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Jun 2, 2016

Seven years.

2016 marks the seventh year of having my own business. It blows my mind to even think about it. It seems such a tiny number of years, at the same time it feels like a lifetime.

“I will never do this again!” were the exact words I used when I came home from my first wedding that night in March 2010. Never could I have imagined everything that happened afterwards.

It’s like my life spiraled out of control in the best possible way.

In those early days not many believed in what I was doing. And many felt the need to share their “wisdom” with me (mind you, all people who have never been self-employed):

“This is just a hobby, you can’t make a living from it”

“I don’t think you have enough of a business mind”

“You are not good enough”

“If you make your hobby your job, you will grow to hate it” 

“There is no money in wedding photography”

“What will you do with your degree then?”

So I want to thank those who did believe in me. Those who in those exciting, unsure and blurry days saw something in me, those that saw beyond the present. Those who told me, this is what my calling was. Thank you.

And thank you to the ones offering their misguided advice: you pushed me like nothing else, because I so wanted to prove you wrong, you have no idea.

In some ways I could see what others couldn’t. I could see a creative life filled to the brim with inspiration and beauty waiting for me, I could see it all within my reach but I needed faith to take my first steps. Not because of fear. I wasn’t afraid: I had no faith. After all, I had always been the stupid one, the day dreamer, the bad student. I needed to believe that this was actually something I could do. That I could influence and shape the course of my life. I needed to believe I don’t have to repeat a pattern I knew I didn’t want for myself. I needed faith and I didn’t care that nobody backed me up. I was never afraid of standing alone. I knew: this is what I was born to do. Live a creative life.

So many times I get asked why I wasn’t afraid when I started my business. The truth is: I had no reason to be. I didn’t have anything to loose. I had no possessions, no living standard, no responsibilities (other than paying my rent and buying some food now and then) and most of all  – I was ignorant. I had very little knowledge about the industry and what it means to run your own business. The less you know, the less afraid you are.

So starting was not the problem for me. Sticking to it sometimes proved to be. The fear came knocking later – when I was already in the game. The many long late nights in front of the computer, googling for answers I needed, the figuring out of the camera, the struggling with finances, the doubts about not being good enough, the times when I just wanted to quit and be a “normal” person. . . yes I had all of those moments and sometimes I still do.

But I also knew that giving up was not an option. I knew there was no other way I wanted to live my life than this: free and creatively.

In these seven years my business has evolved and it has become about more than photography. I realized that it is not about me taking photos. Finding my purpose and living it out loud has been a huge thing for me and something I really needed to keep going. What’s the purpose of being great at something?

I didn’t just want to be great for the sake of being great. In the words of the amazing Jeremy Cowart:  Greatness should serve a greater purpose. 

I now know why I do what I do and I can honestly and wholeheartedly say that photography is not my passion.

My passion are people. Photography is just the key that gives me access into their lives, their stories, their lessons, their inspiration.

And beside the freedom, the fun, the traveling, the excitement, the livelihood – this is probably the best thing that this business has given me:

Permission for me to be me – and permission to set the same free in others.

Through that permission came access, with that access came endless inspiration. Access into the lives of others, be it through photos or words, in person or online.

A long time ago I decided I would be the woman I needed when I was growing up. For the longest time I thought I was alone. Until I started this journey and found so many like-minded hearts. I know that all I put out there, touches someone’s life in some kind of way.

And that is how I want to spent my life. I will never stop sharing who I am and what I believe in and go through  – because I know that there are more like me out there who need to hear it. They need to know that they are not alone, just as I needed to hear it years ago.

To you, who has encouraged me, to you, who loves my work, to you, who has given me a piece of your heart, to you, who supports me in any way: Thank you out there, for your comments, your emails, your messages – you don’t go unseen and you brighten up my soul.

I hope you always leave this place inspired and knowing that you are important and that your story matters. The life you dream of is just within your reach.

Love, x



Photo credit: Liz Riley

Comment :


  1. Tanya

    June 2nd, 2016 at 1:54 PM

    <3 you for being you! x

  2. Emma Fenton

    June 2nd, 2016 at 1:56 PM

    Gorgeous and inspiring words. We all need a bit of Nadia in our lives. I know I do! I hope one day our paths will cross. Until then, keep doing what you do best. xx

  3. Emma

    June 2nd, 2016 at 2:12 PM

    Stunning, Nadia. You are such an inspiration. I enjoy every single post and thought you share with us. You are on your way. Stick to it! Thank you for sharing.

  4. Franceska

    June 2nd, 2016 at 2:18 PM

    Beautifully spoken! You inspire me to be an even more creative me :)

  5. Anna Dunleavy

    June 2nd, 2016 at 2:24 PM

    Well done Nadia, for sticking through the tough times, well done for choosing to live the life YOU want to, not a life you thought you should. I’ve been following you for some time now and always enjoy reading/watching your posts. Thank you.

  6. Flo

    June 2nd, 2016 at 2:38 PM

    Auf Sieben weitere Erfolgreiche, Interessante und prägende Jahre.

