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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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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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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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Amber Nicole Photography: Extinct

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Amber Nicole Photography: Extinct

Amber Nicole Photography: Extinct

Yes… you read that correctly, this is the announcement I have been hinting at for four weeks now. Amber Nicole Photography is no longer open for business. Now, before you continue further, I am not quitting photography as a whole, rather I am re-positioning my service offerings.

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I have realized that after about two years in the wedding industry, that it is not my true calling. Don’t get me wrong, I am excited for my upcoming nuptials, and I think weddings are an amazing moment shared between two people and their families. I am just being drawn to a different side of photography.  I still believe STRONGLY in the importance of quality wedding photographs, and that those moment may only be re-lived through photos.

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However, I also believe in the importance of portraits of those you love. I believe that life’s other moments are equally as important. I believe that EVERYONE should have their portrait taken as frequently as possible, in order to capture every important detail and moment. I believe that EVERYONE should feel beautiful/handsome when looking at themselves in a printed photograph.

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I want you to think of the time you may have lost a loved one, and the first place you looked for a beautiful memory of your loved one was documented by a portrait. Or when your youngest child is graduating from high school, and you look back to the portrait of her when she was able to hardly sit up on her own. Or when your baby boy is getting married, and you look back to when he had braces, and an innocent smile on his face.

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The idea of existing in photographs intrigues and fuels my passion for photography. I want to spread the idea of printing your photos… because hey, it is kind of hard to frame a USB flash drive. With all of that being said, I am now launching Amber Nicole Portrait, Jacksonville’s newest boutique portrait photography studio!

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I would love to have you follow along in my journey to becoming a portrait photographer:

FACEBOOK | facebook.com/ambernicoleportrait

INSTAGRAM | @ambernicoleportrait

PINTEREST | pinterest.com/anportrait

WEBSITE | www.ambernicoleportrait.com

P.S. I will be completing this year out as a wedding photographer, but I will not be booking any 2017 (and beyond) weddings. If you are in search of a wedding photographer, I have a network of other photographers that I trust, and I would be more than happy to refer them to you. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions you may have, and see my website for full details and service offerings!

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Friendor Friday Part Four | The White Magnolia Bridal Collection

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Friendor Friday Part Four | The White Magnolia Bridal Collection

In Jacksonville, FL, I sit among some of the MOST talented creatives I have ever met in my life. The passion and energy that flows within the small, creative businesses baffles me day in and day out. I feel selfish just keeping what I know about these biz owners all to myself. 

Friendor (a combo of "friend" and "vendor") Friday is a four part series of interviews with some of my favorite wedding business owners in North East Florida. I have asked each of them a series of questions, so that you can get to know them a little better, and understand why they love what they do! Here is a list of my Friendors being featured:

  1. PART ONE: Ashlyn Krall, Loba Design Co.
  2. PART TWO: Caleb + Charlee Stoner, Generation Y Entertainment
  3. PART THREE: Tanya Hendricks, Southern Charm Weddings & Events
  4. PART FOUR: Kerrie Hileman, The White Magnolia

Last week you met Tanya of Southern Charm Events, and this week I am pleased to present Kerrie of The White Magnolia Bridal Collection. Kerrie and her team are some of the most fantastic women I know. These ladies truly know how to make a girl feel special on one of the most important days of her life. And I know... because I am a TWM bride myself!!! The quality of service and gorgeous gowns at TWM make for an unforgettable bridal experience for ALL women. Also, at the end of this four-part series, I have a HUGE announcement to make! So stay tuned for the announcement next week! 

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1.  Who are YOU as a biz manager?  

As the owner of The White Magnolia Bridal Collection I'm definitely the person overseeing the operations of our 4 locations (Jacksonville, Tampa, Atlanta, & Greenville)!  I'm from Jacksonville and started our first, original White Magnolia here in the River City.  I love calling Jacksonville home and being able to work day in and day out with our amazing brides here.  I've been married to my wonderful husband, Daniel, for 6 years and have a son, Patrick, and another baby boy due this month.  No little girls yet to take over the bridal biz one day, ha!

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2.  What is the primary focus of your business?  

The White Magnolia Bridal Collection is a bridal gown boutique that focuses on providing our brides with a one-on-one, individualized, personal bridal appointment.  One of our experienced consultants spends an hour and a half with each and every one of our brides to make sure that we get to know her, get to know her style and vision, and guide her through the wedding dress shopping process.  We work with a lot of amazing designers who can customize gowns to our brides needs and vision and so during the bride's appointment, we never leave her side.  We want to make sure she knows all the options that are out there for her to make her wedding dress dreams a reality.

