We had the good fortune of connecting with Erica Bonorden and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Erica, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I have always considered myself to be an artistic person but for a long time, I didn’t really know how to express it. When we think about artists sometimes, we think about the old definitions like painters or sculptures. But now there are so many different ways to create and showcase artistic talent. And I have always known I wanted to be creative. When I was younger I never really thought of photography as a profession, we go to school thinking that a 9-5 desk job is the only way to make money or to have a career. This is what my journey started as, but once I started photographing people and got requests I knew that photography was going to be my artistic path.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
Not to sound cheesy but I would say my art is very special because it captures people’s precious moments in time that they can always look back on. What sets me apart from others I think is really my personality, I don’t need a lot of time to get to know people and I feel like most people naturally feel comfortable around me. Some of my clients have become some of my closest friends. There are some photographers that you meet and you pick another one the next year because they didn’t really make an impression. I am happy that I have clients that I get to see every year to catch up and document more of their moments. Some couples I have done their engagement photos, wedding, and then their maternity. It is truly amazing to be a part of someone’s life like that.
It was not always easy because I started photography at the end of 2019 and 2020 as everyone knows what the start of covid. Weddings were on hold, people were sad and rescheduling but it also started a different wave of photography and events! Smaller, more intimate weddings became a thing. Senior photos and prom sessions for kids that couldn’t go to their own graduation started growing. So I would say the pandemic helped me evolve as a photographer and created a way for people to still capture their special times.
I used to be very private about my personal life when I started my social media and website for my brand. I really learned a lot by watching other photographers share their personal stories and realized it’s okay to show the world your background, interests and to just be yourself. So I want the world to know my professional and personal side. I am someone you can grab coffee with, someone you can talk to about your favorite tv show, and someone that will listen to all your stories.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would probably start my itinerary with a local park! I really LOVE the outdoors and taking nice long walks with my friends and sometimes our dogs. My go-to place for trails and photo sessions as well is the Houston Arboretum! Located right in the heart of Houston but you would never know because the forest is so wild and beautiful.
As for food my current favorite restaurant is Shokku Ramen! They have the most delicious ramen as well as appetizers and a great ambiance for hanging out and grabbing a bite.
For drinks, I really love Present Company! The vibe is very vibrant, has lots of plants, and of course very Instagram-able backdrops!
To me, I have the most fun checking out cafes! I really love Agora coffee, to me, it feels like Hogwarts and the people there are so chill and studious. A great place to work and hang.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would have to dedicate this Shoutout to two very important people in my life.
The first is my best friend and basically my sister, Natasha Lebus. This all started with her! I met her right after college and I had very little direction and confidence in what I wanted to pursue as a career. She and I worked together at a marketing and photography business, taking product photos of diamonds, rings, and jewelry for local jewelers. I learned that I really liked taking photos of models and people but didn’t think too deeply about it until Natasha asked me to take her engagement photos. From then on she has been my absolute number one supporter and has given me so much encouragement to pursue what makes me happy.
My second is a husband and best friend Thomas Bonorden. We have been together for over a decade through thick and thin. And there has never been a more supporting force than him. He has never questioned my work ethic or my desire to create. When I told him I wanted to be a photographer, he didn’t hesitate to do everything he could to help me. For my birthday he bought me camera equipment and built me an in-home studio. He has helped me in the aspects of my business that I don’t understand and even comes with me to assist with weddings. I could not ask for a better partner in life or in business.