rising tide society

Focus On: Brianne of Beyond the Lynk

I believe in a world where we cheer one another on and we don’t see any other entrepreneur as a competitor. (It’s why I love the Rising Tide Society so much!) I love when I see other business owners support one another and I can’t possibly count all of the times I’ve been inspired or motivated by another business owner. It can be a lonely world, sitting in a corner of your home, balancing the roles of parenthood, wife, photographer, creative and just overall human with obligations to friends and the house and hobbies and passions. It feels a lot less lonely when you celebrate all the other people who get it.

Our first Focus On is a spotlight on Brianne Lynk, the owner of Beyond the Lynk in Upstate, NY. Enjoy this peek into her business, her balance and her dreams. Be sure to follow her, cheer her on and stay tuned for more entrepreneur spotlights every two weeks.

Focus On, Beyone the Lynk, Rising Tide Society

Hey! My name is Brianne Lynk and I am married to my best friend and we have two kids together, Jameson who is just about 4 and Emersyn who is 11 months. We are located in Upstate NY and have always lived here, born and raised. I am the owner of Beyond the Lynk, I started this in July of 2018.

This was supposed to be a hobby of mine to make things for myself and my kids, I love matching them and wanted to be able to create on my own. It quickly turned into a business when I shared a photo of my very first piece. I was 6 months pregnant with our daughter at the time and business picked up rapidly. Looking back, it is kind of crazy how fast it grew and how much I worked while pregnant, with a toddler and then right after giving birth, during the busiest time of the year.

I was a nanny for several years prior and in June I found out I would not be returning in the Fall. My boss was a teacher and the kids were headed to school full time. I was taken aback and really worried about bills and bringing another life into this world in a few short months. I had my machine and materials waiting for me to open then for an ENTIRE year; insane, I know. I needed that boost of losing my nanny job to get me to pull everything out and learn. I also longed to be a stay at home mom, I did not want to rely on my husband or put all the pressure on him to pay our bills, so this was another way for me to bring in something, even if it wasn't going to be a lot, I had a little bit of money that I earned. It made me feel less guilty about shopping for the baby or buying myself lunch when I really needed that Panera salad.

Focus On, Beyone the Lynk, Rising Tide Society

I would say I spend anywhere from 25-50 hours per week working. The hours vary based on my daughter napping, my son's school and sport schedule, my husband's work schedule, whether or not I have someone to hang with the kids for a little bit or not. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes, like any business answering emails, phone calls, messages. Creating invoices, creating new designs, launching those designs. I have a Rep Team and working with them has helped a bit with advertising, I still do a lot, but they help get my name out there as well.

Work life and personal life balance is something I try to work on daily. I have told my son that if I am working and he wants to spend time with me I will stop what I am doing, within reason, and spend some time with him. This also goes for our daughter who can't quite tell me, but she sure shows it. I try to work the 2.5 hours Jameson is in school, as long as Emersyn is napping. I also try to get up a bit before them to work some in the morning and then again at night when they go to bed. The holiday season is really hard, it is so busy then that I struggle with stopping what I am doing to spend time with my family. My husband works a crazy schedule so that is another struggle I have, thankfully, I have my parents close by to help out. I would say on a scale of 0-10, I am at about a 6 or 7.

The biggest challenge in owning my own business is telling people no. I do not like to turn down work, I love what I do and I want to do it all for everyone. I have learned over the past 14 months that sometimes I have to take a step back and say 'no.' Family has to come first, I have to have a life outside of work, breaks are needed-- and with that, taking breaks is my second biggest struggle. I. Need. Vacation.

Focus On, Beyone the Lynk, Rising Tide Society
Focus On, Beyone the Lynk, Rising Tide Society

My proudest moment would be the huge wedding orders I have received. While party packages are my favorite thing to do; who can not love matching family tees, party decor and then seeing everything come together, weddings are a HUGE deal and someone trusting me on their biggest day, makes me feel so lucky. I have also done a few fundraisers, and I really love doing those as well and giving back to a family in need.

