Scenes from an Epic Workshop | Epic Workshop Philadelphia

I am a sucker for education.  I mean, there's gotta be a reason I voluntarily suffered through 3 years of law school, right?  I spent over $6,000 on advancing my photography skills in 2015 alone, whether it was for materials I studied from home in my PJ's, or workshops I attended all over the country from New Jersey to Scottsdale, Arizona for Showit United.

Last September, a good friend of mine alerted me of a one day workshop that would be taking place in Philadelphia, hosted by Sam Hurd as part of his Epic Workshop tour around the world.  I was traveling at the time (surprise), but I immediately jumped on my iPhone and got one of the limited seats available before it was sold out!  At the time, I didn't know much about Sam, besides the fact that his work is amazing and unique.  But, I would come to learn that he's a very generous and down-to-earth guy who is willing to share how he got to where he is now and become so great at what he does... while making it all look very easy.  He covered subjects like marketing, pricing, and editing, and even shared some cool techniques like prisming and using his clever "ring of fire" to add something different to an otherwise ordinary shot.  We took a break from the studio to explore Philly with an adorable couple who modeled for us as Sam walked us through his shooting style.  It was an invaluable day of learning!  Below is just a little taste of the photos I came away with...

Photo credit goes to Fabienne of Fabienne M Photography for the first ever behind-the-scenes shot of myself that I've liked. :)

The Trip That Changed My Outlook On My Photography Career | Showit United 2015

So, I have no clue where to start with this one.  I've been on a major dry spell with blogging because I hate to write (that's why I hide behind a camera), but one of the many things I took from my recent trip to Scottsdale, Arizona for the Showit United conference is that I absolutely need to get back into this!  Stay tuned for many upcoming posts recapping some of my favorite sessions from 2015...

In my short time in this business, I've been wanting to make it to one of the big conferences where people come together from all over the country and I'm so glad I made Showit United my very first!  This crazy world of "Photographyland" comes along with a mix of emotions... love, hate, excitement, defeat, support, jealousy, you get the point.  More often than not, I find myself feeling like I'll never catch up with my to do list and I'll never reach the success of others who have "made it".  I left United knowing that I'm not the only one with these overwhelming feelings, but I also brought home with me the motivation to change it.  I learned so much in a few short days, and gained the support of a bigger group of friendly faces in the industry from near and far.  It was just the breath of fresh air, and relaxation from my crazy life back on the East Coast, that I needed!

While this post is about what I've taken from a photography conference, so much of it can be applied to any career, especially if you're wearing the many hats of a small business owner.  I'm going to take a stab at summarizing a few highlights from the notebook I filled with advice, quotes, and book recommendations I had downloaded onto my Kindle before my flight home...  

I'm Not _____ Enough

The glamorous Mary Marantz of Justin & Mary kicked off the conference with an amazing talk that got us all reaching for tissues.  She encouraged us to stop saying we're "not (insert insecurity here) enough" as we strive to be like others with deceivingly picture-perfect Instagram feeds.  She was the first of many to stress the point that we can comfortably say "no" every once in a while (something I deeply struggle with), and used a powerful comparison of weeds and apple trees to teach us that you don't actually want to be an overnight success.


Consistency was a common word that popped up throughout the conference, whether during a discussion on blogging more regularly by the awesome Carrie Swails, chatting about SEO tactics with Ben Turner, receiving marketing advice from Marketing BFF Tana Nelson ("Pick your lane and stay in it.") or listening to a talk from Katelyn James on the final day which drove home the theme.

Being consistent in your business shows that you're reliable and worthy of your reputation, you're established and professional, you're disciplined and dedicated.  Even more important is the idea that lacking consistency in your business can steal the consistency in your life.  This is another struggle I deal with on a day-to-day basis, as I develop my own habits as a business owner, while trying to create a new routine after making a career change to work from home.

Be Brave. Work Hard. Don't Give Up.

This business can eat you alive if you let it.  I'm learning from my mistakes and putting my best foot forward as I figure things out.  Every time I think of giving up, I'm going to remember this experience and remind myself of the United motto, staring back at me on my office desk each time I sit down to work.  I'm so grateful that I took this opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and attended an event full of (mostly) strangers who turned out to be some of the most positive, supportive human beings ever.  I can't wait for next year! 

Showit United 2015 Be Brave Work Hard Don't Give Up

I didn't take my camera out of its bag until the final 2 days for the shoots, so below you can find some shots of the beautiful Firesky Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona, who hosted over 200 of us crazy photographers, and a couple of shots of me and my favorite girls in attendance at the United Gala, courtesy of Loren Jackson of Loren Jackson Photography (shout out to Ohio!).

I'm Making a Career Change...

...but it's not what you may think. 

As some of you may already know, the entire time I've been a photographer, I've been working a second full-time job.  Working full-time, running a business and planning my own wedding... I know, I'm crazy!  After working a few years in the legal industry after college, I decided to "go big or go home" and enroll in law school.  In 2012, I graduated proudly with my Juris Doctorate degree from City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law.  After a failed attempt at the big bad bar exam that summer (let's just say studying doesn't mesh well with living by the beach), I still pursued a job in the field and landed one at the great New Jersey law firm of Villani & DeLuca.

I like to say that NKP was the best "accident" to ever happen.  Soon after I graduated, I was asked to shoot a wedding for a couple of childhood friends (thank you Sasha and Justin!) who trusted this inexperienced photog with one of the most important days of their lives.  At the time, I was just a girl with a decent DSLR camera who loved photographing anything and everything.  Over the months that followed, several of my close friends asked me to help document some major life changes like pregnancies and newborns... and before I knew it, people were asking how much I charged for a session.  With the creation of a simple Facebook page and later the formation of Nicole Klym Photography LLC, NKP was born.  In 2012, if you would have asked me what I'd be doing right now, running a growing business on my own would definitely not even be a thought!  

So, it's time for the real news...

I'm packing up my Blue Book (law grads will know what that is) and picking up my camera for good.  At the end of June, I'm switching gears and leaving my law firm job to work from home and focus more on my photography business!  I'm so excited for this new journey and so grateful for the supportive friends, family and clients I have that have encouraged me to make this big change.  

What does this mean for you guys?

I have always been restricted to booking sessions on weekends and, in the summer months, early evenings.  Now, my availability will be more flexible!  I can take on more newborns any day of the week, and I can write less of those "sorry, but I'm already booked" emails to prospective clients.  It also means quicker turnaround times for my wedding collection deliveries.  I know how anxious and excited my brides and grooms are to see their wedding galleries, and it kills me that my average delivery has been approx. 2 months up until now... but that is going to change!

The future is looking pretty bright.

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