Meet Samia Minnicks: Freelance Photographer and Founder of SBM Portraits

Samia Minnicks, freelance photographer and founder of SBM Portraits, exemplifies the true meaning of being a #girlboss. With a camera and a dream, she is rapidly traveling the windy road to success, and of course capturing every memorable moment on the way. Samia's breathtaking photographs will leave you dying to know who the creative genius is that captured the emotions of a very moment one will never get back, but can feel forever through a beautiful, well composed photograph. 

We had a chance to catch up with her between her busy schedule, and find out more about her journey and her experiences thus far while following her dreams of pursing her passion and being happy. Take a moment to meet the creative on the other side of the lens.

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Chesterfield, VA

When was the first time you realized that you wanted to pursue photography?

My love for photography came from my obsession with pictures. I honestly, can not tell you the "When". After rewriting this paragraph 1,000,000 times, I’ve realized that I can not pinpoint the when but I can tell you my "Why". My mother collects pictures. She has pictures from times in my life that I don't even remember. One day, I decided to surprise my parents by cleaning and organizing one of their closets. While cleaning, I came across boxes full of hundreds, and possibly thousands of pictures. I sat there for hours on the closet floor sorting through pictures. I was able to see pictures of my grandparents, who were all deceased before I was even able to walk. That was a special moment for me because without those pictures I would not have an idea of what they looked like. I would have only been able to visualize them, but the photographs allowed me to see. To me, that is really what portrait photography is all about, Providing pictures for you and your loved ones to enjoy in the present, and cherish later . Pictures tell a story without having to say a word. They provide comfort when you are missing someone and memories when you want to reminisce. They bring you back to a point of nostalgia, just like music does. Just as the bass or beat in a song can evoke emotions, Photography is capable of doing the same. That is why I love it. That is why I pursued it.

What has been your biggest challenge so far as a photographer and how did you overcome it?

My biggest challenge has been trusting in my own journey. I think we are all guilty of comparing ourselves to others. We always look at someone’s career, achievements, and material possessions and believe that those things are the true definition of success in our own lives. Social media plays a large role in the comparison game. I was so frustrated, having a love for photography; I wanted my pictures to be perfect. #PinterestPerfect. I would look at other photographers and compare my work to theirs. At times doing this made me want to give up. I couldn’t understand why I didn’t have clarity and perfect exposure like so and so. I then, turned it around and let social media inspire me. I started following photographers and creatives that I admired. I implemented some of their practices. I found a one-on-one workshop through Instagram that helped me tremendously. I started investing more time, energy, sacrifices and money into my craft. I joined supportive forums where I can openly share some of my frustrations, concerns, achievements and my work. I stopped comparing myself to photographers. I focused on my own photography. What I can do to better myself. This is something that has also poured into my personal life and it has really made a difference in the way I view things, and in my overall happiness. 

*Click each photo to make larger.

What has been the most rewarding experience so far?

I have two! One, is the reaction that I get from my clients when they see their images for the first time. It really makes my heart smile. I’m a hopeless romantic and super sentimental. I love the fact that I can provide people with something they will cherish forever. They will look back on these pictures decades from now. Secondly, seeing my growth. When you work so hard for something, there’s a day that comes, while you're in the middle of editing, and you realize, you don’t have to edit as much, and you’re not spending as much time fixing problems. You smile at your computer screen and it starts to make sense. It clicks. I am nowhere close to where I want to be, but by focusing on my own photography and not comparing myself to others, I’m able to see my growth. I can pat myself on the back. I can be genuinely happy with the product I’m giving my clients and that is exhilarating.   

What advice do you have for someone who would like to pursue photography?

It is beyond imperative to know your foundation. Read the manual. Study. Practice. Ask for help. Don’t be intimidated by someone more experienced than you. Shadow another photographer. INVEST in quality. You will never love the work you produce if you keep your settings in Auto. Learn about ISO, Shutter Speeds, Exposure, Depth of Field. These are all important terms that truly affect the quality of your work. Lastly, trust the process. It is a journey, that for some takes longer than others and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. 

Do you have any tech/equipment tips?

Before you purchase equipment, do your research. RENT BEFORE YOU BUY. Are you going to use it? Will this piece of equipment be able to make you more money? Check Reviews. Adobe Lightroom is the love of my love. Photoshop is my best friend. You’ll feel the same, I promise.


What does your ideal future hold for you?

Well, I’m currently going through a quarter life crisis. Lol! I feel like life is going by so fast and I am missing out on so much. My ideal future would be taking pictures, as I travel around the world, sipping peach margaritas and watching the sunset on beaches whose names I can’t pronounce, lol. My end game with my photography, honestly, changes every week. I want to pursue it full time, but I also want to go back to school. I want to advance in my career with the hospitality industry, but I don’t want to be so busy that I don’t have time for my passion. I want to go to school, but if I go to another state, or country, I’d have to start my business over from scratch. Agh! It’s so confusing. I honestly don’t know what the future holds. I really just want to be happy, genuinely and unequivocally happy. I want that for myself and everyone that I love. 

What advice do you have for anyone who want to pursue their dreams in general?

GO FOR IT! Seriously, I meet so many people who have stayed in a position for decades, when their passion is something completely different. Don’t waste life. LIVE IT. Go after it! Surround yourself with people that want you to pursue your dreams and encourage you to exceed them. Collaborate. USE PEOPLE. Not selfishly, but take time to get to know people and see how you can help each other. Pray about it. Often. Make GOD your business partner 

How can we keep up with you and continue to follow your journey?

I have so many exciting things that I am hoping and praying for in 2016. I have teamed up with some very talented people and I am beginning to create a brand and reputation that I am proud of. I will be creating a blog to share full sessions, behind the scenes footage, videos and much more! You can follow me and find my work on Instagram (@SBMPortraits) , Facebook (SBM Portraits) or visit <3