Today we’d like to introduce you to Gernelle Nelson.
Gernelle, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My story started off pretty ordinarily. I’ve known I wanted to be an artist since I was five years old. I started pursuing a graphic design career after working with Photoshop for the first time in high school.
Sophomore year in college, I took a digital photography class and started freelancing for clubs and organizations on campus. I never thought it would be something I’d be doing seriously, just something fun to make a few extra dollars while I earned my degree. But life always has a way of challenging your ideas about the direction of your life.
A bachelor’s degree, wedding and a couple of years working in the design industry later, I found myself in a depressive pattern. I was creating, but not being creative at work. Most of my time was spent being treated like crap by callers and co-workers alike. It was clear, I needed to get out of this miserable loop and find other ways to make a living for my own sanity.
In 2015, I registered my LLC and started photographing people again. The next March, with encouragement from my husband, I left the corporate world for good.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The road of progress is never smooth. One of the toughest parts of working on your own is the isolation. What I mean is, you are everything to your brand. If you’re not working, your company isn’t working. You have to be consistent, always searching for new clients, posting things online and sharing your passion with others in person. You have to truly believe in your own value or else you’re cheating yourself out of experiences and profits.
In the beginning, there aren’t a constant flow of jobs or checks, but your bills and responsibilities don’t suddenly stop because you’re trying to figure out how this entrepreneur thing works. You’ve really got to want this lifestyle to work, be courageous and be consistent. I’ll say it again, be consistent!
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Gernelle Nelson | Sweet Girl Photos story. Tell us more about the business.
Sweet Girl Photos is my women’s and girls’ lifestyle photography brand. I was inspired to launch Sweet Girl after realizing I didn’t own one single image of myself with my mom from childhood; at least none that were of just the two of us.
Now, I encourage moms to spend more one on one time with their daughters and get it photographed so their girls will be able to cherish these times well into adulthood. Aside from moms and daughters, I love working with little girls and women in general. Sweet Girl allows me to fuse my love of fashion, art and socializing into one brand.
Gernelle Nelson Photography is my couple’s lifestyle and elopement brand. I used to photograph weddings of any size, but after 51 rounds of vows and receptions, I decided to niche down to the intimate ceremonies. My favorite projects involve following couples on dates and trips to beautiful places around the world.
Some of the coolest places my clients have flown me are Cuba and Manhattan New York. Eventually, I’d like to split my work over six months of the year, so I can spend the other six months networking and traveling the world to collaborate with lifestyle and fashion brands.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
None, I don’t believe luck has anything to do with life or business. It’s about faith and action. First, you must believe in yourself and your career choices. Then you have to act on that faith and move towards your dreams. No matter how you feel, no matter how many rejections, no matter how saturated the market. You gotta believe and you gotta work. You reap what you sow so start planting those seeds and finding ways to help others on your journey.
I definitely credit God with all the glory first! My husband is definitely my biggest supporter when it comes to my career. He takes care of the majority of our financial obligations, so I can focus on building my brands. He constantly encourages me to try new things and to believe in my value as an artist. Thanks to him, I’m not a starving artist.
I’m super grateful for my clients, especially the ones who’ve come back to me year after year since I first started my brands. Making friends and networking has had the best impact on my companies. The referrals and insight that I gain from these people are invaluable. If you’ve ever shared one of my posts, tagged me to a project or passed out one of my business cards, thank you.
- Portrait collections start at $350
- Elopement collections start at $1050
- Website: besweetgirl.com
- Phone: 972-364-7815
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: instagram.com/gernellenelson
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sweetgirlphotography/
- Twitter: twitter.com/sweetgirlphotos
- Other: gernellenelson.com