Happy Thursday loves!
I have a brand new creative to share with you today! My wonderful friend and fellow photographer- Erika!
I’ve known Erika for maybe a little over a year as we first met at a Munaluchi event at the end of 2013! We kept up via social media and finally met in person last year through Sugar of Taylor and Hov! I love linking up with like-minded fellow creatives so it has been a pleasure to get to know Erika, and I knew she would be a great feature for the blog :)
Erika has such a warm spirit that is conveyed perfectly through her work and I am consistently drawn to the emotion that she is able to capture in the sweet “in between” moments that I sometimes forget about.
Anyway enough from me! Lol Meet Erika!
What is your name?
Erika Layne Salazar
Where are you located?
Silver Spring, MD
What do you do?
I am a professional wedding photographer, wife, mom of two, artist, plant lover, thrift store shopper.
How long have you been a photographer?
That is a bit tricky to answer. I’ve always known I was an artist. I didn’t have to choose a specific art major in college, but I found that each year, my schedule was built around my photography interests. After graduation, I taught darkroom and digital photography for seven years, while working on my own personal projects and building by professional portfolio and client base. Two years ago I was able to transition to being a full time photographer and business owner.
How did you become interested in photography and when did you know you wanted to make a career out of your passion?
Since elementary school, I remember going to summer art camp at MCAD, a small two year college that has since been adopted by the art program at Montgomery college. So I’ve been encouraged to explore art and been surrounded by it from a young age. They had a dark room and as soon as I was old enough to take the course, I did just that. When I was too old to attend the camp, I started assisting the teacher for my community service credits in high school. From the moment I found out that you could make a career out of the arts, and actually go to college to study it, I knew I was going to be an artist of some kind.
Who are some of your influences/inspirations?
I have always loved the great photographers, Gordon Parks, Annie Leibovitz, Richard Avedon, I also draw inspiration from a number of photographers I stumble upon on Instagram or the web. When I find photographers with unique styles, I might have their work in my mind when shooting my next session, or when I’m editing I’ll try to draw inspiration from the mood of their photo when post-processing.
What has been your favorite project that you’ve worked on so far?
Definitely the #LoveYourLines campaign on instagram that Alex Elle and I created @loveyourlines. This project has fulfilled me in ways that I never imaged. I have always felt self conscious about my own body, specifically about the many stretchmarks I have had since I was a teen. I knew I couldn’t be the only one. You can Google stretchmarks and all you see are remedies to get rid of them and photos of celebrities who just had babies who seemingly don’t have any. It can really make you think that stretchmarks are not supposed to be there and something is wrong with you if you have them. It gives me new life, to think that I had something to do with changing everyday women’s perception of their themselves for the better.
What other types of creative work do you do?
I love to craft, and make things in general. I like making things for the house or the kids rooms. My father and I made my son a speed racer bed, back when he was into race cars. Now I want to convert it into a cloud bed for my daughter. Lately, I have had an urge to sew, so that’s on my Sunday afternoon to do list. Most of my creative projects are born out of a want of need, for example I needed a new work desk, so I found an old affordable one I liked from the thrift store and painted it purple.
What inspires you?
Nature, good conversations, seeing other artists making a living.
What keeps you motivated?
Brainstorming with other creative thinkers, and doing a mix of what I want to do with what I have to do.
Any advice to fellow creatives (in your industry or otherwise)?
The lesson I have to constantly remind myself is that I am making my dreams come true at my own pace and try not to compare my achievements to other creatives. Also, as a wedding and lifestyle photographer, I don’t want to get caught up in thinking I’m supposed to be shooting in a particular style. I love Elizabeth Messina as a wedding photographer, and her work is greatly sought after. While I want to draw inspiration from her work, I don’t want to copy her, I want to develop my own style and always be true to myself with everything I create.
Any other fun tidbits we should know about you?
I think I merged the answers to this question into the other questions. But what I didn’t share yet, was that my husband Carlos is now in business with me. He started out as my second shooter for weddings, then joined on board full time about six months ago. It has been the biggest blessing and the biggest challenge at the same time. I am so excited to be on this crazy ride with him and to be able to be a bigger part of my kids lives while they are young.
Where can we find you online?
I hope you enjoyed getting to know Erika a little better! Be sure to check her out on social media and stay tuned for the next two weeks because I’ll be sharing new creatives every week this month!