Meet Erica Cervantez, Founder of Erica Cervantez Photography

Telling stories with her camera

Erica Cervantez first broke into entrepreneurship after giving birth to her son Kristofer. Photography has always been a part of her life, so after her husband, Franklyn, gave her a DSLR camera and told her to go for it, she did just that.

Erica Cervantez headshot

"I was feeling kind of lost, not sure whether I should go back to work or [figure] out a way to make money from home," she said. "I was the kid who always had a camera, taking photos of my family, taking candid moments of friends."

Fast forward six years and Cervantez has been running her own photography business, Erica Cervantez Photography, full time. She first started out doing free shoots, then began charging $25, and she’s been upping her prices ever since. From maternity shoots to weddings, family, boudoir, and beyond, Cervantez has been connecting with new people and capturing their special moments on the daily.

"I have clients who came to me in the beginning when I had no idea what I was doing. And they still come to me," she said.

Key Takeaways

  • Name: Erica Cervantez
  • Age: 27
  • From: Norfolk, Virginia
  • Nationality: Filipino-American
  • Key quote or motto you live by: "Call me cheesy, but I am such a believer in 'everything happens for a reason.' Sometimes we wonder why or what the reason is, but always trust the process."

From the East to the West Coast

Originally born in Norfolk, Virginia, Cervantez’s family moved to San Jose, California when she was a young girl. From there, they moved again to Rancho Cordova, California, where she went on to attend grade school. She said growing up in Rancho Cordova wasn’t too exciting, but she made the best of it. 

"I feel like I was very sheltered and wasn’t allowed to do much because my mom was a single parent," she shared. "I resented her for a long time. She said it was for my well-being, and growing up, I was sad about it. But now that I have a kid of my own, I totally get why she didn’t let me do all of the things."

A couple at their wedding
Erica Cervantez

Cervantez decided to stay and grow her business in the Rancho Cordova and Sacramento area, and she said she’s very thankful for the community, support, and opportunities her hometown has brought her. When it comes to running her photography business, she’s always kept it in the family. Her team consists of her husband and their son, and all three do their part when on set at photoshoots.

"They’re in charge of keeping the energy and vibes up," Cervantez said. "But yes, wherever I am, you can normally find those two close in proximity. Family is very, very important to me. This is who I do it for."

She Has Stories to Tell and Capture

Despite much success, Cervantez always remembers that she’s still a minority in the photography community. This doesn’t scare her, though, as she said she’s focused on her growth and always finding new ways to tell stories through her pictures. 

"In a male-dominated industry, I feel like a lot more women—BIPOC women—are starting to pave the way," Cervantez said. "We have something to say, we have stories, and we are making that known."

One aspect of her business Cervantez prides herself on is making sure her clients feel comfortable when they’re at photoshoots with her. She said her clients can sometimes be in vulnerable positions, and that is beautiful to her, so making the whole photoshoot experience a good one is always top of mind. 

"I always tell my clients they don’t have to be super models to be in front of my camera," she said. "I really want to show people that anyone can be in front of the camera, I want to create a safe space for everyone, and I mean everyone."

Overhead view of three woman of color
Erica Cervantez

One thing about entrepreneurship that Cervantez has gotten a good grasp on is the trial and error aspect. At the beginning of 2020, she tried out a new business where she did nails, but after trying to juggle that with her photography venture, she decided that it was going to be a little too much for her. In true entrepreneurship fashion, she used some bits of that failed venture to focus on a new one.

"I had leftover materials and realized I wanted to make earrings out of UV resin," she said. "It was a way to wind down, but also continue to be creative. It has brought out a different side of me."

What started as a simple hobby in quarantine has now turned into another business for Cervantez, Grow with the Flow Designs. She has been able to leverage Instagram to propel this idea forward, and she’s still working out the kinks for her business plan today. 

In all of the work that she does, Cervantez keeps family at the center, a focus she will continue to uphold as she grows.

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