Big Change is a Coming!

Hi friends!  In case you haven't been here before, let me introduce myself, I'm Nikki, photographer and owner of Sweet July.  I should be blogging at least once a week but alas, I fail.  I've been in business since January 2008 and have struggled with blogging every.step.of.the.way.  It's so ironic too because I actually love to write!  I think, in the beginning, I struggled mostly with what people would think of what I wrote, would they laugh at me or think I'm completely crazy or worse, just plain boring and uninteresting.  It's literally taken years of reading other blogs, following other photographers and entrepreneurs and honestly learning to feel comfortable in my own skin to come to the realization that I should write.  I should write what I think, what I feel and not worry about the ones who disagree and who just don't care. It's sort of insane the amount of information my brain processes on a daily basis.  If I had the time to write it all down or even take notes on half of it, I'd have enough content to write no less than one blog every other day or so.  Shoot, maybe even every day.  But who has the time to sit down and write every day?  Or even every other day?  I don't.  Or maybe I do and am just horrible at time management (my husband would interject here with a very loud YES!)

January 2016 will mark eight years of being a work-from-home, part-time photographer.  Six of which I can add the title Mom and change that to work-from-home-Mom.  It's been tough learning how to balance work life and home life.  I've learned I'm not great at it.  But I've also learned that I am not a nine-to-five kind of gal and neither is our family.  The last eight years have taught me a lot, to say the least.  But the one thing I'm the most proud to say I've learned is that it is ok to be yourself.  In fact, it's frowned upon to try to be anyone else, but yourself.  I've learned that accepting and loving yourself for who you are, flaws and all, is actually quite respected.

Have you ever tried to do something really big that you really wanted but you just had no idea where to start?  In my case, starting and running my own small business was my 'really big thing'.  I remember being in my early 20's (a good 8+ years before I finally started my business) and having the realization that I wanted to be a photographer that 'came to you'.  I wanted to be a photographer for a long as I could remember but it wasn't until that moment that I knew exactly what type of photographer I wanted to be.  I never loved studio pictures.  I wanted to come to your home and take pictures of your family in the place you made your memories.  I just thought that images taken in a space that meant so much to you would mean so much more down the road than the images taken in the studio with the brown or blue background.  Now, don't get me wrong I'm not knocking studio photographers, I'm just saying it's not my thing.  Then one day a few years later I was at a festival and came across one of the venders, a photographer, who had set up a huge tent with tons of images of her work and I was completely stunned.  She was going to people's homes, to their vacation spots, to their schools and churches and photographing them.  Call me naive but back then, I was certain that what is now called 'lifestyle photography' was my idea.  And this photographer took my idea!  Little 'ol me honestly believed I was the one who came up with that style.  Only because up until that point I had never seen it, anywhere.  I'm sure it was a real thing long before I came up with the idea.  I've never actually Googled it to find out though.

Years later when I finally started my business I only knew two things: I wanted to take pictures and I wanted to make money.  I had no idea how to make my vision come to fruition.  I wanted to take lifestyle images but even then not many photographers were.  You did see the occasional lifestyle photographer here and there so I started following them and shooting like them.... because they were successful, right?  Over the years as times have changed and lifestyle photography changed I sort of just went with the flow of what 'they' were doing.  I honestly thought that's what people wanted.  I followed the masses I guess you could say.  And all these years I've always felt like something was lacking.  I've loved every client, and every session I've had.  I've made some amazing friends and met some incredible people, all who've helped me grow into the photographer I am today.  But even with all that happiness, I still felt like something just wasn't right.  What was I doing wrong?

I'm not certain what life event happened or who I met or what book I read, but one day earlier this year it finally clicked.  I realized that the missing piece in all of this was me.  I was not being me.  I was not running my business the way I wanted to.  I was running it like other photographers do.  I was not shooting the images I saw in my head, I was shooting a style of images that I'd seen other photographers shoot.  And please, all my lovely, amazing clients do not take me the wrong way here, I LOVE the images I've produced for you all, each and every session has brought me to where I stand today and I am forever grateful.  It's the trust you all have put in me and in my ability that helped me get here.

So, to the title.  Big Change is a Coming!  And I'm super excited!  January 2016 I will be launching my rebranded business and the change is huge.  This rebrand is so very me.  It's what I've had in mind all these years but was scared to just go for it.  This is me putting who I am out there to the world and even though I might be a little nervous, I'm not scared anymore.  I feel more confident in myself and in my ability to run this business my way than I ever have before.  Soooo, what is changing exactly, you ask?  Everything.  My logo, my tagline, my website, my pricing, my hours, my business model, you name it and it's getting an overhaul.  Don't fret!  I'm certain you will love it as much as I do.  After all, you, my clients, are what make this business go!  So while these changes are so me, they are also so you.  Everything has been looked at and upgraded with you in mind.

I wanted to give you guys a sneak peak, a little hint but I can't.  Not yet.  I will though in weeks to come, I promise!!  I'm working on an exact launch date in January and hope to have a little launch party with some fun games and prizes ;)  Probably Facebook Group style.  And you're all invited!





Siblings | Richmond VA Child Photographer

You.guys. I am so in-love with the photos from this session. First of all, I have to say that my BFF has the most beautiful kids, ever. Not only are they gorgeous but their Mama knows a thing or two about style. Unlike her photographer! ;) I get to photograph these beauties a few times a year and each and every time I am blown away by how natural they are in front of the camera. Now, I have been photographing them since they were born so it's possible they maaaaay be used to having a camera in their faces... but still, they are now ages four and six and judging from our latest session, I think they should be in magazines.

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