YOUNG MONEY: How did you start your own photography business?
ASHLEY GRANT: My business actually began through my journalism career. I began writing for newspapers and magazines in February 2007 and I found that editors preferred writers that could take their own photos so they wouldn’t have to send out two people for one story. I began playing around with photos and by October 2007 I decided I should start a photography business.
Leading up to becoming “official” I shot several weddings and events to develop a portfolio. I took photos at everything I went to in order to show the variety of shots I could get. Although I never got technically trained I quickly figured out what looked good and what didn’t. In 2008 I began shooting magazine covers and shot a total of eight.
YM: Have you always been interested in photography?
AG: I’ve been interested in photography since high school but never thought I could make money doing that for a living.
YM: How do you find your clients?
AG: Craigslist, trade shows, networking and working for magazines. Every chance I get I talk about being a photographer. I send out emails asking people if they need a photographer for anything. It’s hard work building a client base, and although I’m not at the level where I have a consistent stream of work, I am working towards it.
YM: What kind of photography do you do?
AG: I’ve done food, product and commercial photography. I’ve also done weddings, business portraits, birthday parties and more.
YM: How did you get the funding to start your business?
AG: I used my credit card. Not the smartest move but I’m working now towards paying everything off.
YM: What’s more important: making a living or doing what you love? Are you currently doing both?
AG: Both! The best career is one where you find something you love and make money at it. If you find something you love to do, you will never work another day in your life.
YM: What is your favorite thing about running your own business?
AG: Being my own boss and working with people. I also enjoy being creative daily.
YM: How is the current recession affecting you & your business?
AG: It’s actually made it a lot more difficult to get clients. I’ve even had many people ask me to do things for free or at discount rates. I’m trying to offer discounts, but you can only go so low before you are losing money.
YM: What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?
AG: Patience! You can’t expect to build your business overnight. It takes time and getting yourself out there.
You also have to be your biggest cheerleader. You aren’t just an employee; you are the boss, the accountant, the publicist, the salesperson and so much more.
AG: I’m running for Woman of the Year for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in Tampa. It’s a 10 week charity campaign and every dollar raised is another vote for me to be Woman of the Year.
I chose to run because I truly believe that if a cure is found for the blood cancers, then cures could be found for all cancers. I want to raise as much money and awareness for the cause as I can through this campaign to assist in finding the cure.
AG: I’ve just begun. There are so many things I want to do still. I would love to expand to other states, add other photographers, do some fashion photography and work with national magazines. I believe that as long as I continue to create new goals for myself I can keep having fun.
I also want to train more in how to use my camera. I don’t want to rely on just my eye for photography. I think that learning more of the technical stuff could enhance my pictures and enable me to get more creative.
I can’t wait to see where 2009 and the future takes me. I look forward to building my business and having as much fun as possible doing something I love. My motto is “It’s Okay to Have Fun with Photos” and I plan on having fun with them as long as people will let me do so!
YM: How can people contact you?
AG: My website is www.morethanphotographs.com. People can also find me on myspace at www.myspace.com/ashleygrantphotography. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 813-210-0483.