The hardest part of this business would be realizing that not everyone is always going to be happy. I took an order, did my proofs, had things approved, sent photos throughout the entire process, was told to keep going just to have spent 30 hours on said project and told "it's not what I wanted," and from there getting a negative review. moments like that make you want to stop, but going through the conversation and contract, I knew I did everything that I could, sometimes, things are not meant to work out and you have to reflect on those moments to learn and grow for the next time.

It is extremely important for me to support other small business owners, especially local ones. I always try to shop small and local first. My children are brand reps for a few of our favorite small shops (Doodle & Jack, Elle Belle Baby, BabyMeBeautiful.USA, Stone & Blush, & Tiny Trends Bowtique) I support local photographers, always, I never go to the corporations for photos, and when a friends or family is looking for something I always try to recommend small over a big box store!

Focus On, Beyone the Lynk, Rising Tide Society
Focus On, Beyone the Lynk, Rising Tide Society

I would love to open up a store front one day. I would say that is in the 5 year goal range, not only to host my products, but to bring in items from many small shops. I would love to have all of my favorite shops in my store. A shorter term goal would be to have my business offer more items to complete outfits. I am not sure if that will be collaborating with another business, learning something new, or brainstorming with someone else and having them join my team.

I love what I do. Looking back on that day I was told I would no longer have a nanny job I wish I didn't cry the whole way home, I wish I knew I would be doing something knew and exciting. I love being able to create, work from home, have my kids with me and do something I love. Join my Facebook VIP page (Beyond the Lynk- VIPs) for exclusive giveaways, sneak peeks and fun games! Planning a party or family trip? Love graphic tees or home decor? Be sure to contact me for a custom order!

Focus On, Beyone the Lynk, Rising Tide Society

How can people find you?

Website: https://etsy.me/2WmbDUn

VIP group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1058651680987732/?ref=share 

Facebook page: Facebook.com/beyondthelynk

Instagram: instagram.com/beyondthelynk

Email: beyondthelynk@yahoo.com

Focus On: Diana Wei Fang of The Finer Points

I believe in a world where we cheer one another on and we don’t see any other entrepreneur as a competitor. (It’s why I love the Rising Tide Society so much!) I love when I see other business owners support one another and I can’t possibly count all of the times I’ve been inspired or motivated by another business owner. It can be a lonely world, sitting in a corner of your home, balancing the roles of parenthood, wife, photographer, creative and just overall human with obligations to friends and the house and hobbies and passions. It feels a lot less lonely when you celebrate all the other people who get it.

Our next Focus On is a spotlight on Diana Wei Fang the owner of The Finer Points in Washington, DC. Enjoy this peek into her business, her balance and her dreams. Be sure to follow her, cheer her on and stay tuned for more entrepreneur spotlights every two weeks.

Focus On: Diana Wei Fang of The Finer Points, Washington DC, Entrepreneur spotlight

Introduce yourself! 

Hello! My name is Diana Wei Fang and I own The Finer Points. I aim to partner with small businesses and help them to achieve their goals, whether that be in social media, event planning, or general admin skills (you know those clients waiting for you to return their email and you will get back to them… when you have time. Who can relate?). I’m based in Washington, DC, but I have clients from all over!

When did you start your business? What inspired you to do this?

I started my business in April of 2019 after my friends repeatedly told me I should start my own business. It was a moment where I had a personal failure, that gave me the push to “just do it”. I’ve always had a desire to partner with other creatives and small business owners, but it was my friends who dreamed on my behalf first.

About how many hours a week would you say you spend on your business?

I spend roughly 6 days a week, 50+ hours a week on The Finer Points. Learning the newest marketing strategy, engaging on social media, and networking are most things I do that aren’t “seen”. I also research a lot of products and platforms for my clients to see if there’s a better system for them. I like to test things out before suggesting them to my clients.

On a scale of 1-10, how balanced would you say you are between your work and family/personal life?

