Sunrise North Avenue Beach Engagement | Brian & Brandi

We met at sunrise for Brian and Brandi’s North Avenue Beach engagement session.  While it felt a bit chilly out, it was still a gorgeous day to be out taking pictures.

North Avenue Beach Engagement

Also North Avenue Beach has one of the most beautiful views of the Chicago skyline.  The light from the sunrise left a beautiful glow over the city and them.

It was such a privilege to get to take their engagement photos.  Brandi and Brian are so sweet as a couple.  They love was so evident when they looked into each other’s eyes that I couldn’t just help smiling as photographed them!

Enjoy the photos from our early sunrise session!


nikole marie
North Avenue Beach Engagement
North Avenue Beach Engagement
North Avenue Beach Skyline
North Avenue Beach Engagement
North Avenue Beach Engagement North Avenue Beach Engagement

12 Different Places to Use Styled Stock Photos

There are so many places you can use styled stock photos in your blog and business. I can’t share enough how great brand photography and stock photography are as an investment in your business.12 Different Places to Use Stock PhotosI’ve already shared how to work with your stock photos, but at times people get lost about where to use them.

There are so many ways you can use your stock photos or brand photos once you have them. There’s also a lot of versatility in the use of one photo, which is why I share how to work with photos.

12 Different Uses for Styled Stock Photos


Visual posts get so much more engagement than posts without graphics. So it’s smart to use stock photos with your social media posts because beautiful professional styled photos help you build brand credibility. There are so many places to use great photography on your social media accounts.


Instagram is a great place to use stock photos because it’s completely visually driven. You can use a phot by itself or you can overlay text to share a message. This one I think is a pretty obvious location. When you have quality photos it enhances your brand and business.


Facebook also has many places you could use styled stock photos. One place to use stock photos is the header image on your Facebook Page. Another place stock photos can be used is on your posts. Engaging images can entice people to pay attention. Also great photos can be used to enhance your Facebook Ads and posts.


While twitter is super chatty don’t discount the power of using photos make your posts stand out. It’s also a great place to use stock photography because most people aren’t pulling through images as often so they really draw attention to your posts when you do!


Pinterest is another one of huge places to use styled stock photos because having kick butt blog graphics draws readers in. So you want to make sure you’re using fab imagery that you can then pin to your Pinterest account.


List building is an essential part of business and marketing.  It is especially important if you’re running a business online.  There are two key places to use styled stock photos if you’re working on list building.

Opt-in Graphics

Visuals will help draw readers eye so that they look at your opt-in more closely. With strong visuals your opt-ins are more likely to gain attention.  I use stock photos for my opt-in graphics for my FREE photo email course opt-in page, and any opt-in really ;)

Opt-in PDFs

When you’re creating pdfs it can be nice to have beautiful images in it to go along with all the knowledge you’re dropping.


Your website is the place where you can use styled stock photos the most.  It’s a great way to refresh a website and add style.

Sidebar Graphics

Using pictures to make your sidebar pop can be an easy way to make your website look even better!

Website Header

The header is the first part of your website people see. You want it to bring people in immediately. This is where great stock photos can do the heavy lifting.

Blog Post Graphic

This one I think is the more obvious one. People often use photos and graphics to make a feature graphic for their blog posts. It really is a great way to draw in readers by featuring gorgeous stock photos at the front of your post.


Widgets are often those graphic representation of organization on your website. You want to share about other parts of business, then there’s often a widget for that. Using stock photography can be a great way to dress up your widgets to make them look that much better.


Like I’ve said before marketing with styled stock photos adds to your brand.  It helps establish your style and can set you apart.

Webinar Slides

Using stock photos for webinar slides or as graphic additions to your slides can make your presentation more interesting to watch. Having great stock photography throughout adds reasons to stay and pay attention to the webinar.

Printed Materials

Great photography only enhances a brand. Having great designed marketing materials with stock photos throughout can only add to the visual appeal.

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Styled Stock Photos For Business

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Styled Stock Photos for Business

The Palm Dreams Styled Stock Photos Etsy shop was created because I wanted to have more time to spend being creative.

