{modern, stylized and urban couture~ san diego county based destination photographer}

Nicole Benitez

I am a Modern Stylized and Urban Couture Photographer based in San Diego {Southern California} and always available for session and wedding travel. Specializing in Modeling Portfolios, Commercial and Editorial Photography, Weddings, Couples, Kids and Seniors.

I love God, cupcakes, handbags, shoes, my family and wine. We recently moved back to California after my husband retired from the Marine Corps and we are living life in the Southern California sunshine.

Thanks for stopping by, make sure you leave some comment love so I know you were here. oxox

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Gift to you!!

Just a quickie announcement....
We are giving out Christmas gifts! Planning a 2011 or 2012 Wedding??? My Christmas gift to you... a $500 credit to you for booking by December 31st. Southern California or destination {with no travel fees within the US!!} ... Contact me for all of the details.
I can't wait to see where we are headed for our 2011 weddings.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Kennedy.. Lifestyle Session Fallbrook || Children's Photographer

She's obsessive. I have never seen a child squeal over new shoes or enjoy a shoe store as much as I do. But a few weeks ago our niece came over for a weekend visit. She is a year and a half old and full of spunk and an absolute love of shoes.
 We decided to do a little Lifestyle Session to surprise her mommy with. I do like the way other photographers process a vintage feel to photographs, but it is generally not my style. This series seemed to beg for a vintage touch so I had some fun with a bit of a different style.
Kennedy appreciated my shoe collection like no other and chose her favorites.

One on One with... Sarah Petty

This year has been full of changes for our family and business. I spent a lot of days worrying about the transitions of a cross country move, how to reestablish myself in a new area, and where the heck my new wedding clients were going to come from as I maintained my existing Modern Lifestyle and Urban Couture Kids and Seniors photography clients.
To say that it was a seamless transition would be a total lie. I spent so many hours in front of the computer researching and tweaking and re branding and and and... well, it was just exhausting. Sometime over the summer I ran across a mini book by Sarah Petty that would change the way I thought about my clients and my business and really set me on the path to move successfully into a new market and a new products. The Boutique Experience really mapped out where I wanted the rest of 2010 to move forward {you can check out my post about it here}.
So when the opportunity was presented to spend some time via phone chat with Sarah last week to ask anything I needed advice on, I jumped at the chance. She is open and honest and an amazing force in marketing.
2011 is coming full force and I have big dreams. I had a couple of questions for Sarah that I knew would set me on the course for success according to my goals. She was so helpful, I thought I would share a couple of my questions and her responses in hopes of passing some knowledge on to someone else that may be struggling with the same things I am.
Q. How can I create a presence and awareness in my new community without a marketing budget that translates into new clients and referrals?
A. Start with existing clients even if they are no longer in your area. Gifting to your existing clients will get them talking about you and will generate referrals.
Also, create marketing pieces, prices and packages that are beautiful and  EASY to understand for potential clients that inquire will start their experience with you and get them talking.
Co market with other businesses with the same target clientele. Creating a personal relationship with them and working with them to create a marketing campaign or event to benefit THEIR business will in turn help yours. Always give! It never works if you are the taker, but if you are genuinely interested in investing your time to help them, it will be reciprocated.
Find out what their needs are and offer to help fill them.
In relation to breaking into the local wedding market, vendor referrals are key! If you build a solid relationship with local vendors, one relationship at a time, you earn their trust and they are more willing to refer.

Q. How can I use being new to my community as an advantage vs a disadvantage to grow in 2011?
A. The advantage is that you are new to the area. You can go out and network in an entirely new arena. Approach local schools and ask if they have any upcoming events to donate to. Make a killer display piece and find out how you can cater to them and their needs. This may get you in front of tons of perspective clients.
Relationships are key and genuinely building and fostering those new relationships is going to be strongest advantage in a new market.

I love the advice Sarah shared with me and will be implementing it as we move in 2011. I am also attending the free JoyStart Your Year event starting tomorrow!! It is sure to be amazing. I can't wait to hear Brian Tracy speak about goal setting and achievement! That is something high on my 2011 resolution list!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas... From the Benitez Family

Wishing you and yours an amazing Christmas Day and a beautiful and prosperous New Year!
I cannot begin to tell you how thankful we are for the amazing year of change that we have undergone, how lucky we feel to have met new clients and friends and how forward we look to 2011.