I try to never work on Sundays. It’s a rhythm that works well with my schedule. However, work-life balance isn’t something I strive for. For me personally, once I understood that this wasn’t achievable, I was able to be more present in my daily life. If I’m working, I try to be fully present and work. Since I’m single, I don’t have to run home to make dinner for a family or have kids to put to bed etc. However, I do try to be fully present when I’m with my friends and their families. If I’m babysitting so my friends can have a night out, or having dinner with friends, I try to put my phone away. My clients all know that I will get to their emails as soon as I am able. Waiting a few hours to hear back from me will not make or break a business deal. Am I perfect at this? No. Do I check my phone if I’m the first one to arrive at a restaurant? Yes. Having a start-up means there’s always something to do. But I aim to live life to the fullest. I also outsource a lot of things that gives someone else income, while allowing me to do more productive things. For example, I have a travel agent. Instead of being distracted by alerts of when flights are cheapest and deciding when the perfect time to purchase a hotel deal is in the middle of the workday, my travel agent does that for me. Small thing, but MAJOR in terms of staying focused throughout the day. I also hired an accountant and a lawyer within the first 30 days of starting my business. While I do my own bookkeeping, there are things that I allow for my accountant and lawyer to handle so that I can stay 100% focused on my clients. Decision-fatigue is real and protecting what I’m distracted by allows me to be present when I’m working.

Focus On: Diana Wei Fang of The Finer Points, Washington DC, Entrepreneur spotlight

What would you say is the biggest challenge in owning your own business?

Mental acrobats has been my personal biggest challenge. Even though I’ve worked with organizations, creatives, and small businesses for 14+ years, it’s daunting to do this without the backing of an established organization behind you. Am I as good as I thought I always was? Have I been pretending this whole time? Then I take a deep breath and remember the facts: I successfully fundraised HK$18.6M for a non-profit child advocacy organization. My previous organizations have been awarded for “best social media” in their respective categories. I have invested blood, sweat, and tears into these businesses and they have thrived. I am not a fraud.

What has been your proudest moment/greatest victory as an entrepreneur?

The fact that I haven’t folded yet, is probably my greatest moments. It’s a daily choice to keep doing what I do. To get up and partner with another business’ vision – to give my all so that they’re thriving – it is not easy. But yet, I wouldn’t trade these moments for anything else. I’m proud of how The Finer Points is doing as I’m entering into my 6th month of business. I’m grateful for the clients who took a chance on a brand new business owner.

What is the hardest part of being a business owner?

If I want to be isolated, it’s very easy to do so. I have to be intentional about meeting with others and imparting all that I’ve learned for the next entrepreneur and small business owner. The lie that I’m alone can be an easy one to believe. The reality is, I’m not. In Washington, DC alone, there’s 140,000 small business owners out of 633,000 residents! Community is out there. Support is out there. Just have to put myself out there. Also, networking. Talking about myself and what I do is VERY hard for me (these questions are helpful).

How important is it to you to support other entrepreneurs and business owners? What are some ways that you try to do this?

Oh man. This is so important and probably my favorite part of being in this community. Even before I had my own small business, I have loved to partner with others. Besides engaging and liking their posts on social media, I try to hire and buy from small businesses as much as I’m able to. That travel agent I told you about? Small business owner. My accountant and lawyer? Small business owners. The photos hanging in the house I live in? You got it- they’re small business owners. I’m intentional about who I may see when I go out as well. If it’s an event where photos will be taken, I will for sure be wearing something from a small business owner - you never know who will see the photo! I love cheering on someone else’s success. I’m even trying to get a hashtag going, #makeDianajealous. I want to see you living your best life. Post them on social media because then I get to cheer you on!

Focus On: Diana Wei Fang of The Finer Points, Washington DC, Entrepreneur spotlight

What are your one-year and five-year goals for your business?

One year goal: just make it. Real talk. Haha!
Five year goal: making the business scalable.

What else would you like to share? 

I just want to say, it’s okay to ask for help. It’s a form of self-care. Just because you’re a small business owner, doesn’t mean you have to do everything yourself. You are doing better than you think you are.

How can people find you?

Email: hellofinerpoints@gmail.com

Instagram: @thefinerpoints

Website: thefinerpoints.co

See more of our Focus On Spotlights!

Focus On: Gina Marie Beauty, Makeup and Lashes in Frederick County, Maryland

I believe in a world where we cheer one another on and we don’t see any other entrepreneur as a competitor. (It’s why I love the Rising Tide Society so much!) I love when I see other business owners support one another and I can’t possibly count all of the times I’ve been inspired or motivated by another business owner. It can be a lonely world, sitting in a corner of your home, balancing the roles of parenthood, wife, photographer, creative and just overall human with obligations to friends and the house and hobbies and passions. It feels a lot less lonely when you celebrate all the other people who get it.

