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Mastermind Alumni Business Feature | Samantha Nunes – Sterling Reverie – Elena S Blair Mastermind

What is the Elena S Blair Photography Mastermind?

The Elena S Blair photography mastermind is a long-term group coaching program. Your group will be carefully curated—I will only accept members that I believe to be at a similar level in art and business, but who share a collective goal of seeing massive personal and professional growth.

Over the course of 5 months, photographers who choose to be apart of the Elena S Blair Photography Mastermind will transform their business and themselves. Although every experience is different we have seen so many talented photographers grow in ways that sometimes even surprise themselves.

Over the last 5 Cohorts students have made huge strides in their personal lives and businesses. Some of those have been:

  • Quit their day job while a mastermind member because their business became reliable and profitable

  • Doubled or tripled their income

  • Got systems in place so their business ran like a well oiled machine

  • Developed an effective and meaningful marketing strategy

  • Became part of a supportive community of like minded artists

  • Built a SEO optimized website

  • Learned how to build a profitable and professional portfolio

  • Scaled their businesses with a new offer like schools, weddings, branding, etc

One of those Alumni who have had great success from after completing the Mastermind program, is Samantha Nunes. Samantha is owner of Sterling Reverie in beautiful Carmel California! Since completing the Mastermind program she has had many accomplishments in her business, including becoming the Arts Habitat – Vice President of Board of Directors, and we are excited to learn more! Read on to see what Samantha has been up to since her Cohort of the Elena S Blair Mastermind!

What cohort were you a part of? I was apart of Level 1 – Cohort 4.


Sam Nunes of Sterling Reverie. Lifestyle photographer in Southern California.

Samantha Nunes

What are some changes or improvements that you have seen in your business since completing the mastermind?

I made a choice to enter the ESB MM. I consciously allowed myself to transform through the program’s lessons and work. There are a million changes and improvements I could rattle off. Take your pick between fundamental, business, personal, spiritual and all categories in-between. The growth comes from what you are willing to allow in and put forth. I am only going to speak on one aspect, to do it justice as it has done for me. I am an ambitious person by nature. However, I am a person. There were many moments in my photography journey where I longed to develop in my career. I wanted to progress along my path, but I was uncertain where to place my foot. There are many different types of steps – the most appealing step forward, the unorganized sidestep, and the dreaded two steps back. Uncertainty in my journey bred the worst step of them all, the absence of steps entirely, the standstill, stagnancy. A year after becoming an ESB MM Alumni, I can firmly say that the foundation laid during my time in the MM is steadfast. The most important foundational attribute I received was self-confidence. The right to love myself, my whole self, and to move confidently along my journey. I am no longer left standing frozen in my path. I take the step, any step. The steps forward are always welcome. The side steps allow for analysis on future development. And the steps back have been some of my most devoted teachers.

Being consistently confident. In one year’s time I have seen a triple in revenue, an abundance of networking & connections, and freedom to love my journey.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about joining the next Cohort? What would do you feel like they should know?

“You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.”

We all have heard this quote. Don’t be the living embodiment of this quote. You dream of success. But are you willing to do what is necessary for success? The ESB MM will lead you there, but it is you who must do the work. Your future self is waiting for you to make the call, to join and work your tail off to make it happen.

I was tired of looking at my future self, year after year, in the mirror. “Welp, sorry Sam, I chose xyz instead of us. Here’s an excuse for you. Let’s choose us next time.” Then next time would reappear, and just as clockwork a cyclical next time recycled.

I finally had enough. I finally chose me FIRST. Not second, not third. In doing so, I allowed myself to choose me at all. I made the choice to join the ESB MM, I made the choice to work, I allowed myself to transform and I have welcomed success. I will repeat this cycle.

Which cycle do you want to be stuck in? Make the choice and do the work because the most important person is relying on you, you.

What other accomplishments have you achieved since the mastermind? Publications, new business ventures and accolades!

As mentioned previously my most favorite accomplishment has been on the personal development level. Self-confidence has flourished many other branches.

