Hey World, Meet Erica Herron! | Chels Meets World
What's happening, everybody? Welcome to Chels Meets World. For those of you who are new here, I'm Chelsea, the blogger of this shindig. For those of you just coming back through, thanks for coming!
I am humbled to bring you all my first article in the Individuals category of my blog. I created this category because one of my top value strengths is something called Appreciation of beauty and excellence (S/O to URI Leadership 😊).
In short, this means I value individuality. I love getting to meet people and learn about what makes them who they are. As a journalism major, I am also passionate about telling one's story. So, I guess you can say this is going to be one of my favorite sections of the blog.
So, without further a due, allow me to introduce you to,
A Jersey girl, with a little Florida Sunshine:
Erica Herron is a photographer. Did Herron always know that she wanted to be a photographer? Not at all. Coincidentally, she stumbled upon the profession while looking for jobs.
Herron born and raised in South Jersey moved to the sunshine state of Florida at the age of 16. It
was a few years later when a friend of hers who had just finished Basic Training with the U.S. Air Force came back to Florida to visit. But he did not just come back by himself, he came back with a friend. A friend who eventually would become Herron's best friend and now husband.
"Before I met my husband," said Herron. "I used to say to myself that I would never want to marry someone in the military. But I wouldn't change it for anything."
After Herron got married and she and her husband were set to move to Georgia. Before the move, she started looking for jobs and came upon an opening at a studio called Picture Me Portrait Studios. It was here where she would learn the ropes. She would also discover her love to "see [the] beauty [in photography] in ways that not your average every-day person would normally see."
While working there Herron would be challenged to "think outside the box." The camera in the studio was mounted on a counter and the photographers needed to be able to sell their photos to customers in order to get paid. This motivated Herron to give the customers the best of the best.
"I would draw little stick figures of how I could pose people," Herron explained. "I would look up How to pose people on Pinterest or YouTube. I did a lot of research because I wanted to go far and beyond for people."
Work Hard Play Hard:
After learning the ropes from the studio, she started venturing into her own camera. Herron did admit that in the beginning, it was "more money-driven."
"I feel like a lot of photographers just starting out have made the mistake of being so concerned with making money," Herron said. "Eventually I started doing events rather than portraits."
As a civilian, Herron had the opportunity to work with different organizations on the base. In these roles, she was also able to make connections.
"People get to know you," she explained. "You’re not just another face in the crowd. Once people know you’re a photographer that’s pretty much it because you’ll get referred to by one person and then another."
Herron would go on to work on events such as an Air Force ball and Christmas parties for the squadrons on base. She was grateful to have a small team of friends who were willing to help her out.
It's the little things:
Once Herron and her husband moved to their next base (Aviano Air Base, Italy), Herron decided to retire her camera for the first few years. She admitted, she didn't really care to pick up her camera. Mainly because she was more focused on building her career in finance. But after having her daughter she decided to pick up her camera again.
"It kind of just kept going from there because my mind and my eyes had taken this break," said Herron. "I started to see things differently. I no longer saw my photography as a money-maker anymore."
Herron realized she really enjoyed capturing the beauty in small things of the world. She talked about how beautiful an abandoned building can be. How once she sees it she can practically picture the entire shoot in her mind.
"Some photographers that focus on landscape photography might just see it as a landscape shot," she explained. "But for me, I swear I can see the beauty of the model and the beauty of the abandoned building and how the two can come together."
One of Herron's favorite photos is Black and White. She admits that you can't turn every picture Black and White, but for the majority, you can.
"It creates an emotion in the picture," she explained. "Because it stripes the color out for a minute, and allows you to focus on what is actually there."
Recently she did a photo series in Black and White on her husband, while he was washing his car. She explained that she wanted to show how much work he was putting into washing his car.
"I didn’t want to show what kind of car it was, I didn’t want to show if it was gloomy out or sunny, I didn’t want to show whether the car was green or yellow," she said. "I wanted people to see the action of the water, how he looks while washing the car, what a man looks like while washing a car."
"Because it’s those little small things that are important. Even though most people were like, “oh my god not the Jordan’s!” She added.
One evening while Herron was going through her Facebook feed, a photographer she followed shared a post. The post was in search of photo submissions for Creative Collective Magazine created by a photographer to showcase other photographer's work. At the time Herron had just completed a laundry series with her friend Jennifer.
"Jen is an amazing model," Herron said. "She gets in front of the camera and turns into a whole different person, and I think it's beautiful to see."
Herron thanks Jennifer for all the sessions they've done together because it allowed her to broaden her love for creative photography.
Herron has been published about 20 different times in various magazines. One of her most humbling experiences was with Portraiture Magazine. A magazine that Herron says is "absolutely beautiful."
"It's run by Sarah [Lindsay]," she said. "She does phenomenal work from beginning to end. In this magazine, she put tips on how to continue your business even while quarantined."
Little things that Herron says can be very beneficial to photographers during these times. The theme for this publication was Happiness and Joy. To Herron's surprise, a photo she had submitted to be featured on the inside of the magazine was the one chosen for the cover.
"I remember getting the email, while I was sitting on the couch with my kids," Herron said. "And I instantly started to cry tears of joy. My aunt even face-timed me when it was published to say how beautiful it looks on the cover."
The photo was during a session she did with a couple. A couple who Herron says was one of her favorite sessions based on the couple's "pure true love." Herron admitted that she had previously submitted this photo to four other publications prior and none had chosen the photo. She was honored.
She explains how humbling and important it is to recognize another photographer's work. She knows as a photographer, she sometimes forgets that her work is worth looking at.
"Because we’re just so used to seeing our photos all the time. So, when other people recognize your work, you start to think “wow is it really that good?”
The journey is just beginning:
As Herron and her family's time in Italy will be coming to a close, she is grateful for all she's learned. She is reminded that as a military spouse she is fortunate to have the benefit to travel to many places and build her network.
"To network with other photographers and to see how they view photography and learn from them," she said. "It’s been nice because now I feel like I am more in my skin when it comes to photography versus before."
When asked what is one of Herron's most rewarding parts of being a photographer in her opinion, she said her son.
"I love when he comes up to me and asks Do you have a shoot today Mom? or Are you editing? Can I see? " she said. "He is just always there. I don’t care if anyone else doesn’t like my photos, but knowing that he does care means everything."
A special thank you to Erica for allowing me to feature her for the first post in the Individuals Series via Chels Meets World. If you or someone you know may be interested in checking out some of Herron's work please check out her page at www.Facebook.com/redjacketphotographybyE or via Instagram, @RedJacketPhotos. To see her cover photo on Portraiture Magazine, please follow this link.
Stay tuned for more within the Individuals Series, via Chels Meets World.