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3.  Why do you LOVE what you do?  

There are many reasons... where to start!?!?  I love brides.  I love being able to get into the moment with them and help create a wedding day look for them that is everything they ever envisioned and more.  Its so rewarding to see a bride have her moment and for her to look at you and thank you for helping make it possible.  It gives me such a rush!  With what we do at The White Magnolia, its truly rewarding.  We get to interact and work with the sweetest customers who are so happy to be there and to be shopping with us.  And what we do is what I like to refer to is "Grown Up Dress Up".... we play until we find the perfect dress!  Who wouldn't love that?!?

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4.  If there was one piece of advice you could give to a bride, what would it be?  

Be open minded and don’t overthink it! When you’re looking for a gown, it’s important to find something that fits your everyday style and is going to complement you, not overwhelm you. Bring the people that mean the most to you and who understand your style and vision for your big day. And most importantly, remember to pick a gown that you will want to look back on thirty years from now and know that you still love it.

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5.  Just for fun... if you had a million dollars... what would you do with it?  

I'd buy a fun log cabin in the mountains.  Somewhere for my friends and family to retreat to and relax during the hot summer months and enjoy the snow in the winter time!  Even though I love it here, a change of scenery is always nice.  Then I would probably use the rest to open a few more TWM locations!   Always thinking business.....ha!

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(left) How adorable is Kerrie photographed by Jessie Preza?! (right) Kerrie is featured here with the TWM Jacksonville team photographed by Justin Demutiis Photography.

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Friendor Friday Part Three | Southern Charm Events

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Friendor Friday Part Three | Southern Charm Events

In Jacksonville, FL, I sit among some of the MOST talented creatives I have ever met in my life. The passion and energy that flows within the small, creative businesses baffles me day in and day out. I feel selfish just keeping what I know about these biz owners all to myself. 

Friendor (a combo of "friend" and "vendor") Friday is a four part series of interviews with some of my favorite wedding business owners in North East Florida. I have asked each of them a series of questions, so that you can get to know them a little better, and understand why they love what they do! Here is a list of my Friendors being featured:

  1. PART ONE: Ashlyn Krall, Loba Design Co.
  2. PART TWO: Caleb + Charlee Stoner, Generation Y Entertainment
  3. PART THREE: Tanya Hendricks, Southern Charm Weddings & Events
  4. PART FOUR: Kerrie Hileman, The White Magnolia

Last week you met Caleb + Charlee of Generation Y Entertainment, and this week I am pleased to present Tanya of Southern Charm Weddings & Events. Tanya is the epitome of southern charm and it flows through her two businesses Southern Charm Weddings & Events and  Southern Charm Vintage & Specialty Rentals. I love show casing her vintage rental pieces in my photos since they fit my style to a tee! Also, at the end of this four-part series, I have a HUGE announcement to make! So stay tuned! 

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1. Who are YOU as a biz owner?

I am the Wedding Mama. My clients quickly become my family thus the nickname! I wear it as a badge of honor. I love taking care of people and love passing on my knowledge on to my clients. I believe in sharing and caring for clients as if they were my own children. I like to think this makes me stand out in the industry.

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2. What is the primary focus of your business?

My business actually has 2 focuses. First and foremost it the wedding planning and coordination. That has been my love and baby for the last 10 years, plus! 3 years ago we added an element near and dear to my heart. I am a lover of anything vintage and antique. There was not an avenue for Brides to find these treasure without traveling to Orlando or Atlanta, so we added on Southern Charm Vintage Rentals. This was a way for me to add that something special to my Brides as well as to bring a much needed commodity to the area. My Brides get to make a wish list and you never know what might jump on the truck. It is my passion to bring the best day possible to my Brides.

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3. Why do you LOVE what you do?

I love making dreams come true. Isn't that what it is all about!

4. If there was one piece of advice you could give to a bride, what would it be?

Don't try to do it all yourself. There is no sense in you and your family being stressed to the max on your wedding day. Hire a professional that knows what they are doing.

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5. Just for fun… if you had a million dollars… what would you do with it?

Well, I would not stop working, like I said this is my passion. So I would definitely be able to do that much more for my clients. I would also spoil the heck out of my grandbabies (who are my other passion in life!)

 How adorable is Tanya in her Mini Cooper in this photo taken by Bri of  Bri Cibene Photography !

