We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashlyn Des Roches and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ashlyn, what habits do you feel play an important role in your life?
Asset organization. I find that this is frequently overlooked, but absolutely should not be. When you are looking for a specific photo or project, having your assets organized makes this sometimes timely process way more streamlined. Each project can easily have 200 to 400 photos, and some even with 1000 to 2000. Upon ingestion, I immediately go through and make my selects. I delete all blurry or redundant photos; and while going through, I tag photos that I like and might edit. There are multiple different color tags to choose from, but for me, I use green for good photos, red for great photos, and orange for photos I want to edit immediately. For the photos I do end up editing, I add a grey tag after it’s finished. Additionally, I add a blue tag to shots that I took outside of the project’s scope. For example, if I’m shooting an editorial for a brand, and I sneak in a few product-type shots, I’ll give these a blue tag so they are easy to differentiate and find later on if I ever need it. These tags take time to add and feel very tedious, but down the road, it is immensely helpful when older clients are looking for unused content to utilize/edit, and you already know which shots to choose from, and what has already been edited previously. I also categorize my hard drive. Everything is separated by year. Within each year, I create separate folders for “People,” “Places,” “Events,” “Edits,” “Video Work,” and even folders for specific clients that I work with frequently. The subfolders inside are then alphabetized. I shoot mostly portraiture and editorial work, so a lot of the time, the subfolders inside “People” will be named after the main model, or brand. And within that, the assets are separated into photos, videos, and final edits. Asset organization is not limited to those who are organized in their daily lives. I have a serious problem with organizing my belongings and daily life, but with photography and my business, having everything meticulous and organized in a way that makes sense to you saves so much time. And when you’re in the entertainment industry, extra time really counts. Not to mention, the faster you can get back to your client, the better of an impression you will have made. I often find that creatives are known for taking a long time to finish products, or get assets back so if you can break that mold, you’ll stand out.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a visual artist. I have always just referred to myself as a photographer, but more recently I am realizing that it is much more than that. I produce all my shoots, set design, makeup – hair even at times, shoot then edit, or record then cut together and color. My focus now is creative direction and idea conceptualization, and making them a reality. Getting to this point has been strenuous but invigorating. I never say no. No matter what I have going on, I take on every job thrown my way while, at the same time, brainstorming and creating projects of my own. There have been many sleepless nights where i’m running off of pure passion and exhausted excitement. Through and through. Sometimes i’ll have slept minimally in the days prior, yet the vision and excitement that fills me also pushes my will to keep working into hyperdrive. This creative flow extends to when I lay in bed at night and fall asleep to the ideas that I let my mind swirl around in my wakeful rest. Sometimes, I’ll write these concepts down and actually put them into reality. All I can say is never stop creating, and never slow down.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I am an extremely active person. Because much of my job requires me to be indoors and local to a computer, I try to spend the rest of my free time outside, absorbing the warmth of the sun, or hiking and getting those endorphins flowing. I love taking people onto hikes, and I tend to choose trails that they have never been on. I find a lot of inspiration being in new places. In the same way, being in nature provides an energy that is incomparable. Beyond that, i love picnics and conversation. I would opt to go to a local park, uncork a bottle of wine and eat snacks or order takeout, and just laugh. In m y opinion, some of the best people are the ones who don’t take life too seriously but put their all into everything they do. I like to surround myself with people fueled in their own passions. Their excitement of what they’ve got going on is contagious, in the same way laughter is. I like inadvertent brainstorms of content creation ideas. I thrive on stimulating conversations, a devils advocate – someone who makes me rethink my own ideologies, and beliefs as well. I think everything runs hand in hand. Give me a new way of understanding the world, and it will extend into my art as well.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to give a huge shoutout to my partner, Joe Grayem. He has been my biggest cheerleader for the entirety of our relationship, and bolsters me in any way he can. From helping me land gigs to getting me RGB lights for my creative shoots, he just wants to see me make the most out of what I love. Specifically, the lights have become one of my greatest assets in shooting. I have always erred on the side of vibrancy with my sets, and learning lighting/shadowing/coloring of with these lights has really brought my projects to the next level. Anything I want to learn, he shows me how, or points me in the direction of how to learn on my own- reminding me that Google and Youtube can also be schools on their own. He is constantly affirming and praising me of my skill, that I will get exactly where I want if I keep my focus. We work together, too, so just watching the way he carries himself through stressful projects, troubleshooting, carrying conversation with clients, negotiating- I am always learning from him.
These images are all shots by me.