaning that I do not have a business loan, and I do not have a line of credit. Actually, I just applied for my first business credit card two days ago, and it is scary!!

If you are an event coordinator, you don’t need to own a beautiful office right away. Starbucks is totally cool with your clients, or look at meeting at a coworking space (if you are local to Jax, check out Cowork Creative). If you are a blogger, just use that laptop that I know you still have from your college days, and make that thing work. Once you bring in some dollar bills, then you can upgrade to that iMac I know you have been eyeballing.

5 things I wish I knew before starting my photography business. Amber Nicole Portrait, a boutique, makeover, photography studio based in Jacksonville, FL. As the owner and lead photographer, she offers portrait photography in the greater Jacksonville area, Saint Augustine, the State of Florida, and is available for travel. She has developing her ethereal, natural, and bright style since 2012.

 

Number 3: You Aren’t Perfect… and that is ok!

My ego was the size of the moon when I first started, especially before I had my first client. I thought my pictures were the greatest thing ever created since Leonardo da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa. Then… I edited my first photo session. I kid you not, everything was blurry and out of focus… the best part is (*cue sarcasm*) that I shot the whole thing in Auto mode, and shot JPEG only. There was NO WAY I could save this session. Thank the lord it was just for a friend and I didn’t charge anything, but it was a swift kick in my butt!

Everyone starts somewhere. Muhammad Ali wasn’t always great at boxing. Derek Jeter didn’t hit home runs straight out of the womb. Steve Jobs didn’t create Apple in a day. My point here is to say that you can’t start out perfect, and you must always be willing to grow.

 

Number 4: Invest in Education and Find a Mentor

This goes hand in hand with my last point. Make sure you seek education in your particular field of interest. See if you can find someone who is successful in that field, and would be willing to mentor you. If you work a full time or part time job, you have a secure pillow of income. Use the money you are making in your small biz to invest into your business and your own education, while you don't have to pay your own salary.

Education doesn’t mean going to a four year college or a traditional form of schooling. There are plenty of online classes you can take from experts, or  find some of their content for free on this thing called "the internet." If you invest your time and resources into consistent learning, it will help improve your business from the get go.

I wish I had invested in education early on. Only within the last two years have I sought outside help and advice. I love Creative Live and The Rising Tide Society for both free and paid education, especially if you operate in the creative realm.

 

CHECK OUT MY LATEST WORK OVER ON INSTAGRAM

 

Number 5: This isn’t all Rainbows and Butterflies

Now, it took me a little longer to realize this than most people. Entrepreneurship is exhausting. I can’t lie about that. You are literally wearing every single hat in your business, and at first this is all that you can afford to do. I promise you, it does get better. You will find your groove, and figure out systems that work best for you!

If you want to run a business because you think it will be easier than your typical nine to five corporate job, and you will get to make your own schedule, and do what you want… think again. You have to put in a vast amount of work to get to that level. You have to dedicate SO MUCH time to reach that point in your business, and yet, it is so fulfilling if it is what you truly desire.

I don’t mean to say this to break you down, but rather to lift you up, and propel you forward. If this is what you want, take something away from this, and implement a change in your own small business. I wish these were things someone flat out told me in the beginning! It would have saved me a lot of trouble of feeling as if I wasn’t meant to be an entrepreneur. I am telling you that it is ok, and that you will make it through this! Go kill it boss babe/gent!

 

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Why I Retouch Images

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Why I Retouch Images

I believe EVERYONE is beautiful, but I retouch for a reason

So. Before you shoot me, and tell me this is what is wrong with the world, I encourage you to read before you judge. After that, hate me all that you want!

Why I Retouch Images. I believe EVERYONE is beautiful, but i retouch for a reason. Read more about the main reason why I retouch images, and why I don't believe in retouching to an unrealistic standard. Amber Nicole Portrait, a boutique, makeover, photography studio based in Jacksonville, FL. As the owner and lead photographer, she offers portrait photography in the greater Jacksonville area, Saint Augustine, the State of Florida, and is available for travel. She has developing her ethereal, natural, and bright style since 2012.

I am in love with Aerie, and their #AerieReal campaign, where they promote un-retouched images of their models. Women are being portrayed at an unrealistic standard far too often in the media. Size 0 models are being photoshopped to unrealistic proportions, that are unobtainable to ALL woman.

