We had the good fortune of connecting with Erica Joan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Erica Joan, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
A few years ago I had been pursuing photography as a side gig/hobby, and integrating it into my full-time position as a senior graphic designer. As I refined my photography, the inquiries kept coming in and I began realizing that my passion was a much more viable career path for me. For the couple years leading up to actually leaving my 9–5 to work for myself, I kept saying yes to almost every job and finding a way to make it work while being employed full-time. It was a rough schedule and I’ll forever be catching up on sleep for it, but it set me up to hit the ground running once I was on my own.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I think it’s hard to define exactly which qualities set my apart from others, but when people see my work, they know it’s by Erica Joan. I think a lot of it distills down to creative set design and a well-lit shoot, often times with bold lighting and strong poses. There’s a nod to film in my editing style, and often times an element of sensuality or fantasy either overtly or covertly. I pay attention to the technicalities behind creating a great photo while trying not to let it overrule the serendipity of photography. One of the things that’s gotten me to where I am today is simply doing my best to be a good person and easy to work with. This comes naturally to me, but you have no idea how many times over the years someone I used to know while waiting tables years ago has referred me to new clients or is potentially someone I interact with now in a working relationship. It’s also great for forming lasting relationships with clients and creative teams – people come back again and again not only for good work – but for being easy to work with! It has not been an easy road. I work really hard and put 100% into every single shoot, regardless of size. I’ve put in a lot of long hours (still many more to come), sacrificed my social life, my health, and have learned a lot of lessons the hard way through making mistakes on both personal and professional levels. All of this to say that I’m happy with the route taken to get here, I wouldn’t be where I’m at without trial and error and learning from my mistakes. It’s so clichéd and trite, but the only way to achieve your goals is to get out of your comfort zone. Plan a bit, but not too much, and just put yourself out there.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If I had a friend here for a week I’d find it super hard to stay entirely local. I’d likely try to convince them of a trip out to Anza Borrego or just over the border to Mexico if they’d be into it. If we did stay near San Diego I’d probably take them to Black’s Beach, on an eating and drinking walking tour in Little Italy, and maybe the Zoo. If they felt like nightlife I’d probably take them to some of my favorite little hidden SD parties.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to give thanks to my friends and family for believing in me and my long-term vision! Even when I was just a little nerd with a camera 🙂