Colorful Creatives: Audrey Simper Photography

Happy Friday! I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! For those of you that are new to this blog series, prepare to meet some of the most inspirational and motivational creative entrepreneurs in Chicago. I feature a new young creative entrepreneur each week that is living their best life, to help encourage you to finally turn that side hustle into your full time job!

This week I interviewed Audrey Simper, a Chicago boudoir and portrait photographer. Audrey and I met in college and I immediately felt a wonderfully contagious, positive energy about her. Flash forward to 2018 and I see her amazing work all over Instagram. She’s an inspiration and one to watch. She’s the queen of female empowerment and helping other woman see how beautiful they truly are. There’s no better word to describe this interview than authentic. She shares with us the journey of finding herself and how she became the boss babe that she is today. One of my favorite lines from Audrey: “When you put yourself in the life you want to be living, you have no other choice but to make it work out.” Enjoy getting to know Audrey Simper and be sure to follow her on Facebook and Instagram!


 
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1. How did you get started with photography?

I’ve been a creative for as long as I can remember. I dabbled in many different forms of art. It gave me the freedom to express myself and found it consumed me for hours. Before Photography I used to draw. After taking all the drawing classes I could possibly take in high school I found Photography next. I fell in love with Photoshop and creating stories through images. I became so inspired by this medium that I spent most of my free time planning, creating, and dreaming of what I could compose next. I grew up believing that artists don’t make money and that it isn’t a “real job”. So I went to study Architecture for two years only to drop out when I started to get paid for my photography work and a realization that Photography was my real passion.

 
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2. Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

In a way, yes. I always knew that I was destined for something greater than a 9-5 and I really enjoy being the boss ;) I am usually always more comfortable leading than following.

3. When did you know it was the right time to go full time on your business?

I’ve run my business full time since 2015. I knew it was the right time when I was previously living a pretty safe life, I was uncomfortable taking big risks. Committing to my business full time seemed like one. I honestly wanted an escape. I decided to quit working as a Nanny, take a break from my business and move to another country to live with my boyfriend at the time. But there I really hit rock bottom. Nothing was going as planned and my worst fears came to life. During this low I read a book called “You’re A Badass” by Jen Sincero. That book inspired me to completely change my life and the way I was thinking. I decided to move to Chicago, get my dream apartment, and commit to my business 110%. I had no idea how I was going to do that since all I had was one month’s rent. But this book prepared me for that. When you put yourself in the life you want to be living, you have no other choice but to make it work out. And that’s exactly what happened. I had faith in myself and the world, I ignored the worried voices in my head by practicing gratitude, meditation and visualization.

 
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4. What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome with owning your own business?

Definitely committing to go full time despite my bank account has been the hardest challenge so far. After that, it was deciding to raise my prices. It’s scary to raise your prices to a number that not even you could afford and having to say no to potential business that doesn’t meet your prices. Really learning to value myself and my work has been a huge mountain to overcome. But on the other side you learn that there is always going to be someone who can afford what you offer as long as they value it. It simply takes believing.

5. What is your favorite & least favorite “hat” to wear as a business owner?

My favorite hat to wear is the creator hat. I love planning for a shoot, visualizing the looks, shooting, and finally editing and seeing my vision come to life. Editing is honestly my favorite part of this process because my vision is 90% complete which is so exciting! My least favorite hat to wear is the networking hat. I love socializing and talking about what I do, but when I force myself to start conversations among strangers with the pressure of selling myself I feel so uncomfortable and usually end up going home. I know that I have the power to overcome this by understanding that networking events are really just an opportunity for socializing! But I just don’t want to do it right now.

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6. How do you stay motivated?

This is a great question. I feel that in this society we have a lot of pressure on us to WORK HARD. And if you’re not seeing results then well, “you’re probably not working hard enough”. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I believe in working smarter not harder. And I believe and stand for self-love. Being kind to ourselves in so important. I stay motivated by recognizing when i’m unmotivated, consciously allowing myself to step away from my work and do something that inspires me in that moment, something I DO feel motivation for. Then when I feel motivated and inspired to go back to work, I will. And I don’t worry about when I will because I know I will feel it eventually. If I didn’t it would imply that it’s no longer something I’m passionate about and I really shouldn’t be doing it then should I? So in short I would say that I simply stay motivated by making my happiness my priority and despite what others want to believe, I know that this is right for me.

7. What are you working on right now?

I’m working on launching my third annual Valentine’s Boudoir Event. I’m also working on launching something completely different and unrelated to photography. Something to inspire and help others feel happy and empowered in life in general.

 
 

8. Where do you look for inspiration?

I currently get inspiration from my favorite teachers. I have gone to their workshops and continuously listen to them on Youtube, probably everyday. They are:

Sue Bryce | Abraham Hicks |Joe Dispenza | Teal Swan

9. Where is your favorite place to work?

In my live-in studio. I love my space, it’s full of natural light and decor that pleases me and I can get up and dance whenever I want.

 
 

10. How do you start your Monday?

I wake up and spend 5-20 minutes in a silent meditation. Then I follow that up with what I like to call a gratitude rampage. The rampage involves listing all the things in my life that I am grateful for, especially the ones I might normally take for granted. I don’t get out of bed until I feel really good. I’ll grab some coffee or make a smoothie or both. I’ll usually do some work at home for a few hours before heading to the gym.

11. What are some of your favorite textures/ materials?

Fluffy faux fur, reflective golds, soft and cozy knit sweaters, dark or grey wood floors, marble

12. What are some colors you are connecting with right now?

Soft pinks, baby blue, tropical greens, & gold.

 
 

13. If you could travel anywhere in the world for inspiration, where would it be and why?

Right now, Hawaii. Maybe it’s the winter talking, but I feel so inspired to spend time on the beach, drinking smoothies and constantly waking up to a stunning landscape. Maybe that’s because it’s so different from where I live now, I’d love to create endless images with a backdrop like that.

14. What’s your favorite part of November/December?

Spending the holidays with my family.

15. What’s your favorite thing to do in Chicago?

AcroYoga! About 3 days a week I meetup with other acroyogis and practice for fun.

 
📸 @dmytro_nor

📸 @dmytro_nor

 

16. Any inspirational books you recommend?