Today we’d like to introduce you to Audrey Simper.
Hi Audrey, so excited to have you on the platform. So, before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
Art has long been a main interest in my life. Growing up I was bullied by my peers and as a result, I had low self-esteem. I used art as a tool to escape that, to be able to express myself freely & I enjoyed the feeling of being able to create something out of nothing.
I started with drawing portraits & anime, then eventually transitioned into photography and digital art. Before I became a portrait, boudoir, & wedding photographer, I was fascinated with creating whimsical, surreal self-portraits. I enjoyed telling emotional stories through photos and using photo-manipulation techniques to create other worlds & realities. I did a 365 project in 2012 where you challenge yourself to take a photo a day.
After that project, I started to get hired to photograph events, weddings & portraits within my community and my business grew from there.
In 2016 I started to offer Boudoir, and it quickly became a main focus in my business. As someone who previously struggled with self-acceptance, religious shaming, and felt awkward in her body, part of my healing journey involved embracing all parts of myself. This included owning my sexuality and finding empowerment. I wanted to be able to offer that experience to other women. I call my boudoir sessions “self-love celebration sessions.”
In a world where we are bombarded with media that tells us we need to change ourselves to be worthy or deserving, I want to send the opposite message. You are beautiful now. You are worthy of it all. No matter what subject I’m shooting, I look to capture the natural beauty of life.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back, would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
The road has absolutely not been smooth!
There were times when I struggled with my confidence and worthiness.
I grew up in a family who did not consider art to be a “real job” and was told that I wouldn’t make money exploring art as a career. As a result, I ended up going to school for Architecture. But I noticed something was different between my classmates and I. I looked around, and everyone in their free time was thinking, talking, dreaming & breathing architecture. While I on the other hand couldn’t wait to rush through a class project so that I could get back to photography. My motivations became clear. My first few jobs were through the school, shooting college events & headshots. This taught me that it was in fact a real career 😉 I ended up dropping out and starting my business right away – Ironically and thankfully, with the support of my family.
Beyond that, I would say the most recent challenge has been learning how to help my clients transition from self-rejection to self-appreciation. I became additionally trained in a trauma-informed healing process to be able to truly address the root cause of this issue. My goal is to help my clients see the beauty and life that lives in every aspect of themself. To be able to bring in compassion where there once was disgust or shame. There is nothing more fulfilling to me than seeing this growth in another person.
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I specialize in boudoir, portraits, & weddings – for the women & couple who want to be authentically photographed in a beautiful way. I aim to help my clients feel comfortable while being themselves. I am known for photographing this natural beauty in creative & elegant ways. I believe what sets me apart from other photographers is that I really understand people. I know why we feel awkward, nervous, or embarrassed, and I take steps to help anyone who is getting in front of my camera to feel comfortable & at ease.
Before we let you go, we’ve got to ask if you have any advice for those who are just starting out?
I have two things:
1. For anyone who struggles with comparison, know that no one is you – and no one can compete with that. I used to struggle with thoughts like “So and So is better than me; I can’t possibly charge what they charge” or “Why wouldn’t I just refer people to them?” – I want you to understand that there will be people who love you for all that you are right now in this moment. You have secret admirers who love your ENERGY. They love the way you talk. They love the way you communicate ideas. I was absolutely SHOCKED to learn that some of my friends would rather hear what I had to say over someone that I deeply admired. It’s the same for you; just focus on yourself. Allow yourself to see opportunity in other people’s success. If they can do it, that’s evidence that you can too.
2. One thing that has really changed my life and the way I do business is the power of subconscious messaging through sales. What we get paid is directly tied to how much we feel we are worth. Do not be shy when it comes to what you charge. Do not feel guilt. Money is just energy. You have got to make a living for yourself in order to keep sharing your talents, skills, and gifts with the world. You need to stay in business. No one is going to do that for you if you don’t set those boundaries within your business. You are worthy of a life that doesn’t involve struggling for money. You aren’t doing anyone any “favors” by discounting your services for everyone who asks. When you think, “They can’t afford this,” you are doing them a disservice by enabling a sense of perceived powerlessness or helplessness. Yet when you charge what your service is truly worth – you are instead sending the message of “I am worth it, and I believe you are worth it too.” AND “I believe you can find a way to pay for it, because I believe in your willpower to do so.”
- Boudoir Packages start at $750
- Weddings start at $2,000 for 6hrs
- Portrait & Engagement Sessions start at $350
- Payment plans are available
- Website: www.audreysimper.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/audreysimperphoto
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/audreysimperphotography/
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/audrey-simper-photography-chicago-chicago