Zenfolio is essential to my business. They make me look good!

- Erica Peerenboom

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About Erica

Bio

Erica Peerenboom is an award-winning, nationally published, portrait photographer specializing in high school senior photography. She is also a proud member of Professional Photographers of America and United Professional Portrait Photographers of America. Erica attends various workshops, trade shows and seminars throughout the year to stay up to date on her training and trends in the marketplace. She is also a proud ambassador for Zenfolio and has written many articles and blog posts about photography.

Interview

Where is your home base?

Columbus, Ohio

What is your photography genre/specialty?

High School Seniors and Glamour/Boudoir

What is your most memorable image and why?

My Fall Fairy series. I worked on it for more than 2 years before I shot it. I designed the costume, made the wings, scouted locations and found the perfect model. Once it all came together, it was everything I’d hoped it would be and more.

Why did you become a photographer?

I was always interested in photography. I love having a way to document important events and people in my life and freezing that memory in time forever. I used to be obsessed with my parents' Polaroid camera. Now my daughter has an adorable updated mini version, and I still love playing with it.

What drives you to capture images and has this changed over time?

My number one goal is happy clients. I want them to have a great session, to have fun and love their images. That is my mission with every session, every job, every client.

Do you have any personal rituals to help you get ready for a shoot?

Even after 8 years in business, I still get nervous before a shoot. It’s a nervous excitement, but it’s always there the day of a shoot. Because of this, I have a checklist I do the night before shoots: charge batteries, make sure I have several SD cards on hand, go over client information, etc. I also have a list of what I need to pack if it’s an on-location shoot so I don’t leave anything important behind.

What are the top 5 things you can’t live without while on a shoot?

My camera, a reflector, battery pack and strobe, umbrella modifier and light meter.

How do you regain your inspiration if you hit a creative rut?

Sometimes, by taking a little break if I’m able. Otherwise, I love Pinterest and Instagram for creative inspiration. I’m big on creating inspiration boards on Pinterest so I can visualize a shoot beforehand and come up with ideas. If it’s a concept shoot, I will add those involved as well so they can see the direction I’m going and add to it.

Who or what has been the biggest influence on your journey as a photographer?

My husband. From the very beginning he was so supportive when I was getting my business off the ground. He helped me scout out possible studio space and then helped me turn part of our home into a studio. He even goes with me on shoots as my lighting assistant and hauls all my gear around. When things are going well he makes it very clear how proud he is of me, and when I get discouraged, he gives me a pep talk to get me back on track. I’m blessed to have him.

If you could share just one tip with aspiring photographers, what would it be?

This is your business and your vision. Go with it, have fun with it but never stop learning and improving. Shoot everyday and step out of your comfort zone from time to time. It’s how you grow.

What are the top three Zenfolio features essential to helping you run your business?

1. My website. You only get one chance to make a first impression and Zenfolio makes it easy to have an amazing website.

2. MpixPro is incredible. The turnaround time makes me look like a rock star getting orders to clients so quickly! Plus the quality is great, and the customer service from Zenfolio and MpixPro is wonderful.

3. Reports. Zenfolio keeps track of all my sales with various reports, and it’s convenient at the end of the year to do all my tax preparation.

If you could second shoot with any photographer (dead or alive) who would it be and why?

Annie Leibovitz. She is amazing! Her lighting setups alone are to die for. Then add in the famous people she shoots and the amazing costumes and props. It would be a dream come true.

A very close second would be Sue Bryce. I have watched so many of her courses on CreativeLive from posing to the business end of photography. She is one of the most caring, giving educators I have ever seen. Her passion is contagious, and I just adore her.

How has the photography world changed since you turned pro?

Since digital cameras have become more affordable, each year there are more and more people becoming photographers and starting businesses. This means more and more competition for work. I just try to keep on learning new things and do work that not everyone else is doing. You have to be able to show your value and why you charge what you do, why you are worth it. It’s about educating the consumer.

What one piece of software besides Zenfolio do you consider to be vital in your workflow?

Adobe Creative Cloud. Couldn’t get by without Lightroom and Photoshop.