nikkisanterre nikkisanterre

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Fine Art Film Photographer  Poetic Imagery for the Refined Romantic. Marriage + Motherhood. Writer. Infertility advocate. Co-Founder @thehybridatelier

If wedding number one of the 2019 season is an indication of what the rest of the year will be like, than I am H E R E for it!
I’ve never been a pink girl, but then I met mauve and she changed my tone. Case in point, this stairwell at Historic Monumental Church in Richmond where Erin and Fletcher were married yesterday!

Explaining the difference between digital and film to a client yesterday, and this image came to mind. It has a painterly quality to it, one of my favorite aspects of medium format. Oh, how the intersection of lightness and darkness can create such richness and depth (Also, super grateful for @marymarantz, who originally taught me the magic of Rembrandt lighting many moons ago)! Having @jennaleigh_____ stand right next to the light-source in an otherwise dark stairwell, the light falls on her figure, highlighting her beauty and the shape of her expectant belly.

Looking back on portfolio imagery from over the years, I can frequently tell which year it was based on the stylistic trends and detail choices of my clients. I’m eager to see what that will be for 2019! Brides and wedding professionals, what trends are you excited to see for this upcoming wedding season?!

I shut the drawer and walked away. Despite my crawling skin. Despite the FOMO. Despite my urge to resist (after all, it was just a stupid experiment, what could I really learn from a social media sabbatical?). I put my phone away for a month, only using it for...get this novel idea...a phone! I wasn’t prepared for the heart change that would occur. For the truth I would learn about my own habits, in business and in motherhood.
It. Was. So. G O O D. I shared more on my stories last week (you can check it out in my highlights), but one of my biggest takeaways was the realization that, my job by it’s very nature is to create. To photograph, to make imagery. Yet, everyday, I was making a choice (even if I didn’t realize), to lose myself in consumption via this app (ads, content, news, endless info) rather than approaching it in the way it should be...as a tool to help your business connect to those you create F O R and community for those you create W I T H.
It isn’t about quitting Instagram. It’s not about boycotting social media or listing the downfalls. The connectivity of our time can be such a gift! It’s more-so about being mindful of our own habits so we are using these tools wisely.
What would it look like if we chose to S T R A T E G I Z E our time so the app did our minds more good (encouragement verses comparison, intention verses haphazard scrolling)? With intention, there can be freedom from the anxiety often caused by social media, sharing more of what that can look like soon!
For now, creation>consumption...who’s with me?!

Sometimes, the most fulfilling things, in work and in life, begin with one “yes,” one step in pursuit of an idea that stirs a fire within you. “Yes” can be scary, but it can also lead you out of your comfort zone and into the life you were made to pursue. Maybe it’s a trip...say YES, and go! Even if it call you away from your life loves for a minute. Maybe it’s a business venture...say YES! Write the email, create the opportunity for collaboration. You never know if you never take that first small step. It’s the first step that leads to the second, that leads to the third.
What is one “yes” you’ve been avoiding? How can you take one small step towards pursuing that thing, the one you can’t stop dreaming about, the idea that makes you feel most wholly you?

The longer that I’m in this industry, the more I realize that any creative endeavor is the sum of it’s parts. Each time I am invited to participate, either on a wedding day, editorial project or any artistic vision, I am always inspired by the talent and energy of my fellow creative. Working on something behind the scenes today with @amandadayrose. Y’all, I’m so thrilled to know this girl and even more excited to share this dream of hers soon!

Three cheers for more daylight, just in time for engagement session season and Spring weddings!

There’s something that feels oddly incomplete about this Spring, and I think it’s because for the first time in eight years, I don’t have a trip to Charleston on the schedule. There’s something about Spanish Moss dripping from ancient oaks that makes me nostalgic for some of our life’s sweetest seasons (our engagement and preparing for parenthood, among other celebrations). This photo is from a session with one of my favorite families at @magnoliaplantation last spring, and there are more fun favorites on the blog today. If you had to pick one destination to return to every year, where would it be?

I used to be fearful of shooting close details on film because I was afraid that the softness would translate into lack of clarity. Once I allowed myself to experiment with macro Holga filters on my #contax645, I realized fear was holding me back from some real potential in this medium. This shot of @christiewaltier bouquet is a favorite because of that huge peony, so clear it looks as if you could step inside of it! More from one of my favorite weddings last year on the blog. Would love to get back to Seattle, PNW weddings are a special kind of romance!

This was my big hang up. I don’t know what it was about the colors that prevented me from being able to move forward.
@jordancotton_ was a saint. For any creative looking for “From Scratch” branding, rebranding, or even a “brand elevation” (like the one we’re in the middle of), find someone to stand in the middle of your muck with you who will dig their heals in and help pull you out of your indecision.
Ultimately, I wanted to communicate warm service, poetic imagery, and understated luxury IN FOUR COLORS. An while the colors aren’t unimportant, they’re only part of the story. We chose this simple palette because they don’t compete with the colors in my imagery. On the new website, they will provide a complimentary home for the art I create for my clients.
Anyone else out there in rebranding (or considering it)? I’ve learned SO MUCH through this process at this stage of my business, and I’m looking forward to sharing more about it (feel free to comment or DM with specific questions, I’m happy to share alllll the recommendations)!

Pretending to wake up to sunny and 80 in Florida again, rather than below freezing in Virginia. Sierra and Justin K N E W when we began planning their engagement session that a winter backdrop wasn’t for them. “If only we could go to Florida,” she said. My reply? WHO SAYS WE CAN’T! When that possibility was opened up, we began dreaming of sun and flourishing gardens and delicate gowns. These film scans arrived in my inbox and instantly, D R E A M S came true, y’all! You never know what could be possible to create if you never ask! Added bonus, Mason fell in love with “Sisi and Teetee” on our trip and they will forever be a part of Bubbie’s inner circle (so much so, we’ll see you at “Tahto Tuesday” later tonight @swangensteen!). 🌮

As mothers, it’s our responsibility to help write the narratives that become the memories our babies will carry of their childhood. That doesn’t mean we have to perfectly curate Pinterest-worthy bedrooms, or spend small fortunes to ensure they have every trendy toy that the apps “suggest” (man, those NOSY apps!). It IS up to us to help nurture W H O they are. How can we do this? In their earliest years, by showing them where they come from. I love that Mariah chose to decorate River’s room with baby shoes that belonged to his grandfather, and with portraits of his grandmother as a baby. These subtle nods to his family history will help him to recognize these crucial players in his family tree, and as he grows, create opportunities for conversations like, “Grandaddy, did Y O U wear these shoes when you were a baby? Tell me what those days were like when you were small like me!”

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