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Meet Nadine Sachiko Hsu

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nadine Sachiko Hsu.

Hi Nadine Sachiko, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I’m a mom of 4, entrepreneur, podcast host, owns a boutique accounting firm and runs the top portrait studio in the SGV. I was a single teen mother in an abusive relationship at a young age and did a lot of growing up quickly. I moved out of my parent’s house & left my significant other at 18 and worked while I studied accounting in college.

I met my current husband around that time and fell in love! We were both heavily into racing cars. It was like an escape for us. I became a pro driver and competed professionally on a national level in the Formula Drift Services and was one of the first female drift racers in the country.

In 2003 I founded Drifting Pretty, which is my nonprofit for the advancement of women in racing. There I mentored young women who wanted to race & work on their cars but had no other girlfriends that were doing it. We competed professionally together and inspired a lot of other women in pursue their dreams and take a leap of faith to try new things. To this day, I have a podcast, The Drifting Pretty podcast, where me and the Drifting Pretty members interview each other about our journey and interview other inspiring women who are making ripples in the social norms of today.

Drifting Pretty had a photoshoot at the end of the year each year. I photographed the members and their cars to document the year, sort of like school photos. It was then when I fell in love with portrait photography. Drifting Pretty’s members didn’t really like the camera, they were not models, they were race car drivers, so they were the perfect subjects to learn my craft on. My best skill to this day is making a person feel comfortable in front of the camera.

In 2011 I started “Sachiko Studio” and began photographing people professionally. During that time, I was at my highest management position in the accounting world, working for Cal Tech and suddenly lost my job in 2012. I then went FULL TIME in photography AND started taking accounting clients on the side.

In 2015 I signed the lease for my 1st little studio space and started taking in studio shoots. In 2017, I quadrupled the size of my old studio and got my current studio space and became the most popular photo studio in the SGV. I added makeup & hair artists to my staff and turned regular studio photo shoots into wonderful experiences for my clients. This entire time I was also building my little accounting client list and even hired a full-time accounting employee.

Last year during COVID, I added another 1k square feet to my studio and make way for another employee, this time for my studio, and built a podcast studio there as well.

Today I run the Top full-service portrait studio in the SGV and a very successful boutique accounting firm, produce two podcasts, run Drifting Pretty and I’m a mom of four daughters.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
My journey has never been easy. I learned that I had to plant a lot of seeds patiently along the way to get here.

– Being a teen mom with no college degree was difficult but fueled my desire to grow myself out of that situation quick for the sake of my child. I never felt sorry for myself, I kept my head down and worked as hard as I could to improve myself and my life for my child.

– After pursuing a career in corporate accounting, I lost my FT job out of nowhere and it brought me to a crossroads of either getting a new job working for “the man” or taking this as an OPPORTUNITY to be my own boss and go all in for photography and my little growing accounting firm. I took the OPPORTUNITY to be my own boss and never ever looked back. It was the riskiest and most impactful decision I made in my career.

– I learned that my biggest critic & enemy along the way was MYSELF. The only person who ever held me back was me. After I realized that, I got out of my own way. Suddenly my trajectory and confidence grew exponentially. It was the best realization I’ve made to date.

– I was scared to grow my studio and get a studio space. I realized quickly that committing to a monthly rent fueled me to become an even better business person and add VALUE to my client’s experience and use it as a competitive advantage.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I am a professional portrait photographer specializing in full-service photography sessions for women. 75% of the clients I photograph are return clients.

I am known for turning a photo session into a memorable, relaxing, and pampering experience. I provide my clients with fully custom photo sessions with in studio hair and makeup wardrobe, all done to fit my client’s individual style. I photograph my clients with anyone they want…whether it’s solo, with newborn baby or their entire extended family.

I am most proud of the experience I’ve managed to create at my studio. In the beginning, you booked an appointment to get photos taken so you can get files. Now it’s so much more and my clients walk away with this amazing feeling and boosted confidence…and eagerness to do it all over again next year. I found my way here by listening to my client’s needs and wants and gravitating towards what I love doing.

Where do you see things going in the next 5-10 years?
It’s an ever-evolving industry. In the next 5-10 years, I think technology will play a huge role in improving the studio experience technically for photographers. Providing a wonderful in studio experience and printing your photos will never go out of style…it will keep evolving for the better.

The trend right now is self-care. During COVID people have realized how important it is to take care of themselves and document the tender time they have with their beloved families. The demand for heirloom portraits of my clients and their families has never been so high.

Pricing:

  • My creative fee is $550 for a fully custom portrait session with me. Included is a styling consultation, full hair & makeup and wardrobe for women & their daughters. Newborn creative fees are $795.
  • My photo packages start at $950

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Beach Family photo by Jason Ryan all the rest are my photos.

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