Today’s Focus On is a spotlight on Gina Maria, the owner of Gina Marie Beauty in Lake Linganore, MD. Enjoy this peek into her business, her balance and her dreams. Be sure to follow her, cheer her on and stay tuned for more entrepreneur spotlights every two weeks.

Focus On: Entrepreneur Series, Gina Marie Beauty, Lake Linganore makeup artist, makeup artist, MUA, lash extensions

Tell us about you and your business! 

Gina Dziak is a certified makeup and lash extensions artist and the owner of Gina Marie Beauty. She is known for on-location makeup services for occasions such as weddings, parties, photoshoots and more! Gina also has a studio located in Lake Linganore, MD where she not only offers makeup sessions as well as makeup tutorial classes, but also lash extension services.

Aside from weddings, what are other opportunities people can use to get their makeup and lashes done? 

I’ve had clients for all kinds of special occasions, including Prom, Galas, Confirmation, Birthday Parties, Boudoir photo shoots, Family photo shoots, Maternity photo shoots as well as Baby Showers, Bachelorette Parties and more. Some lash clients start out by coming to me for a special occasion, but most are everyday women who just love the way lash extensions make them look beautiful and feel confident.

What is your goal with wedding day makeup? How do you want to capture the bride, her style, etc? 

My goal for wedding day makeup is to keep it classic looking, but most of all making sure that each of my clients’ makeup look reflects what they love and are the most comfortable wearing for the occasion. It’s very important to me to have a makeup trial session with my brides to ensure that she can tell me or even share photos with me of makeup looks that she would like to try for her special day. Some clients will show me a Pinterest photo or a picture of a celebrity, but others wear very little makeup on a daily basis. I spend time sharing color palettes and suggestions on what I believe would make their features pop, leaving them feeling gorgeous all day/night long.

What will the wedding makeup process be like between you and your clients? 

I always talk to my clients about their skin type, makeup likes and dislikes as well as whether or not they have a particular look they’re going for, for the occasion. Some ladies know exactly what they want or have a makeup inspiration photo from Pinterest or Instagram. When that happens, I show them makeup from my kit that will give them the colors they’re interested in and we talk about how it will look on them. As we all know, no two people have the exact same features, so makeup will never look the same on any two people even if you use the same makeup artist and makeup. That’s one of the most exciting things about makeup, so many options and opportunities to change it up! Once I have a clear idea of what the client wants, I get started on my makeup application process. Clients can expect this to take 60-90 minutes on average depending on the occasion as well as their skin.

What is your favorite part of a wedding day?

My absolute favorite part of the wedding day or any day with my clients is the reveal! There’s nothing like seeing someone’s face light up and hearing their excitement as they express how amazing they look. A happy client is EVERYTHING to me.

Photo Credit: Powerful Portrait Photography

Photo Credit: Powerful Portrait Photography

Photo Credit: Grace and Grey

Photo Credit: Grace and Grey

What three words would you use to describe you as a person in general and as a makeup artist?

As a person in general, I believe I’m best described as thoughtful, loyal, creative and fun. I’d use the words good listener, patient and classic beauty to describe me and my style as a makeup artist.

Why do you think lash extensions are so important? Why do women love this experience?

I believe an awesome set of lashes completes a makeup look, but can also make a statement all on their own. As a makeup artist, I offer a variety of strip lashes to clients who are looking for lashes the day of a special occasion. As a lash artist, I offer lash extensions in a variety of looks for any client who wants to wake up and look like she’s already put together without having to spend time on a ton of makeup. I’ve witnessed lash extensions bring women confidence, an instant pick-me-up or even a revival much like any other spa-like experience. Another reason why clients love lash extensions is that it makes them look and feel more youthful. Lastly, bye-bye raccoon eyes! That’s right, no need to wear mascara ever again!!

What is the lash extension process like? 

A lash extension appointment with Gina Marie Beauty is a spa-like experience. My clients feel relaxed to the point that some fall asleep and wakeup when it’s over. My goal is to offer the experience that each individual client needs. That means that some will chat with me the whole time like a couple of friends on Girls Night Out and other times they’re there for the lash nap, quiet me-time they so desperately needed when they scheduled their appointment.

