We had the good fortune of connecting with Kelly Nicholl and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kelly, we’d love to hear your perspective on online dating (or interesting anecdotes).
I sincerely believe online dating works if you’re honest about who you are and the type of person you want to spend time with. I kept my profile simple, direct and humorous and shared a few recent photos.   I was very specific about the type of man that would peak my interest and made it clear I wasn’t looking for a long-distance, casual relationship; here’s my story…

In 2015, a friend recommended a dating site called “Plenty of Fish”; within a week of being on the site, I started conversing with a very nice guy and we really clicked.   We quickly moved off the site and decided to email, text and call and a week later, we had our ‘first date’.   Our first date quickly led to the second, third and forth with each date averaging 4 – 6 hrs.   We really enjoyed getting to know each other and didn’t want our dates to end.   This July 2020,  we are celebrating our 5 yr anniversary and are planning a beach wedding and travel honeymoon destination for 2021.    So yes, online dating works but it was only a portal for us to connect ~ we didn’t waste time ‘playing the internet dating field’.   We knew right away we had something special, and decided to run with it – and we’ve never looked back.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
My interest in Photography came in the late 90’s while photographing the Fall foliage of the East Coast. I lived in upstate NY (for 18 yrs) and wanted to find a hobby to keep me busy during the Fall and Winter months – so photography was it.   In 2004, I was approached by Barnes & Noble to become their May Artist of the Month which allowed me to showcase 15 framed images in their bakery cafe.   This was a big deal for me as they put together a 2 hr Artist Reception with a wonderful turnout of family, friends and community members.  I sold half a dozen pieces that day which officially deemed me a ‘professional photographer’.

From that point on, my photography was displayed and sold in a variety of Dr’s offices and Florist shops; it was a true honor that people would admire and purchase my images.  When I moved back to SD in 2012, I immersed myself in beach, wave and surf photography and initially had my work displayed in a very popular Bay Park coffee shop.   Within 6 months, I sold a half a dozen images and started my client database.   After the coffee shop, my work was displayed in a Mexican Restaurant near Mission Bay that was known for their great food and support for local artists.

In 2017, my hobby officially became a business and “Image Maker Photography” was born.  Thankfully, having 20+ years with a Business, Marketing and Graphic Design background, I was able to roll these skills together without hiring outside assistance.
This helped keep startup costs down and I was able to have a personal hand in everything.

My photography reaches every budget featuring a product line of Bookmarks, Greeting Cards, small Prints and medium to large scale Wall Art on Print, Canvas and Metal.    I offer complimentary home / office Wall Decor assessments as well as digital, design mockups.   To this day, I have sold hundreds of art pieces and continue to stay in touch with my database of clients on a regular basis.   My clients and supporters are golden and I highly value the connection I have kept with them.  My number one goal is to ensure a wonderful experience whether they’re simply viewing or purchasing my work – I want people to walk away saying, “I really like her work and she was such a pleasure to speak with!”

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
The first place I would show them would be Windansea Beach, La Jolla. The large, green-moss sand rocks and the aqua-blue water will make a memorable, first impression. From there, I would take them through historic Old Town and treat them to a delicious freshly-made lunch at Cafe Coyote. A visit to Sunset Cliffs is a must to watch the sunset and perhaps catch a group of dolphins passing by. Heading to North County SD, we would visit the Oceanside Pier and have a fun Happy Hour at the nearby, bustling Pacific 333. Another must see in North County is the San Luis Rey Oceanside Mission ~ the history and grounds are fascinating and a quiet moment in the Historic Church offers a spiritual place to sit, think and reflect. For East County spots, Julian would be great to enjoy the small town feel, crisp mountain air and infamous freshly baked pies.

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?
My ‘shoutout’ is dedicated to the person whose love, support and belief in me is the only reason I am where I am, today – my fiance Larry Lara.   When I met Larry in 2015,  we lived 30 miles apart and commuted (often over an hour) to be together – but we didn’t mind.   I eventually relocated to North County so Larry and I could reside together.    My corporate job brought a 5 day, lengthy commute that was no longer enjoyable or feasible; I had to make a change.   With a lot of thought, I knew I wanted to pursue my dreams towards a photography business.  In May 2017, with Larry’s unbridled support, I gave notice to my 9-5 corporate job and never looked back.   I devoted all my energy to developing and molding “Image Maker Photography”.

Larry’s support came on many levels allowing me to pursue my dreams without focusing on exterior burdens. Shortly after joining the Carlsbad Oceanside Art Gallery, I won my first “Blue Ribbon” for Marti’s Kitchen and my photography sales steadily increased.   I then submitted my work and was accepted into the Juried artists’ group called “Art on the Green”.  This group is provided a year-round, weekends only, outdoor gallery in front of the Carlsbad Inn Beach Resort.   On the grass, one block from the ocean, our group meets vacationers from around the world as well as locals who love and appreciate art.  This became my new office and a means to build my business and create my brand.    Working side-by-side with these talented, local artists has brought a lifetime of experience and knowledge  ~ and it’s an honor to call them friends.

Without a doubt, this magical opportunity was solely due to Larry’s love, generosity and partnership as he always believed in me without question.  I am forever thankful for his unbridled support and look forward to a picture perfect future – click!  

Website: www.ImageMakerPhotos.com
Instagram: kellytheImageMaker
Facebook: Image Maker Photography

Image Credits
All images by Kelly Nicholl

Nominate someone: ShoutoutSocal 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.