Yet, I still believe in retouching.

I am not talking about unrealistic standards here. I am talking about a simple enhancement of your natural beauty. I photograph men and women… real men and women, not high-fashion models. That doesn’t mean that they don’t want to be beautiful/handsome. Here is an example of what I DO retouch.

Why I Retouch Images. I believe EVERYONE is beautiful, but i retouch for a reason. Read more about the main reason why I retouch images, and why I don't believe in retouching to an unrealistic standard. Amber Nicole Portrait, a boutique, makeover, photography studio based in Jacksonville, FL. As the owner and lead photographer, she offers portrait photography in the greater Jacksonville area, Saint Augustine, the State of Florida, and is available for travel. She has developing her ethereal, natural, and bright style since 2012.

I will not slim down your beautiful waistline, but I will enhance your gorgeous curves through posing. I will take away a pimple, because let’s face it, NO ONE likes them, and they are a temporary part of your outward appearance. I love a woman who shows off her scars and stretch marks, but if you want them taken off, I am more than happy to do so.

You want to know why?

It is so much more important to me to see you have your portrait taken. It is important for you to EXIST IN PHOTOS, and if taking away a simple scar on your chin will get you in front of the camera, then I will do so. I want to document your beauty, in all it’s glory, and I don’t want you to hide any longer. I want YOU to feel beautiful!

Do you know a special person in your life that deserves to feel beautiful? Give them the gift of portraits

So I retouch for one reason and one reason only… to make sure you are comfortable enough to have your portrait taken! Far too often, you see mothers, fathers, grandparents, and your loved ones, shying away from the camera for YEARS due to an insecurity. If I can help strip away those insecurities, pose you beautifully, and capture who YOU are, I can take a little back lash for any retouching nay sayers!

As a final thought, I never want to make you look like someone else. Never. I want to make sure you see the most beautiful photo you have ever seen of yourself. I never want to promote unrealistic beauty standards to the young men and women of the world, I want to make sure they have portraits to pass down for generations.

Why I Retouch Images. I believe EVERYONE is beautiful, but i retouch for a reason. Read more about the main reason why I retouch images, and why I don't believe in retouching to an unrealistic standard. Amber Nicole Portrait, a boutique, makeover, photography studio based in Jacksonville, FL. As the owner and lead photographer, she offers portrait photography in the greater Jacksonville area, Saint Augustine, the State of Florida, and is available for travel. She has developing her ethereal, natural, and bright style since 2012.

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The Never Ending Search for Organization

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The Never Ending Search for Organization

 

My Top 3 Organization Tools and 2 of them are FREE!

 

So can we talk about organization for just a sec? 100% organization in life is more rare than a Starbuck’s Unicorn Frappuccino. I feel like I am always seeking the latest/greatest/best organizational tools, and I always seem to fall short of organizing my crazy, chaotic life.

Most of you know that I work a full time job in marketing by day, and I chase my “day dreams” at night. Time is of the essence for me, as I am sure it is for most of you! My time is so limited, so I put systems in place to make sure everything is organized. As my nana always said, “There is a place for everything, and everything is in it’s place.”

Man oh man, did she beat that mantra into my brain for the last 24 years of my life, but I am so thankful that she did! I really want to bring you some of my favorite organizational tools to help get your s**t together, but before I do, I have a FREEBIE for you! This is what I use to organize my massive list of folders and files on my desktop. Click below to download!

 

My Top Three Organization Tools!

  1. Trello
  2. Google Drive
  3. 17hats

 

 

Trello: My Project Management Tool

Where to even begin with Trello. This is by far the easiest, and best project management tool I have ever used. There are so many ways to customize this tool to fit all of your business and personal needs. You need to create an all-inclusive editorial calendar with a workflow attached? Check. You need a way to store all of those important biz documents, passwords, logins, and more? Check. Heck, you need a way to plan out your meals and grocery checking list? Check.

I am telling you… Trello does it all. Oh, and to top it all off, there is even a mobile app. Score!

If you want to learn all things Trello, I suggest you head on over to my gals at Think Creative Collective. Abagail and Emily created an AH-MAY-ZING course that changed my life… forever! Bonus points: it is under $30. When was the last time you spent $30 and had your life turned upside down for the better?! Check out the course, and I promise you won’t be disappointed!

