First let me tell you why it was such an amazing experience. Ashley Layden. She was the photographer and I could not have felt more comfortable with her. She is a gem. She told me exactly how to pose, she gave me great tips on how to prepare for my shoot, she had a great makeup artist who was so sweet. The whole experience made me feel like a model, and the photos afterward were even better than I thought. It was seriously the best birthday gift I have ever given myself.
I love how Ashley made me feel. I have seen photos she’s done for some of her other clients and I have just seen all the wonderful comments and encouragement for the ladies in her group. I thought Ashley was a great candidate for my first Feminist Friday post. Here’s an interview I had with her.
1. How did you get started?
I was in college and I played basketball while in college, well I got hurt and had to figure out something to occupy my time with so I started doing photography. I really had a passion for it and I knew it was what I wanted my career to be. I didn’t really have a whole lot of support when I started out but I decided I was going to do it anyway. I started in 2009 and I did wedding and engagement photos and I’ve been doing boudoir shoots exclusively since 2018.
2. How many boudoir shoots have you done?
3. What is the best part of your job?
I love having the opportunity to help women to see themselves like they never do, the way that other people see them. I get to give that to them, I get the chance to build their confidence and have them feeling better about themselves when they leave my studio.
4. Have you ever had a disastrous shoot?
I wouldn’t say I’ve ever had a disastrous shoot, maybe an unexpected one. I had one where a client began to cry during the shoot. I think there are a lot of women who still feel like they are not allowed to be confident about their bodies, I think society still shames them into thinking it’s bad to be sexy. And when you have a woman who has experienced sexual trauma it’s that much more difficult for them to love their bodies and feel good about it.
5. What is the hardest part of your job?
When clients get scared or nervous and back out. There’s always someone who has some excuse and can’t do the shoot and I worry if it’s a legitimate thing or if they’re just nervous and self conscience. I also wish I didn’t have to deal with the business side so much, if I could just take photos and not have to worry about the business part that would be great.
6. What’s the best way to prepare for a boudoir shoot?
Hydrate, eat, try stuff on. You want to hydrate because it’s really good for your skin and it flushes you out so you don’t feel so bloated and yucky. You should definitely eat, especially the day of the shoot because my clients are usually with me for four or five hours and you burn some calories. Also, try the lingerie on before the shoot. Make sure it’s something you like and feel good in. You don’t want to show up to the shoot and then find out you absolutely hate the outfit.
7. To what do you attribute your success?
I would really have to say just my life experiences: as a woman, as a mom. We women need to be there for each other. I also just keep working hard and trying to improve what I’m doing.
8. What tips do you have for someone who is wanting to start their own photography business?
Practice! Photograph everything. Don’t be afraid to just try every niche because you don’t really know what your niche will be until you’ve tried them all. Learn how to price your work, know the quality of it. Create your ideal client in your head. You have to know who you’re marketing to. You have to know everything you can about your ideal client. Word of mouth is also a very important marketing tool that you don’t have to pay for. I didn’t take any business or marketing classes in college, I actually got my degree in sports medicine and I don’t use it. So if I can do it, you can do it.
9. Why do you think women should have a boudoir shoot done?
Every woman should. It’s a major confidence boost. We don’t ever really take the time to really look at ourselves and see what others see. When my clients look at their photos and see how beautiful they are it’s just amazing. Every woman should have that feeling.
10. What is your next step?
I am always trying to find creative ways to do things differently or adding new things. I have a shower photo session going on now and it has been amazing. I always want to grow as an artist and keep learning.
The ability to make your fellow woman fell good about herself is priceless, it’s irreplaceable. I’m so happy to know Ashley and I’m so thankful for what she has given me. Here are some photos from my shoot.website!