The Benitez Family

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fall into Winter Inspiration... Kangacoo Designs {Kids Couture Commercial Photographer}

I know that the holidays are upon us, but I am finally finding time to breathe and blog! I have been working with some amazing kids {and adult} clothing designers for commercial shoots in 2010 and super excited for all that is in store for our Commercial division in 2011.
Among some of our faves.. Kangacoo Designs.
This was from the Fall intoWinter lines for their 2011 showroom designs and I am excited to showcase a few of our faves. I have so much more Kangacoo to share in the coming weeks. Absolutely gorgeous designs that really hold true to their tagline "Where the runway meets the Playground". 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Ugly Sweater Party Dessert Table... Sneak Peek

It's no secret that I am a dessert fanatic! In fact, I cancelled our catering budget for our 1st Annual Ugly Sweater Christmas Party for a dessert bar. Oh my goodness was the party a fun night! The highlight for me... the dessert bar!  Rebekah of A Blissful Nest styled the entire event and came and set it up for us. It blew me away!! Sin City Sweets hooked us up with handmade adorned Ugly Christmas Sweater cupcakes and plaid patterned cake pops. Who knew that tacky Christmas sweaters could be so much fun!!
Here's a little sneak peek!

Friday, December 17, 2010

National Cupcake Day Winner is.....

Thank you to everyone that participated!!
The winner is......
Nikki Matthews

email me at nicole@nicolebenitez.com and I'll get you in touch with Rebekah at A Blissful Nest for your awesome DIY Cupcake Printables!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

{Giveaway Alert} A holiday?? Why Yes, It's National Cupcake Day!!

This week the little kids and I took time out of our crazy schedules to visit with some great friends in Orange County for a cookie making holiday play date. The conversation turned to cupcakes and a local shop called Frostings and my ears perked up. After our play date we had to seek out this little gem and see if it was as amazing as they raved about.
We picked out a half dozen to try out and each and every one were delicious. Strawberry is still my favorite and this one did not disappoint. Oh how I **heart** Cupcakes!
So in honor of National Cupcake Day {which is totally a legit holiday in which cupcakes must be consumed in my house}we are hosting a giveaway!!!
Happy Cupcake Day courtesy of A Blissful Nest and {Nicole Benitez Photography}
Rebekah at A Blissful Nest is giving away a DIY Digi Pack of toppers, favor tags, and candy table signs. They are absolutely adorable and can be used for your very own Cupcake Party!!
Here's what you need to do:
Leave us a comment here on the blog to be entered. {It's that easy!}

For extra entries:
Fan {Nicole Benitez Photography} on Facebook
Fan A Blissful Nest on Facebook
come back and leave separate comments telling us you did.
You can also tweet about the giveaway, blog about it or re post it then leave us another comment telling us what you did!
Giveaway ends tomorrow {Thursday December 16th}at midnight
Winner will be announced on Friday!

For more Party Inspiration Check out A Blissful Nest Blog and Etsy Shop

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Calling In... Christmas

Today I have decided to call in... Christmas. That's right. We're not sick, just busy and I need a personal day. I almost wish I was headed to the spa for some relaxation, but retail therapy is the next best thing.
The girls all have activities after school today, so Tank and I are headed out to do a little Christmas shopping.
I cannot believe we only have 16 days to go before Santa makes his big arrival and this busy little elf has a giant list to tackle.
We'll be back in the office tomorrow.
I am loving this shirt from zazzle!!! 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sneak Peek... Already Thinking Spring {Commercial Shoot}

Spring?? It's not even Christmas. I feel Nordstrom's the day after Christmas already putting out swimsuits and shorts when I haven't even cycled through my winter stash of sweaters.
As I was culling through a recent {commercial} shoot for Kangacoo Designs Spring Line.. I couldn't help but post a little spring sneak peek.
Since I am partial to redheads, little Miss Matilda stole my heart with her gorgeous locks, adorably petite self and sweet little smile.
So much more to come soon, but this one will leave you wishing for spring.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Meet Katie... Mastermind behind Kangacoo Designs

I love this girl. We first met when she asked me to shoot her Boutique Kids line.. Kangacoo Designs. I was taken with her. A bit soft spoken, sweet, kind and gorgeous! We quickly became friends and I adore her.
Katie is also wildly talented! She started Kangacoo Designs on the premise of "Where the Runway Meets the Playground" to showcase functional children's clothing that looks gorgeous no matter what the day brings.
Over the last year, her business has exploded. Major showrooms in Japan, a successful line in the US and now branching out into women's clothing??!!
Take a look at her gorgeous first design. Functional pieces for everyday life that are gorgeous and comfortable. LOVE!!!!
Katie you are beautiful!!!

The Nguyen Family... Boutique Christmas

I absolutely love my clients. Like want to be bff's, send emails just to check in on their week kind of love {but not stalker like} :). Katie and I officially met over the summer when she asked me to shoot for her Kangacoo Designs Boutique Kids line {which we absolutely love!!} and in the process we have become very good friends and collaborated on a ton of shoots since. So when she was the first to sign up for an Images for the Cure session in honor of her grandmother who has battled breast cancer for a number of years, I was honored that she chose me to document her gorgeous family!

Katie is an insanely amazing designer... Check out Marlise's custom boutique dress! Gorgeous!! and the dress Katie is wearing?? Her first women's line design!! Post all about her coming next!
Check out her shop! She is offering 25% off everything and in time for Christmas delivery if ordered before the end of the week. Use coupon code DEC25KD