What it has grown into is a shop to help other creatives showcase their own business.

There is so much we have to focus on as business owners, and I don’t think worrying about styled stock photos for your business should be one of them.

Get your free styled photos below.

7 FREE  Styled Stock Photos for Your Biz & Blog

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The 5 Business Tools I Can’t Work Without

5 Business Tools I can't Live without

When I was starting out with my photography I had no idea what business tools I should use.  I wasn’t sure what I needed for my business, which was so frustrating.  I felt like everywhere I looked people, with already successful businesses, were talking about how systems are so important.

I read The E-Myth Revisited, and it talked a lot about how businesses need systems to be successful.

So I get it.

I can take a hint.

Systems are crucial to making a business run (and making my family run ;) but I couldn’t do it without the awesome business tools that I use daily.

I’ve talked a lot about how I plan and how I keep up with my goals, but I haven’t shared the tools I use to get it all done.  These 5 programs, tools, and apps are used every day in my business.



Google Docs

Google Docs are the best!  I mean seriously the absolute bestest ;)  Every single piece of written content I create for my business is brainstormed, outlined, drafted and finished in google docs.  At one point I just saved everything to Dropbox, which was ok.  It got the job done, but google docs take it to a whole other level.  I love them because it simplified the process for me.  I don’t have to make sure that I’m saving anything to any where because it’s already saved.  I use the history function to look at different versions of my draft.  The bonus feature of this tool is that I can access it and edit any where I am.  


This program is a life saver.  Seriously Asana is a business tool powerhouse!  I know lots of people love trello, but I can’t really make much comparison because I only tried trello for about two seconds.  What I can say is that I love Asana!  

I have projects set up like they’re my overarching categories.  I then label the tasks in Asana as my projects.  I can create the subtasks as each of the steps in the project.  I also have it set up with my editorial calendar for my blog.  It makes things much easier because I check it for what posts to work on each week.  All my tasks that need to get done each week are posted in here as welll.  I plan my whole week at the beginning of the week so that I have an idea for when things need to be completed.




Ok 17Hats is my client management bff.  I know some people like to use Asana for project management and I do for running the structure of business.  17Hats is what makes my client management flow.  I love it for the way workflows streamline the systems for new clients.  I can set up a workflow template for all the types of client work and then when that client comes in I can initiate that template and all the guesswork is taken out.

It also ensures that each of my clients get the same client experience because it’s systemized and written out and is triggered when a couple decides to book my services.  I’m completely obsessed with the simplicity of this once I started.

I also use 17Hats for invoicing.  I can send clients quick price lists and then set up an invoice.  This really is my client bestie.  Everything is in one place.


I got Convertkit as a way to keep in touch with people through email.  I get to keep in touch and share news about new posts, what’s happening the business or when sales happen.  I also love that I have the potential to break out groups based on their interest.  

I currently have a lot going on on here on the blog.  I share about running my business, weddings and couples, and all about the stock shop.  When I have people signed up based on their interests then they get the emails they want.This way people who are only interested in weddings are hearing about running a business and the benefits of stock photos.

I know there’s so much that I can do with it, but I’m still learning all the features.  Right now it mostly is just a way to communicate.  I’m working on a FREE EMAIL Course about building your brand photos for your biz.  Go here to be the first to get it when it is available.


Adobe Photographer

Lightroom makes my life so much easier.  I could not shoot weddings without Lightroom.  There was a day (really long ago) when I edited weddings in Lightroom.  I think this was a time in my life when I wanted to spend all my time at the computer.  I joke.  Really though Lightroom is a beast and I love it.  I use Lightroom to make all of my blog graphics for my website.  I also use both programs when I’m editing my all of my stock photos!  I use Lightroom to edit and photoshop to get the photos ready for the Palm Dreams styled stock photos.

***This post does have affiliate links that pays me a small amount at no additional cost to you.  The good news is I only become an affiliate for things that I absolutely love.


The Business Tool Box

Was this short list not enough?!   Get my business toolbox. below

Get the free List of EVERY tool, app or program I use in my business and how I use it!

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