We had the good fortune of connecting with Courtnie Heller and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Courtnie, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
Art was always a part of my life even when I was little. Arts and crafts was always my favorite subject. For me when I was young, it wasn’t a time to “goof off” like the other younger students in my class. It was a moment to express myself, relax, and focus the task at hand. Not even realizing or caring that I had an artistic vision. It was something that i wanted to do and enjoyed doing. I was always enrolled in an art class from elementary school all the way to receiving my bachelors degree in college. I currently have a freelance photography business as well as starting my own merch as of right now. I’m hoping to secure a building in the art district in a couple of years. In addition to photography and merch, I’m hoping to start a tattoo apprenticeship next year. Art will always be a part of my life in one way or another, no matter what form it is.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I try to have a different style when it comes to my art. I definitely consider myself on the “edgier” side of photography. I want people to come to me for my style. Enjoy the unique look that I have to offer. I want people to express themselves and be totally comfortable in the process. I enjoy photographing lifestyle portraits, high fashion or avant-garde, and couples. All driven by raw emotion. I want creative entrepreneurs to be themselves and show off their brand. I’m still building my brand and clientele myself. It definitely didn’t come easy and I’m nowhere I want to be. I started in high school and eventually attended college receiving my bachelor’s degree in photography. I learned that life is a lot harder than they picture it than school. I’m still growing. Still meeting new people. Just have to focus on your goals and keep pushing forward.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
South Florida has so many cool places I love to hang out at. Glitch Bar is one of my favorites to go to. Arcade bar? Sign me up! Great to go to for Halloween! To The Wandershop is such a cute little boutique! The Blithe Co has the cutest handmade crystal jewelry you can find! The local art walks and pop up shows are my favorite to go to. You can tons of local artists and vendors while enjoying a stroll around town. And if you want some tattoo I definitely know several shops to check out! Fort Lauderdale has a bunch of my favorite places to go to!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Starting a business and working for yourself is a challenge. Sometimes you don’t know the next step to take. It’s important to put your time into yourself and your business. Having a support system is also important. I would be nothing without my boyfriend, Alex, and my best friend Melissa. My two best friends from college Daniel and Nina have always been so supportive of me as well. It’s great to have people who believe in you and push you to do bigger and better things. Business and motivational books help a lot as well.