We had the good fortune of connecting with Erin Chicoine and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Erin, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Balance. I’m a libra, so this is a constant. I’m continuously working on this. Over time, I’d like to think the changes have been appropriate.

I didn’t have children when starting out. I could spend all day every day focused on my photography business without impacting someone else. And I’m a busy worker. I’m always thinking about work, because it’s more than that to me, even still.

Now, I have to carve out times that are appropriate in between being a mom and wife. I have two little boys who look up to me and are taking notes on who I am as a mother, business owner and community member. And those two little boys are what make me understand my profession that much more. The importance of connections.

The balance I am always searching for and working on maintaining is just that. A present parent, a dedicated and reliable photographer, and active community member.

So how? Good question. I’m still looking for the answer, every day.

Right now the word that surfaces is ‘boundaries’. And ‘honesty’.

“What are your hours?” Is a tough question for me. Answering, “Whenever works” sounds unprofessional, but it’s true and it’s important that I’m transparent and honest with my clients. These are boundaries that need respect in order to work. The truth is, I try to work while my 6 year old is at school and my 6 month old is napping or playing. Sometimes I work from home and sometimes I’m in my studio. I make lists, set boundaries & do as much as I can, when I can. My ideal client knows this and appreciates this about me.

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?
I realized that I can see emotion. That it is actually tangible. It is the quiet moments in between. It’s the second before a couple kisses, it’s the laughter that is bubbling up to explode in a child, it’s the way a mom looks at her child as she brushes the hair out of her daughters face. These are the moments that matter to me. Movement and the in between. I don’t feel like you have to look like a model, be dramatic in your posing or put filters on real life. My clients just have to be. And I just have to feel their spirit. I just love that I’m trusted so close to people’s most special moments and emotions. It’s so special.

Professionally, I just try to follow my heart and do the right thing. If something is speaking to me, I try to listen. The business world is a silly game and all the steps to follow the rules are not my favorite. But once I was given the advice, ‘Do what you’re good at & hire out the rest.’ So you can bet I stopped worrying about my books and hired an accountant. Getting rid of the business part I don’t like, helps me continue to enjoy the business part I do. Like providing fun services to my community.

I’m just one person. And I’m so grateful of the people who see this, & me, for what I am. For who I am.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Itinerary is heavily dependent on the season. But, let’s consider summer. We get the most visitors then. Truly a revolving door!

We usually balance the artsy & outdoorsy options with a little bit of both. The level of adventure is very specific to just who is visiting.

Wake up and caffeinate. I’m a mom, you know. Mochas for an almond vanilla latte or Tributary for a lavender latte for me!

We always start the day with Backcountry Cafe. Drinking ‘Manmosas’ with pineapple juice instead of OJ.

We will bop around Main Street popping into say hi to Stephanie & Yvonne from the Toggery Elevated and dance around in Tango’s adorable dresses. Support other artists at the Gunnison Arts Center & Gunnison Gallery and swing by HABC or the Dive for a yummy lunch. And update their outdoor gear at Gene Taylors. Bonus if the GAC has a fun class to do!

Often, we grab some Firebrand sandwiches & take our Bronco out for a romp through Hartmans or to the Clark Cabin. Perhaps all the way over some beautiful mountain passes. Or out to Blue Mesa for a rocky relaxed “beach” day.

Dinner is never missed at Blackstock Bistro. Ever. Maybe twice. Same goes for Anejos. Two must have dinners.

Ibar Ranch always has a stellar show going. And if not, you can count on music in the park being a nice way to wrap up a weekend.

And a quick stroll down Crested Butte’s Elk Ave usually is an option after taking them over Ohio Creek Pass to check out wildlife, trees & views.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I dedicate my shoutout to my family.

My husband Ben is the backbone of Studio E Photography. He is my soul mate business partner. We spend hours bouncing ideas back and forth, dialing in details, dreaming endless ideas, tweaking workflows and he is my built in IT. He helps ground me & reminds me why I do what I do. And also, how to slow down.

My children, Oliver & Felix, are the soul of what I do. I work hard and passionately for them. Oliver & Felix both spend time at the studio with me. They’re my endless study, light testers, and if anyone can make a baby smile, it’s Oliver. He has an appreciation for photography at just 6 years old. And their patience for those busy nights that I miss family dinner because I have to catch that golden hour light for another family. Family dinner is my favorite part of the day. But golden hour is my favorite light, too.

My parents are the foundation of who I’ve become. They laid the stonework for my character. And my sisters. As the youngest of 4 girls, they’ve taught me humility, strength, poise & how to be louder when needed. The OG 6 is a wild place to be raised and it’s absolutely the loudest cheering section to have.

My friends who have become family. When I lose sight of the big picture, they’re backing me up to reframe.

Of course, my community and clients. Without them, my sons would be so sick of their portraits being done.

Website: studioephotos.com

Instagram: studio_e_photos

Facebook: Facebook.com/studioephotographygunnison

Image Credits
Photo of just me in the black dress, my husband Ben Chicoine. The photo of me and my boys, my husband Ben Chicoine (He’s my second shooter for weddings!) The photo of my entire family is by Leslie Castleberry (@novitabirthstories) The rest are by me!

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