We recently connected with Ashlee Hayden and have shared our conversation below.
Hi Ashlee, thanks for joining us today. Do you think folks should manage their own social media or hire a professional? What do you do?
Small businesses have always had to fight tooth and nail for their place in competitive markets. Social media visibility is such an imperative tool in that fight for small businesses such as mine. The early days of starting my business involved so much active work in building and refining my presence on the internet. There were many hours of trial and error in an attempt to discover what works and what didn’t. I am so incredibly fortunate that I have found my niche corner of the internet that has enabled my business to thrive. Managing social media is an ongoing process and we are learning new things every single day. Attempting to keep up with what was current and popular was taking more resources than I had available. Seeking assistance was a total game changer for me. I am still very hands on in managing my businesses media presence, but hiring help has allowed me to stay on top of the ever changing platforms of social media while still having enough time to run my business and raise a family.
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
My name is Ashlee Hayden and I am a San Diego based newborn and maternity photographer. I am mom to four beautiful children who make me a better person every day. And I am a wife to my superhero of a husband who has made all my photography dreams possible. Photography has always been a key creative outlet for me. The passion I have for this kind of art has driven how I express and connect with myself for as long as I can remember. Once I became a mom, I realized just how fast life comes at you and how special capturing memories is.
I started my journey in 2011 photographing couples, but in 2014 I found my home in newborn photography. I recalled the days when my kids were just days old and I wanted to freeze those moments in time. Their squishy cheeks and impossibly tiny hands wrapping around my fingers for the first time drove me to capture those days for new parents. My role as a mother is heavily woven into my art. I believe in living a clean and organic life and my photography reflects natural and earthy aesthetics in a familial atmosphere. I strive for genuine smiles and candid interactions so that my photos are authentic.
My goal is to provide growing San Diego families with real memories they can cherish for generations to come. My studio in Imperial Beach is fully equipped with a boutique client closet. I have a curated collection of swaddles, outfits, headbands, hats, props, and everything else you could need for newborn photography. My closet also has high end maternity gowns that are guaranteed to make even the most shy mamas feel beautiful and confident. I also offer location based photography for my family and maternity clients. Our beautiful city has such unique scenery and I love capturing that Golden Hour look. I believe that no two families are alike, which is why I am proud to offer fully custom photography to fit any needs. I try my very hardest to make this process as easy and seamless as possible. I like to have it so that all they have to do is show up, and I’ll handle the rest of the magic!
Comfort and safety are always my number one priority. Especially in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, I model my practices around what keeps everyone the safest and most comfortable during our session. My studio is kept clean and free of common irritants, and gets reset after each session to ensure everything is properly sanitized. I also have attended many classes and conferences regarding newborn and child safety. It’s not easy handing over a 10 day old to anyone, and I want parents to know that I am extremely diligent and that their child is in good hands.
There is no feeling like watching a family see their photos for the first time. It is incredibly fulfilling and heart warming to see my art and passion bring a smile to someone’s face. I love getting pictures of people displaying their prints in their home. Life is filled with crazy turns and it’s so easy to fall into the pattern of “one day” or “we’ll get to it later”. But, somewhere along the way people realize they have lived this full beautiful life and would love to look back on it with photos. I am beyond honored every single time a family chooses me and my art to document their growing family. I am extremely lucky to get to do this for a living and it’s something I am thankful for every moment of the day.
How do you keep in touch with clients and foster brand loyalty?
I run an entirely personal, family based business. All of my client relationships are built on trust. As a mother, I know it’s not always easy to step in front of the camera or hand over your 7 day old child. I try to create the most comfortable and familial atmosphere I can. I am also lucky to get to know each of my clients and their families, which is something a larger business might not be able to do as well. A simple bouquet of flowers when the family gets home from the hospital, and small thank you gift box go a long way. These gifts aren’t extravagant or over the top, but they let the family know I am thinking about them.
What’s been the best source of new clients for you?
Client referrals and reviews are the most helpful in expanding my business. Sites like Instagram and Yelp have the most traffic for new clients. I have found that clients like to know what the process looks like before booking, and reviews gives them insight for what they should expect. I like to hold myself to a high standard and make sure every single client gets the same quality service and leaves happy.
- Website: https://www.ashleehaydenphotography.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ashleehaydenphotography/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=ashlee%20hayden%20photography
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/ashlee-hayden-photography-san-diego