We had the good fortune of connecting with Nikki Hildebrand and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nikki, what do you attribute your success to?
I hope the most important factor behind my brand is my love and joy for others. I started Nikki Hildebrand Photography first to bring joy to friends and clients and secondly to be filled with joy through providing care, thoughtfulness, and intention to them. I love assisting other photographers. I was blessed to assist Cavin Elizabeth, who is also owner of The White Flower Bridal Boutique, as well as being a second. Now I am taking my own steps forward to provide that same kind of love for detail and client satisfaction to my own business. It’s all exciting! I started my wedding photography business at the start of 2020. I know a few stories like that and it’s okay that it all went crazy because I have been able to learn through on-line classes as well as one-on-one meet ups with other photographers to practice and keep my craft alive. I should add that we all followed and respected COVID guidelines during any meetups. I think the time I took to really hone my work flow and brand style was extremely positive. I am currently working on a new website that will be up in a few months (fingers crossed) and loving shooting family photoshoots. Thank the Lord for my 70-200mm during COVID! It has allowed me to keep my clients and myself safe. The lens has been great for allowing me to up my verbal communication skills in posing too. Before, I would move body parts on my own and now I can verbally explain as I self demonstrate….I tend to be picky when knowing what looks pleasing on the female figure and making sure my clients looks their best. I think most photographers are. My life line for my success is my husband and family. My mom is my number one fan and my husband has given me a lot of grace to figure out what I like and don’t like in the business details of photography. I couldn’t be here with out their love and encouragement. My mom purchased my first camera for me. My kids now take my phone, and I catch them filming each other and taking candids around the house. I just adore it. It makes me feel so happy that they see my joy and want to experience that too. One day they can assist me!! YAY! That will be true success, my children seeing value in what I give to the world.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I love, love, love people! My business is focused on making people happy and blessing families and couples with beautiful images that touch their hearts. I am about serving and communication. I started my business with the question: I love making people happy so, “what job could I do that would make that happen?”. Photography had always been something I was interested and enjoyed doing for others. It was a no brainer for me. Now, I get to create timeless, organic, heirloom moments and see the joy on my clients faces once they see their images. The biggest challenge was starting my wedding photography business during Covid-19. Finding community in the profession was slow to start but through Facebook groups Zoom calls and now Club House, technology has really been an amazing tool for finding community! I love knowing other professionals, giving to them and learning from them. The best lesson I have learned in all of this is to always ask, “How can I serve others first.” I think if you always take and never give you miss out on the beauty of connection and love. When I started, I felt like I was always taking, asking questions and soaking up knowledge but as I grew it felt so good to give back in time, in communication, in assisting. I hope that clients and colleagues know my work is a passion of the heart.
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.
WARNING RUN ON SENTENCES If my best friend was coming to visit me, first on the way home we would need to take a quick stop at Mona Lisa’s deli for hard salami sandwiches! Then, home to unpack, drink wine and reset together. The second morning begins with breakfast and coffee at home and a trip to Ocean Beach to enjoy lunch, the sand, and do a bar crawl. Third day: recover by the pool with homemade margaritas and music. In the evening we would watch a chick flick and eat popcorn with m&m’s mixed in. On the fourth day: shopping at UTC mall, lunch at Eureka for beer and burgers, then more shopping and maybe stopping by Raised by Wolves on the way out. The fifth day would be Sea Port Village and Down Town walk about stopping to nibble at different restaurants along the way and then either The Night Zoo or The Prado in Balboa Park for dinner, maybe hit up a museum if they are open. On the sixth day another pool day/pj day just enjoying each other’s company and kicking it, maybe watch a fun 80’s movie we can laugh at or cry to. The seventh day would be breakfast at Janet’s Montana Cafe and sad car ride to the airport…maybe one last stop at Mona Lisa’s deli for a to go snack on the plane.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Oh my, it’s Shoutout Time!!!!… it takes a VILLAGE and I have been blessed to be around beautiful and uplifting photographers and mentors. Lighting, Business & Community: Jana Williams, Cavin Elizabeth, Sandra Coan, Caroline Tran, Annemie Tonken, Tanya Menoni, Savan Photography, D’Arcy Benincosa, Lisa Anderson, EEE, Shannon Griffin, Jaine Kershner, KT Merry and The Abundance Plan, D’Arcy Benincosa, Amy Haung, Sandra Yvette, Jenna Wren, Abul Shah, Julie Paisley, Moments by Taya Photography, Leniel V Photography, Tiffaney Childs, The Hybrid Co… the list goes on. I have been blessed by all of them in some way on this journey and I have been met with such love! The world of photography is a beautiful community of artists who love people! I am in my happy place! This community is so wonderful and there is always so much to learn and pick up. I am sure I will never know it all and that in itself is exciting. I simply feel blessed to be in this profession.