Today we’d like to introduce you to Benita Perez.
Benita, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I remember loving photography when I was a little girl. I don’t know if many remember those disposable cameras that you could buy and had to get developed, well I would always take pictures of things that I found interesting. I would take pictures of like a vase of flowers from my mom’s garden, my dolls, pretty much anything. My mom and sister would get so mad when we would get the pictures developed and they would yell at me “ Benita, que es esto y por qué le tomaste una foto?”. I always loved taking pictures and dreamed of getting a professional camera.
In 2015 my husband decided that he was going to buy me a camera because I was always talking about taking photos and getting a camera but I never did it. I did some research and we went to Best Buy and I picked out the canon rebel t5. I was in heaven and was thrilled to finally have a DSLR camera. I originally bought the camera to capture family memories, I never had any intention of being a photographer. So I started taking pictures of my dogs, my husband, my mom’s garden things like that.
Then I started getting messages from friends asking if I could take photos of them, so I did. Soon after people were reaching out to me to book sessions and I really couldn’t believe it. I was learning more about photography and loving it! In 2018 my husband and I found out we were expecting a baby girl so I decided to put photography on hold and focus on my pregnancy. I had suffered a miscarriage in 2016 and wanted to make sure that I did not have any added stress while I was pregnant this time. Thankfully we were blessed with our daughter in February of 2018, I wanted to focus on her and rarely used my camera. After a few months of her being born, I realized that I had Post Partum Depression (PPD) and I went to a therapist for help.
One of the things my therapist advised me to do was to pick up my camera again and find myself through my passion for photography. I was hesitant because as a mom you feel that if you’re not spending time with your child you’re a bad mom. I had terrible mom guilt and rarely did anything for myself or took any time out for myself, much less use my camera. My husband basically forced me out of the house one day with my camera and told me to go shoot and not to worry about our daughter. So I did and it felt so weird at first because I felt that mom guilt setting in, but I forced myself to push through that and enjoy my time.
I have now been making time to follow my passion through photography and I absolutely love it. I’ve met so many great people through workshops, meetups, and Instagram. I’ve actually made some really great friends through photography and I’m so blessed that the people I’ve met have been so supportive. I can honestly say that I found my passion, one day I would hope to do this full-time.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Hahaha no, it has not been a smooth road. I always tell my husband “things worth doing will never be easy”. That saying came back to bite me in the butt when I started photography and he started repeating that saying to me. The main struggle that I faced were my insecurities of not being good enough. Man, you don’t know how many times I’ve cried and balled my eyes out telling myself that I was going to quit photography and sell everything. I have a problem of wanting things to be perfect or to go as planned in my head. If it doesn’t come out the way I want I get really hard on myself and tear myself down.
I also struggled with comparing myself with other photographers and beat myself up because I wasn’t at their level. My husband had to calm me down and remind me that I am at the level where I’m meant to be, and I shouldn’t rush things. I’m not at the level that I want to be at yet, but I’ve learned to be damn proud of what I’ve accomplished so far, and I can’t wait to see what else is to come!
Tell us more about your work.
Well, I’m a natural light photographer and I specialize in family, senior, and couple’s photography. I would say I’m known for my outgoing and friendly personality. I like to have fun with my clients while we’re at a session and make them laugh. I always make sure that my clients are comfortable, so I bring along my speaker and play their favorite music and bring some waters to drink because we all know how hot it gets in Texas.
What I’m most proud of is really caring for my clients. I’ve heard some stories from clients that they had bad sessions with other photographers because they felt rushed or felt like the photographer just wanted to make money off of them. When my clients look back at their photos I want them to remember the great experience they had with me and feel like they were with a friend. I don’t ever want my clients to feel like they weren’t cared about.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I would say consistency, I’ve been pushing myself hard to stay consistent in learning and being active on my page. I’ve always struggled with being shy and photography has forced me to get out of my shell. I’m constantly going to meetups, or workshops to be more social with other experienced photographers to learn from them.
Another quality I would say is my authenticity, the person you see posting motivational quotes on her stories and cheering others on that’s me in real life. I’m constantly rooting for my friends and lifting them up, I believe that positivity has brought me to the place where I am at today and will continue to lead me where I’m meant to be. I’m a huge believer in speaking things into existence and so far those things have found their way into my life.
- 1 hour session- $150
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @benitapphotography
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/benitapphotography/
Cinthia Jaimes of Cinphotos