Meet Brooke :: {Women In Business Series}



Hi Brooke ! Thanks for taking some time to share a little bit about yourself as well as how you run your successful photography business! First off I know you are married and have three kids, right? What does your typical day look like for you between family and running your business?  Thank you Heidi! This is such an honor, I’m delighted. I am married to my husband of eight years, Cody.  We have three children- Noah (6), Ava (3) and our little “Lukie” (1).  A condensed version of a typical day- wake, eat, school, eat, play, edit, eat, play, edit, bedtime, snack, edit!  In other words, there’s a whole lot of eating, playing and editing with very little sleep.

 How do you keep your marriage strong from the stresses of your business life? Boy, that’s a great question.  At times it can be really, really difficult.  We don’t do anything spectacular to keep our marriage strong but we try to be consistent.  Date nights (even if it’s a date at home after the kids go to bed), eating dinner as a family, and Cody’s involvement with my photography are a few things we strive to do.

 How long have you been in the photography business, and what do you specialize in most? I have been in the business about 2.5 years.  I specialize in family and individual portraiture.  Although, the type of photography I adore most but is not right for this chapter in my life is birth photography as well as weddings.  I also am hoping to focus more on highschoool seniors come 2012.

 What have you learned is the most important aspect of running a successful photography business? To underpromise and overdeliver.  Another aspect is to produce quality work and to just be kind- to clients, other photographers…whoever you are involved with in the business.

 What is something you might do differently with your business if you could go back in time and do it again? Have more confidence.  I wish I could go back in time, grab myself by the shoulders, look myself square in the eyes and say, “You can do this!  You are good enough.  You are an artist.  Stop over thinking every minute detail.” Another thing, to have a lighter hand in Photoshop.  It’s almost painful to look through my blog archives.  I was very excited over Photoshop. On that same token, I wouldn’t have jumped into business before I knew what I was doing or before I knew how to take quality pictures.  Kind of embarrassing.

 Talk to us about pricing. Lots of photographers don’t have a clue where to begin on this matter. How do you put a value on your art, time & find that balance of what you should charge? Any tips? Ah, pricing.  It’s difficult to put a price tag on your art.  We must take into account our financial expenditures (we all know photography is expensive), the time we have invested in learning, the time we are putting into each session (driving time, shooting and processing time, time away from family) and we must be compensated in a way that we feel valued as an artist.

 One way I gage a price increase is when I am booking a lot of clients and feeling very overwhelmed.  It’s at that time I raise my prices a bit and things begin to quiet down.  And then, when I have a lot of client bookings and I’m feeling stressed, I will raise them a bit more.  I feel that I am in a happy place right now where as of now, I don’t need to raise my prices.  It’s a good place to be, but it took awhile.

 What is something you think women in the industry should NOT do? I think as women we are programmed to compare ourselves to others, especially other women.  This applies to our photography as well, which can be so detrimental to our work and even our view of ourselves.  We are also more inclined to be more forgiving of others faults yet we beat ourselves up when we make mistakes.  Why we do this, I have no idea, but if we can control our thinking and allow ourselves to make mistakes- we will be much better off.

 Great advice! What do you shoot with? How about a favorite lens or two? I shoot with the Canon 5D Mark II.  Lenses- 50mm f/1.4, 85mm f/1.8, 24-70mm f/2.8.  I go through phases of loving each lens.  Currently the 50mm 1.4 is what I shoot with 90% of the time. I have also recently dipped my toes in film.  I shoot with the Mamiya 645 pro tl with the 80mm f/2.8 lens.

 I still love you, you Canon girl, you 😉 hehhee….Do you use actions in your processing? Do you have any particular favorites, or favorite vendors that you’d like to share with everyone? At every session my goal is to find beautiful light and expose properly in camera so when I achieve this and because I love clean processing, I don’t use many actions.  Although, there are two that I use in my workflow-  Warm it Up Chris by Totally Rad Actions and Pro Retouch by TRA as well. I also use actions I have created for my workflow.  These are simple adjustments like curves, increase in neutrals, soft light layer (on luminosity rather than normal), brightness and contrast.

 What are three things you can’t live without to keep you organized? 1) Simplicity in running my business keeps me organized.  After a lot of thought and experience, what I finds works best for me is to sell the CD and focus less on prints (GASP!).  I know this is taboo for many but for me, it keeps things simple and organized. 2) Also, ical.  I would be completely lost without my calendar. 3) The third thing I couldn’t live without is cleanliness; keeping my workspace clear of clutter and candy wrappers.  Seriously though- hard drives, back up discs of client sessions, etc. all have a place.

And finally, what are three pieces of advice or things that you have experienced you can give business owners who want to better themselves & their businesses? First, stop getting discouraged with where you are at right now.  And second, be assured that the more you shoot, the more you will learn and progress.  I found a great quote on pinterest (hail pinterest!) that sums this up: “Take pride in how far you have come and have faith in how far you can go” – Christian Larson.  And lastly, just do your thing, don’t give up and have fun.

Thanks so much for sharing this week Brooke!! Great interview, thank you Heidi!!

All images in this post are (c) Brooke Ashley Photography

Thanks for stopping by! If you enjoyed this {WOMEN IN BUSINESS} post, please leave your feedback below! Make sure to let Brooke know how much you enjoyed her words. If you have any questions you’d like to see answered in future {WOMEN IN BUSINESS} entries, leave those as well!

Much love & happiness to you. ~Heidi

  • Colibriphoto - I love everything about Brooke. She’s amazing. What a super nice interview! Great job both of you! :)))

  • Ashley Dawn - BROOKE! You are amazing and beautiful! Awesome Interview! 😀

  • Gail Folkerson - Heidi, what a great site you have! I loved the interview with Brooke Weidauer (not just because she’s my daughter), but because I learned even more than I knew about her, but what she failed to tell you is what a wonderful daughter, wife, mother and friend she is! She has her priorities, Loves her work but Family is always the first and foremost to her! Best wishes, Gail Folkerson

  • Brittany Rulis - Aside from being a ridiculously amazing photographer, Brooke is probably the nicest person you will ever meet. Seriously an inspiration.

  • Rebecca Forbush - Great interview with a great woman!! Being a friend before she ” made it big” 🙂 I remember her being so critical of her work….. She put so much time studying and perfecting it, I’m so proud of her! And agree with the other comments about her being such a good, nice person…. So true! 🙂

  • Joy - I love Brooke Ashley photography. You rock, Brooke!

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