Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in photography but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Ashley Newman, founder of Ashley Newman Photography, located in The Woodlands, TX, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am a lifestyle family photographer, and I specialize in storytelling and work with families who want to document a season of life. When I write about families, talk to them or photograph them, I'm normally talking to a passionate mama who loves her family dearly and wants to steal back a little time through film or photos. It's all about connection and helping to tell the story that only your family can tell, and we all know how time can be a thief.
Tell us about yourself
I like to say that my children inspired me to start my business, but it truly grew from so many things. When my husband and I first got married 17 years ago, we didn't value photos the way we do now. We invested so little in our wedding photography budget, and sadly what we are left with are some less-than-stellar images to look back on. We can never get those moments back, and while it was a lesson learned, we promised ourselves to invest in photography more intentionally after that experience. I went on to finish my undergraduate in fine arts, and after being married for a while, we decided we wanted to start a family. Sadly, we discovered this wouldn't be an easy journey for us. 2 years of fertility treatments and our miracle baby were in our arms. Suddenly every moment was worth documenting.
Armed with my camera from college, I made it my mission to capture it all. What truly made my business more than a hobby was the driving force to take care of my family. I wanted to be able to provide for my children and have something outside of my home that gave me a creative outlet. In every family I work with, I get to hear their story and find the beauty of every life. I get to be a little part of it, too, by telling their story and creating heirloom images that can be passed down within their family. My hope is that on a hard day, a mama might look at these pictures of her family and remember what she's doing it all for. That she will see herself as the beautiful person who showed up that day for photos, her arms full of her children who adore her and know that is true and real. This is the legacy I want to leave behind: the impact you have on others matters, and the way you reflect the beauty of other humans back to them is real work.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
It feels impossible to pick one thing, but I think it would bear witness to someone's life. To be in such a position of trust and vulnerability is an honor. I've photographed a baby's first breath. I've documented a human's last. I've held moms while they cried and celebrated the beauty in every day with them. This is more than just taking photos- it's being human alongside someone else.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Keeping up with social media trends and managing various platforms all at once. Sometimes it's hard for people to remember that I'm running a one-woman show, and there are all these different platforms and ways to interact now- it can be draining when I want to spend more of my time shooting or being with families.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Don't be afraid to ask questions. Join groups, seek out people you admire and bravely ask questions.
- Don't be afraid to fail. I held back from the best years of my business because I let my fear get in the way.
- Start with healthy work boundaries. Make designated hours for work and be present with a loved one.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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