  7. Matthias Oliver Mohr

    June 2nd, 2016 at 2:52 PM

    Wow, I always just love to read you Nadia. The way you describe your thoughts, the way you use your words.. sometimes I really think and believe, in some way, we are related to each other – even if it´s just by our souls. There are so many things you shared already in the past, which often are the absolute copy of my thoughts and parts in my life – which is so crazy in some way..

    Thank you for the Signature Style System – it was just perfect :-) Like all what you do.

    Hope to see you some day :-)

    Say hello to Eddy…

    Greetings from the south of Germany ;-)


  8. Gea

    June 2nd, 2016 at 3:09 PM

    What a great, inspirational piece. Thank you for sharing Nadia, and please continue making the beautiful work that you you make. Sunny regards from the Netherlands!

  9. Anija

    June 2nd, 2016 at 4:02 PM

    Rock on, Girl! Happy Anniversary. #leavinginspired

  10. Dasha

    June 2nd, 2016 at 4:23 PM

    Thank you, Nadia, for being you. For being so honest and open hearted. What you say and do resonates with me. I am so happy to have discovered you, and recently, to have met you in person. You are an inspiration! Please, keep sharing your vision.

  11. Rebecca Hansson

    June 2nd, 2016 at 5:40 PM

    <3 <3

  12. Amy

    June 2nd, 2016 at 6:15 PM

    THANK YOU! Your words are so very inspiring. This is just what I needed today. :)

  13. Petra (Kritzelzoo)

    June 2nd, 2016 at 7:22 PM

    You inspired me so mch in the last few years. So, so much. Thank you! :)

  14. Barbara Petry

    June 2nd, 2016 at 9:00 PM

    You touch me! It’s hard to find words – I’m just deeply grateful!

  15. Babsi

    June 2nd, 2016 at 9:08 PM

    just you. like always.
    in a very inspiring and lovely way.
    your honest thoughts and words are my constant companions. helpful friends for finding my own passion.
    thank you for being you. ;)

  16. Theresa

    June 3rd, 2016 at 10:18 AM

    Tausend Dank dir, liebe Nadia, dass du deinen Weg so einzigartig gehst und uns an diesem Abenteuer teilhaben lässt! Deine Worte und Inspirationen sind immer wieder so beflügelnd und berühren mich zutiefst im Herzen. Alles Gute und Liebe dir! Theresa

  17. Sophie

    June 3rd, 2016 at 12:52 PM

    Danke fürs Teilen, Nadia.

  18. Jen

    June 4th, 2016 at 10:41 AM

    Beautiful! Thank you :)

  19. Alice

    June 4th, 2016 at 11:13 AM

    I just wanted to leave a little note as I just read your story, Well done!!!

  20. Maria Teresa

    June 5th, 2016 at 5:30 PM

    Cara Nadia, grazie per le tue bellissime parole! Sapere che fuori dalla tua piccola città, nel tuo piccolo mondo personale, c’è qualcuno che ha vissuto quello che stai vivendo te, mi incoraggia moltissimo. Complimenti non solo per i tuoi traguardi nel lavoro, ma per la tua vita. Sei un esempio stimolante per ogni persona che cerca la propria strada in questo variegato mondo! – ti seguo sempre con molto piacere, grazie per tutto :)

  21. Lori

    June 7th, 2016 at 3:31 PM

    speechless, just thankyou !!!

  22. Kim

    June 13th, 2016 at 8:53 AM

    Thank you so much for sharing this <3

  23. Daniel

    June 18th, 2016 at 6:58 PM

    Good luck for the next years and many thanks for all the inspirations!

  24. Abi

    July 10th, 2016 at 6:12 AM

    Nadia, you truly are a HUGE source of inspiration for me!! artistically and emotionally. I have literally told my husband that I think we are soul sisters. HA! Whether we ever meet or not, I will always look forward to your shared words and artistry. You are SO gifted at expressing people’s emotions and relationships through imagery, I hope you realize how incredible and unique you are!!! For me personally, you have pushed me to open up and try new things, and in turn, my business is turning into something I’m passionate about instead of something I need for livelihood. So thank you! Thank you for being so real and unabashed!! Never stop :)

  25. Nadia Meli

    July 10th, 2016 at 6:56 PM

    Thank you so much for pouring so much love into my life. I really appreciate it. And I am happy that you are leaving this place inspired. x

  26. Gayle

    July 20th, 2016 at 12:22 PM

    You are an absolute inspiration, because you have always remained true to who you are!!
    It’s not just about making money, and making “pretty pictures” it’s about remaining true to yourself and if you are able to feed your soul, and make your heart sing every day, because you are simply you, then you have achieved greatness!!
    That’s just my humble opinion, Nadia!! Shine on Nadia, shine on!!

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A bit of everything.

it's nice here

burn 18, Belfast

2018 speaking

giving back 

causes close
to my heart 

photokina, cologne

GRAM IS MY favourite







Claim to fame: I started these hashtags