A creative person from the start, Erin Johnston didn’t just fall into photography – she’s lived and breathed it since her college days. So much so that her husband, Jakob, even took a class to help out. Now she’s up and running her own business in Central Arkansas shooting weddings throughout the year and even branching out to capture baby’s firsts. We talked with Erin about how it all began, where she’s taking things, and everything in between.
Kendra: I recently talked to another couple where the wife started the business and after the husband left his IT job, he joined her. Was that the case here? Did Jakob see how freeing photography was and leave a 9-5 to join in?
Erin Johnston: Jakob works with me, but not full time. He saw that he could help, so he took a photography class while we were still in school and now he is a great second shooter for me! Jakob also manages the administrative work like taxes for me so I can focus on the creative side.
Kendra: Erin, what did you learn in college about photography that you truly feel you wouldn’t have had you just continued to treat it as a hobby?
Erin Johnston: Having several college classes helped me to take it seriously. There are a few “rules of design” when it comes to photography like color balancing and exposure that when followed will keep your photography timeless. There are a few trends going around now that don’t follow these rules and those trends will eventually look dated. The classes also helped me learn how to deal with complicated lighting situations that I come into contact with…especially during weddings!
Kendra: Was wedding photography always the focus or have you dabbled with other subjects/genres?
Erin Johnston: I just love weddings! I also do portraits of all kinds and I actually have two births scheduled before the end of the year. I’m always looking to broaden my experiences, but weddings are my favorite. I am always able to capture so much emotion with weddings because it’s such a special day that can never be recreated.
Kendra: Every photographer has to be grateful for their locale because every city and state has its own unique beauty to share. For you, what’s the most picturesque place for an Arkansas wedding? Then I can pass that information along to my nieces who live down there.
Erin Johnston: Petit Jean State Park has some of my favorite photo spots. Jakob and I had our engagement session done there. I’m dying to shoot an elopement on a bluff over there!
Kendra: With Instagram and Facebook causing us all to be all about a great photo, have you found that people are more rabid for the best shots more than ever?
Erin Johnston: Yes! People are always wanting photos to post! Social media has been around since before I got into photography though, so it’s all I know! I have often wondered what it was like to be a photographer before social media and camera phones!
Kendra: On top of photography, you deal with fine art. Is that something you create or are you dealers of fine art?
Erin Johnston: I started with pencil drawings. In my art program at school, the first drawing class was a prerequisite to any of the photography classes. All art can be reduced to drawings, and practicing that as an artist helps to develop your eye. I create large scale drawings and paintings alongside my photography work. I do fine art photography as well in addition to my more commercial photography like weddings and portraits.
Kendra: Has anything changed for you two in terms of business and drive since becoming parents?
Erin Johnston: I am driven more than ever because I want to provide for my daughter’s future! I have also become more interested in newborn and birth photography. Having my own baby has made me more confident in photographing others, because I know how to make them smile or calm them down if they are upset.
Kendra: Lastly, what’s to come for you two and the business as we head out of 2019 and into 2020?
Erin Johnston: My main goal for 2020 is to photograph a destination wedding or elopement. We will see what happens! In addition to that, I am excited to see what comes of my first experiences with birth photography.