Ashleigh Taylor: Masterclass Profile
“It’s taken me a couple weeks to process the masterclass which was one of the BEST experiences of my life!! I wanted to share my journey and how Sue’s teachings have changed my life + business.
I’m one of the originals in this group who discovered + watched Sue on her first ever CreativeLive in 2012. At the time I felt my whole world was turned upside down– I had just moved my wedding + boudoir photo business from LA to Santa Barbara and was re-establishing myself. I was just starting to do IPS for boudoir. And I was just starting to realize that my passion for the portrait side of my business outweighed the wedding side.
Watching that CreativeLive set a spark in me. I knew photographing women and making them feel beautiful was my passion and Sue was the first instructor who really showed me that it was possible to create a full business around this and what to do to make it happen.
In 2013, I saw a post from Sue in this group about an opportunity to go to NYC and learn from Sue in person. I immediately emailed her I was in, and then slowly had a panic attack about the money involved and traveling to NYC by myself (was 26 at the time and had never traveled without a family member or my hubby or bff before). I knew in that moment if I was both that terrified and excited by this opportunity I HAD to do it. And it was one of the best decisions ever. I believe that workshop not only kicked my butt in shooting and posing but it also created a burning desire for me to get a studio (I was shooting out of hotel rooms till this point).
By July of 2013 I had my studio. And for two years managed to shoot portrait 40% of the time and weddings the other 60%. I was honestly getting so frustrated that I didn’t have enough bums in seats to quit weddings. Because my studio was my happy place and weddings were beginning to fill me with dread.
In 2015, I had a baby and that got me really clear on my priorities. That fall, I signed up for Sue’s LA Workshop and in that workshop she asked us to write down the answer to this simple but life changing question: “What do you want? And what has to go to make that happen?”
Answer: I want to shoot 40 portrait clients with an average sale of $2000 and I have to let go of weddings to make that happen.
So…. I took weddings off my website. I stopped booking inquiries. I put all my focus into portrait, and without the wedding income to rely on I HAD to hustle to make my portrait biz happen.
In 2016, I ended up with 39 shoots and a $2000 average. I really became a full time portrait photographer. And then, Sue actually came to my studio to film part of her studio tours series which was beyond anything I could have dreamed.
To be selected for the masterclass was one of my proudest moments. The whole experience of getting to shoot in Sue’s space with her wardrobe and create a dream folio shoot was thrilling. It felt like a full circle moment to that 2013 NYC workshop. The difference being in 2013 I was so much less secure in myself, my work, my posing and styling. I was so stressed that day (mesmerized but stressed) and it all felt like such a steep learning curve. And at the masterclass, I felt confident and in control of everything. I realized how freaking far I’ve come. Definitely a different altitude!
I still face insecurities. I still have moments where I want to book so bad I forget to sell the experience. I still have moments where I say my starting price like its a question not a statement. I still have moments where I show up to a networking event and feel awkward as hell. I still have a bum sale here or there (and yes I hear Sue screaming ITS A LAW OF AVERAGES). But wow. I have come so far. “Same view different altitude”
This masterclass taught me to own my value and accomplishments. To stop playing the default role of “cute giggly silly Ashleigh” and to own my woman voice, to own being seen for who I am and what I do. The masterclass also taught me not just to dream bigger but to actually believe in my power to make my dreams happen. I am crazy excited to see where this journey takes me next.
It was also so freaking inspiring to be at this class with Lenka Jones, Cat Ford-Coates, Marcus Hoffman, Saray Taylor-Roman, Michelle Taylor Jones, & Rosaura Sandoval. Each one of them had different gems of wisdom to share and I learned so much from them. I also could not believe how different our images were though we had access to the same wardrobe, sets/backdrops, used the same light, and of course were taught in the same style. I think that is proof that Sue gives us the tools but there’s room for each of us to put our own stamp on this genre.
Thank you all for reading and watching! If I have one piece of ADVICE, ITS THIS:
(like Sue says, because it is freaking true!!!) Decide what you want. Feel the passion and energy of what you want. Write it down. Walk towards it every day. With certainty, conviction and consistency anything can happen. That is truly how I got to where I am since discovering Sue on creativelive and I fully believe it can happen for all of you.”
~ Ashleigh Taylor