Today we’d like to introduce you to Nicolette Bardos.
Nicolette, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
As a kid, I found myself fascinated with my sister’s Polaroid camera, and had a little IZOD camera too. I took pictures of EVERYTHING. I remember setting up “family portraits” with my Barbies HAHA. Like what? But I guess that makes sense. Then throughout high school, me and some of my friends would do “fashion shoots” of each other just for fun and honestly it took off from there! (I should do a blog post of all of my first “photoshoots.” So adorable and also hilarious.) I shot and shot and learned as I went. Before I knew it, people were asking me if I would take their senior photos, their family photos, etc. From there, it escalated. I realized that I could really go somewhere with this, so I kept it up and really pushed myself. I worked hard to build a business that I could maintain regularly. It felt so right. Over time, I grew it into a stable full-time business, and that has been my primary job ever since.
When I started college in 2011, I had no idea what I should study. I have so many interests, but my brain told me I needed to “be practical.” Sure, I knew I was an artist. But could I really build a career out of that? I concluded that I would explore something new, while keeping my growing photo business on the side. After about two years in school, struggling to feel like I was in the right program, I finally decided to follow my heart. The University of Northern Colorado, where I was attending, had an awesome Art & Design program that I had totally been keeping in mind. I finally went for it, and I applied. When I received that acceptance letter, I knew I had to go for it. I learned so much in my time there — from my professors, my peers, etc. I am so glad I chose to follow what my heart told me! It helped me as an artist AND a business owner in so many ways.
I graduated from UNC in December of 2016, and am now dedicated to my business full-time. An internship with my dream company, Pacsun, took me to Southern California last summer, which opened so many doors for me. The experience was incredible, and it had me fall in love with the West Coast like I always knew I would. After finishing school, I decided to make the move back there to embrace and explore some more opportunities in commercial fashion and such. I now live part time between California and Colorado, serving my client bases in both places (as well as all over the country) It has been a dream come true, and although things can get crazy, I couldn’t be happier.
Has it been a smooth road?
Owning your own business, and working as a freelance artist definitely comes with its challenges. Not only am I the photographer, but I am my marketer, my finance person, my customer service representative, my everything! I wear a ton of hats in order to run my business full time, and to successfully support myself and grow. There is a lot of unpredictability, often uncertainty, and other challenges that I have to work through. But honestly, I consider it all a blessing. To face new challenges means I am learning and growing as a business and an artist, and that’s all I could ever ask for.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Nicolette Bardos Photography – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Portrait photography is my thing. I focus mostly on weddings, and fashion/editorial portraiture, although I also regularly photograph families, couples, seniors, kids, etc. Regardless of the genre I am shooting, the magic comes from the person I am photographing. I strive to bring out something real from each of my subjects, whether it is their relationship with the other, or something solely about them as an individual.
Most would call me a “natural light” or “available light” photographer, with a very lifestyle type and natural look to my work. The use of light has always been my magic. On top of that, I am all about embracing the realness of my subjects, and capturing who they are as individuals. I encourage my clients to be themselves, and I work to highlight what makes them, them. I am so not about that cookie-cutter standard.
A big thing that I tell people I work with, or potential new clients, is that while my photography is of course based on delivering them beautiful images, it is also solely based on the whole experience… My clients quickly become my friends, and it is always my goal to make each and every one of them both comfortable and excited about our experience together from start to finish.
This business and passion of mine has brought me opportunities to get to know people from all walks of life and different backgrounds, which is all I could ever ask for.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
For such a long time, I have been drawn to LA and southern California. The buzz, the opportunity, the passion and the hustle. I craved it. As an artist, I absolutely thrive being surrounded by other people who are chasing a dream. I knew it was for me. I had to get there. Coming from a smaller town, the thought of being in such a big city was intimidating, which is what drew me to it. I was thrilled to have received the offer to intern with Pacsun last year, which is what got me out to Cali for the first time. I got the offer, packed up my stuff, and ventured solo to the place that I knew would inspire me. I adjusted quite quickly, and it changed my life forever.
This time around, I am residing down in sunny San Diego, with frequent trips up to Los Angeles. I fell in love with the city & beach mix of SD, and I find comfort in a more “laid back” area to live in, that I can escape to after a crazy few days in LA. While I have so much love for Los Angeles, it’s no joke that you really have to stay focused. It can be hard to stay on track with your dream, in a whirlwind of insanity. I see people do it all the time, but I also see people fall totally off track and end up sacrificing what they loved for something temporary that they’ve been tempted with. It’s super strange to see. And hard to explain. But I like to focus on the positive, and I couldn’t be more thankful for the experiences and opportunities that the city has brought me.
- Portrait Sessions – beginning at $300
- Wedding Packages – beginning at $2300
- Website: www.nicolettebardos.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/nicolettebardos
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nicolettebardosphotography/
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/nicolette-bardos-photography-san-diego
Personal photo by Kevin Aragon
All other photos, Nicolette Bardos