Erika, Can you tell us about your personal experience of entering the world of photography?
My husband and I have always been outdoorsy people. Before we got married and had our beautiful son, we would always be out hunting in the bush, trout fishing down the rivers, and fishing and diving in the ocean. I love taking photos so naturally, I took photos of anything that caught my eye. My husband never really did (the only photos he would take would be photos of the food we would catch) so I would take photos as a way for us to remember the moments, excitement, and to show our friends and family where we went and what we did. Turns out, our family and friends really liked the photos I would take. I realised I wanted to take it that extra step further so bought a DSLR camera and took photos of landscapes, wildlife, macro, and other things that people don't tend to see every day or that don't have the option of seeing it in person. You see some pretty amazing stuff in the bush, the ocean, up rivers, and in creeks, and I would love for everyone else to see it. We have a beautiful world, it would be a waste for people not to be able to see it.
Why did you decide to start selling your photographs?
I had never really given much thought to selling my photographs but my husband, who is my biggest supporter, really believed in me and encouraged me to start selling my images via my Facebook and Instagram pages. It's such an exciting feeling when you sell a piece of your work to someone, I now want everyone to see them! Being able to sell my images gives me endless goals to work towards, as photography and creativity are endless.
What made you join Excio?
When Ana reached out to me about myself as a photographer, my images, and talked me through what Excio was about, I loved the fact that with every purchase through the Excio Library, a portion gets donated to a charity of choice. Joining was a no-brainer, I knew I had to join the Excio Community with its like-minded photographers. I never thought anyone would approach me about my images, let alone see my capabilities as a photographer. It was meant to be and I couldn't say no.
How do you choose which images to sell?
I try and select the images that I'm more drawn to. I always try to imagine to myself what they would look like blown up, hanging on the wall at home.
What has been the most challenging aspect for you so far?
I think the biggest challenge for me yet, is convincing myself that my work is good enough - good enough for other people to see and buy. I get so caught up comparing my images to other people's images that I start to dislike my own work. I'm definitely learning to love my own work for what it is, and how I interpret my creativity. It's a difficult task but I have to keep reminding myself that all photography is unique and special to each individual.
What can you tell other members who don't have full confidence in promoting and selling their photographs?
Honestly, just believe in yourself and your own capabilities. Dive into it, you'll never know until you actually do it. And when you do, you'll feel so good about it that you won't go back! Each and every photograph is unique, and it can speak a thousand different words to so many different people. Get your images out there and embrace that, because it's a beautiful world when you do.
Do you plan to make photography your main source of income or is it still more of a hobby?
I do plan to make selling photographs my main source of income if I can. At this stage, it's still a hobby, but a hobby I'm trying to turn into more. Good things take time.
What are your plans for your future as a photographer?
This year I hope to do more family, kids, and maternity photoshoots as I'm really enjoying working with people. It's a lot of fun and very fulfilling to me, getting to capture special moments between families and their babies.
In the future, and as I gain more skills and knowledge, I would like to step out of my comfort zone and experiment with Astro, Sport & Event photography. In saying that, I'm doing my first event photography experience at the Home & Garden Show in Taupo & Hawkes Bay this year, which I'm super excited about!
With also being a stay-at-home Mum and helping my husband run our business from home, I'm planning on studying for a diploma in Photography this year so I have a goal to work towards for myself and to broaden my knowledge in the photography world.
Where can we find you online? https://facebook.com/Erika.Berendsen.Photography
I managed to capture this fella having a rest in between feeding off large fruit in the native trees on a friend's farm.
The Kereru is such a beautiful bird, the sound their wings make when they're flying from tree to tree is a sound I never want to forget.
This image is by far one of my favorites.
I remember being out at Lake Tutira in Hawkes Bay, trout fishing with my husband. This little fantail literally followed me everywhere, luckily I had my camera! Although, he wouldn't sit in one place long enough for me to take a photo. I actually almost left to hop back in the car because it was raining and I was over it, but my husband convinced me to stay out just a little bit longer. The Piwakawaka (fantail) found some flax to sit on and I finally had the opportunity to capture this beauty.
This image is one of the first I took. Old Bridge pillars in the Mohaka River between Wairoa and Napier. I like this image because in a way it represents the start of my journey as a photographer. It also reminds me of where my husband and I would go trout fishing and camping with our closest friends. This was also the first image I ever sold, so this one holds a special place in my heart.
Tolaga Bay Wharf
This image was very spontaneous, I was up Gisborne ways to visit my husband when he was working away. We decided to go on a little road trip up the coast and stopped in at Tolaga Bay and strolled down the wharf.