What a fun year it has been! It was so sweet and even made me a little teary-eyed looking back over all the sessions I've photographed this year. It was so hard to choose my favorites to include in this post because I've truly been blessed with such wonderful clients who make my job so easy and so fun! I never want to take for granted that I get to do what I love. Looking back over 2015, the Lord's hand has truly been evident in the little things as well as the big. Can't wait to see you in 2016 and excited for the goals I want to be striving toward in the New Year:
Nichole Lauren Photography turns one today, and I can hardly believe it! It's humbling to think about all the ways you have supported me and my little business and enabled it to come this far. They say the first year is the hardest, and I definitely see the wisdom in that. However, the first year also might be the most exciting in many ways. There is room for lots of experimentation because you're not on too many people's radar yet. You have a little more room to mess up because you're finding your style that's constantly being tweaked. I have done a lot of shifting in the last year, and the changes that have come have not just been associated with my business. A few of the big life changes have been transferring universities and living on my own in a new city. But as I reflect on 2015, I can't help but realize that a lot of the change and self-discovery I've experienced in my own in the past year has really helped mold my business along the way, and that's exciting to think about! So today, on the blog, I wanted to pause for a second and give you a little peek into my heart as it overflows with thankfulness looking back on this past year with Nichole Lauren Photography. (Plus, I went a little crazy with the balloons to celebrate and ended up with a styled shoot of sorts. Enjoy!)
They say you've got to have money to make money. I know I'm bringing up a lot of conventional wisdom here, but this one is accurate. And, to be honest, even though finances can be a struggle for any small business in their early years, I often look at it as a test of the gut. Often before making marketing or equipment purchases, I would ask myself these questions (silently, of course):
Now what you may be thinking is the thought I've had more than once, "So I have to be fully devoted to my business (or to _________) all the time. What about my life?" And that definitely can be an intimidating thought when you look at your life from an "either/or" perspective. I like to think of myself as a "both/and" kind of girl, and I will admit that has gotten me into a bit of trouble in the past. But that's only because I missed a key concept called "saying no." You cannot possibly do everything, and I definitely not positing that. Throughout high school, I thought I could. In the end I made it out alright, and I'm glad I tried out all the sports and clubs while I could! But sometimes we still live like that, don't we? Trying to dabble in all we can and never fully committing. I know, for me, I really don't like "missing out" on things or making people unhappy, so I say "yes" sometimes a little more than I should. Friends, saying "no" is liberating. I don't mean to push you to use it as your default response, but instead evaluate your motivation for doing what you're doing and genuinely respond. When you say "no" you're leaving more room to say "yes" to what you love!! And that is beautiful.
And that brings me to my core concept, the overarching theme I want to bring with me into the New Year to guide what I do: intentionality. This word alone, I think, could solve all of our stress problems, our time wasters, our discontentment, and our anxiety. Being all in and intentional with my time and my resources equals greater satisfaction. I know this for a fact because when I'm caught up doing school work or goofing off being lazy when I should be spending more time on photography, my business and my motivation suffers. However, the opposite is also true, when I'm pouring all my energy into my business and spending almost all of my time on Nichole Lauren Photography, I find my attitude suffers be it the competitiveness of the field or the fact that I'm missing out on moments with my family and friends.
What I'm trying to get at, as I wrap up this novella, is the Lord has given you talents. That's a fact. Everyone has something that they are gifted with. What matters most about my business and how it's grown in its first year is not the fact that I created my own website and built a brand I love from scratch or even that I've come closer to mastering the Adobe Creative suite. What I do gets value when I'm impacting others and spending time building relationships with you. I want that to always be my focus, and I never want to lose sight of the people behind the likes and the shares. Real-life stories are far more important than any of the ones I could ever post on my timeline.
(On that same note, here's a little real-life behind the scenes for you! This is the little munchkin that helped me with all the balloons and setup, and she wanted to take some photos too. :))
Happy Monday, friends! I know it's going to be such a great week. My heart already feels refreshed! Oh, and stay tuned on FaceBook and Instagram for some exciting announcements about birthday celebrations. Every day this week, there will be a special surprise just for you with something HUGE on Friday! Sign up for the Nichole Lauren Newsletter (on the right) >>>> to be the first for hear about everything that's going on!
I met Nicole my first semester of my freshman year. We were in two classes together, including the hardest English class I've ever taken (and I thought I was good at writing ha). After enduring any kind of difficult class together with someone, I think you just become really good friends. There's nothing like struggle to bring camaraderie, and Nicole definitely helped me through English 103 as we sat in the back and doodled all over our notes with her colored pens. Come to think of it, maybe if we hadn't been doing that, the class wouldn't have been as much of a struggle. :) Anyway, I am so glad we have stayed friends through the years because she is incredibly sweet and always a joy to be around! When she started dating Greg, I had a feeling it was something special, and I'm so thrilled that is true. So honored to have been a small part in such a big step for these two and capture some precious moments!
We drove to the cutest little Christmas tree farm just outside Clemson. The lighting was spectacular, and the owners were so gracious in letting us take photographs there! There was just so much genuine love exuding from this session. SeveraI times I just would turn around from adjusting my camera settings or scouting out our next spot and would catch them holding each other or doing something cute, and I would say, "Wait, that's perfect. Stay right there!" Love it when I don't have to pose couples but rather let them tell their genuine love story with how they naturally act around each other. I know you're going to love it!!
(P.S. Keep scrolling for an exciting announcement. Details coming to the blog soon!)
That look! Doesn't it just melt your heart? Hope you loved Nicole & Greg's session. And now, drumroll please, for some exciting news...
Next Monday is Nichole Lauren Photography's first birthday! YAAAYYY!!! Can't believe I've been in business for almost one year!! We are going to celebrate all of next week until Christmas (also YAY that it's almost Christmas). There will be a new surprise for you every single day, so you definitely want to stay tuned because you don't want to miss out on this. Want to be the first to know about what's going on?
Sign up for the Nichole Lauren newsletter on the sidebar to your right >>>. And follow along on instagram for exclusive content and behind-the-scenes fun!! Can't wait to celebrate with you next week!
So when mom suggested we take a daytrip up to Gatlinburg, I was all in. Going back, as an adult, to the city I loved as a kid was definitely an interesting experience. I realized that Gatlinburg and I were different but also the very much the same. It was like Gatlinburg had grown up with me, and we were old friends meeting after a time apart. Downtown is filled with gourmet stores, beautiful displays, and franchises now. There are still a few scattered mom and pop shops, but most of those sell non-unique t-shirts and mugs. However, I was pleased to find that the abundance of candy stores were still in existence.
The weekend was quick, but it was just the perfect getaway after Thanksgiving. We ventured up into the space needle the first night to catch a glimpse of the city, and this one street was mainly it. So cute and quaint, right!
The second day, we took my little sister to the Aquarium. It as her first time going to one, and just watching her fascination with all the exhibits was so precious. I was happy to have snapped this shot at one of my favorite tanks with the jellies. These little guys changed colors and were absolutely gorgeous, but probably my favorite view by far on this trip was the drive up. We took the scenic route through Maggie Valley and the Great Smoky Mountains. It was breathtaking!! Happy weekend, friends!!
I love travel and adventure. I love seeing things from new perspectives. I love to find good food in exciting places. And I love making moments last for as long as possible.
Follow along for behind-the-scenes on Instagram!