Koltin: What’s something in photography your actually struggling with? Or something you’re trying to perfect at the moment. Personally, it’s skin and achieving a natural skin tone.
Ashley: I think like because I shoot so often, it’s become pretty routine for me. So I’ll be on a shoot and I’ll shoot in a similar way to how I always shoot, and you know that’s good and all but I want to go outside the box and kind of experiment how I shoot. And then, it’s hard seeing other people’s photography or great photographers from history and looking at their work, it’s like “wow how did they do that?”, and a lot of times it’s not something I would think about. It’s been kind of struggle for me to not be so cookie cutter, like a basic portrait, it can look good but it’s not super interesting or provoking.
Koltin: I was listening to a podcast and they were suggesting, “what’s more interesting than a good photograph is an interesting photograph.” So like you were saying, a lot of those photographers from history, whether it be street or something, they always captured character, or extended featured and played with their focal length. It’s taking a risk, playing with a chance of failing.
Koltin: How do you go about submitting to a magazine, would you go through an agency or do you go directly to the model? How does that process work?
Ashley: When I do shoot for a magazine it’s not usually for fashion, it’s for feeds, or lifestyle, creators, or influencer pages. So like, when I’m working for them, they’ll reach out to me and suggest a person for me to shoot and if I’m free and if I’m down then I’ll shoot them. I’ll also pitch people to them, so “do you think blah blah blah would be a good fit for you guys?” and that helps me shoot with bigger people than I normally would because it has that named backing. For agency shoots I haven’t been doing as much lately but for those I don’t really reach out to specific agencies or people unless I really want to. For that I feel like it’s this on-going dialogue with the agent, like you’ll work with them initially and then they will keep sending you packages or girls to shoot. And like sometimes you’ll work with them a lot and sometimes not as much.
Koltin: How many images are you submitting?
Ashley: When I send pictures back usually ten to fifteen, like just a normal set of images which is ten to fifteen for me. And for fashion sets, I’ve sent agency tests a few times, but like it’s not something that I do a lot, and I want to do it more, but it’s also hard to reach the super well-known one’s, and the one’s that are slightly lower [agencies] I feel like their not as worth it because they sometimes ask for money to submit. Like a third party site.
Koltin: Oh really?
Ashley: It’s kind of lame.
Koltin: I didn’t know that, interesting. I’ve had models just say, “just contact me directly,” after their agency hasn’t got back to me. I remember a Seattle model told me to contact their agent to get approval to shoot them, so I did. But if they don’t get back to me, I’ll message the model again and update them, or give them better examples of agency test shoots so they know I can do that style. I just feel like it’s an unnecessary process. It could end up just being wasted time. The agent never got back to me and the girl messaged me back and just said, “let’s just do it.”
Koltin: Anyways, last question, you're 19, where do you see yourself in five years? What’s the path you want to go on, or end goal?
Ashley: I don’t know because I’m doing photography but also school. So it’s like I’ll graduate and get a job, that’s the more primary.
Koltin: Yep, that’s how it was for me.
Ashley: But I’ll continue doing photography, not super actively trying for something to happen. If something does happen then that would be really nice. I feel like even just in these past few years, year-and-a-half being in L.A., all these opportunities and stuff that I would have never expected before, in that sense I’ve grown a lot, you know- all these cool shoots I’ve been able to do, before I wouldn’t believe it, but if that all still continues then that looks like a good direction.
Koltin: I feel like just being here helps a lot.
Ashley: Yeah, so we’ll see either corporate or non.
Koltin: The two photographers that I met with who I know are making it have a main corporate gig. One of them does retouching on baby photo’s and the other does corporate headshots, so there’s always a supplemental income. You’re not really getting paid for the stuff we see, that’s their art, they’re getting paid for stuff that businesses demand.
Ashley: Yeah, that’s true. No one posts what they get money for.
Koltin: Exactly, like I’m not going to post the graduation photo’s I took last weekend.
Koltin: Anyways that’s all, thank you.