Ashley loves taking photos and being able to capture newborn moments puts a smile on her face every day. There is a market for newborn photography in Asia as more western influences filter into the culture.
What’s your story?
Do you love doing something so much that a natural smile appears on your face while you are doing it? That’s how I felt when I first started shooting with my DSLR whilst travelling.
I was still in the advertising industry when I found my passion for photography. I was in a project management role for 7 years helping my clients; doing strategy, account management and executing their marketing and branding campaigns. One day when I saw a pregnant colleague about to give birth, still working at 1am in the office, I realized I couldn’t see myself in this position in the future.
So I decided to switch career. After almost a year struggling to get out of my comfort zone, I decided to be a photographer after completing my studies in photography in London. I have never regretted my decision!
What excites you most about your industry?
That every photographer has their own style. Seeing other photographer’s works always inspires me. My studio specializes in newborn photography. I love my little models. I look forward to each session when I meet each newborn baby. Newborn photography is a very established trend in the UK and USA, and it’s definitely on an upward trend here in some parts of Asia such as Singapore, Hong Kong, China and Malaysia as we are more influenced by western cultures. It’s definitely exciting to see our customers opening up to the idea of photographing their newborns, as young as 5 days old.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I am a Singaporean who loves travelling. I have travelled throughout most cities in Asia such as Hong Kong, Shanghai, Ho Chi Minh, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, Seoul and many more. I love feeling the city buzz. I always find it fascinating how each city in Asia presents so many cultural difference, even those cities full of skyscrapers have their own unique culture. I certainly hope to expand my photography business in neighbouring countries such as Thailand and Malaysia.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
I am proud to say I am from Singapore and Singapore is my favourite city in Asia for business. English as our main language which helps us communicate with people from most countries in the world. We are such a global city that I get to photograph babies whose parents are from all over the world such as Scotland, Canada, France, Dubai and Indonesia. We have people, especially locals who are very open to experiencing new products and services from other countries and most importantly we have a very forward thinking government and a culture of people whose goal is to be better each and every day.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Value yourself as others won’t.
Who inspires you?
Other than the great people in the world who make a difference to theirs and others’ lives, I am generally inspired by most people around me. From the friendly and bubbly cashier at the petrol station, to my friends who volunteer at old people’s homes, to Jason Mraz for writing beautiful songs that speak to me; to the late Senior Minister and mentor Lee Kuan Yew who helped see through Singapore’s independence and make a small country like Singapore have a huge presence in the world.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Don’t ever doubt what you want and love to do; for if you doubt it, the universe will be confused. The universe will provide you with what you always strive for, but only if you are single-minded about it.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I wouldn’t have doubted my ability and I would have valued myself better, from the start. I used to doubt my work and I wasn’t confident with what I provided for my customers. However I have learnt that people will only pay for your services if they feel you are confident in yourself and your work. This comes from valuing your self-worth.
How do you unwind?
My yoga classes, especially the hot classes. Yoga loosens my muscles, calms my mind and makes me sleep better.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Bali, for its lovely beaches, friendly service, beautiful resorts and pools and amazing food.
Everyone in business should read this book:
Duncan Bannatyne’s “From an Ice Cream Van to a Dragon’s Den; Anyone Can Do it. My Story.” This is such an amazing biography and story and I love his attitude towards certain aspects of business.
Shameless plug for your business:
For beautiful lasting memories, I capture the greatest moments of your baby with your family.
This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries. He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence. A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.
Take the ‘Key Person of Influence’ scorecard <http://www.keypersonofinfluence.com/scorecard/>