We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashlee Hayden and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ashlee, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
How do I think about risk? Well, risk is in every endeavor and career decision. It is always on my mind. When I began my career, I was a single mother of 2 working as a waitress and going to school full time. There was a lot of risk personally, professionally, and financially that I had to think about. At times, it could feel overwhelming, but I had to turn that uncertainty and fear into motivation and determination. Even more recently, I decided to open my first commercial studio space in the spring of 2019. I had been working out of an extra room in my house for a few years and was starting to outgrow it. I had to make that decision to leave the comfort of my home, and move to a new space that added so much more uncertainty. But my determination refuses to let me fail, so my trust in myself outweighs the risk.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I would like to think that my art is different from most. With my newborn and baby photography I prefer very simple clean photos with very little props. With my family sessions, it is all about the candid photos. I want to capture the in between photos. The photos that show real feeling, real connection, and sometimes even the struggles. If you want the traditional photos of everyone staring at the camera with robotic smiles and matching outfits, I am not the photographer for you. I want to be a part of each session from start to finish. I want to talk to my clients and learn their story. I want to style each person and be a “fly on the wall’ even for just a short time. The biggest lesson I have learned in my journey is to “shoot for me”. If I am not enjoying what I am doing, my art suffers.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If my best friend were to visit, the first thing we would do is take pictures! With me of course. haha In all honesty though, I would probably take her to Mike Hess brewing in Imperial beach for a bear taster and some delicious tacos. Then mostly just sight seeing.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are so many people that deserve recognition. Especially my husband, Geoff, and kids. My sister Tiffany is my biggest fan. Also, Prof. Dave Eichinger from San Diego City College. His photography is amazing and inspiring, and he is just overall a great person. He has always been encouraging, even when my work was not so great. HAHA
Instagram: @ashleehaydenphotography & @ashleehaydenfamily