This weeks post is with Ashley Burns, an amazing photographer from LA and she is my first interviewee. I am having so much fun meeting Ashley/Ashleigh’s from all over the world and learning from them. Ashley Burns is funny and talented, total package! I hope you enjoy her Q&A below, comment and ask questions and I will be sure to get you all of her answers! Don’t forget to check her page out on Instagram @ashleyburns_
You started your business seven years ago, can you recall the moment you realized that your company started to take off?
When I would wake up everyday with a place to be or a to-do list. I remember being so excited if I had five shoots in a month the first couple of years, and now I work 6-7 days a week and that hasn’t skipped a beat in about 3.5 years. When I first started my business, I was a full time student and also working a restaurant job, all while hustling my photography business on the side. It wasn’t until I made my photography business my full time focus that things really started to take off. The biggest blessing was following my gut and taking the risk to build my business. So while yes, I never finished college, I was able to build a business that put me ahead, and more importantly makes me happy!
What would be the most important advice you could give to all of the readers on starting their own company? What do you think is the hardest part?
The most important advice I would give readers on starting their own business or company is practice patience, resilience, and the power of yes AND no. As cliche as it sounds, success doesn’t happen overnight and I think it’s important for people to grasp that and give 100% of themselves into their work, despite the initial reaction or outcome. Trial and error is what molds and shapes you into being a better business owner and making better decisions. Learning when to say “yes” and “no” is also really important. Say “yes” to opportunities that could benefit your business’ growth and get your name out there, but say “no” to anything that would result in compromising the values of your business. I think it’s also important not to compare yourself to other people in your field, or try to implement their brand into your own. Everyone is on their own timeline and journey, and there is room for everyone. Find your niche and live for your brand. Don’t live for what someone else has built.
The best, but hardest part about owning a business is that you are responsible for every decision and everything that happens within your business. It’s a juggling act and can be very stressful at times. In a personal sense and in the field of work I am in, I have missed holidays, birthdays, and milestones because of my job. There’s no such thing as ‘the weekend’. You definitely sacrifice your time, and sometimes memories, to create and document them for other people.
Photo Cred: Jose Villa and Annie Leibovitz
If you could collaborate with any other photographer in the world, who would it be and why?
Oooh! Great question. There are so many photographer’s I love and admire. I would love to learn and shoot alongside Jose Villa or Annie Leibovitz. Jose Villa’s aesthetic is so magical and he’s really built such an incredible name for himself in the wedding industry. Annie Leibovitz is an obvious one, but she’s the queen and an absolute visionary. She’s unparalleled, and I aspire to leave that kind of mark.
You love home decor, how do you incorporate your photos into your decor?
I don’t just love home decor, some may say I have an unhealthy obsession with it. Ha! Photos are EVERYWHERE in my house, to the point where I have to strategically place a mirror or art piece, otherwise I might start looking like Bucca Di Beppo if I don’t. I love a good gallery wall intermixed with sentimental pieces – I have three gallery walls in my house, all with different meanings. I also think a framed image can really complete a table.
Balancing life and work is something that we all seem to struggle with, what do you and Brian do to make this work?
I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as finding the perfect life/work balance because I’ve strived to search for it for years, and I am yet to find that middle ground. So, I’m with the majority here. To me, I just do the best that I can, and I know Brian would say the same. We steal a night away for dinner or a movie every week, sometimes both, or we plan in advance to take vacations. Our schedules are insane, so if we have something to look forward to that is undivided and just about us, it allows us not to feel so bad in the moment when work is crazy. It’s important to take time away from the normal day to day to reconnect and be like, “Hey, I still really like you.” Just make time, even if it’s five minutes or five hours.
Best tip on photographing interiors and people?
Good light. ALWAYS. GOOD. NATURAL. LIGHT. And a gorgeous space, obviously.
What was your most memorable photo shoot?
I have so many, but my absolute most memorable was probably my styled shoot last summer in a gorgeous loft space in Downtown Los Angeles. I planned the entire shoot from conception to execution and it was so much fun to see everything come together. The vision turned out even greater than I ever imagined, and I have all the vendors on that project to thank for that!
You love to organize, do you have any tips you could share with us on organizing our homes?
I’m a purger. Clutter gives me anxiety, so knowing things are in their proper bins and on their respective shelves gives me joy. I don’t hold on to things that I haven’t looked at or worn within a certain time span. That is how things accumulate and you create a larger pile of things than necessary. Purging is so important and also makes you FEEL good. Buying a label maker changed my life, too. I label everything from my pantry to my office supplies. In my closet specifically, I follow ROYGBV for both clothing and shoes which has been a time saver when getting ready in the morning. It cuts time in half when you don’t have too dig too hard for that shirt or pair of flats.
What is your dream photo shoot?
A gorgeous couple with great chemistry, some beautiful light, and a killer dress. Sign me up.
If you could come up with a slogan for your life, what would it be and why?
OMG, this is my Bravo Housewives moment… “Apologies for the delayed response, I was busy making shit happen”
If and when you come to Cleveland, we need to go have a great cup of coffee together!
Ummm yes, coffee drinking snob over here! I’m there. And if you come to LA, I’ll show you a matcha latte done right.
I hope you enjoyed this interview with Ashley Burns! Don’t forget to follow along on Instagram and Facebook to see some more Q&A’s with her!