Have you had certifications and trainings for makeup and lashes? Why are those so important? How do you keep the process safe, clean and sanitary for your clients?

I’m a certified makeup and lash artist. I continue to take classes to learn new techniques and makeup trends. I’d advise people to be sure they’re hiring someone who has been certified and taught the proper way to keep makeup and makeup application sanitary. I’m constantly cleaning my makeup brushes, beauty blenders and makeup palettes to ensure the safety of my clients and the quality of my work. The same goes for my lash clients. Proper cleaning of the tools as well as a client’s natural lashes is imperative for the safety of the client. Always choose your lash artist based on their technique and sanitary practices to ensure your own eye safety.

Photo Credit: Photography by Virginia

Photo Credit: Photography by Virginia

When you’re not behind a brush or holding a lash wand, what else do you enjoy? What brings you your greatest joy?

I love family time the most. I’m a wife of 13 years and a mother of two children, ages 5 and 7. They’re my whole world. I also enjoy time with my closest friends, exercise, wine, books, music and time in nature. I feel the most joy when I’m making memories with those I love taking part in family traditions, movie nights, vacations or just a meal at ourfavorite restaurant(s).

How do you balance running your own business with your family/personal life and needs?

Balance? What is that? In all seriousness, I believe that when you start a business there’s a period of time where you will struggle to figure that out. It’s bound to happen because a business is much like adding another child to your family. It requires your time, energy, money, love, etc. to grow and thrive. I’m at a point now where I feel comfortable blocking off dates for family without worrying about whether or not it could potentially hurt my business or bottom line. Ultimately, for me; my family is my whole world and my business is my passion. It’s important to me to keep both things at the forefront of my mind and simply do my best to ensure that I’m being fair to my family as well as true to myself as much as I possibly can at all times.

How important is it to you to support other business owners/entrepreneurs? How do you try to do this?

I’ve always been the type of person to go out of my way to help others in any way I can. I’m no different in business. I believe in the power of helping others succeed as well as learning from those you admire in business (or even in life) to help motivate and challenge yourself to get to the next level and be your best self! I’ve been lucky enough to collaborate with many local photographers and a few makeup artists since starting my business in 2018. I’ve also cheered fellow entrepreneurs on in their own business ventures by collaborating with and sharing others’ products and services with my followers and friends. I believe in the power of using my voice and social media for good. That includes sharing the works of so many talented people so that more individuals can hire them for their needs. There are enough people in this world for all of us to have success. We get there faster by working together, not by competing with one another.

How can people find you and reach out to you?

Instagram: @gina.mariebeauty

Facebook: @GinaMarieBeauty1

Website: https://infoginamariebeaut.wixsite.com/website

Email: info.ginamariebeauty@gmail.com

Phone: 908-797-9157

Tuesdays Together & The Rising Tide Society {How a Spontaneous Leadership Role Changed Me and My Photography Business}

When I moved to Rochester, New York, two years ago, I was at a wild crossroads. My identity was all over the place -- not only with new geographic surroundings and a new place to call home, but also with my still-new photography business that had just crossed state lines and plopped down in an entirely different area. Even my role as a mom was being flipped all over the place with my kiddos entering school and all those hours as Momma coming to an end. 

I wanted my wedding and engagement photography business to not just survive, but thrive. But I didn't know what tools I needed, which people I needed to make it happen. Just months before our move, I had started hearing about a group of creatives called The Rising Tide Society -- a national group of small business owners and entrepreneurs who were networking online and meeting in person during monthly get-togethers called Tuesdays Together to discuss a variety of business-related topics like Pricing, Relationships, Social Media and more. I wanted a place like that to be a part of my new identity. 

Over the next few weeks, I put myself out there by semi-stalking and reaching out to some local photographers and one day, in a coffee shop in Victor, three of us sat in a corner enjoying some amazing muffins and sharing our dreams and wishlists. We talked about Tuesdays Together and how we wish we had a chapter in the Rochester area. And in what felt like an out-of-body moment, this very-INFJ, super-shy, sweats-in-the-center-of-attention fish out of water said "I don't mind applying for us and leading if you want me to."

