We had the good fortune of connecting with Nicki Seefried and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nicki, what do you attribute your success to?
The factor that has helped me grow and achieve success with my photography more than anything else has been never settling for “good enough” and always striving to learn more. I am so grateful to have had the opportunities to pursue both formal and informal education to continue learning and growing as a a photographer. Throughout high school and college I took a few photography classes here and there and got familiar with the basics of photography. Then, around four years ago, my older sister (also a photographer, real estate agent, mom, and all around rockstar) told me about a free webinar for photographers that was focused on some basic shooting and editing techniques, which was led by Amy and Jordan Demos, a photographer/educator couple from Arizona. They offer online courses and materials covering various elements of building a photography business and I have slowly saved up and enrolled in their courses over the last few years. I’ve learned so much from them, which has allowed me to become consistent and confident in my work and brand, which I think has been integral to the success of my little business over the last few years. I still have a ton of growing to do as both a photographer and business owner, but continuing to seek out more guidance, training, and knowledge has been (and will continue to be) really important to my success.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’ll be totally honest- deciding to take my photography seriously, charge clients, pursue education, etc really kicked my imposter syndrome into gear. In an industry that can feel so saturated with professionals and amateurs alike, it’s easy to feel like you don’t have the talent, nerve, drive, or expertise to belong. Are these photos good enough? Is this the type of thing clients would even want? Are all my peers who are ~real~ photographers laughing at me for trying to do this? Etcetera etcetera. I’ve had to spend a lot of time thinking about what my brand really is: clean and timeless photos that capture genuine, joyful moments between loved ones. Since developing this brand and really understanding what I am trying to achieve, I’ve been able to do less of the constant comparison (this doesn’t mean none – I’m still human!) and focus on delivering that experience for those clients who do love what I have to offer.
The other major challenge I’ve faced is that I don’t do this full time! Like many (maybe most?) artists, full time photography is a dream I’ve entertained, but it doesn’t pay the bills for now. I currently work for a Denver based start up called SonderMind working to expand accessibility of mental health services and enable providers to build thriving private practices. I’m really lucky to have managers and co-workers who are supportive and curious about the work I do outside of “work”, and that’s been very helpful in allowing me to balance both things. So while it has been a challenge to not have total freedom to schedule sessions, edit galleries, and take classes at any time (who does?), I’m so thankful to be able to put lots of energy into both. (This is my shameless plug to all people managers: support your employees as whole people including their crafts and other interests – it will help them be better more engaged employees at work and happier people outside of work!)
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love this question. I truly love Denver and there’s so much good stuff for people to see. During the day I’d take my visitors to Hooked on Colfax for a coffee and a breakfast burrito or pastry. Their back patio is perfect for a fall morning with a hot drink. From there we could walk around City Park or walk through the Congress Park neighborhood, maybe down Colfax to the big Tattered Cover on Elizabeth St. There’s also Denver Fashion Truck which has great clothing, accessories, and decor. Of course Red Rocks is a must, ideally for a concert or Film on the Rocks so you can experience the magic of live music during sunset there. I also love Denver drag, so a night at Gladys the Nosy Neighbor, Hamburger Mary’s, Tracks, or another spot with great drag performers would definitely be on the agenda.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I know I would be nowhere without my awesome clients. I have a few clients in particular (the Coberg’s, the Franklin-Lang’s, the Three Leaches, and the Dahlberg’s, to name a few) who have been loyal clients and incredible referral sources. When your business is starting small, having people in your corner who will share your info and work with people they know is incredibly valuable. Especially when you’re growing, changing, and not always getting things perfect, clients who stick around to watch that growth and spread the word are truly the best. I’m so grateful for these folks who have supported me along the way!
Additionally, Jade Gallegos is an incredible designer and close friend who developed my logo and branding! After sharing a few very vague ideas with them, I was amazed with the design they returned that so perfectly captured what I hoped to convey with my brand. Huge shout out to Jade for helping me take this step with my business!