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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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Why Life is Like an Ice Cube Dispenser

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Why Life is Like an Ice Cube Dispenser

I started my morning work routine by heading into the break room for a granola bar, a cup of green tea and to refill my bottle of water. I approached the industrial sized, and rather smelly, refrigerator to fill my large, red bottle with some water and ice. Life’s biggest epiphanies happen at the smallest, most mundane moments. I then realized that life is like this stupid, in-door ice dispenser.

Before you think I am crazy, hear me out.

There are one of three things that happen at these ice dispensers:

  1. You are so determined to get ice, yet the cubes may not fit in your bottle

  2. You find out that these ice cubes do, in fact, fit in your bottle, but nothing comes out of the dispenser, despite your efforts of practically beating the refrigerator to death

  3. You are so overwhelmed with the amount of ice that is dispensed from the machine, and you realize there are enough ice cubes on the floor to sink the Titanic

The one thing that never happens… you get the perfect amount of ice, on the first try, and it all lands inside your perfect recyclable, BPA-free waterbottle that you paid way too much for at Target. Life doesn’t work the way you want it to. Like, ever.

Option 1: There are certain things in life that you may want and/or need, but they may not be available to you at this very moment. You need to work a little harder, or figure out a way to make things work to obtain this thing that you are seeking. You could run some hot water over that ice cube to make it fit. You could find a larger water bottle. You could even forget about the ice cube, and just get water.

Option 2: Things in life may seem to fit perfectly, and you believe it is the right time to obtain this certain thing in your life. You then wonder, why isn’t this happening for me? You can hear the refrigerator grinding away trying to give you the ice that you so desire, and you are so desperate and upset when you do not receive it.

Option 3: Woohoo! The ice fits, the ice machine is working, and all of a sudden… it hits you, and you are overwhelmed. Isn’t life just funny that way? You are finally able to achieve this thing in your life, and it is flying fast in your direction, yet it is just too much. You become stressed.

You will be able to achieve that want and/or need in your life, but it will always be a process. It is very rare to get the perfect amount of ice to fall into your bottle on the first try without some assistance. You often go through one of the situations above (or multiple… heck, sometimes all three) before you achieve what you have set out to do.

Just remember, life is like a box of chocolates… uh, I mean ice cube dispensers.

How adorable is this tumbler from  Loba Design Co. ?! You can find it in their  shop    HERE  !

How adorable is this tumbler from Loba Design Co.?! You can find it in their shop HERE!

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My Inspiration

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ro·mance

noun

  1. a feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love.

I find my inspiration in romance. My favorite movie is The Notebook, ultimate romance movie of all time, and the undertones of true, unadulterated love truly captivate my creativity. I try and create all of my photographs to have a hint of romance at the very least.

Throughout my photos of couples, whether it be through weddings, engagements, anniversary, or even just a normal couple photo session, I hope to show how two people feel about each other. Taking such an inanimate, unseeable being and creating a visual is my ultimate goal.

Even throughout my glamour and senior photography, I strive to show romance, in the sense of self-love. Most people do not even see that type of romance until I show them through photographs. Men and women alike need to see what a romance with their inner selves encompasses.

That is my true inspiration. Romance.

I recently participated in an amazing styled photoshoot...check out the full styled shoot here!

Venues | The Llambias House Garden, The Sanchez House
Hair + Makeup | Angie Ledyard
Cake | Sweet ’n’ Flour
Florals | Shea Hopely Flowers, Inc
Rentals | Southern Charm Events
Calligraphy | Erica Elaine Creative
Dress | The White Magnolia
Ring box | The Mrs. Box

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From Photographer to Bride | Post One

As most of you know, I am going to be a bride come Spring 2017. It has been so difficult in making the transition from thinking like a wedding photographer to thinking like a bride. Let’s be real… I had my photographer picked out before I was engaged. Other than marrying my best friend, this is my number one priority!

I have been panicking over all of the small details that don’t even matter quite yet, and I have a very long time to plan this wedding. But, I have accomplished one thing. Bridesmaid gifts! So today… I bring you a DIY bridesmaid gift. It may not be the most elaborate gift ever, but I was trying to think of comfort for my girls on the big day. The DIY gift includes:

  • Robe
  • DIY hanger
  • Necklace with handmade note
  • Bridesmaid clutch
  • Day of emergency kit
  • Wedding Details kit

Check back in the coming year for more posts on how my wedding planning is coming along!

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Is Vacation Ever Long Enough?

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My fiancé and I came back from an amazing vacation in the Bahamas back in January of this year. I can’t exaggerate this… but as soon as we got home, we booked our next vacation to New York. We absolutely love to travel and we do so any chance that we get. Luckily for us, we both have a lot of family and friends all over the country, and we know where to get the hookups. 

