Minnesota Wedding Photographer + Destination Wedding Photographer | Nikki Tran Photography bio picture
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    Welcome to the blog! My name is Nikki Tran and I am a Wedding & Portrait Photographer based in the wonderful Twin Cities of Minnesota. Snuggle in your cozy chair, grab a cup of tea, relax, and enjoy reading about my adventures as a photographer, a wife, and a mommy to a furry little child named Rusty. I am so glad you are here! Check out my latest posts on the right --->

Growing Up In Your Business

Almost every day Paul or I will take Rusty for a walk. Lately, since I’ve been too busy (lame excuse, I know), Paul’s been in charge of taking him for his daily walk. They have a specific route they take and any time Paul goes towards the front door, Rusty is right there behind him hoping he’ll grab his leash. If you read my post from Monday, then you’ll know I am a worry-wart. I worry about my little puppy like I’m getting paid to. I know it’s not healthy and I know worrying doesn’t help anything. But lately, I’ve been letting go of the worries. When he goes for walks with Paul, Paul will take him to the park by the cornfields, and if the park is pretty empty, Paul will let Rusty off his leash. The first time I heard this, I nearly had a heart attack. “You WHAT?!?! What if he ran in the street?? What if another dog didn’t like him and ran after him?? What if he saw a squirrel and made a dash for it??” But Paul knew what he was doing. He knew Rusty was getting older and knew Rusty was becoming a better listener. Earlier today I decided to be like cool-calm-laid back-Paul. I let Rusty off his leash while I watered the front garden. Usually Rusty barks from the backyard gate while I’m in the front yard. So instead, I started watering with him in the front yard on his leash. Then I slowly took off his leash and just waited. He waited. I said, “Sit” – he sat. I said, “Stay” – he stayed. I said, “Come here” – he followed. My puppy has grown up. To be honest, him growing up just kind of came out of nowhere. And because he is growing up, my stress levels remain low (except on special occasions…).

Rusty growing up almost overnight, is like a business. When I first started my business in 2012, I expected way too much. I expected to find my style after a few sessions. My editing style would just appear out of nowhere and I would love it. A steady workflow wouldn’t take me very long to have. Building a name for myself will be easy. I’ll figure out my branding in a few days. My office will be super easy to finish. Everything will be perfect.

HA! The truth couldn’t be farther from all that nonsense. As a beginning photographer, it’s normal to expect all these things. You see someone else doing wonderful things with their business and it’s natural to want all those wonderful things to happen overnight to you. Reality check: it’s not that simple. For the first time since I’ve started, I’m just now beginning to feel confident enough to know who I am as a photographer. I now know my style. I know that I love all romantic things; poses, lettering, photos, ideas, words, etc. All of those things I’ve used to build my brand. And I’m still building it.

People have asked me what is important when becoming a photographer. Obviously the technical side of photography is a must; you can’t grow as a photographer without knowing how to work your camera and lighting. But another really important thing is style. It’s so easy to fall into the lump of the cookie-cutter photographers. I did it. I took photos that other people were taking because it was easy. It wasn’t risky. I recreated Pinterest photos because it was easier than trying new things. I wanted my editing to look like other big-time photographers because they were doing it that way. I wanted my branding to look like others. Comparison truly is the thief of joy (well done, Roosevelt).

What’s the point of this post? It’s simple – figure out who you are as a photographer. Know your style. Don’t expect it all to happen overnight.  Don’t compare yourself to others and don’t try to be like others - it will make you forget why you’re doing something that you love. The road may be bumpy and unpleasant, but when you can be confident enough to know you’re being true to yourself, it’s all worth it.

Neighbor Love

As most of you know, I just love my little Rusty. I want the best for him as if he were my little human child. I worry about him just like other mothers worry about their child. And when wedding season hits, my worry level rises just a smidge. I worry about leaving Rusty alone those 15+ Saturdays, sometimes Sundays, a year (especially overnights). As soon as he sees us packing our bags he gets quiet, leaves us alone, and lays in his bed with his big puppy eyes abnormally large and adorable. When we only have to be gone less than eight hours, I do not worry as much. Rusty has been alone that long plenty of times – I know he will be fine. But when weddings take us away longer than that, my stress and worry levels rise. The day looms over my head weeks before it approaches. Who can let Rusty out? Who will feed him? I don’t want to put him in a dog hotel (I’m the biggest worrier you’ll ever meet – unless he can come home and tell me what happened at his stay, he will not be going to one. Unless there is absolutely no other option…).

And this is where my amazing neighbors come in to the story. I honestly do not know what we would do without them. We have three wonderful people that live so close to us that love Rusty. If Kraig is on duty, we just tell him to let Rusty out and if necessary, feed him. That’s it. But every time we come home and ask him how it went, he tells us all about how Rusty looked like he wanted to play so he took him for a walk or two, or brought Rusty back to his house to just give him some company while he worked, or how he went out in the rain with Rusty to go to the bathroom because my dog is spoiled and hates the rain. If Bruce and Traci are on duty, we just tell them the same thing. If it’s an overnight, we tell them there’s no need to have Rusty sleep at their house (Rusty doesn’t let people sleep at sleepovers – he loves playing way too much) and that he can just stay the night alone at our house. When we come back and ask how it went, they tell us how Rusty was over all day at their house and slept with Bruce all night (although poor Bruce never gets sleep because Rusty plays). He played with his best friend, Harley, all day. He slept on Traci’s lap all day.

Omigoodness friends, it just makes my heart soar knowing we have such amazing people that help us when we have to work. So, my neighbors, THANK YOU!!! I know we’ve said thank you plenty of times, but I felt like you deserved a shout-out. :) We appreciate you all so much and I just don’t know what we’d do without you!! Please don’t ever move. :)

Traci - August 18, 2014 - 9:16 pm

Nikki, thank you for the kind words and I’m so glad we can lessen your worries a bit(I know u still worry because he’s your baby and I feel the same way about Harley). We love having Rusty over and we appreciate you and Paul as well because you have watched Harley for us and I know I worry less when he’s with you guys (and you put up with all of his hair,).

Nikki - August 19, 2014 - 12:26 pm

Oh Traci, you are too kind!! :) So glad we have wonderful neighbors like you. :)

[...] the front door, Rusty is right there behind him hoping he’ll grab his leash. If you read my post from Monday, then you’ll know I am a worry-wart. I worry about my little puppy like I’m getting [...]

Andrew & Jackie ~ Chaska Engagement

Andrew and Jackie are getting married soon, friends. Very soon. In one month!!! In Vegas!! :) No, we will not be going with them, but I am so glad they had us shoot their engagement photos. When Andrew told me that Jackie had found me over a year and knew then that I was going to be the one to shoot their photos, I was so incredibly flattered. Seriously, what a wonderful compliment!! And we got to meet their puppies!! Technically they’re not puppies but I call every dog a puppy so just roll with me. Dee and Spider (it’s so funny to watch her actually respond to that name!) were so stinkin’ adorable. They were such good puppies the entire time and I even got to hold Spider. :) Oh how wonderful. :)

Andrew & Jackie, we are so happy for you and wish you the best of luck with everything!! Enjoy your amazing Vegas wedding – can’t wait to see photos!! :) An early congratulations from Paul and I!! xoxoxo

Enjoy some of my favorites, friends!! Have a wonderful weekend!! xoxo :)


Omigoodness, how cute!!


Love this.

They were absolute troopers getting into that tall grass.

Oh, I just love this one.

Beautiful, Jackie!!

Another fav. :)