How adorable is Tanya in her Mini Cooper in this photo taken by Bri of Bri Cibene Photography!

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Friendor Friday Part Two | Generation Y Entertainment

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Friendor Friday Part Two | Generation Y Entertainment

In Jacksonville, FL, I sit among some of the MOST talented creatives I have ever met in my life. The passion and energy that flows within the small, creative businesses baffles me day in and day out. I feel selfish just keeping what I know about these biz owners all to myself. 

Friendor (a combo of "friend" and "vendor") Friday is a four part series of interviews with some of my favorite wedding business owners in North East Florida. I have asked each of them a series of questions, so that you can get to know them a little better, and understand why they love what they do! Here is a list of my Friendors being featured:

  1. PART ONE: Ashlyn Krall, Loba Design Co.
  2. PART TWO: Caleb + Charlee Stoner, Generation Y Entertainment
  3. PART THREE: Tanya Hendricks, Southern Charm Weddings & Events
  4. PART FOUR: Kerrie Hileman, The White Magnolia

Last week you met Ashlyn of Loba Design Co. for Part One of Friendor Friday. Now I want to introduce you to two of the most awesome people I know... Charlee and Caleb of Generation Y Entertainment. This duo provide an amazing experience, far above the rest of the "wedding DJ" world. Also, at the end of this four-part series, I have a HUGE announcement to make! So stay tuned! 

amber-nicole-photography-generation-y-entertainment

1. Who are YOU as a biz owner?

Caleb: I am a dreamer/thinker/entrepreneur constantly thinking of new ideas that could change or make a difference in this world

Charlee: I am the organization behind GYE; Planning, timelines, social media management, etc. I make sure Caleb's ideas are well implemented and that our business has focus and clarity.

2. What is the primary focus of your business?

Caleb & Charlee: Helping the bride & groom bridge the gap between what they want in a wedding DJ and what is available to them.

amber-nicole-photography-generation-y-entertainment

3. Why do you LOVE what you do?

Caleb: I enjoy tapping into the creative side of the business and exploring all of the music. There is a moment at every wedding during dancing where everyone seems to connect through the music and cohesively responds in a way that is hard to explain with words... We refer to this moment as the time when magic is created and it takes the "party" to a whole new level!

Charlee: I LOVE that we get to help our couples. The moment I see our bride & groom go from worried, during the early stages of that first meeting, to excited because they know that they are in the hands of professionals who will take care of them.. that moment is priceless. They come to us with questions about what will work, what to expect, etc etc, and I love being able to be that voice of experience to ease their minds and help them bring their vision to life! I love the trust they put into us for such an important part of their wedding, and I love when they come up to us at the end of the night, or text us in their getaway car, or write us an email while they are on their honeymoon sitting on a balcony in Mexico, just to say "Thank you so much, you guys were absolutely amazing, and I'm so glad we chose you!"

amber-nicole-photography-generation-y-entertainment
amber-nicole-photography-generation-y-entertainment

4. If there was one piece of advice you could give to a bride, what would it be?

Caleb & Charlee: Hire professionals whom you can trust with upholding the integrity of your wedding!

amber-nicole-photography-generation-y-entertainment

5. Just for fun… if you had a million dollars… what would you do with it?

Caleb: I hope that I would be generous with most of it by giving it to those that are less fortunate. With the remainder, I would upgrade all of our equipment and put a down payment on a venue!

Charlee: $1 Million can go really fast! I would invest $100k into stocks and retirement. I would donate $100k to charity. I would give about $100k to our immediate family. With the remaining $700k I would buy 50-100 acres of land and build a small house, a chicken coop, a dog shelter, a bunk house, a venue, and a garden. The big idea would be for the whole thing to be self-sustaining and give back to the community. Any profits from the venue would go toward the upkeep of the property and animals, employing veterans, and hosting a summer camp for kids.

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Friendor Friday Part One | Loba Design Co.

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Friendor Friday Part One | Loba Design Co.

In Jacksonville, FL, I sit among some of the MOST talented creatives I have ever met in my life. The passion and energy that flows within the small, creative businesses baffles me day in and day out. I feel selfish just keeping what I know about these biz owners all to myself. Without further adieu... I present to you... FRIENDOR FRIDAY!! 

