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Meet Erika Williams of Just Peachy Photography

Today we’d like to introduce you to Erika Williams.

Erika, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Just Peachy Photography was started in February 2010 about one month after my 3rd son was born. After a very bad experience getting portraits of my twin sons in 2007, I spent every waking moment educating myself about portraiture and the technical side of photography. This has continued for the 8 years that I have been in business and every year I continue to take online workshops, webinars, classes as well as in person workshops too.

It is important to keep growing as an artist and entrepreneur. When Just Peachy Photography started, I only traveled to my client’s homes. It was a great way to start but became exhausting with everything that was needed for newborn sessions. Now I do all posed newborn sessions in my intimate studio space in downtown Palatine, IL. There I have everything that I need including lighting, backdrops, and many props.

There is a large selection of quality props from all over the world, a comfortable sitting area and many little shops and restaurants to visit in the downtown Palatine area that parents of the babies I photograph rave about. I still travel for outdoor sessions but it is nice to have space in the colder months for babies and smaller groups as well as a place to hold all of my props and equipment.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Running a business is full of ups and downs. Even though I grew up in the footsteps of my father and saw how he ran his small business, it is totally different running your own. There are so many things that it takes to run a business. The last few years have become busier and it becomes difficult to balance the artist and business side of things. Luckily there are so many companies out there helping small businesses stay organized including 17 Hats and Quickbooks Online. I still struggle keeping up with my bookkeeping and hope to hire someone part-time in the near future.

My main challenge as a business owner and mother of 4 young children is family balancing. It is hard to find time to be with my family and still get my work done. Many times I’m up to 12/1am during the busiest seasons to fit it all in my day. My children come first but my business has always been like one of my children as I have always nurtured it and watched it grow.

One challenge that is a constant battle is that children’s portraiture is a competitive business to be in with new photographers popping up every day. It is important to keep my blinders on and focus on what sets me apart from the others. I set business goals every day. Some goals are met on time and others take years to meet but I have the determination to keep my business growing year after year.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Just Peachy Photography – what should we know?
Just Peachy Photography is a full-service, custom portrait studio that specializes in newborn and baby portraits. Just Peachy also photographs maternity, children and family sessions as well as small events such as showers and first birthday parties.

The private studio is located in the downtown Palatine area in a historic firehouse building with great character. The studio is full of hundreds of quality props for clients to use in their portraits. Many of the props are handmade and one of a kind and come from all over the world. This is one of the many reasons that Just Peachy Photography stands apart from other photography studios in the area.

Professional photographer and owner, Erika Williams, is a premiere photographer providing unique, artistic portraits for families in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago. Erika has been photographing babies for over 8 years with a lot of experience in newborn posing and working with families with younger children. Each session is unique in nature with a focus on the relationship between the family members.

Erika likes to capture a variety of classic posed images and lifestyle images. The result is portraiture that clients will cherish for years. Just Peachy Photography provides clients with an outstanding experience from beginning to end and most clients go home with beautiful wall art or an heirloom album that they can enjoy as a family and pass on for generations.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
My mother and father were probably my biggest cheerleaders from the start. My father passed away before I started this business but I had another small craft business in college and he was always telling me how proud he was. He was a great role model of how to work hard and get what you want in life.

My mother was able to see my business start and grow. She was always passing out my cards and telling people about her talented daughter who photographed babies. Even when I was just starting out and had no idea what I was doing as a business owner, she was always there to support me and cheer me on. I am so happy that she had a chance to see my first studio space before she passed as well. Last summer, she lost her very short battle with ovarian cancer. I know that they are both looking down at me with a proud smile though.

I also have a husband who has supported me from the beginning. He doesn’t get fully involved with the business but is there to bounce ideas off and is always helping with the studio and prop setups. He has painted, hung artwork, built lemonade stands and fireplaces and even made some cute wooden props for me.

I was also lucky to involve myself in a great business network group a few years after I started my business. It was there that I received even more support, ideas for marketing and overall general support team. I was able to ask other experienced business owners questions as well.

Over the years I have developed a great group of clients that follow me year after year. I love that they come back every year to two years for family portraits or portraits of their children and I get to see the children grow up. Some I started photographing as newborns and others I met a little older. These are clients that I consider friends and I love that they are the first to recommend me to local moms groups and to friends of theirs. I couldn’t have a successful business without this group! I love that I get to constantly add on to this wonderful VIP group of clients year after year too!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Kim Ebert Photography

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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