Here are some of my highlights.

  • Arts Habitat – Vice President of Board of Directors

  • JEDI in the Arts (Justice, Equality, Diversity & Inclusion in the Arts) – Gallery Chair

  • Hope, Horses & Kids – Board of Directors, Event Chair

  • Associate & 2nd Photographer

  • Heartful Magazine – Published Photographer

  • Inspired Magazine – Published Photographer

  • DearPhotographer – Featured Photographer



Photo by Samantha Nunes or Sterling Reverie


What are you working on right now? What is something that you are excited about in your life and biz?

My life is a chaotic wonderland. I’m not sure if it is this stage of my life or the nature in which I choose to live it. It’s probably a little of both. There is so much to be excited and thankful for.

In my personal life my family is everything. I know it sounds cheesy, but I am madly in love with my husband. He is my high school sweetheart, my lover, my confidant, my partner. He calms my crazy moments, and I his, and sometimes we’re just psychotic together. He has my utmost respect and me his. We have shared many things in life, but our most cherished is our son. He is a beautifully kind & inquisitive, occasionally mildly feral, boy. I am thankful for every movement with them, even the hard ones.

Professionally, I am in an abundance of opportunity. I take it in strides. Longevity is key. I strive for impact; community impact, personal impact, artistic development; and I have been diligent in making career choices that align with my definition of success. I am working on having award winning recognition & gallery presence. It has been an honor to have been published. I am excited to be working towards my MFA in Photographer and to continue the philanthropic work I am doing on the board of two nonprofit organizations.

Please make no mistake in reading this passage. My life is nowhere near perfect. There are somedays where I feel like just banging my head against a wall. And even when I feel defeated, I tell myself to be grateful, to be thankful, because I am. I work extremely hard for my accolades. In my life there is a great deal of commitment and work, it’s also about enjoying the moment, even the “mundane” ones.

What was your favorite part of being a mastermind member?

Hands down my favorite part about the mastermind was being welcomed to my home away from home. It was the community. But community is too loose a word. It doesn’t encompass the magnitude in which this community operates on. I found some of my best friends in the ESB MM. They understand me through and through. There is no judgement between us. They are there for me through it all. They give it to me straight. Love and truth. What other sort of love is out there? There is no true love without honesty. What we have is a genuine bond, sisterhood, true love.


Photo by Samantha Nunes or Sterling Reverie


Tell us a little bit about why you are a photographer. What lights you up?

What lights me up as a photographer? Well, I use Canon Speedlites for both on and off camera light and a Westcott FJ400 strobe for off camera. Ok, ok, bad photography joke. When I am behind the lens, I am an artist, an explorer, a witness. I witness moments felt and often too fleeting to notice with the day to day. With my camera I freeze that moment in the likeness of my romanticized perception. I am drawn in by the intimate, soft moments gone too soon. These interactions draw me in, fuel my heart and ignite my soul. Yes, yes, I also do the “boring stuff”. Why? Well, traditional Christmas Cards of course haha. As a photography professional I love to develop interpersonal relationship and education. I love seeing other succeed. I enjoy being a part of their awakening. I want so desperately to share the freedom I have found through my photographic art. No, I’m not trying to convert everyone in my path into photographers. But I would love to ignite the sense of wonder, creativity, and freedom of expression that I have found when behind the lens. It is my intention to bring that desire with me as I become a collegiate professor.


Photo by Samantha Nunes or Sterling Reverie


If you had one quote or one piece of advice that you would give to a new photographer, what would it be?

“Do you have the courage? Do you have the courage to bring forth this work? The treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping you will say yes.”

— Elizabeth Gilbert

You can view more work by Samantha Nunes at her website and on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook.

If you are a photographer who is looking to level up and transform your business and mindset to achieve your goals, you are invited to apply to be in the next Cohort of the Elena S Blair Mastermind. You can join the waitlist to be notified when applications are live and being accepted. Don’t miss this opportunity to create life long community, the business of your dreams and the confidence to be authentically you.

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