Twenty-Something & Thriving: A Blog Series pt.3
Week 3 of this series (!!!). Hope you girls are still loving it as much as I am. And I know you will after reading today's interview with Ashley. We kind of grew up together in similar circles, and she was in a trio with me and my sister that my Grandma "directed" when we were probably 8ish? L oh L, I know. But I've been a harmony girl ever since so, s/o to those days ; ). You guys, she's so beautiful and so kind and I've loved getting to follow from afar as I see her doing so well in all her ventures! Her photography is breath-taking, so please please check it out here. She's thriving in her season and it's so encouraging to see. But without further ado, show some love to my girl Ashley!
MEET ASHLEY SEITZ
Name: Ashley Seitz Age: 24 years old City: Charlotte, NC Occupation: Wedding & Lifestyle Photographer Hobby: Singing
Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do! A mini bio: I'm a lover of Jesus, an adventurer, a dreamer, and a taker of photos. I have always been known for laughing too loud and having my camera right at my side. Whenever I'm not taking pictures I like to fill my days with coffee, watching movies, laying in the sun, or road tripping to new places.
How did you decide to pursue Photography? Photography was always a hobby of mine when my parents bought me my first DSLR camera when I was in high school. As I got older, I would admire/stalk the blogs of Wedding & Lifestyle Photographers around the country. It was always a “dream job” that I thought was too far out of my reach. I majored in Child Development in college which was a great experience for me, but loved the thrill and excitement I got when I had the opportunity to take pictures for people. So the summer I graduated college I decided I wanted to get as much experience as possible before I officially started a business. Luckily my sister knew a girl who was in the wedding photography industry and hooked us up. Her name was Haley George and she so graciously allowed me to tag along with her to every possible wedding she was shooting that summer and so forth. I had the time of my life with her and still do to this day- she is one of my dearest friends! I will never forget the adrenaline and joy I had felt after the first wedding I shot with her, so I would say that moment was when I knew I had to make this career happen.
What was the transition like for you coming right out of college, making the decision to start a business, and turning it into your actual job? I learned very quickly that starting a business is a lot harder than it looks. There’s so much that goes into it such as getting a license, filing taxes, portfolios, building a website, packaging, etc. Coming right out of college, I had to get another job on the side working at a boutique in Charlotte until I started booking more clients. When I came to the realization that I could quit my boutique job and go full time with photography, it was a bit scary. My fears would start to creep in telling me that I wouldn’t succeed, that I wouldn’t be good enough, or that I didn’t have the right skills to be a business owner. When I surrendered my business to the Lord I became more aware that ultimately it is not about me, it is about serving the people I get to photograph. I began to research my camera more and met with business owners in Charlotte who were willing to help me get started and give me that extra push. Networking and meeting with people was extremely important at the beginning because a lot of my clients now have heard of me through word of mouth or social media.
What has been the most rewarding thing so far in your post-grad years? The Lord has blessed me with the most amazing clients for the past two years since I graduated. I live for the relationships that form after meeting with clients, being that friend on the wedding day, and capturing real moments between people. It is the biggest reward to be able to capture a moment that reminds people that their love is genuine, authentic, and worth capturing. Being a part of the wedding industry and watching people start a new life together is the biggest blessing.
Who are a few women you admire/look up to?I definitely have always admired my mom. She pushed me to live out my passion and has been my biggest encourager since the beginning. She lives to serve and love people well, which inspired me to do the same through my business. If it weren’t for my mom, I wouldn’t be nearly as motivated, as successful, as positive about life and all it has offer. She is unique because she lives off of the happiness of giving to others and really encourages me to do the same.
What's your 5-yr plan or where do you see yourself in 5 years? I’m getting married in a month (YAY) so I could see us starting a family in 5 years. I really can’t wait to be a mom when the time comes. The wonderful thing about photography is that it allows me to work from home, so I could still schedule few sessions here and there as I enter into motherhood. Maybe by that point my fiancé will know a few more things about photography so he could help me out as well!
What's the biggest goal/dream you're working towards right now? I would love to have my work published in a wedding magazine. Getting chosen to have my work published would be such a new and exciting experience! It would also allow me to meet more people out of the Charlotte area.
What's your go-to tv show? Right now my go-to TV show is Nashville. I have so much love for that city!! It has such a good plot line AND amazing music … what could be better?!
What are you reading? I actually just finished the book called "Make it Happen" by Lara Casey. It is all about surrendering your fears, taking a leap of faith, and living a life with purpose. I would recommend it for anyone coming right out of college or someone who is feeling overwhelmed by the constant chase for perfection.
What's your advice to those coming up behind you, maybe in a season right before you? My advice for those who are coming out of college and trying to find a career would to learn to be bold and confident in who you are. Every person struggles with comparison and jealousy (I have myself plenty of times) and I just want people to know that those thoughts will only weigh you down and not help you live out your dreams in life. I thought that my dream of being a Wedding photographer would never happen if it weren’t for the accountability from others and my faith in Jesus. Everyone is capable of doing what they were made to do in life and it starts with taking that first step and choosing not to believe the lies and fears placed in your head. There is so much freedom in being confident in who you are and who God made you to be! I would wish that freedom for anyone.
What's one skill you secretly/or not so secretly you wish you had and were good at? I wish I was good at playing the piano. I think that would be an amazing skill to have especially since I have such a love for singing and music. My fiancé has a keyboard so who knows … maybe I will eventually learn down the road!