The Mom Bloggers Club has been a great way to connect with fellow shutterbugs. That is how we found the wonderful work of Erika Hoff. And now we unveil, Erika Hoff......
Your Name: Erika Hoff
Your studio/business name: Erika Hoff Photography, LLC
Location: Columbia, Maryland
- In 50 words or less, how would your clients describe your photography? Classic. Timeless. Fabulous. I’m not making that up! Those are some of the words used in emails from my latest clients. I aim to please, and I do try to keep up with the latest technology, but I am also careful to balance trendy post-processing with heirloom quality editing. I want my clients to choose me based on my style, and the way I see things. I know that I’m not a perfect fit for everyone, so it keeps me focused on really being true to my own look.
- Are you self-taught or classroom trained? Both! In 2008, I started shooting in manual. I completed half the required courses for a certificate in Photography at UCSD before we moved. I worked there when we lived in San Diego, so I took advantage of the extension program and took as many classes as I could squeeze in while juggling work as an event planner and my newborn daughter.
- How many years have you been a professional photographer? I started shooting in manual in 2008. I spent all of 2009 building my portfolio, and I went ‘pro’ in 2010.
- Where do you want to take your photography business in 5 years? I want to focus on editorial-style wedding photography, and I’d love to try my hand at commercial/fashion photography.
- Is there a photographer who inspires your style? Who would that be? I know this seems like a cop-out, but there are just so many who inspire me, and for different reasons. I love how honest and raw Jasmine Star is, she doesn’t pretend to ever have known everything and she is always giving back. I love Jennifer Hughes, she shot my mom’s wedding, and I just love her eye and her fashion background. I also love one of National Geographic’s resident photographers – Amy Toensing. Travel and photograph? I think she has my dream job.
- Favorite location to take photos? Believe it or not, as challenging as it is to shoot in the woods, I love the glow of sunset it in the woods, there is something magical about it.
- Favorite vacation spot? Waikiki, Hawaii.
- What was the pivotal moment when you decided to become a photographer? For me, it wasn’t a sudden thing. I loved just taking pictures of my daughter, and then got asked to take pictures of other kids, and slowly I got used to the idea that maybe I could do it professionally. I loved my interaction with every portrait session, and felt like I was making new friends in addition to customers. Honestly, it wasn’t until I shot my first wedding, that I really thought, “Wow! I can get paid for doing something I love so much!!”
- What’s the best marketing tip that has worked for you? Don’t turn anything down in the beginning. Seriously.
- What’s the most surprising thing a customer has asked you? If they could edit my photos after I sold them to them, lol. Ummmm…..no.
- Favorite print lab? Mpixpro!!
- Your Gear
- Are you Canon or Nikon (or – gasp--“other”): Canon
- If you could only have one lens on a photo shoot, what would it be? My 50mm f/1.4
- What brand bag do you carry your camera in? Just a boring old Lowe Pro.
- What gear would we find in your camera bag? My 5dmark ii, 50mm f/1.4, 24-70 f/2.8 and my speedlight 580 EXII.
- Are you a natural light fan or strobe fan? Natural light, I haven’t ventured into strobe yet!
- Are you PC or Mac? PC for now.
Your Tips and Tricks
- What post processing tools do you use? I really try to do as much editing as I can in Adobe Camera Raw. I probably do 75% in ACR, and then 25% in Photoshop.
- Do you shoot in Raw or Jpeg? Raw.
- Best advice you would give your 20-year old self? Yes you can.
- Best advice you would give a new photographer? Take your time, don’t rush! Don’t turn anything down, and don’t try to copy other photographers.
- What site do you use for your photography and why? I use BluDomain to host my website, and Wordpress for my blog. It just seemed like the cool thing to do.
What Else Should We Know?
- What was your worst photography experience? How much time do you have? My worst was a client who wasn’t happy no matter what I did, even after I gave her a FREE second session. She thought she should get a lot of extras, and she was bossy around her son, preventing me from doing a lot of what I wanted to do. It was a mutual disaster, but it taught me a lot too.
- What would surprise people most about you, whether it is photography related or not? I’m kind of ‘shy’ online – but in real life, I’m a pretty outgoing person!
- Tell us something else you’d like us to know: Hmmm…….let’s see. I am bilingual in Spanish and I have lived overseas twice!
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