You might know Nice Print Photography for its heartwarming wedding and party coverages, or maybe for its reputation as the go-to photographer of various celebrities, like Zoren Legaspi and Carmina Villaroel (the company was the official photographer of the couple’s surprise wedding in 2012), Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera (yes, Nice Print shot the country’s ‘Royal Wedding’ in 2014), John Prats and Isabel Oli, Kaye Abad and Paul Jake Castillo, Richard Gutierrez and Sarah Lahbati, Camille Prats, Sunshine Dizon, and more.
So how did Nice Print nab such a clientele? It's all thanks to this woman, Charisse Tinio, who did not have any background in photography. And yet she has successfully managed Nice Print for 14 years and has founded four more service-based companies, all the while raising three children.
Charisse, 40, who comes from a family of entrepreneurs, decided to put up her own business when she graduated from college in 2000. She franchised Konica Photo Express along with her then-boyfriend, Jibby, who eventually became her husband.
In 2005, the couple felt that the business of developing film was declining. “Everyone was going digital, and there was no stopping it,” Charisse tells SmartParenting.com.ph in an interview. “I told him [my husband] that we could either go out of this business or innovate.”
Charisse found inspiration for their next move from their wedding in 2003. She enjoyed planning every single detail, and she figured that even though people have become instant photographers with the rise of social media, people would still turn to professionals to capture the most special events in their lives.
“Sobrang laki ng pinagbago ng wedding industry as a whole when it came to photography and videography when the digital age came,” Charisse explains. “It was around that time na nauso ang destination weddings, guest books, signature frames, etc.”
The couple wisely rode that wave and decided to open a professional photo services company, Nice Print Photography.
Even though she was not a professional photographer, Charisse was able to make the company flourish as she oversaw its business development. “I knew that there were many talented photographers and videographers in the country, but you have to give them an opportunity, a platform where they can show their talents,” Charisse says. “That’s what we did. We employed different teams — they shoot for us and we market them.”
But it was not without challenges. “Wedding photography at that time was male-dominated. Ang hirap to penetrate. And I was a woman in my 20s — people were not taking me seriously,” Charisse recalls. “And the fact that I was not the one shooting, I was questioned. ‘How can you operate a photography studio when you’re not the one taking the photos?’”
But Charisse was determined to change the industry mindset. After running the business for three to four years, Charisse got the biggest break: Nice Print became the official photographer of Ogie Alcasid and Regine Velasquez’s wedding in 2010.
Charisse says she will be forever grateful to the couple. “When nobody trusted me, they took a gamble with me, and I will never forget that,” she says.
The Velasquez-Alcasid wedding opened doors for Nice Print and began its climb to become the celebrities’ favorite photographer and videographer for special occasions like proposals, prenuptial shoots, weddings, and even children’s birthday parties.
“When celebrities like a brand, they stick to it,” Charisse says. “Naniniwala [rin] sila sa kung anong nakikita nila sa experience ng ibang celebrities. Hindi mo itataya ang pangalan at credibility mo on a brand, who will photograph your special day, na hindi ka sigurado.”
ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
It’s no surprise that Charisse has become good friends with many of her celebrity clients — she’s even the godmother of their children!
“I’m the ninang of the firstborn of most of my celebrity brides and grooms. I’m the ninang of Feather Prats (Isabel Oli and John Prats' son), Nala, the daughter of Camille Prats, the daughter of Diana Zubiri (Aliyah Rose), and the son of Neri and Chito Miranda (Miggy),” she says with a smile. “It just goes to show that they value the relationship more than the business side.”
Charisse has also formed friendships with many of her non-celebrity clients. “I think it’s the heart of a mom that they see,” Charisse shares. “I don’t just do business for monetary gain. There’s a heart when I do something and I think my clients see that. They see how passionate I am. When they talk to me about their wedding, I start planning with them. I go the extra mile.”
“This industry is cut-throat and the competition is intense, but you really just have to be sincere with what you do. If they see that, they will keep coming back. It becomes a lifelong relationship,” Charisse says. “It doesn’t end with the wedding; in fact, it’s just the beginning. Some of my clients call me again after a year to do their maternity shoot, then their child’s baptism, then the first birthday, and so forth. Somehow, you become part of their milestones. Masarap ‘yung feeling na I’m able to do that.”
In November 2017, Charisse marked a huge milestone of her own: she gave birth to her third child and her only daughter, Sienna.
We featured her lavish gender reveal, and Charisse said she wanted to celebrate big — after all, she had been trying to have a baby since 2014.
“With my first two kids, it was so easy that I thought it would be the same for our third attempt,” Charisse says. “So I decided to wait and finish Dingdong and Marian’s wedding first because that was such a big wedding, and I wanted to give it all my attention.”
Two years later, Charisse still wasn't pregnant, despite seeing a specialist. “I’m kind of a control freak, so I was seeing a doctor who can up my chances of having a girl,” she reveals, adding that she went through various tests like follicular monitoring to ensure her baby’s gender. “But it was so tedious — I had to be there every three days for a checkup.”
Charisse surrendered it all to God. “I realized if I controlled it so much, parang hindi talaga ibibigay,” she says. When she got the good news, “I was scared and happy at the same time,” she admits. “May kaunti akong anxiety kasi baka boy ito!” Four months later, she found out that she was carrying a girl. “I couldn’t stop crying!”
The birth of her daughter has not slowed Charisse down. She is as dedicated to her new baby as her oldest baby (Nice Print). “It’s a business where you have to be hands on. Medyo matulog ka lang ng konti maiiwan ka,” she muses. “I always have that idea in my head, so I’m also always on my toes. Getting to the top is the easy part — staying there is harder to do. There’s a constant pressure.”
The secret to staying on top? Mastering the art of time management and sticking to her everyday routine.
Mornings are spent at home. After waking up, she checks on her two older sons, Sancho, 11, and Vito, 6, and plays with Sienna, who is now six months old. After having lunch with the whole family, her meetings start. “I hold meetings in one place, say a restaurant, and just transfer from table to table,” she shares.
Charisse also drops by the company headquarters to brainstorm with her team on the latest projects and get updates how her different brands are doing. Charisse has expanded her portfolio to include a company that prints invitations and souvenirs, a mobile bar, prenup concept styling, and her newest venture, a photography studio which houses various concepts and themes.
Charisse makes sure to end work by seven in the evening so she can go home and spend more time with her family. If she’s hands-on with her work, then it just extends to her parenting style. “Minsan lang maging bata ang mga anak ko, so hindi ko puwedeng kalimutan ‘yung oras ko para kanila,” she says. “In spite of my busy schedule, I’m still a wife and a mother first and foremost.”