River City Six – Monica Sempek
Meet Monica Sempek, founder and owner of Monica Sempek Photography.
Tell us a little about your business.
Monica Sempek Photography is located in a beautiful event space in Omaha that comfortably holds 40 people. Since my niche is events, I created my office as an event space. Life is made up of events. Events can be as simple as needing a new “mug shot” for your business profile or as exquisite as a wedding with a guest list of five hundred people. My role is to capture the experience and the emotion. If you need images for a magazine, I create an experience that will showcase your business in a way that will draw the attention of future clients. If you are a nonprofit and need to tell your story, I will capture images that will capture the heart of your mission. If you are hosting an event or conference, I will capture images that will not only showcase the event, but the images will be used to draw in guests for your next event. If you are marrying the love of your life, I will capture all the love and emotions of your special day so that when your grandchildren look at those images they feel as they were there with you.
How did you get started in your business?
When I lost my sister over 10 years ago, I was so heartbroken that I decided to grow a memorial garden. I always say the flowers are so beautiful because of all the tears I watered them with when I dug it up it up by hand. My husband gave me a camera that year, and I started taking images of my beautiful flowers. Soon, I was capturing the neighbor’s flowers, my family’s flowers, and then it was flowers all around Omaha. As most photographers, I was soon asked to start taking photos at family parties. It was then that I noticed it was the expression on people’s faces that I loved to capture most. I ended up encountering a professional in the marketing world, and I will never forget what he said to me: “You do have a gift; you see things through a different lens.” That’s what it took for me to start dreaming of my future as a photographer.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally?
COVID has changed the landscape for creatives. This is my third year in business, and it was lining up to be the biggest one yet as I’ve gotten my name out in the community. All of a sudden, the phone stopped ringing. It was a devastation so many can relate to. I had to dig deep to find the inner strength to move forward. Events, weddings, and meetings are now virtual so I have to learn how to adapt my business to the new normal. I am now working on turning my event space into a place where people can create this online content such as podcast and YouTube videos.
What has been your most important achievement professionally?
I was recently recognized by the Greater Omaha Chamber for Excellence in Philanthropy. Winning an award for my heart of giving means the world to me, and confirms I started my business for the right reasons.
Tell us a little about your family
I married my high school sweetheart. We have four amazing sons, two soon-to-be daughter-in-laws, and two adorable grandsons. I also have a mom who is my best friend. They all live in Omaha, and we have family dinner every Sunday. There is nothing more important to me than family.
What is your favorite quote or the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
“If you do God’s will, he pays the bill.” I remind myself of this every day. I built my business to give back. My goal is to use my lens to capture the story of nonprofits and allow my images to be their voice. If I continue this, my business will always succeed.
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