I thought the application and approval process would take months, but, in less than a week I was logged in as admin to a local Facebook group and was joining leaders' email lists and planning our first meeting, held less than one month after that first exciting coffee shop date. 

My first meeting went something like this internal dialogue:
6am: I am SO excited! Oh my gosh, why do I have to wait 12 hours?!
7:15am: I'm canceling it. This was a terrible idea. 
12pm: ::checks RSVP list::
12:02pm: This is going to be amazing. Fresh start! Woot!
12:03pm: ::checks RSVP list::
12:30pm: I should skip it. Maybe they won't notice.                                                                           4pm: OH MY GOSH, TWO HOURS. It's 10 minutes away. Should I leave now?
4:05pm: ::checks RSVP list::                                                                                                                5:30pm: OK, let's go. You got this. You're basically Beyonce. You're Eleanor Roosevelt. You got this.                                                                                                                                                      5:45pm: ::sitting in parking lot, lots of sweat::                                                                                  5:55pm: "Hi, I'm Wendy! I'm so excited you're here! Wow, I'm so glad you're here! Are you so excited?" (very high-pitched, very very quick)
6pm: ::Pathetic nervous fake clearing of throat::

I spent the entire meeting freaking out SO much. I was filled with self-doubt, insane nerves and constant thoughts of "These people are so good and SO talented -- why do you think you can lead them?"

It was somewhere around the 4th or 5th meeting that I had a moment. Nothing specific happened, although I had definitely grown more comfortable (I still got nervous in my 18th meeting!); I had made incredible connections; I had received some really sweet comments and expressions of gratitude. Over time, however, I realized it wasn't about me. I had joined this movement for me, but it became about so much more than my selfish need to feel like I belong. It was about a community, a network. It was about the way certain topics REALLY helped our vendor friends that attended -- the way you saw their businesses take off on social media or the pride we all felt when they shared a success with a difficult client or with their new prices. It was about the friendships we started to see forming, the way we all felt like equals. It became about greater things like giving back to the community last November during our Philanthropy month; it was about the way our Facebook group grew to nearly 300 people who had all needed a home; it was the laughs and tears and dreams and worries we shared around coffee shops and gallery couches. 

Photo by:  Lauren Carnes

Photo by: Lauren Carnes


No one believes me at meetings when I tell them I'm painfully shy and timid -- and that new-found courage and comfort is because of The Rising Tide Society and my small role in Tuesdays Together. I carry myself differently now. I believe in myself so much more nowadays.

And my business has taken off in so many ways, and so much of that is because of what I've learned in 18 meetings next to other people who just "get it." They get the long days and late nights alone in your home office; they get the commitment and self-motivation it takes for a small victory and the 15 setbacks along the way. They get the family-work balance and the tricky tightrope that can be. They get being "on call" so much of the time. And they give -- they give encouragement, support, positivity and love. 


A new chapter is leading our family away from Rochester, New York. We'll be living in and starting over again in the Frederick, Maryland area and I'm so excited to meet new people and photograph couples across Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. 

But with every new and exciting start comes the closing of a door. And it's time for me to pass on the Tuesdays Together Rochester baton. I know it's in good hands with Michelle Crawford and Denise Lazu co-leading it to amazing new heights. But part of me is sad to let go of this group, of this "thing" that has brought so much into my world. I hope to remain a part of The Rising Tide Society and can't wait to attend my first meeting in Frederick. 

I believe in #communityovercompetition.
I believe in Natalie Franke Hayes and her commitment to creating a safe haven for entrepreneurs. 
I believe in networking and gathering in person rather than just hiding behind a computer screen. 
I believe in getting out of your comfort zone now and then. 

And now, I believe in myself. And in my dreams. 


A little Q-and-A with Boston Newborn Photographer Nicole Starr

As you may know, in a "past life" I was a journalist. It's what I studied for years and what I did for quite some time right out of college. I love asking the "why" and luckily, I get to tell stories now, through my images and through my relationships with my clients. 

So I thought it would be fun to do the occasional q-and-a with some of my favorite people -- professionals and small business owners across many different facets who I've worked with or known and who can offer some insight into a similar field. 

