Simply Be Photography

Melissa Martinson of Simply Be Photography has done an amazing job at finding her niche and perfecting it.  I've been a long time admirer of her work.  I think you'll find that you feel the same way!  So here's to introducing Simply Be Photography by Melissa Martinson

How long have you known you loved photography?
I think I'm one of those who has really always loved it. ( I know, lame you were expecting that huh?!)
I really became obsessed though when my little boy was born 5.5 years ago (You were expecting that one too huh?!)
I honestly became a snap happy crazy mother, and I had no idea what I was doing. I got my first "nice" camera a
nikon D80 about 4.5 years ago. And have been totally addicted since. 

How long have you been in business?
3 yrs.  

You seem to have a real gift with newborns how long did it take you to nail it down?
Gosh I would say I'm still a work in progress. But I would say my newborn clientele has grown lots over the past year.
It seems to be more of the norm to have newborn pics taken, and I love it. I am totally completely addicted to photographing newborns.
I truely look forward to every newborn session, I miss it when I haven't done one in a week or so. I just love it.
I think it's what sucked me in to begin with when I first started photography. It's always been what I'm drawn to. I tried weddings, they aren't for me. Props
to all you who do them, they are tons of work!!
I do still do a few families, but my love is for the little ones.

What is one tip you would give to someone who wants to get into studio work?

Hmmm, get to know your lighting.(I'm all natural, I don't know what in the world I'm doing with studio lights) It makes all the difference in the world on an image. Learn what makes a photo pop. Knowing your lighting indoors will make or break your image
I think.  And I think I just re-typed this answer about 5 different times. HAHA. I'm trying to come up with a really good answer, and I guess I just don't have one.

What's one tip that you would give to someone considering making a transition from hobbyist to business owner?
Soak up as much info as you can before you bust out into a business. Also there are lots of photographers who will work for $30 bucks or so a session, don't do it! Your worth more, charge more!

What's your favorite equipment and why?

I switch back and forth between my 50mm for newborns, and my 85mm for portraits. Love them both.
And dreaming of the 105mm, oh and the 35mm would be great too for cramped spaces. ;)

Do you have a session that has been your favorite?  If so why was it?
Not specifically no. But a super sleepy, super squishy newborn is always my favorite. :)


Nicole Nelson Photography

Today we are spotlighting Nicole Nelson.  She is absolutely beautiful!!  On top of that she is an amazing photographer and a great friend and inspiration to me.  Aspiring photographers can learn so much about not only having talent in photography but also a good business perspective.

How long have you been interested in Photography? How many of those years were you in business?

I have had a passion for photography for as long as I can remember. As a child I would set up mini photo shoots for one of my four sisters. This often included draping blankets for backdrops and surrounding them with stuffed animals for props. It was not the best experience for them but I was in heaven! It wasn't until the last couple of years that this passion became a realization and a business was formed!

Do you have a certain type of photography that you prefer?

As you can see from my work I have tried it all. I seem to be having a hard time narrowing down my "favorite" type of session. I do know that I find the most reward from sessions that capture milestones, such as newborns, seniors, and weddings.

 I feel greatly rewarded after spending a few hours with a brand new baby. It is an opportunity to capture a moment that is so fleeting and will be treasured by loving parents forever. I also love weddings for this very reason. After shooting a wedding I often have goose bumps and leave shedding a few tears. I love being a part of such a special time in someone's life and also know that these are moments that are timeless. These type of sessions make you feel as if you are a part of something larger than just taking pictures. You are telling stories and capturing moments of a beautiful life!

What's your story how did you get interested in Photography and when did your business start to take off?

My story is similar to many other photographers. When my daughter was born I knew that I had to learn to take "better" pictures in order to capture her life (her story). So armed with my little Pentax point and shoot I set out to photograph every inch of her life. It didn't take long before I was frustrated with the images I was producing. They looked nothing like what I saw with my eyes or the vision I had in my mind. I had to learn to read light, to understand posing, and to operate in manual mode. :) My journey into photography began. I bought my first SLR and started by taking thousands of pictures of my own children which soon turned to practicing on friends and family. As I grew as a photographer so did my opportunities.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I am inspired by all of the beautiful things around us. I am also inspired by real life and real emotion. I love capturing those smiles that define a child or a signature giggle that only a mother or father would recognize. I am constantly seeking this type of connection with my photography. I am also inspired by new locations. I have found that shooting in new locations forces me to think outside the box and to look harder for unique ideas. But I would have to say that the single thing that inspires me the most is LIGHT. I love chasing light and trying to find those perfect pockets where the light is just right. I believe light can make or break an image. When the right light is captured magic spills into an image and it truly comes to life.

I have also stuck with the motto, "you do not have to be the best today, you just have to do better than you did yesterday". This inspires me to push harder and to try new things.

You've done a really great job at running a successful business in this area. Do you have any advice for the up and coming?

Oh, this is one I am still trying to tame for myself. Running a successful business takes a lot of patience and hard work. I have found this especially true with running a "creative business". When I first started I wanted to put every ounce of my energy into the creative side of my business such as buying wonderful props, dreaming up fun shoots, etc., often letting the "business" side of things fall flat. I have learned that without the balance between the two you will become overwhelmed and burned out. Learning to attend to business issues such as overhead and expense, taxes, profit, and most importantly time management will free you to be able to enjoy what you do. It is important to have a realistic outlook on what you are wanting out of your business. Photography is a very expensive business to pursue and one that could swallow your profits whole if you are not careful. I believe that is is important to put value on your work and experience. Too often photographers give away their talent for free and only end up hurting themselves in the long run. Your value should increase as your talent and experience increases.

