It was looking back on her own pregnancy and early days of motherhood that brought Erika Berendsen to the realisation that she had no images to look back on. This gave her the urge to photograph other families during these precious moments, to provide them with beautiful memories to last a lifetime. She is passionate about getting out in nature and creating authentic, candid images that capture these wonderful moments in time. Starting out photographing her own friends and family, she took the plunge and launched Erika Berendsen Photography. Here, she talks to The Natural Parent Magazine about the passion behind her business and her hopes and dreams for the future.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
I was driven most to delve headfirst into photography after realising how many important moments, from my pregnancy through to the newborn stage, that I had no images to look back on. I now understand the importance of getting in front of that camera, no matter how you feel you look at the time and creating beautiful memories. The most beautiful candid shots can inspire memories that will last a lifetime. Which is exactly why I got the urge and drive to photograph families and capture what’s important and means the most to them. Going out to a location to take photos of precious moments in time for that family to treasure forever really makes my heart full and I honestly cannot get enough of it. I feel like being at one with nature, even if just for a moment, can be so refreshing and it excites me to involve nature’s beauty to help someone find their authentic selves.
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
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 I’d capture several shots of different things that caught my eye. My husband, on the other hand, only seemed to get photos of the food we caught. I would document the raw beauty of New Zealand scenery, the wildlife and the native bush as way for us to remember the moments, the 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. I bought a camera and started focusing my photography sessions on landscapes, wildlife, macro, and other things that people see less of, or don’t have the option of seeing in person. You see some pretty amazing stuff in the bush, the ocean, up rivers and creeks, and I love to capture that to share with everyone else. We have a beautiful world and I feel it would be a loss if people weren’t all able to see it.
My passion then went from photographing landscapes to photographing people and helping them create images and memories to look back on for years to come. So, I started photographing my own family, as well as friends and their children. I then turned my business into ‘Erika Berendsen Photography’ legitimately and I really went for it!
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
I have definitely had a few breakthroughs! Some of the most exciting ones for my business include having been the Event Photographer for The Taupo & Hawkes Bay Home and Garden Shows and of course being blessed to be in this gorgeous magazine!
For me personally, my biggest breakthrough has been finding my niche and following my passion to bring me here doing what I really want to do. I know what I want to accomplish with my photography business in the next 5 years and I’m committed to exceeding these goals. It was that lightbulb moment for me, when all of a sudden you know exactly what to strive for and where to focus your talent and that was the biggest breakthrough of all.
Yin and Yang: How do you balance work and family?
At the moment the balance is pretty manageable seeing as I’ve more or less just started out. As the business grows and our family grows by one, it may become more difficult. Thankfully, I have a really supportive husband that can be at home whenever I need him to be due to the flexibility of his role. We’re both super supportive of each other’s dreams; we always find a way to make it work with each other and the kid/s.