In this next installment of my Q-and-A series, I chatted with another dear friend, Nicole Starr (formerly Schwalm) of Nicole Starr Photography, a full-service boutique studio specializing in newborn, baby and family portraiture in the Boston area. Today seemed a great day to do this since she's offering a special promotion in honor of my son Zack (A complimentary session for every family with a child with DS in the Boston area that contacts her) for Down Syndrome Awareness Month!

Nicole Starr. Image courtesy of Cassandra Lauren Photography.

Nicole's photography style is light and whimsical, her sessions are easy and playful and she truly focuses on capturing children just as they are and letting their personalities shine. 

"As a full-service studio, I help my clients every step of the way as they discover the best way to showcase their memories," Nicole said of her business. "The families that I work with absolutely adore the signature heirloom products that we offer to preserve these moments together."

Nicole shares how she started photography and what the future holds for NSP below. 


When and why did you begin photography?

Photography is something that has always been with me. I've had a camera in my hand for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I was constantly bringing rolls of film to the drugstore to develop them. Later, when I traveled the world, my camera was permanently attached to my hand, the shutter finger clicking away at my surroundings. I would come home fro my travels and pore over every minute detail in the photos. I found myself always looking at the people in the background: the head poking out of an upstairs window, the couple laughing under the umbrella. I knew that the stories I wanted to tell were with the people in my photos, so I started focusing my efforts more on portrait photography. I found that I LOVED capturing these stories and these memories and I haven't been able to get enough of it ever since!


How did you decide to specialize in children?

I have spent nearly half of my life working in classrooms with young children, so it was a natural transition to child and baby photography for me. I learned early on that I loved capturing their laughter, their toothy smiles, their nose wrinkles, their curiosity and their sense of wonder. Childhood is pure magic and I love that I can capture that on camera and hold it in time for an instant. Seeing how much families I work with treasure these photos of their growing and changing little ones means the world to me. Once I started focusing more on newborns and babies, I was hooked! There's something so incredible about capturing a newborn during his first days with his new parents, or a nine-month-old showing off her new sitting skills and that bubbly trademark laugh of hers. These sessions are magical. 


How would you describe you/your work in a few words?

Whimsical, Light, Authentic and Classic. 


What's in your bag?

Nikon D610

Nikon 85mm 1.4

Nikon 50mm 1.8

Nikon 24-70mm 2.8

Nikon 105mm macro 2.8


What will you be adding to your bag next?

I'm excited to upgrade to a 50mm 1.4 and purchase a 35mm Sigma Art lens. 


What challenges do you face in working with kids/babies?

Their changing moods and schedules can always be tricky, but our sessions are relaxed and calm so that the babies have time for a snack break, playtime with Mommy and cuddles. 


What is the best compliment you've received? 

Lately, it's been all about the dads. Husbands are occasionally more reserved when it comes to our photo sessions, but two recent sessions stand out where the dads had so much fun during our session, loved seeing their babies in front of the camera and when it came time to order their photos, they were all in. One husband sat behind his wife and told her how long they had waited and prayed for their little baby to arrive and how they deserved the album with every single photo from our session capturing their daughter's first days with their family. For him, it was a celebration of their daughter's arrival. Another husband knew how much his wife loved the album idea and the way it wove together all of the photos from their session to tell their family's story, so he secretly contacted me to plan an album gift for his wife. We designed it, ran the proofs and sent it out to their home. It arrived just in time for their daughter's first birthday as a gift to his wife. What amazing guys! It's when you see the whole family excited about the session and eager to showcase their memories in their home that I love my job the most. 


What's the future hold for NSP?

I left my teaching job this year to focus on my photography business full time, in addition to opening an in-home studio last winter. The next year will be spent growing my business and improving the services and products that I offer to the families that I work with. I have so many plans that I am thrilled to finally be able to bring to life now that I will have the time to really focus on them! This Fall, I have opened my studio doors and started teaching others through workshop experiences, which has been so incredible. I'm also doing a lot of networking with local small businesses to support each other and help each other reach others in our community. Within five years, I hope to be running a successful storefront studio that keeps me just busy enough doing what I love, while letting my creativity fly. 


You can follow Nicole's journey and work here:



E-mail: nicolestarrphotography@gmail.com