Real, raw and relevant – that’s how Monica Sempek, owner of Monica Sempek Photography, describes the images that fill her portfolio and tell her clients’ stories.
“I capture events in a photo-journalistic style knowing that the images will be used to draw attention and promote business or future event. My role is to capture the experience and the emotion,” Sempek said.
If a company needs images for a magazine or to build online awareness, Sempek said, “I’ll create an experience that will showcase your business in a way that will draw the attention of future clients and allow your audience to experience what it’s like doing business with you. If you’re a nonprofit that need to tell its story, I’ll capture images that will show the heart of your mission.”
Before opening her studio in 2017, Sempek spent years fine-tuning her skills, gifting her time to charities that couldn’t afford a photographer.
“I fell in love with the non-profit sector,” she said. “My goal was to be their voice by capturing their story with my images. They could use those images as they please to grow awareness in the community. More and more, I knew this is what I needed to do.”
More than three years after signing her studio lease, Sempek said her businesses has “escalated to a level I never dreamed of” with more than 500 corporate and non-profit events under her belt, not to mention scores of weddings, magazine images, commercial images for local businesses, portraits for high school seniors and professional headshots (taken on what she’s designated “Mugshot Mondays”). Her newest offering is a fresh spin on “senior photos” – a service that will capture images of older loved ones. She calls them “Legacy Photos.”
“This will be a mobile service or we’ll have them come to the studio and create an experience that will have them feeling loved, cherished and honored,” she said.
Sempek’s studio doubles as a content creative space. She subleases to other photographers and creatives for photography sessions, Zoom meetings, online webinars and training. She says pivoting from what was an event space has helped her weather the pandemic’s ongoing event drought.
Winning Insights from Our Winner:
Providing an Excellent Customer Experience
“I think the key to great customer service is being warm and optimistic, building a relationship with your client. It’s about having a YES attitude. I will go above and beyond to deliver with excellence, integrity and professionalism,” Sempek said.
Empowering Others and Helping Them Grow and Succeed
“I spend a lot of time mentoring and inspiring other photographers by inviting them to be my second photographer during events. Sometimes, it isn’t about the images they are capturing; they will learn the technical aspects of photography in school. I teach them about building relationships, giving back and professionalism – and I do my best to inspire them to think big.”
Best Practice Tip
“I often encourage others who are thinking of starting a business, are new to business or are feeling stagnant to get out in the community. Join the Greater Omaha Chamber, attend networking events and give back. I sincerely believe the key to a successful business is to build genuine relationships. If your phone isn’t ringing, you’re not out meeting enough people. Integrity is Key. Be honest with your client. Deliver exceptional results.”
The Value of Chamber Involvement
“Being a member of the Chamber is more than having a sign in your office. I’ve met the most amazing people at Chamber events. We are a community of like-minded business owners who know how important it is to support each other. Building successful businesses builds a successful community.”
Impacting the Community
Through her photography, Sempek is giving back – and touching lives – on both a personal and broad scale. She is a photographer for Chariots4Hope, a local non-profit that gifts vehicles to those who need help with transportation. These are called Blessings.
“I show up to the Blessings to capture the surprise and my images have made such an impact on their presence in the community.”
In addition, Sempek captures images for Bethlehem House, Rejuvenating Women, Grief’s Journey, and Omaha Christian Academy at no charge or at a very reduced rate.
Photo credit: Christine Marie Photography
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