Collaborating with like-minded professionals is one of entrepreneurship’s greatest perks. And building a magnetic business centered on your core values attracts amazing partnerships, as well as dream clients. One such collaboration for me has been with Asheville-based professional photographer Ashley Ruzich of Ashley Ruzich Photography.
Engaging photography is vital for product presentation and can drastically impact the success of a website. Ashley’s innovative, energetic approach to working with my clients makes her an easy recommendation.
Last week, I chatted with Ashley about the evolution of her professional photography career and why she enjoys working with small businesses.
So Ashley, how did you arrive at photography as your unique contribution?
I love helping businesses grow and I adore product, food, and commercial photography. I did weddings for many years. Then I got a lucky break in Kansas City (my hometown) and took pictures for a high-end couture company shooting textiles, jewelry, and art.
When I lived in Kansas City, the competition for commercial photography was fierce. You had to be the best of the best. I got to work with some of the major players and, about two weeks before moving out to Asheville for my husband’s job, I got to interview with Hallmark. It was a career highlight just to get interviewed!
When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?
As a sophomore in high school. I didn’t make the Concert Choir so I enrolled in a few art classes. First, I took painting, then drawing. It was a natural transition from there to photography and technology.
This was at the brink of computer animation and I loved it. I went to The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and finished my photography fine art degree at a four-year university.
I’ve been taking pictures now….for 20+ years. Wow! Good thing I wasn’t much of a singer.
What’s your favorite thing about working with small businesses?
Small business owners are unique and have great ideas. Their products are made from the heart and come from a deep love and passion for their wares. I feel the same way about my photographs.
Working with small business owners is working with like-minded individuals. We both want to represent a quality product.
How do you think professional product photos help grow or scale a business?
Customers mental responses to an image can make or break a sale in nanoseconds. They easily make up their minds to buy (or not to buy) when they see an image.
If your images are not top-notch, you really should hire a photographer. It’s a small price to pay if you can make money over and over off one image used on your website, in print and across social media.
What advice would you give to a small business owner looking to hire a professional photographer?
Make sure to look at their photographs of products similar to what you’re selling. Wedding photography requires one set of skills. And product photography requires another, including setting up studio lighting to make your products pop as necessary.
Like everything else, you get what you pay for with product photography. Investing in quality, evocative images can increase revenue, speed growth and set the stage for a recognizable brand.
Where can people find out more about what you’re doing?
A big thanks to Ashley for sharing her journey with us. She’s doing amazing work. If you’re located in the Asheville area and need photography to grow your business, I’d highly suggest Ashley’s services.