A business plan is key to a successful business! It gives you control and ensures that your business is working for you instead of you working for your business.

Photography is such a beautiful art and has become an outlet for me to express how I interpret the world. Learning to run a business has allowed me to do this for a living!

Nicole Nelson is the owner of Nicole Nelson Photography and you can also find her on Facebook.


Brittany Cascio

Today we're happy to introduce Brittany Cascio of Cascio Photography. I was so excited when Brittany said she would join our little community. Not only does her photography touch and inspire us but she excels as a business woman. It's important to remember that although photography is what you are selling there is a lot more to running a photography business behind the scenes. Through her marketing, her talent, and her dedication Brittany has built a name and reputation that can't be replaced.

How long have you been doing photography? And how many of those years have you been in business?

I have had a love for photography as long as I can remember, but it really started to blossom my last couple years of highschool in the darkroom. For my 17th birthday I told my dad all I wanted was his old Nikon film SLR so I could use it in class and on my free time. I still love that camera! My senior year of high school I interned with Mackley Designer Portraiture here in town and it was there I learned a great deal about the digital side and post processing. I shot my first wedding the summer I graduated high school and have been loving it ever since. I continued shooting weddings off and on for the next few years, until 2009 when we became an official business. We have been very blessed to grow more and more each year and have it sustain us as our full time business/income!

What makes photography meaningful to you?

Memories are so fickle. The more time that passes we forget things... little details that made our special days, well special. I think its amazing what we do. We document some of the most important times in our clients life's and freeze them in time. Having those images to look back on and relive that time in your life is priceless... or at least worth every penny to have them. Not many professions have such a profound impact on people life's like a photographer, and that makes it pretty meaningful to me!

Where do you find your inspiration?

I always tell my clients that a lot of my inspiration comes from them! Who they are and what they enjoy. I am also inspired by my surroundings. I can go to a location and start to see the session play out in my mind. If you are looking for it, inspiration can come from so many elements... beautiful light, a song on the radio, a movie... You just have to leave yourself open to it. I am also inspired greatly by the love I feel in my very own home. My kids inspire me constantly to look at the world from their amazing perspective. Everything is pretty and new when you are a child and the world is full of endless possibilities. I am also inspired by the love I feel from such an amazing husband who is so supportive and giving. He has helped make our business what it is and keeps me sane.

You seem to focus mostly, weddings are they your favorites?

I LOVE weddings! I always have, always will! I do enjoy a good portrait session to mix it up now and again, but weddings are where my heart is. There is something truly amazing about my couples and being there to capture their love and connection before and during one of the biggest days of their life's!! Its addicting being around people in love! You can't help by have a perma smile on your face!! I do have to say though that over the past year I have fallen head over heels for birth stories. I could do them everyday!

If you had any one piece advice for an aspiring photographer what would it be?

Learn as much as you can from the very beginning. So many people buy a camera and just wing it and start charging money. They don't take the time to really get to know their camera and how to best use it. There are so many options out there to get the right footing from the get go, whether that be groups like this, free seminars, workshops or photowalks. Take the time to really get your craft down and then work into building a clientele. You will feel more confident in your ability as an artist and an entrepreneur if you take the right steps to making yourself ready for every aspect of this business and not get burned out quickly. And even if you decide you just want to do photography for your own enjoyment and not to make a living out of it, your pictures will be that much better if you take the time to learn how to best use your camera! Like I said, these memories are priceless, whether our own or someone else's and we want to give it the best "shot" that we can! :)

Do you mind sharing what equipment you use?

Gladly! :) I shoot mainly with a Nikon D700 but we also have a D300s as our backup/second shooter camera. My favorite lenses are (these are all nikon lenses) 24-70mm 2.885mm 1.8 and the 70-200mm 2.8. I also love our micro 105mm 2.8 and the 50mm 1.4. We just added the 24mm 1.8 for my hubby to use to while he second shoots. I use a SB900 as my external flash. We are both Mac and PC people... we like to live life on the edge ;) haha

You have a workshop coming up don't you? Where can photographers find out more information about that?

I do! This is our second year doing a Spring Workshop and we have made some great changes to it. We decided to make it a two day event to cater to all different photographers! You can sign up just for one day or both and get a discount! We also have some great sponsors that will donating some awesome giveaways and special offers only to photographer's that come to the workshop! I basically lay everything on the table and have a lot of fun in the process. I love teaching others about something that I do everyday of my life and we share such a passion for! If anyone has any questions, feel free to call (435)752-0652 or email me directly at casciophoto@gmail.com

You can find more information about Brittany's workshop and stunning photography here .  She is also on Facebook.



Photography is a beautiful art where we can express ourselves, our vision, and help others to feel valued and beautiful.  It's always such a gift when you have friends who share your love for photography and help to build you up.  That is our main reason for starting this site.  A place for us as photographers to appreciate and celebrate each others accomplishments and success.  The idea came to me after watching the Golden Globes.  I thought how nice would it be to be able to celebrate and recognize photographers for the work they put out.  So here we are, starting small but with hopes of spreading further.  You can be a professional or a hobbyist all that matters is that you LOVE photography! If you are interested in being featured and joining the Image community send an email to kristinwilkerson@gmail.com.


Nicole and Kristin