 

Google Drive: My EVERYTHING Tool

Google Drive is literally my life. I keep all of my important digital files within Google Drive, and the best part is I can access it anywhere, and I don’t have to lug around a clunky external hard drive. You can totally get Google Drive for FREE, but it is so worth it to upgrade your account for more storage.

I used Google Drive to organize all important contracts, shared documents, and inspiration photos for my wedding. I use Google Drive and Google Docs to create all of my content, and store it away in a perfect organized system. I use Google Drive to share and collaborate with other business owners when working on shared projects.

Grab your free desktop background and organize all of your important computer files! [Custom Text] Amber Nicole Portrait, a boutique, makeover, photography studio based in Jacksonville, FL. As the owner and lead photographer, she offers portrait photography in the greater Jacksonville area, Saint Augustine, the State of Florida, and is available for travel. She has developing her ethereal, natural, and bright style since 2012.

 

I have found that Google Drive, versus their competitors like Dropbox or Box, is more user friendly, and is faster to use. It is easily accessible to anyone you need to share content with. Google Drive is also highly compatible with other programs, such as Trello… that is how I schedule my editorial calendar and keep blog posts organized!

 

17hats: My Client Management Tool

This is the one management tool that I pay for, and it is WELL worth it! There are so many tools out there on the market such as Honeybook, Asana, Shootproof, etc. 17hats just made so much sense for my business. I primarily use 17hats to manage all client related documents like contracts, quotes, invoices and contact information. 17hats allows me the flexibility to add my branding to all documents that are sent to clients via email. My client doesn’t have to log in to some weird system, they just click a couple buttons, and boom! I get paid, and all documents are signed!

The main reason I fell in love with 17hats was the bookkeeping feature. Holy Moly, was this a life saver. I am not an accountant. I never want to be an accountant. I took accounting classes, and this stuff is still so far over my head, it isn’t funny. There was no way I was going to devote more of my precious time to learning how to operate Quickbooks. 17hats syncs perfectly with my banking system, and allows me to categorize all my transactions. I print out pretty, easy to understand reports… then hand it off to my accountant. Easy freaking peasey.

I could go on all day about the awesomeness that is 17hats!! I was an early bird to this program, so I bought access to the system at a really decent rate for a 3 year subscription. They have plans for as little as $25 a month now, and they send out discount codes all the time!

  Need something to post to Instagram today?! Feel free to screen shot this image, tag me (@ambernicoleportrait), and use #ANPquotes so I can see your post, and I can follow along!

Need something to post to Instagram today?! Feel free to screen shot this image, tag me (@ambernicoleportrait), and use #ANPquotes so I can see your post, and I can follow along!

Well, I hope this helps in your search for a system that works for you! I would love to hear about some tools that you find most helpful. Just leave me a comment below, or find me on social media and give me a shout! Also, don’t forget your desktop freebie (above)!!

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Downtown Jacksonville Skyline Engagement Session

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Downtown Jacksonville Skyline Engagement Session

YOU GUYS. Just look at this. <3 Is this not the most perfect thing you have ever seen?! This was by far one of my favorite sessions ever, and definitely something new to add to my portfolio. Danielle and Ryan are so deeply in love, and will soon tie the knot.

Surprise engagement session in downtown Jacksonville, FL. A surprise proposal taken place on top of buildings, and skyscrapers in Florida urban area. Amber Nicole Portrait, a boutique, makeover, photography studio based in Jacksonville, FL. As the owner and lead photographer, she offers portrait photography in the greater Jacksonville area, Saint Augustine, the State of Florida, and is available for travel. She has developing her ethereal, natural, and bright style since 2012.

Would you believe that it was in the low 50s, and super windy on these Jacksonville rooftops, and these two brave souls toughed it out for a beautiful sunrise. Meanwhile I am shooting in what looked like a wool parka, in true Florida girl fashion. It was such an amazing sight to capture this amazing time in their lives and I cannot wait to see their love blossom even more!

Danielle and Ryan are owners of The Copper Closet, a local Jacksonville clothing boutique. Check out their full engagement gallery HERE!

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE? FOLLOW ALONG ON INSTAGRAM!

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