Truthfully, it has been going for quite some time now, but it has always been evolving! When I originally started photography ,it was out of creativity and love and not business intentions since I was going to school for Interior Design. In 2006, when I landed a position as a freelance photographer for a local Charlotte, NC arts and entertainment newspaper, Creative Loafing, is when I began to hone my skill and narrow in on photography as more than a passion. In 2008, a friend convinced me to photograph his wedding and I reluctantly obliged and my dreams took off from there.
While working for the paper for several years, I photographed everything from culinary dishes to head shots, and as an Interior Designer taught myself how to photograph rooms for publication. It was through photographing a little bit of everything
where I realized my love of weddings: where all things creative collide. I gained courage second shooting as well as working with my sister Sarah as Goodwin Girls Photography. In 2011 I officially ventured out into the beautiful world of weddings
on my own! It’s been a while in the making and it is so exciting.
2. What is a tip that you would give to a new photographer that is looking to launch their business?
Don’t give up.
You will hit rough patches along the way. You will look at other people’s work and compare yourself. You will be on a roller coaster of extreme highs and extreme lows. You will stare at the computer screen for hours on end. You will make a thousand “mistakes” – it’s part of the learning process. It won’t always happen overnight.
So soak in all the education you can. Second shoot. Help other people and in turn learn from other people. Streamline your workflow early on. Learn as much as you can about your camera as well as the business back-end. Be nice to people. And always remember, it may not be easy, but it’s worth it.
3. In a culture where busyness tends to overtake us, how do you find balance between running a successful business and having a life you enjoy?
Oh heavens, I’m still working on that one! One of the biggest perks of running your own business is being able to schedule your own time, but many of us small business owners are hard-workers. Often we will find ourselves working 13 hour days in front of Lightroom without batting an eye. I am finding the key to having a life and pushing forward with my business is scheduling and my workflow. I have taken the advice of many admired photographers and created ways to speed up my days instead of doing the same tasks over and over. I always set specific work times Monday-Friday and prioritize. It’s easy when you find yourself working from home to get distracted by the household errands that need to be done, but I stay organized and maintain business/home/life priorities. The rest? I let it go. The dishes will wash themselves. ;)
4. Since you just moved your business from Charlotte, North Carolina to Oahu, Hawaii, is there any advice you would give to other photographers that are going to uproot or have recently uprooted their business and are starting over?
It’s not easy to admit, but in essence, it is starting all over again. I have the honor of being the wife to a husband in the Army, so it’s especially difficult for military families who are consistently picking up and relocating. What I have found helpful is making friends (KEY!), establishing a strong, online presence (you may move, but your website never does!), and acknowledge the fact that you will have to work 10 times harder and 10 times faster than anyone else because although you may be experienced, you are new. Do what it takes, even if that means initially lowering your prices, getting a part-time job, or offering to help someone else out.
5. What was it like traveling with Jasmine Star for The Fix?
An honor! Seriously. It’s two months later and my mind is still kind of blown. It was an amazing time that I could never ever ever thank Jasmine & J.D. enough for! They are THE most generous, kind, and humble people I have ever met. And I’m not just saying that because I love them. They are great business people, yes, but really seeing how much it is more about other people and not about them was inspiring. They truly care. And don’t even get me started on their relationship! Melts my heart!
Being on the bus wasn’t as difficult as I expected. My bunk bed was actually quite cozy! Besides a few stage introductions at the actual events, I was mainly in charge of finding places to park the nearly 60 foot tour bus. Something I had never done in my entire life but quickly learned! It wasn’t nearly as easy as it sounds, and thankfully through several prayers (literally) and spells of great luck, we made it through twelve stops without one parking ticket! That was stressful. I adore meeting new people, and the type of crowd that Jasmine attracts is a fabulous one. A mix of positive, encouraging and down-right awesome people, so I was excited to mingle! Rather than deep, intense conversations about business and photography, life on the bus usually consisted of pizzas for lunch and late nights playing Apples to Apples or sharing our favorite youtube videos. They are all so warm and friendly. It made being the “new girl” feel super welcoming. Except for when I broke the toilet the first day.
(Ashley and Jasmine)
6. As a photographer, what was the biggest takeaway you took with you from The Fix experience?
Gosh, Jasmine always has so many great “kick-in the ass” things to say, so it’s hard to name just one thing, but I would have to say the struggle.
She said “if you’re struggling in your business then you have to change.” Neither one of those things are easy, struggle and change, but it was just what I needed to hear to give me permission to admit I was afraid and do what it took to move forward.
7. What is an interesting fact about you that a lot of people may not know?
When I was 13 years old I owned and operated my own local gift-shop called “Mommalouz-Gifts & Stuff”. It was a small town storefront that I worked every afternoon after school and on the weekends. I had always dreamed of owning a “boutique” and one summer my mother said “well, why not?” and she along with my Dad helped make it happen! I am thankful for that lesson my mother instilled on me early on that you can do whatever your heart sets out to do. Let no one ever tell you no.
8. What has been the best part of living in Hawaii so far?
The best part about living in Hawaii is . . . Hawaii. I have decided I was meant to live by the sea. I love the outdoors so the options of adventure here are endless. The hikes, incredible views, lush forests, beaches, waterfalls. Full of sun, sand, and inspiration! I could stand a little work on my tan though.