But honestly… is any vacation ever long enough?

Don’t get me wrong, home is definitely where the heart is, and I am not trying to escape daily life. There is just something thrilling, and also exhausting, about traveling. Whether it is an adventurous vacation to the Bahamas that we experienced earlier in the year, or just a relaxing vacation to visit family like the one we just had, so many memories are made. 

We were able to take an 8 day long vacation to New York last week. We were able to relax with family in Central Valley and Connecticut, visit my fiancé’s hometown of Port Chester, and also head into the city for some site seeing and a baseball game. 

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10 Things You May Not Know About Me

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A few weeks back my friend, and fellow photographer, Chelsey of Chelsey Jena Photography, took some absolutely gorgeous headshots for me. We had a great time that day scouting new locations, running from the rain, and trying not to fall in the St. Johns River… don’t ask!

Here are a few facts you may not know about me:

  1. I am a photographer, but I get nervous having my photo taken 
  2. I eat ANYTHING sweet… I am not kiddi
  3. I love scary movies, but I am terrified of E.T.
  4. I love driving fast and riding roller coasters, but I can’t ride the merri-go-round
  5. One of my favorite foods is coleslaw
  6. I hate artificial cinnamon 
  7. My entire closet is organized by color
  8. I watch too much Law and Order: SVU
  9. I have a Pinterest addiction
  10. I like Dunkin Donuts coffee over Starbucks

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The Importance of Personal Development

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I want to explain something. I want to show you into my world. I want to show you the truth.

My passion is photography, but I have had a love/hate relationship with her for about three years now. She is that bucking bronco that the Texas cowboy has to tame before anyone else can come near her. That seems to be the only metaphor that does our relationship any justice.

I have struggled with so many things in the photography world. It is not just learning the exposure triangle, and the rule of thirds, and learning what chromatic aberration means… believe me I didn’t know that one for a very long time. I struggled more with my personal style, branding, and loving my own work enough.

I have received more harsh criticism from myself, than from all of my peers around me. I struggle with this all the time. Every. Single. Day. I never feel like my photographs are good enough. I never feel that I am good enough. I never feel like I am ready to commit whole heartedly in my business.

I have realized one thing… it is ok to feel that way… and I am not the only one. I now know that my business is NO WHERE near what I want it to be. I am ok with that. I am taking steps to move toward that goal. I am in it for the long run and I know it will not be easy

.I have finally found some inspiration, and I cannot give this woman enough praise. Jasmine Star, you are an amazing photographer, and my greatest inspiration. Purchasing The Complete Wedding Photographer Experience course from CreativeLive was the greatest investment in my personal development.

This class is not only technical and detailed, but also inspiring. I cannot put enough emphasis on how important it is to work on yourself, develop your skills, and with A LOT of hard work you can be successful.

And as J* always says… you are enough. 

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Why I Became a Photographer

So most people don’t believe me when I say I have wanted to be a photographer since I was a child. But it is the truth. I have done anything and everything in between, trying to figure out what I ultimately wanted to do with my life. I am a millennial. I grew up in a generation that has seen the boom of the internet, Y2K, horrible recessions, and plenty of economic reform. The push in my education was to always find a high paying job. I knew I was never going to find a high paying job as an artist. I could never, realistically, become a photographer.

Photo Courtesy of:    Kaity Dinklocker

Photo Courtesy of: Kaity Dinklocker

In high school, I opted for the military and scientific route for my career. The ultimate goal was to become some kind of medical officer in the Air Force. I worked my way up to become the first female battalion commander at Riverview High School. That is where I thought my life was heading. The last month of my senior year, I was in a terrible car accident, which put an end to any kind of military career.

I always had the plan to go to college, so I started at the University of South Florida in August of 2010 as a pre-med major. I ultimately thought of becoming a physical therapist or an athletic trainer. I took one chemistry class… and I absolutely HATED everything about it. I opted for the business route and switched my major to Marketing. I thought this was the safe choice back then, I now realize, it was the best decision I ever made.

Photo Courtesy of:  Blue Lane Studios

Photo Courtesy of: Blue Lane Studios

I was always working in college. I worked at many places from retail, to a yogurt shop, to different marketing internships. Then I was given the opportunity to work at Studio One to One, a retail photography studio in the mall. I was FINALLY given the chance to show my creativity and pursue my photographic passions. This was the most demanding job I have EVER had, but the most beneficial… and from then on I have never looked back.

It has taken a long time to hone my photographic style and my skills. I know I will never stop learning, and I never want to. I love photography because I am able to capture a moment… in real time… that can be seen, and appreciated, for the future. In my opinion, a portrait is the most valuable possession for families to pass down for generations to come.

A photo is irreplaceable.  A photo is timeless.  A photo is forever.

This is why I am a photographer. 

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