We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashli Buts and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ashli, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I remember from a very young age telling my mom that I didn’t want to work a “normal job.” I didn’t know what that meant back then and went through many different phases and visions of what that would look like. At one point, I thought that meant being a labor and delivery nurse because their 3x/week 12 hour shifts sounded better than the standard 9-5 to me. As I got older and discovered my love and passion for creative arts, Photography centered itself in my view. With that came learning what it would mean to take Photography from a passion to a career. This also had its phases and it took quite some time to realize that the end goal was running my own business. It wasn’t apparent at first because a photography business still doesn’t conform to the “normal” business that you picture in your head (i.e having a storefront, a bakery, a boutique, etc.) Instead your business is you. I’m still learning what that entails and I don’t think that part will ever stop. My goal is to constantly be learning and bettering my skills as a professional photographer and business owner.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
At the end of the day my art is my passion. I has helped me in all aspects of my life and has been my number one aid in learning more about myself. It’s pushed me, challenged me, broke me, supported me, and given me the gift of happiness for as long as I’ve been able to hold a camera. My first love was landscape photography and it’s still where I gravitate to in my time of need. It’s my truest love because it encourages me to explore and connect with the world around me, especially nature. Through my journey, I’ve also discovered a love for still life and product photography. This is where I believe I fit best commercially. Discovering this genre of photography opened up my eyes to new and wonderful things like set design, art direction, story telling, and so much more. Was it easy? I don’t know if I have a concise answer for this. Sometimes yes and sometimes no. Honestly, I’m a planner and I like to feel secure, and this career was everything but that for me. I didn’t plan for it, I didn’t even know I wanted it, so as things came my way, I rolled with the punches and I took risks that felt right in the moment and it was the best thing I could have done. The challenges have been apparent, finding “where I fit” was one of them and although, I found still life and product I think what lead me there was not putting too much pressure on myself, leading with my gut, and being open to knew things. I still feel that way now. Things are always changing, nothing is ever set in stone, and as much as you may believe you’ve found “that thing” it could always change, so I think the most important thing you can do for yourself is to stay true to your ever changing “truths” and being willing to switch things up. Your business will be relatable and authentic as long as you are those things to yourself first and foremost.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Let’s pretend COVID is not a part of this equation. If a friends was coming to visit for a week my first instinct would be to take them out of the city. We’d venture off into the Sequoia’s and get away for a while or take a trip to mountains. For the days we were around the city, we’d probably eat at Michelangelo’s in Silver Lake and go out to The Satellite. We’d go to Golden Road for some Beer flights and corn hole and maybe see a drive-in movie in Industry City. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I owe so much to those that have supported me in my career journey. To my mom for supporting me , even If you didn’t fully understand at first. To my brother: my number 1 hype man always To my friends in the creative industry to showed me this career was even possible in the first place. To the friends I’ve met along the way that have become family. Cheers to all the blood, sweat, and tears. To the growing online community of photographers willing to share their knowledge. I’m forever grateful for those who strive to help and lift up others.
All Images and Copyright belong to Ashli Buts