We had the good fortune of connecting with Nicole Goddard and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Nicole, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Hi! I’m a professional photographer living in Topanga Canyon. My motto is “Live Passionately!” I sign all my emails with that slogan because my motivating drive is to spread joy, passion and love and I’ve been signing them that way since I started my business 20 years ago. 

I started my own photography business when I was 21. Having just graduated from the University of Washington with a BFA degree in photography, I felt like I had nothing to lose and the idea of being my own boss, doing what I love and having a flexible schedule was extremely appealing. During my studies at UW, my professor recommended me as the ‘preferred student photographer’ for low budget weddings. This acknowledgment from my professor was just the confidence booster I needed to get started as a professional photographer. I started small, photographing weddings on the occasional weekend to build up my portfolio, and as I kept getting work, capturing more and more monumental moments and delivering photographs to happy clients, my business solidified and so did my love for my chosen profession.

A year later, I got my business license, networked within my social circles and now exactly 20 years later, I have photographed over 300 weddings and hundreds of portrait, family, boudoir, lifestyle and corporate sessions.

It’s been an incredible journey of love, lessons learned, very achy backs, happy moments and, of course, thousands of photos. I’m so grateful to be able to do what I love. So with that, I wish the same for you…. Live Passionately!

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?

I think there are a few things that really help me excel at photography. The first is that I love people! I love meeting new people and finding out about their stories and what makes them tick. Making this connection gives me the ability to help them be at ease in front of the camera, it also just makes for a way more fun photography experience! The second is, I have a natural ability to direct and pose my clients in an authentic and genuine way. And the third is that I’m always looking for the best and most beautiful light and backdrops when outdoors.

I love every aspect of photography but the best part is delivering photos to my clients. I always get so excited to hear what they think and it brings a huge smile to my face. Giving my clients photo memories that will last a lifetime really fuels the fire of my passion for photography.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is how important it is to outsource aspects of the job. When I first started, I was spending days and days figuring out the numbers and accounting, it was exhausting and took so much energy away from the actual photography. It wasn’t until many years into my business that I ended up getting a bookkeeper, and that decision has been a life saver! It has freed up a ton of time and stress so that now I can focus on the creative. Making for a much happier me, and probably, much better photographs!

I’m also very excited to share big news! I’m in the process of expanding my business and just a few weeks ago, I opened a small, indoor portrait and headshot studio tucked away under the oak trees of Topanga Canyon. It is stocked with different backdrops and lighting and  it is perfect for headshots and portraits. I’m flooding my Instagram with this new work and thrilled to now be offering this new service!

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.

If my best friend were to visit, I’d love to give her a slice of my own life! I would want to fill the weekend with a balance of nature, wellness, culture and fun! We would explore the beautiful hiking trails of Topanga Canyon during the day and then head to some live music on the other side of town, possibly at the Greek Theatre or the Troubadour. The next day, we’d get brunch at the gorgeous Inn of the Seventh Ray, go thrift shopping at Hidden Treasures and then dance our way into the sunset at an ecstatic dance event on the beach.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are many people I would like to dedicate this shoutout to, but I’m going to say my parents. They were and are my all-time biggest cheerleaders and supporters. They always believed in me, had my back and encouraged me along the way. How on earth did I get so lucky to have such loving parents?! Thanks Mom and Dad (aka Marcia & George)! I love you two so much!

Ok, two more people, because they are VIPS…
To my dearest and oldest Los Angeles friend, Sara Shepard, for graciously consulting me along the way (almost daily!). I’d be lost without her— her counsel and advice are gold! Everyone needs a Sara in their life.

And to Adam Krim, my first housemate in LA from 14 years ago, who gave me wise business insight and perspective on taking the leap to take my business to a new level!

Website: www.nicolegoddard.com

Instagram: @nicolegoddard

Linkedin: @nicolegoddard

Facebook: @nicolegoddard.photography

Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/nicole-goddard-photography-venice-beach

Image Credits
Nicole Godard Photography (for 8 photos) Erik Borzi (for my headshot)

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