We had the good fortune of connecting with Nik Pennington and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nik, can you share the most important lesson you’ve learned over the course of your career?
The most important lesson in life that I have taken from this career is to love process and practice more than results. That is not to say I don’t care about results, but I find that hinging my happiness or expectations on results is not as fulfilling or efficient. I value effort and preparation far more than results because no matter the result of anything, work or life, if I prepared and gave my full effort I can be happy and fulfilled even if the results did not go my way. For example, if I want to consistently work I have to consistently put myself out there with proposals to new clients or continuing to serve existing ones, and in the beginning of working this way I would put all of the worth on whether or not I landed the client. That approach led me to become easily jaded and burnt out quick if I had worked on a proposal and have it passed up, and then it clicked, the value is in the opportunity to practice, to even be considered, and that led me down a happier path that I believe leads to better business, sales, and most importantly a clearer mind to be creative.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
When I was born, both my parents worked at American Airlines. I was fortunate to travel extensively and appreciate natural beauty and see amazing cities at a young age. I have those memories stored away and I try to capture that feeling in my prints. The first time I was introduced to photography was sophomore year of high school in journalism class, and I figured if I could take my own photos to go along with my articles, there would be a better chance I got published. It quickly arose that I was the worst photographer in the room. Luckily, I had teachers that taught me from the ground up and made sure I harnessed the basics then let me go at it on my own. I was primarily a sports photographer, and it was a comfortable and controlled environment to learn the basics in, and just a year later I landed my first-ever magazine cover. Inside Ahwatukee Magazine ran my story about my high school football team winning the state championship, and used one of my photos on the cover, and after that, I was hooked. I dove into making money with the camera a few years after that in college, when I started shooting side gigs for other photographers, and eventually gathered up the confidence to startup nikpictures.com.
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?
Well unfortunately I am writing this from the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic that has swallowed up all of 2020, so a best friend coming into town may just get some responsible pool time or a little photo hike in nature away from people. Ideally though, the day would start off with a coffee from Jobot downtown, lead to a daytime Diamondbacks game, then take off shooting photos around town at all of the best secret spots (wink wink), and close out with a dinner at Two Hippies Beach House.
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?
Plenty of people deserve more than a little credit in helping me along my journey, I often think of the small little community that has since spread out that encouraged me to actually see photography in a professional and realistic sense, to fellow photographers, creatives, and filmmakers June Hucko, Mariah Moneda, Lucas Ochs-Messick, Pete Magine, and the closest I have to mentors Krystin and Collin Reed. The room to test ideas, fail and try again that this group has given me is worth the world over and just knowing them is a positive influence in life and business.