We are so excited to feature the beautiful work of Erica May. As you will see below, her photos are gorgeous. We love the way she uses light and you can certainly feel the love between the couple in her engagement images. So sweet! Do stop by her blog to see more of her work, we are certain you'll be as inspired as we are! Thank you Erica for being featured on our blog today and for sharing your story with us!
Your Name: Erica May
Your studio/business name: Erica May Photography
Location: Dallas, TX
In 50 words or less, how would your clients describe your photography? Most of my clients describe my photography as joyful, fun, romantic (couples sessions) and unique. They always tell me afterwards that they had a lot of fun and can’t wait to do it again. That is the ultimate compliment!
Are you self-taught or classroom trained? Mostly self-taught although I have taken a few great workshops over the past few years. When I was starting out I was obsessed with online forums and tried to soak in as much knowledge as possible.
How many years have you been a professional photographer? I have been in business a little over two years although I took photos long before then.
Where do you want to take your photography business in 5 years? Five years from now I dream of having a beautiful studio space or at least an ordering session space. I am already gathering lots of ideas for my beautiful studio! I would also like to be teaching photography and business ideas to fellow photographers.
Is there a photographer who inspires your style? Who would that be? I try to not spend too much time online looking at other work so I don’t end up “flooded” with everyone else’s ideas but I love Amanda Holloway for seniors, Drew B. for families, and Stacey Reeves for couples. They all do amazing work!
Favorite location to take photos? My favorite location to use is just a simple nature setting. This keeps the focus more on my clients and the kids don’t get too distracted.
Favorite vacation spot? We love to go on cruises and go to the beach. We just went on a seven-day cruise with our two year old and had a blast. I would highly recommend it!
What was the pivotal moment when you decided to become a photographer? The idea had been brewing for a while but I was researching cameras online and found a photography workshop/excursion that traveled all over the Texas Hill Country. I signed up, learn to shoot in manual mode, and fell in love. I learned on the excursion that I have a talent for talking to my models and making them feel comfortable and relaxed. As soon as I got home I signed up for a tax ID and started my website!
What’s the best marketing tip that has worked for you? Word of mouth and Facebook has really been the best thing for me. I also offer a referral bonus to my clients which helps get them talking. I have tried a few print ads but I didn’t have great luck with those.
What’s the most surprising thing a customer has asked you? There have been some funny things for sure but I don’t know if I want to mention them here and hurt anyone’s feelings =P. I did have a client ask me to Photoshop their dog into their family photo (who wasn’t at the photo shoot). I gave it my best try but I also made her a funny one with a comment bubble coming from the dog saying “Why did you leave me at home?? I am part of the family too!” haha…couldn’t resist!
Favorite print lab? I use several prints labs for different things but I love WHCC, Millers, and I use VisionArt for my albums.
Are you Canon or Nikon (or –other): Nikon!
If you could only have one lens on a photo shoot, what would it be? For the versatility probably my 50mm 1.4 but I do love my 85mm. I am a prime girl all the way!
What brand bag do you carry your camera in? I carry a shootsac during my session but my camera likes to be carried around in my awesome Ketti handbag. It is beautiful!
What gear would we find in your camera bag? A Nikon d700, 50mm 1.4, 85mm 1.8, 24-70 2.8, and a 24mm lens. Also, a reflector!
Are you a natural light fan or strobe fan? I have dabbled in OCF but I am not a huge fan of the look. I absolutely love natural light and a beautiful sunkissed picture! I use a huge reflector for most of my close-ups and I love the results.
Are you PC or Mac? I am an Apple lover for sure! I have a Macbook Pro, a Macbook, an Ipad, and an Iphone =P.
Your Tips and Tricks:
What post processing tools do you use? I use Adobe Bridge and CS5. I used to use Lightroom when I did weddings but now that I only do portraits I just use the bridge.
Do you shoot in Raw or Jpeg? I started shooting in RAW two years ago and I love it!
Best advice you would give your 20-year old self? Do what you love not what brings in the biggest paycheck.
Best advice you would give a new photographer? Don’t rush in to it. Make sure to do your research and make a business plan to find out exactly how much you need to charge to actually make a profit and run a legal business. Perfect your craft and learn the tools of the trade – remember actions only enhance what is already there.
What site do you use for your photography and why? I have a website from PhotoBiz (love them and their new shopping cart rocks!) and a blog from ProPhoto.
What Else Should We Know?
What was your worst photography experience? My camera broke and at the time I didn’t have equipment insurance (awful, I know!) so I had to go rent an expensive camera body for my shoot that afternoon – I was so frazzled and off my game that night that I made a HUGE mistake. At the end of the session my memory card was full and I accidently formatted the card! I cried all the way home because I just knew I was going to have to call my client and re-do the session but luckily a data recovery program was able to retrieve all the files. OMG… it was the worst day ever!
What would surprise people most about you, whether it is photography related or not? I may seem girly but I am actually a big tomboy – I love to go camping, shoot guns, and fish =P.
Tell us something else you’d like us to know: I have an adorable three-year-old son who is my favorite model and my whole world!
And just because we want to know you better, fill in the blanks:
Three things I can’t live without….Chocolate, my iPhone, and my family! Not in that order of course… =)
I wish I had more…..Sleep
The best thing about being a photographer is…Getting to meet the most amazing people. I have gained so many friends and re-connected with so many old friends.
The most important lesson I ever learned was….To treat people how you want to be treated... I know it is cliché but it is so true!
My favorite time of day is…For photography it is definitely golden hour (an hour and half after sunrise or before sunset). But on non-photo shoot days I love the time of day when everyone is napping in my house and it is quiet! =P