a phototalk with @erinsummer_
Erin Summers work is all about colourful, whimsical and creative images that brightens everyone’s day. We had a little chat with her and found out how she got into photography, what her favorite season of the year is and what tips she can share for aspiring creative spirits!
Hi Erin, it is so lovely talking to you! First of all, could you tell us a little bit about yourself? Who are you, where do you come from, where do you live now? Tell us a little about your personal background!
Hello everyone! My name is Erin, I’m a content creator and graphic designer from Ontario Canada. I was born and raised in Canada and I have lived here all of my life. My husband and I recently traded in our downtown Toronto condo for a 150-year-old house in the countryside and we love it!
Your Instagram profile says you are an Art Director, Content Creator and Story Teller. What exactly do you do for these jobs? When did you start with photography and when did you know that this is a profession you would like to pursue?
When I originally joined Instagram around 2016, I had a different account called @erinlightfeather. I was creating art with ethically sourced Canadian feathers which was very rewarding, but also incredibly niche and a lot of work. I developed a passion for photography and photo editing while I was working on my portfolio. I instantly fell in love with Photoshop and the endless possibilities that it has to offer. I connected with other content creators on Instagram around that time who were creating bright, fun and colourful art for brands, and I was captivated. I didn’t even realize at the time that was a possibility! It wasn’t too long after that I got more serious about photography and photo editing. I launched my second Instagram (now my main account) @erinsummer_ as a sort of portfolio to post some of my new experimental work. The rest is history!
My job has two parts – on the commercial side, I create visual content and ads for brands who are looking for playful and colourful branded content. I’ve had the opportunity to create for some amazing companies including Adidas, Benefit Cosmetics, Pizza Hut and Perrier. On the personal side of my business, I love to create colourful and uplifting art that I have been licensing out for greeting cards, art prints, posters, puzzles etc. My very first licensing agreement was with Pickmotion, and here we are 3 years later with over 25 images licensed with Pickmotion. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with such a wonderful company.
Your pictures are so colorful and whimsical and make us happy just by looking at them! How did you develop your style? Do you have any starting tips for aspiring photographers?
Thank you for your kind words about my work! I have always gravitated to colourful, happy, lighthearted imagery. Making people smile and spreading a bit of joy is my number one passion. My work has definitely evolved over the years, but creating playful, whimsical art with a sense of humour has always been at the core of everything I do. I approach every new piece with an optimistic point of view, and I don’t take my work too seriously. It’s all about putting a smile on my viewer’s face.
There are so many opportunities for aspiring photographers/artists to get their work out there! Join social media, start connecting with other creators and have some fun. Don’t worry about it being perfect, the evolution is half of the fun. It’s never too late to get started if you are passionate about your art. Now is the best time to get started!
You also seem to love rainbows! Do they inspire your work a lot? What else inspires you and why?
I love rainbows because for me they represent hope. I love colour, sunshine, animals of all kind, architecture, retro nostalgia, minimalism, humour and fun.
Could you tell us a bit about your creation process? How do you get your ideas and how do you edit your pictures? Do you plan much ahead, or do you prefer taking pictures spontaneously?
My creative process is a bit of a mess, hahaha! I try to stay organized, but I’m easily distracted by new themes and concepts. I keep a file folder on my desk with photos and graphic design bits that I am constantly adding to, revisiting, and playing around with. Sometimes an image comes together really easily, sometimes I’ll be working on something a little bit here and there over the course of several months until it “clicks.”
When it comes to my client work, I try to be a lot more focused because there is a deadline. I give my clients the option of being as hands-on or hands-off as they wish to be during the creative process. Sometimes they have very specific ideas about how they want it all to come together. Other clients want me to handle all of the details from start to finish. Having a balance of both commercial work and my own passion projects keeps me motivated and inspired. My goal no matter what is to create something scroll stopping and delightful that will make my clients and my audience smile.
How and why did you start using Instagram as a platform to share your photography?
I started using Instagram for my first art business, but I quickly realized it was the ideal platform for sharing all visual art. To this day, 99% of my new business comes directly from my Instagram account.
Do you have a favorite photograph of yours? Can you tell us the story behind it?
My favourite images are the ones that involve balloons. Balloons are one of my favourite subjects because they are light and airy and colourful, which is what my work is all about. (Disclaimer: I never actually release the balloons into the wild, I photoshop them into nature scenes after they have been shot and edited.)
How do you feel about your IG-community you have built up over the years? Do you connect with them a lot? Do they help you find new ideas?
I love my IG community, they have been some of the most positive, encouraging and creative influences I could ever ask for. I’ve always felt so lucky to connect with other passionate creatives online. Watching them succeed and evolve over the years has been a real source of motivation and awe. I have been spending less time online this year, but I always know I can login and there will be kind friends and inspiration waiting for me.
Your last name is summer but is summer also your favorite season of the year?
Yes, Summer is by far my favourite season! I love the warmth and the sunshine and the long days. We have a family cottage on a lake here in Ontario, and some of my fondest childhood memories are spending summers there with my family.
Could you name some of your favorite Instagrammers who inspire you?
Oh goodness there are SO many – too many to name really. I love illustrators, travel photographers, graphic designers, textile designers, makers, bakers, content creators… I have a list of probably 300 favourites! A few off the top of my head: @jenannhandmade, @cestmaria, @creativeamme, @lizzie_darden, @luxeandthelady
Do you have any cool plans for the future you would like to share?
I am currently having my website redesigned from scratch which will launch in August and it will finally include a print shop! Hooray!
Do you like sending and receiving postcards?
I do! Especially if they are Pickmotion Postcards!
Did you know Pickmotion before we started our collaboration? If yes, how did you become aware of us?
You know, I’m not sure! It’s been several years now since we began our collaboration. I may not remember how I was introduced to Pickmotion, but I do know that Pickmotion has exposed me to many new and exciting artists and creators over the years that I just can’t get enough of!
Would you like to share a little anecdote or story with us? Please feel free to tell us anything!
I didn’t pick up a camera until I was in my 30’s. I taught myself everything I know by watching YouTube videos and fooling around with photography and editing in my spare time. You don’t need a degree or a lot of fancy equipment to get started, all you need is a creative spirit and a curiosity for learning new things. The possibilities are endless, and it’s never too late to get started!
In our online shop, you can find lots of motifs created by @erinsummer_ in different sets! Our “Colorful Birthday” is filled beautiful motifs and include folded cards with enough space for your words, while our postcards set “Crazy in Love” has a variety of wholesome and lovable characters in display! Feel free to take a look and spread some colorful happiness with your loved ones!