At KF, we believe in the power of women. Each month, we'll introduce you to a 'Woman Who Inspires'. These incredible women are entrepreneurs, innovators and makers who are paving their own way in business, education, society, motherhood, and many more aspects of life. Learn how they started their ventures, the challenges they faced along the way and see how they are building their future - all of our futures - while inspiring others.
Lifestyle and Wedding Photographer, Nicole Defilippis
Hi, I'm Nicole! Owner and lead photographer for Nicole Defilippis Photography. My business focuses primarily on family and wedding photography, with a recent addition of lifestyle photos for branding and content creation. While all these forms of photography are very different, I approach them similarly with a balance of both traditional elements and candid moments. This business went from hobby in the late 2000's, to side hustle in the early 2010's to full-time photographer in late 2017.
Why did you start your own company or brand/ become an entrepreneur/ or be your own boss?
Starting this photo business was happy accident. I was pretty settled in a career as a futures trader and photography was a hobby and creative outlet. I took photos of friends and family over the years and eventually word started spreading. I went from sessions every weekend, to weddings every weekend, to basically working every single moment of my life. Obviously working two full-time jobs is no way to live, throw burnout in there and you start looking for a better way. Being my own boss, making my own schedule and doing something I loved would be an absolute dream. Took a few years of hustling, but that dream became a reality in 2017.
What has been your biggest failure in business and what did you learn from it?
Trying to do everything myself and burning out. I'm still working on this. This went from a part-time side hustle to a full time job in a short amount of time. From an outside perspective, it looks like photographers just show up, take photos and we're done. The taking photo is about 5% of what I do on a day-to-day basis. It's emails and phone calls to set up shoots, it's book-keeping and invoicing, it's sorting through and editing all the photos, it's posting on instagram and keeping up with social media, it's creating timeline and photo lists for wedding days, it's designing albums and compiling print orders. Doing all this for a few clients is manageable, but multiple clients on a daily basis can get extremely overwhelming. Trying to do it all is a recipe for failure, learning to let go of some control for your own well being has been the biggest lesson learned.
What is the first thing you do after waking up to jumpstart a successful day?
Avoiding my phone and showering immediately haha. Getting Ready for the day, regardless if I have to leave the house or not, is the best way to get my mind into productive mode. Coffee helps too.
What tools (apps, books, podcasts, etc) would you recommend to anyone starting their own business/ makes your work day easier?
If you have clients, a good client management system is crucial. I use Dubsado and it allows me to create tasks, automate emails, set reminders, schedule sessions, invoice, etc. A lot goes into every client and I love that I've created a workflow helps me simplify the process for myself and keep clients happy. I also love Google Tasks. I feel like my mind is always going a million miles a minute so writing down and creating small tasks helps to free up some brain space. Plus, it's extremely satisfying checking things off a to-do list.
What person in history, living or dead, has inspired you and how?
I'm going to go with the cliche photographer answer of Annie Lebovitz. I had pouring over her photos years before I even picked up a camera. I love how effortlessly beautiful all of her photos are.
If this wasn’t your job, what’s something else you’ve always wanted to do/start/create?
Being a photographer was be the dream job for a while and now I'm doing it! It's hard to think of what else I would even want to do outside of this. Maybe something with floral. I always love putting together flower arrangements. Also maybe something in the graphic design realm.
Let's Get Deep...
What emojis do you use most when texting?
😁 (I call this the cringe face and I actually make this face regularly).
What is your go to cocktail?
Old-Fashioned or any cocktail with Mezcal.
What books are you currently reading?
Atomic Habits by James Clear (truthfully, i've been reading this for about six months. i need to make more time to read!).
Go to fave garment in your closet.
Not just one garment, but I love wearing black on black. It always makes me feel chic without trying too hard.
What is your signature scent?
I actually need one! It was Calvin Klein Euphoria for years. Now I love the Sleepy lotion from Lush so much that I just put that on and call it a day.