We had the good fortune of connecting with Nichole Kathryn Smith and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Nichole Kathryn, what’s something about your industry that outsiders are probably unaware of?

…What it takes to be a successful photographer.

Success is relative, right? Everyone measures success differently. Some people believe it’s about the level of technical skill, while others believe it’s about creating an aesthetically pleasing image. All of these are important, but knowing how to capture the true character of an individual is key. It takes an eye for detail and a lot of intuition, to draw out the essence of the person being photographed. Capturing all of that in a single still image…that is success!

Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?

I believe what sets me apart from other photographers is my intuition and my background in design & marketing. These skill sets have allowed me to get to know my subject quickly and approach my sessions with the end result in mind. I provide portraits, personal branding, modeling headshots and boudoir. Each one of these niches has a specific audience with specific needs. I am able to look at the big picture and help the client understand who their target audience is. Knowing your audience is the key to success in any facet of life. The same goes for the work I produce for my clients.

I have photographed people, pets, products, etc…I eventually came to the realization that photographing women is the most rewarding to me. It has become a calling of sorts. A way to give back the love and strength I have acquired through my trials and tribulations in life (as a female). The very things that knocked me down, have helped me become the woman I am today. Understanding first hand how hard it is to accept yourself as beautiful and lovable. It took me decades to figure this out, so I have  made it my mission to “pay it forward” and help other women feel that same sense of strength & confidence.

I can honestly say that my career as a portrait photographer has truly been one of the MOST rewarding things I have ever done. To see the expression on a client’s face when she sees her images for the first time…heart-warming. To witness the positive impact on self-esteem, self-worth, and how that spills over into her relationships, business, etc…Priceless!

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.

Phoenix/Scottsdale has SO many amazing restaurants, sites, and things to do! Some of my favorite local places are; Elements at the Sanctuary, City Hall, Hillstone, Steak44, Veneto, and L’Amore. I frequent at least one or more of these restaurants every week. Sometimes a nice dinner, drinks, and good friends are all you need.

I workout at least 5 days a week, so I would definitely be taking my friend to the gym for some cross training or for some pilates. My favorite place for pilates is a small boutique studio in Arcadia (Swan Pilates studio). Heidi Swan is an amazing instructor and would definitely have us laughing through our workout.

Finding some LIVE local music would also be on the agenda. We have local artists sprinkled around the valley at various venues such as; Rhythm Room, Char’s, Royal Palms Mixup bar, and Mountain Shadows bar to name a few. After some good music, we would cap off our evening with a cigar at the Fox Cigar Bar in Old Town Scottsdale.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?

I would start by thanking my parents for nurturing the artist in me at such a young age. They allowed me to explore all different types of mediums; painting, sculpture, metalsmithing (jewelry), makeup artistry, fashion design, dance, music, graphic design, and photography…just to name a few!

I would also like to thank my college Graphic Design Professor (Jackson Boelts) for being such a big influence in my life. Not only was he my professor at the University of Arizona, but he offered me an internship at his prestigious boutique design studio (Boelts Bros. Design). This was such an amazing opportunity. The only caveat to accepting the position was that I would have to work harder than the other students in his class. No favoritism there! This experience allowed me to acquire new skill sets in design, Illustration, photography, and marketing at a very young age.

My daughter (Ava) also deserves a shoutout and is the answer to my “WHY”. She has inspired me in so many ways. Each day I wake up and ask myself how I can make a difference. A difference in her life and in the community.  Leading by example. Showing her that hard work and perseverance will pay off! Thank you, sweet girl. I hope I have inspired like you have inspired me!!

Website: www.nicholekathrynstudios.com

Instagram: nicholekathryn

Image Credits
Ashley Rae Photography (my profile picture only)

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.