I know I’ve said this before, but if anyone were to tell me 14 months ago that I was going to be a photographer, I would have said they were crazy. That was not a part of Nikki Tran’s (previously Eckert) Life Plan. Yes, I had a list of what was going to happen in my life, probably since I was in middle school. I am personality Type A. Type A is defined on Wikipedia(reliable, I know) as:

ambitious, rigidly organized, highly status conscious, can be sensitive, care for other people, are truthful, impatient, always try to help others, take on more than they can handle, want other people to get to the point, proactive, and obsessed with time management; Type A personalities are often high-achieving “workaholics” who multi-task, push themselves with deadlines, and hate both delays and ambivalence

I bet Paul is laughing right now as he reads this because he knows it’s so true. But anyways! Back to my Life Plan. The two biggest things in my Life Plan was when and who I was going to marry, and what I was going to do for my job. I’m assuming those are high priorities on everyone’s Life Plan (unless of course you’re Type B and you don’t need one because luckily, you are care free and stress free – lucky you). I knew I was going to be married by the time I was 23. Most people laughed in my face when I told them this or otherwise were very concerned for my well-being. Getting married too young is a risk factor for failure. Lucky for me, I met the perfect guy at 19 and knew I was going to marry him a month after dating. He knew it, too – I didn’t drag him down the aisle. :) I was married when I was 22 1/2 years old – checked off Getting Married By Age 23.

My next big thing was work. I knew when I was younger that I wanted to work from home. I mostly wanted to be a stay-at-home mom (like my momma) but I also wanted to have my own work in my own house. For a long time I wanted to be like my aunt and become a hair stylist in my home. She works out of her basement and for years that was my goal. I also knew I loved writing, so naturally I started college with a degree in journalism in mind. However, my main goal with writing was to write a memoir type of book. Did I have to go for journalism in order to write a book? Probably not. So, I was stuck in limbo and didn’t know what to do with my life. I could go for cosmetology, but my heart wasn’t completely  in it. By the time I was in college I wasn’t interested in doing hair anymore – I loved make-up but did I have to go to school to learn how to put it on? Probably not.

I was dating Paul at the time when I was stuck in limbo. One night we were discussing what I could possibly major in and it was Paul that turned the light bulb on in my head. He said, “You’re great with kids. Why don’t you think about teaching?” Holy moly. Again, something I had NEVER considered my entire life. I was literally shocked when he said that and then shocked at how much I actually wanted to teach. Throughout my entire life, my sister Toni was the one that loved teaching. She had an old school desk, an old chalkboard, and old textbooks. That was her “playing” and when I was little, I thought she was crazy. However, my passion for teaching grew with each class I took and it seemed like everything was on the right track for my Life Plan – except the whole working from home thing. Back then, which was only a year or two ago, I would think, “Nobody REALLY gets to work from home. The people that do that are the lucky ones. It’s just not possible for anyone.” So, I basically gave up on that dream, which also made me give up on the dream of being a stay-at-home mom. Talk about distorting the Life Plan!

Type A people don’t do well with change and I’m no exception. I was married and I had a career I was passionate about and working towards. Two months after we were married, fate stepped in. Remember when I said that when Paul brought up teaching a light bulb went off in my head? Well, when photography became an option, it was as if there was a fire. I became obsessed and wanted to know everything I could about photography, other photographers, editing, running a business, etc. I spent countless hours studying, researching, photographing random things, editing, and learning. The Life Plan was back in action. I worked hard to create my business even when I was a full-time student. I spent freetime in between classes to edit photos, look for new poses, respond to emails, and build my website because I knew I would have homework or lesson plans to create that night. I graduated from college with an Elementary Education degree and unlike others in my class, I do not intend to use it as I once did so only 14 months ago. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED teaching. I loved my students and of course, my cooperating teacher. :)

So, what is the point of this post you might ask? Well, basically I’m telling you that if you have dreams or a Life Plan or a Check List or whatever, who is to say that you can’t have them fulfilled? I have been picturing my Life Plan for a loooooong time. True, I didn’t picture photography, but I did picture me staying at home and working. True, I love writing and wanted to write a memoir book, but now I’m sharing my life via blogging. True, I didn’t picture that the man I hated for many years would be the guy I married at age 22 1/2 (long story – maybe for another post…ha!), but I had a plan and I envisioned that plan to happen. God knows when the right time for things to happen. He picked me finding my passion for photography when I was almost graduated with a 4-year degree in something totally different. He knows and it’s funny how things turn out.

Now that Work From Home is checked off, what’s next for the Life Plan? A white picket fence. :)

It all started a few days ago when my website decided to hate me yet again. I don’t know what I did to make it so mad at me, but it basically cut off all communication with me and I was unable to resolve the problem (I’m referring to malfunctions in my coding, by the way). Nothing was working right. I won’t get into detail, but if any of you tried to view the blog on Tuesday you would have noticed a mess. Needless to say, it was a very frustrating day and poor Paul and Rusty suffered from my bad mood.

So, Paul began to do research (of course he was researching!) on how to fix all of my problems (funny story – when I called Paul my voice was very upset. I told him I hated my website. The first thing he said was, “What did you do this time?”…men…). While he was doing that, I was multitasking on Pinterest, researching better themes and websites, and revisiting our Jamaican honeymoon on Couples.com (I do this a lot when I feel like I need a vacation).