Friendor (a combo of "friend" and "vendor") Friday is a four part series of interviews with some of my favorite wedding business owners in North East Florida. I have asked each of them a series of questions, so that you can get to know them a little better, and understand why they love what they do! Here is a list of my Friendors being featured:

  1. PART ONE: Ashlyn Krall, Loba Design Co.
  2. PART TWO: Caleb + Charlee Stoner, Generation Y Entertainment
  3. PART THREE: Tanya Hendricks, Southern Charm Weddings & Events
  4. PART FOUR: Kerrie Hileman, The White Magnolia

Also, at the end of this four-part series, I have a HUGE announcement to make! So stay tuned! But first I want to introduce you to Ashlyn!

amber-nicole-photography-loba-design-co

1. Who are YOU as a biz owner?

I'm a dreamer and a dream empowerer. As for my own business, I am constantly jotting down new ideas and big visions that I see for Loba and it's future. But more so, I'm in the business of empowering others to dream. I urge my clients to dream up and share their wildest dreams for their wedding that we are creating together. It's my favorite challenge to turn that dream into a reality. I love encouraging other businesses that I work alongside to dream as well. There is not much I can create without the help of other vendors or businesses- helping them grow or achieve one of their dreams only encourages me as a business owner. 

2. What is the primary focus of your business?

Loba Design Co. exists to represent Jesus' love, by dreaming, creating and inspiring beautiful moments with others.

amber-nicole-photography-loba-design-co

3. Why do you LOVE what you do?

I love what I do because of the relationships that form from it. When you sit down and dream with someone, create and then witness them experiencing the best day of their life, a genuine relationship cultivates. There hasn't been a wedding that I haven't cried at!

4. If there was one piece of advice you could give to a bride, what would it be?

Don't allow yourself or your loved ones to work on your wedding day. You may be the DIY, most crafty bride out there, (Lord knows I can relate!) but don't let Pinterest convince you that you don't need help. Hiring professional help for your wedding day doesn't mean that you can't have your hand in all of the pretty details and make as many centerpieces that will make your heart content- it means handing off all of the tasks that you don't find joy in, and giving you the freedom to relax the weeks leading up to your wedding and to actually enjoy and EXPERIENCE your best day ever.

Anyone who is married will tell you, "Enjoy every second- the day comes and is gone in the blink of an eye!". It's 100% a true statement- spend the quickest moments and seconds IN THE MOMENT, without worries, setting up or directing who goes where. The price you pay to enjoy the wedding day you took months to plan and a lifetime of dreaming of will not be money that you miss- you will be glad to have spent it. 

   Check out this awesome shoot (  HERE  ) Ashlyn and I worked on together for our local   Rising Tide Society   group at   Cowork Creative  !

Check out this awesome shoot (HERE) Ashlyn and I worked on together for our local Rising Tide Society group at Cowork Creative!

5. Just for fun… if you had a million dollars… what would you do with it?

Oh man! I feel like there is so much I could do with that kind of money! I would love to own my own venue one day- something that's a blank canvas for couples to come into and turn into anything they'd like. But before that it would probably be to just giveaway as many fully involved weddings as a million dollars would go. One of the greatest things about being a business owner, is that, hopefully, it provides you the means to giveback. Something that is close to our hearts is victims of human trafficking. We would love to be a part of helping to transform and provide resources to these victims to heal. Eventually, it would be our dream to see these women completely healed and finding their own love- we would give all of these women the wedding of their dreams if we could!

 She is also a gorgeous mama of the cutest little girl, Ember!

She is also a gorgeous mama of the cutest little girl, Ember!

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Why There Wasn't a Winner for the 2016 Destination Giveaway

Why There Wasn't a Winner for the 2016 Destination Giveaway

I feel like I need to explain why a winner was not chosen back on March 31st, even though I promised there was going to be one. I am going to let you in on a little secret... this was the first time I ever ran a contest to this caliber. When I started it, I am not sure I was fully prepared for what was going to happen. 

I may have disappointed you. I am sorry for that. 

I was blown away by the number of you who entered the contest, and for that, I am very thankful. I began going through the list for potential winners. I took a look at the entrees who were aware of the rules, had a date available on my calendar, and who had a compelling story to tell. This left me with 7 people. 

I contacted the first person, the winner for 2016. Unfortunately, she secured another photographer for her wedding date before I had a chance to tell her she won. I moved on to second place, then third, then fourth... all the way to 7th place. At the end of the day, none of these lovely brides/grooms were able to accept the prize.

I have learned so much from running this contest, and I hope to make the 2017 Destination Wedding giveaway so much stronger for all who enter! Once again, I thank you all for the out pour of support and love, and I apologize that a winner will not be selected for 2016. 

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