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Meet Erika Hansen

Today we’d like to introduce you to Erika Hansen.

Hi Erika, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I’ve always been interested in photography but found myself doing what I thought was more socially accepted in our culture, and made my parents proud, too. That was working in Corporate America. When I lost my father to Parkinson’s disease in 2017, I spent some time self-reflecting. It was then I decide to make the leap and purchase a DSLR camera. Knowing absolutely nothing about my new camera, or even photography, I started seeding spare time learning and experimenting, An opportunity came my way in 2018 to travel out to San Diego for a photography workshop, and it was there I made the decision to go full speed ahead. I was scared, anxious, excited, but above all, curious as to what this new decision would bring to my life. So I started slow, taking photos of friends and family, slowing tuning in on my craft and becoming more familiar with the technology of both cameras and editing software. In 2021, I left my corporate job and dove headfirst into a full-time photography career. When people ask me if I miss it, my answer is an easy “no”. Photography fills my cup. It allows me to be creative and offer my clients lasting memories. I love capturing the “real” in people, and I emphasize a “play over pose” style. Getting those true connections and raw energy out of my clients is what makes photography worth it all.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
For me, it’s been a slow and steady process to building my business and my brand. Most photographers wear several hats, managing their own marketing, financials, client communications, scheduling, and of course, taking and editing photos. For the first few years, I felt a real pressure to move faster and learn it all. Balancing all that, along with a full-time job, family and more, was proving to be too much. I ended up stepping away from photography a couple of times so I could focus on my family and job. But the desire was always there to go back to it. For sure quitting my full-time job helped. I also hired a mentor last fall who has helped me dial in and focus on different business aspects that needed attention. And this Spring I hired someone to help me manage my social media accounts, which can be incredibly time-consuming and frustrating, I also have had to learn to better manage my schedule, especially during the busy season, or it’s easy to get overworked and burned out.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I consider myself a portrait photographer, mostly taking clients who want family, senior, and children photos. I also take a few weddings a year and offer up headshots, branding, and lifestyle newborn photos. I’m not big onto props and do not have an indoor studio for cold weather. My favorite is senior photography, and that part of my business has grown quickly over the past couple of years. I really enjoy the one-on-one time, and allowing my senior clients to be their unique selves. It’s such a milestone, graduating high school, and taking portraits before their senior year is almost a right of passage. There is always a lot of excitement between them, and me.

Do you have any advice for those just starting out?
Go at your own pace. It can be very overwhelming trying to learn everything at once. Ask questions, get a mentor, and be open to ideas and change. It’s a face-paced, ever-changing world. Please know that social media is a beast filled with algorithms, so if your photo does not get a lot of traction, it is not a reflection of your work. It takes time to get your name out there and build your brand. You have to be ready to put yourself out there, too. Get out of your way, and just start! Photography is a lot of fun. If you have the desire, go for it!

Contact Info:

Image Credits

Eriks Hansen Photography

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