Anyways, long story short, I found a new website and am absolutely in love with it! I designed almost everything you see right now! I never felt like I had the freedom to really make my last blog my own and it was very frustrating at certain points. As a photographer and business owner, I want my own “look.” Branding is such a huge thing when creating a business. Every well-known business has their “look.” When you see the colors red and yellow, some of you may think of McDonald’s, and if you didn’t you will now! Target has red and khaki (employee uniform). Even certain photographers have their own look. When I see certain photos I can tell who the photographer is just by the editing and style of the photo. I want my photos, post processing, and branding to be my own look. Sure, other people use blue stripes and such on their website, but at least now I feel like it represents me, to me. :) Plus, whenever I look at the colors I think of the ocean. And perhaps every time you come to visit the blog, you’ll think of the ocean, too. :) Since we’re talking about the ocean and such, take a look at Paul and I on our honeymoon in October 2011 – I love this one.

This was seriously our daily routine. We’d wake up and say, “Well, do you want to go to the pool, hot tub, swim-up bar, or the ocean?” The ocean always won. :) Thanks to our wonderful friends, Dana & TJ, whom we met on our trip for this photo! Photography wasn’t even a gleam in my eye at this time so we brought a crappy disposable camera.

I know I have a long time before I accomplish this goal but I am going to be working very hard this year on focusing on creating work that is “me”. Plus, as Paul always reminds me, I change my mind A LOT. As a child I used to change the furniture in my bedroom about once a week. In my head I’ve been changing the wall color in my house for months. I’ve changed this blog design three times since I got it 3 days ago! I’ve changed my logo a zillion times. I’ve changed my post-processing flow a trillion times. Luckily I don’t change my outfits 3 times a day. Just 2. :)

Anyways….my most recent change in my mind….wanting to have cottage, beach decor in the house (don’t worry, Paul…). Naturally, I’m indulging on Pinterest tonight. Happy Friday to me! :)

  • JulieJanuary 19, 2013 - 12:51 pm

    Nikki, you are awesome! I love your blog, read it all the time. Keep writing. Don’t let the tech glitches get you down.ReplyCancel

  • danaJanuary 19, 2013 - 2:09 am

    I took that picture!! Love that one of u guys, but also the one u guys took of us that same day and same ocean we miss!!ReplyCancel

The flu has hit the Tran house in full force! On a positive note I am fighting it like crazy and am feeling so much better after only 24 hours. For this, I owe Paul. When the bug first hit at about 3am yesterday morning, the first thing Paul asked was, “What can I get you? I’ll go to the store and get you whatever you want.” I told him, “No, really, don’t worry about it,” and he went right back to sleep. Who can blame him though? If I had said, “Yes, can you please go get me popsicles, a cold towel, etc.” he would have been up within a second and ran to the grocery story, like he has so many other times in the past. (He did end up going about 4 hours later when I decided I finally needed some food. :)) That’s just how he is. I am fortunate to have married my best friend.

For those of you who do not know, Paul is also my co-worker. It is because of him that I have been able to make my dream of this business into a reality. (He’s going to be so embarrassed when he sees that this post is about him…o well. :)) Not long after the conversation we had about starting a photography company, Paul was researching constantly on the computer about the best cameras, lenses, how to make a company official, and the list goes on. Paul is the type of person that LOVES to research. He researches ANYTHING. If he doesn’t know something, he researches it. How do you change out an alternator? Research it! How do you take apart a lens and put it back together? Research it! Literally, the kid is a book filled with random knowledge. And of course, he had a field day getting my business together. Where was I when all this was taking place? Don’t worry, I was working too. :) Once we bought my first camera I practiced taking photos of anything and anyone. I practiced editing in Photoshop. I asked everyone I knew if I could practice posing techniques on them. I began building my website (I know, crazy – Paul had nothing to do with making my website – he’s a software engineer so it is actually hard to believe) and my Facebook page. I researched too, just in a different way. :)

Throughout my first year of business, Paul has truly been amazing. He has been so supportive about everything. Literally EVERYTHING. If I feel like I could use an update with my lenses, Paul is right there to find the best deal for the best lenses on Ebay (we love Ebay). If I want to go to the local vintage store for props, he is right there with me helping me decide which items would work best for different shoots. If I want to drive around searching for different locations for shoots, he’s always there with me. For those of you who read my last post, who do you think was the person who found out about this lovely opportunity in the first place? Yes, Paul. However, when I’m editing a shoot and continue to show him photo after photo I don’t think he is “all there” when he says “Yea, looks nice.” But, in his defense I’m usually doing this type of stuff during a football game. :) Fun fact: I actually watched a WHOLE football game on Saturday (before the flu) – 49er’s vs. Packers (naturally anyone playing against the Packers we vote for) and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Paul was so proud. :)

Our first wedding without co-shooting is coming up in less than two weeks! Can I be honest? I’m so nervous! But, I’m also soooooo excited! Paul and I have been pep-talking each other to get us prepared and calm for the big day (you’d think it was our wedding, ha!) and I have to tell you, it’s such a wonderful feeling knowing that I’m going through this big adventure with him. How often can someone say that they love their job AND they get to work with the person they love the most in the whole, wide world? I am one lucky lady. :)