We had the good fortune of connecting with Victoria Saint Martin and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Victoria, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I believe risk is relative; it’s subjective. There are two ways of looking at it. An optimistic outcome or a pessimistic outcome. The way you choose which one to prioritize is based on faith or fear.

Some may say skydiving is too dangerous, why risk it? Well, I didn’t see it that way. I saw it as an incredible opportunity to feel something new and exhilarating. I had faith that things would not go wrong and I jumped out of a plane back in 2017 and it was one of the most freeing, blissful, blood pumping, human experiences I had the privilege of having. This is how I choose to approach most decisions in my life.

A mantra I live by is: future over fear.

This saying has helped me make all of my “risky” decisions. Specifically, the decisions that made people question my abilities, doubt my drive, and worry about my path. It was risky to start my own business; to invest money into projects, equipment, and myself. To me, it didn’t feel like a risk though, it felt like it was just all part of the process.

I chose to focus on my future.

I have always had an extreme faith in myself about who I was meant to be and the things I was meant to do. That’s not to say I never felt lost or like I was making mistakes along the road. I definitely did, but my gut has always told me to push through all of that doubt and fear for the sake of my future. For the freedom of loving my job and my life. For the big picture.

When I graduated college, I knew how I wanted that big picture to look.. Owning my business, being my own boss, being a wedding photographer, spreading love and joy, and loving the life I created. Initially, it all seemed too big to achieve because there were so many things I needed to do to get there, and that was incredibly overwhelming. It was a challenge to invest money I didn’t yet have into my business knowing I could fail but I had faith that I wouldn’t.

I started with a part-time job photographing newborns and made the jump to a full-time position as a photo editor for a magazine to help support my ambitions. I thought working within the realm of my big-picture future would be helpful and it was! I learned a lot and it gave me the flexibility to take on my own clients and work on my own business. I put an enormous amount of effort into honing my craft, upgrading my equipment, and marketing myself. I was not turning a profit for a long time, but I knew the value of my services would continue to rise in the long run. The more weddings I booked, the more word-of-mouth exposure and portfolio work I would have.

There were some risks I took that did not amount to anything of course. I remember buying into a marketing platform when I first started. I spent $700 I did not have and figured if I could book at least one wedding using this platform, it would be worth it! Unfortunately I did not. It felt like I fell for a scam and was incredibly upset knowing that money could have been put towards something that would actually produce a positive outcome.

The thing is, if I always had that thought process of “what if it goes wrong?” my business would have never taken off. I knew that even if I failed and this business was just not meant to be, I would figure it out. I could get a job working for someone else until I figured out my next step, but if I didn’t even try and give it everything I had, I would be living a life I wasn’t meant to live. One where I am too afraid to take a chance on the things I want.

Every risk I took was a small step in the right direction, even the ones that took me off course a bit, they all taught me a lesson I needed to learn.

Risk is relative; it’s subjective. Choose faith, choose future over fear.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
We are a team of badass photographers serving the bad and boujee couples of Chicago! My team and I specialize in not only capturing one in a lifetime moments but also cultivating a genuine connection with our couple to deliver an amazing experience from start to finish! We hold their hand throughout the entire wedding planning process so that we can ensure a stress free photo experience! We provide countless resources, individualized timeline guidance, personalized engagement location scouting, and so much more to make sure we tell their story, not just snap some nice pictures. Our mix of “fly on the wall” and giving direction to our couples and their loved ones helps everyone feel more comfortable in front of the camera, which in turn, makes the image hold true authentic emotion. Our couples are like family to us, we love being able to celebrate their commitment to each other with them and their loved ones.

The process of building my business to where it is now was not always easy. I really wanted to give my couples the best experience possible which to me meant bonding with them. I strive to gain their full trust so that they know I have their vision in mind when planning and capturing their wedding and engagement photos. I want to make sure they feel like they can be their true selves in front of my camera (which we all know can be hard to do). My team and I achieve this goal of mine by giving experienced advice, getting to know the couple very well through phone calls, get-to-know-you forms, and cheering them on through social media!

I really do believe the key to being a successful wedding photographer is putting your whole heart behind the clients who put their trust in you, and I am really proud to say that we always give our full attention and care to each of our couples!

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.
I actually have an entire Chicago guide I made for my clients to explore all of my favorite hidden gems the city has to offer!!

During the summer days, I would take them..

– On a chicago architectural river tour. The history of this city is fascinating and there’s no better way to spend a day than being on the water!

– Walk along the Michigan Lake front or the riverwalk

– Grab donuts at beacon donuts that’s hidden in an alleyway in Lincoln Park and grab a Colombe Coffee down the street

– To a Cubs game at Wrigley Field. The energy of the fans is infatuating!

– Shopping on Michigan ave and lunch/dinner at Purple pig

-walk around wicker park and grab some ice cream at Jeni’s

Some Night time activities we would do are:
– Beatnik in the West Town for great Mediterranean food and boho vibes

– Mama Delia for amazing tapas and Bordel, the speakeasy hidden in the restaurant, for drinks and a show! They have flamenco dancers, burlesque dancers, and amazing DJs!

– A magic show at the Chicago Magic lounge speakeasy! You walk through a laundromat to get to the bar!

– Eat the best dinner of our lives at Girl and the Goat in West Loop and then hop over to Bandit for dancing and live music

– Grab amazing drinks at King of Cups and get our tarot cards read

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?
I would love to thank my family. Their endless support encourages me to dream big. My dad who inspires me with his own calculated risks.

My mom who is always my safety net.

and my sister who walks with me every step of the way.

I would also like to thank all of the friends who stand by me everyday.

Website: https://victoriasaintmartinphotography.com/

Instagram: @victoriasaintmartin

Other: Tiktok: @victoriasaintmartin Google: https://www.google.com/search?q=Victoria+Saint+Martin+Photography&rlz=1C5CHFA_enUS786US787&oq=vic&aqs=chrome.2.69i60j69i57j69i59j35i39j69i60l4.1723j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

Image Credits
Headshots/branding photos of team by Jess Diaz Photography

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.