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So I don’t normally share a lot of my family portrait work. Not because I don’t love them but because my Instagram is designed to highlight my wedding & fashion work. However, this specific family is pretty special to me & I was so excited when they reached out for photos! Samantha & Steven’s wedding was my VERY FIRST wedding I shot and I was the 2nd shooter. I always knew I loved weddings but I had never “shot” one before so for all I knew I could’ve absolutely hated it. But I didn’t. I so vividly remembering 2nd shooting this wedding & SO badly wanting to take lead. It made me SO excited to start shooting my own weddings. I still talk about their wedding on a regular basis. How I have never seen two people so in love that when you walk into the same room as them it is overwhelming. In my eyes Sam & Steve’s wedding was the one that made me fall IN love with weddings & after that day I knew that I was meant to be doing this.

It makes me so happy seeing their love & family grow and I could not have been more thrilled to capture these moments for them before I take off to California. P.S apparently being photogenic runs in the family……baby Cal was a showstopper full of smiles!

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It may not be Friday but anything fashion is always a good idea! With my move around the corner I am looking forward to working with fashion and lifestyle bloggers on the West coast. I am extremely excited to merge my love for fashion with my passion for photography! So if you’re interested in inspiring the fashion world with me, send me an email!

Here is a recent shoot I did with blogger, Amy Zhang

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romper: rahi cali (sold out) | hat: lack of color | boots: sole society

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Ahhh what an emotional day! I first met Karol & Mason when I traveled to Grand Haven, MI to shoot their engagement session. That is where I first witnessed their pure joy of being in each others’ company. Where I first witnessed how much Mason ADORES Karol and where I first witnessed a love between the two of them that I knew was going to last a lifetime. I did not think I would witness a greater feeling of that until the day of their wedding.

When I think of why I love my job it is for reasons of weddings like Karol & Mason’s wedding. They have one of the closest group of friends that I have ever seen, not to mention the bond they share with their families. This day was filled with tears of joy every time you turned a corner. I listened to some of the most heartfelt speeches I have ever heard and had me hiding my tears behind my camera. When I see Mason look into his brides eyes, I see nothing but love and genuine happiness, like every time he looks at her he is thinking “I am THE luckiest guy in the entire world!”

The way he looked at her is the way I hope one day my groom looks at me. A love that reminds you to never settle until you have just that. I could not be happier to have been a part of this special day! THANK YOU Karol & Mason for letting me capture these moments that you will have as you grow old together.

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As my move to California is creeping up I am starting to feel every emotion under the sun. In a previous blog post I mentioned that I would be moving to San Diego. Currently all of my work is getting booked out of the Los Angeles area. With that said, I have decided I will be living where the work is, so LA here I come! Only 65 days until the big move, but who’s counting…

Ever since I can remember I have dreamed of living in California. I cannot believe it took me 24 years to actually get out there and see it for myself!  I always thought it would be somewhere I loved and felt at home and I was right. My entire life I have been working to get to this moment. Where I could afford to pack everything up & move across the country all on my own.

I am currently facing a lot with this move. ON TOP of a full wedding season, I have recently taken on a bunch of fashion work which is keeping me busier than ever. Additionally, I had to find a place to live (my new roommate rocks!), schedule a UHAUL, pack my apartment(my least favorite activity), and make sure I am spending as much time as possible with my friends & family while I still have the chance.

With this decision to move, I have had to to turn down Michigan weddings for 2017 which is HARD and slowly killing me inside. However, it is crucial that I save my dates for potential California weddings. I know I need to be focusing my energy there so I can start building my clientele. Turning down work is not something I am good at. But I took a risk when I decided to make this move and I have to stay focused on the bigger picture. Like they say, if it’s both terrifying and exciting it’s definitely a good thing!

I am so so grateful for the business I have built here in Michigan. Even more grateful for my family, friends & clients who helped me get to this point. It is super scary going from 40 weddings this year to starting from scratch in California. I have moments where I doubt myself & worry if I will be as successful as I am here in Michigan. I have to remind myself how I got to where I am today…by hustling and working HARD. Even though I am already an established and successful photographer, I am going into this with the same mentality I had from day one of starting my business. I am going to hustle and work my butt off like no one knows who I am. That’s what I did here in Michigan and within a year I went from 0 to 40 weddings. I think I have continued to be successful because I stay humble. I never lost that mentality. I still hustle, I still go after the work…I don’t wait for the work to come to me. You can’t stop once you’ve made it…you have to keep growing, learning and building your business because it’ll make you that much more successful.

I get a lot of emails from amateur photographers. Most of them admiring my work and wanting advice on business. Let me tell you how excited I get to receive those emails. When I am having days of doubt, I read those emails and remind myself that I am doing something right because people want to learn from me. Just one year ago I was taking workshops from other photographers asking them advice too. Little do they know I am still learning too! I may be successful but it is because I am always trying to excel and stretch myself. There is ALWAYS something to learn, whether you’re 1 day into business or 30 years into it.

From time to time I have to slow myself down and reflect on this. I am choosing to pursue a dream that I have had since I was little. Not everyone can handle the sacrifices needed to chase that dream. Because it comes with uncertainty and the feeling of being vulnerable. There has been a lot of stress and hurdles on this journey thus far but the reward certainly makes it all worth it!

Photos by: Priscilla Isaac

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  • September 22, 2016 - 1:21 pm

    Toni - I love you so much! I’m SO proud of you! Go get those dreams!!!!ReplyCancel

  • September 23, 2016 - 6:40 pm

    Jason - You’re an inspiration to all of us in the field Nicole. I love that you’re transitioning out west, because I think it reflects something many of us want to do, but the major bummer is that I won’t get to work with you any more! =p

    I’d say best of luck out there, but I know you’ve got it in the bag.ReplyCancel

Switching up today’s fashion friday to a fitness edition. I want to start sharing more about things I do in my spare time, and fitness is definitely one of my hobbies. This past May I had the honor of shooting a wedding in Montego Bay, Jamaica and my best friend Sarah Antonini joined me (stayed tuned for her fitness website coming soon)!

I always try and get some kind of workout in while I am traveling just to ensure I make time for myself. What I have learned is not having a gym is no excuse to not get a good workout in. We took advantage of the beach & the resources we had to make it happen (the resort did indeed have a beautiful gym, however, who wants to spend time inside when you’re in Jamaica)!

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