Building a Successful Photography Business and Brand with Ashley Burns


Episode #05 | photography, branding, the entertainment industry & more, with ashley burns

Today Emma is sitting down with Ashley Burns, a successful wedding and branding photographer based in Los Angeles, California where she works with bloggers and influencers on content creation. We dive into this episode to explore what it's like to work in the entertainment industry and to have an honest conversation about what it takes to not only start a photography business but build a killer business and brand.

Get ready, sweet listeners because today’s guest may just leave you feeling a little starstruck!

Los Angeles based Photographer - Ashley Burns - has had her work featured in (are you ready?):

Style Me Pretty

People Magazine

The Knot


Wedding Chicks

US weekly Magazine

Just to name a few.

Besides being a total powerhouse, this lady is pretty near and dear to my own heart. We became fast internet friends when she found me to build her website and we've been friends ever since! I know you're going to absolutely not only love her as a human being but everything she has to share about what it’s like to run a killer wedding photography business and how she's ventured into the world of photographing personal Brands and influencers in the LA area and Beyond.

Ashley has been in the business EIGHT YEARS. To what does she owe her success?

Elevating the Client Experience

Ashley is all about investing of her time and her heart with people. (Don’t believe me? Read her reviews!) She admits to knowing very little when she first got her start:

“I was 17...I knew nothing. So the fact that I still have [my clients] loyalty means the world to me

and I want to continue to hold true to that year after year.”

She recognizes the need for people to feel invested in, and adopting that mindset has truly set her apart in an oversaturated industry (Again, this is Los Angeles we are talking about)! She says:

“You could be the most talented person in the world, but if you don't give people

a good experience, they're not going to remember you.”


Ashley is a HUGE proponent of preparation, especially for weddings (This is where she really starts speaking my language because you know I’m all about systems and checklists!) In this episode, she gives a run down of what her pre-wedding preparations look like and how it really sets the tone for the day.

“When you're going into the day of the wedding, you want your energy to be in the best

possible place because the bride and the guests are going to feel that energy.”

Fun Fact: I shot my first ‘Double Header’ while visiting Ashley last year in L.A. As photographers, we know all about the hangover you feel after shooting a wedding. But two in one weekend? Lord have mercy.

Stepping Away From It All

Ashley obviously works in a very fast paced setting, and when asked how she unwinds, she said she has made it her goal every year to travel to a place she hasn’t seen yet.

“The reason I do this is that it’s not immediate, instant gratification. Vacation is something to look forward to...and when I’m away...

it’s completely about who I'm with and what I'm doing so I’m not caught up so much in my work.”

Talk about practicing what you preach. This year Ashley plans to travel to Greece and Italy - and get this - she’s leaving her “Big Girl” Camera at home!

Ashley knows self care isn’t always whisking away to somewhere extravagant. She recognizes it’s the little things throughout each day that are important - especially when working from home. She loves eating in bed (you read that right) and she recently took up Barre.

“Exercise is so important for the mind and soul...

it does something to you that nothing else can do.”

Grow Tough Skin

“You can't take anything personally when you're running your business, especially when first starting out.

There are so many trial and errors that occur the first few years. That’s the beauty of it...there is no right or wrong way….”

She understands the value of constructive criticism and how it can serve to make you a better business owner.

Invest In Your Business

Ahhh, a woman after my own heart! This girl is not afraid to invest in her business! Not only did she hire me to design her original website, she has also invested in upgrades along the way as she really honed in on her brand. It’s been a pleasure as a designer to sort of do life alongside her, popping in to refresh her website with each new season of brand and business development. She knows the value of a beautiful, functional space for clients to visit you online and how quickly a poorly designed website can sour the experience and lead to missed opportunities.

Why Branding Photography?

As social media use and online businesses are on the rise, people have become more aware of the importance of visual content. (Seriously, can someone please just follow me around taking pics on the daily? The struggle to consistently roll out visual content is REAL).

Ashley works with brands on sponsorships and campaigns, working with the talent/influencer and with the brand/business to help them elevate their brand with visual content for their social media, business collateral, or website. She loves that each day looks a little different to the next:

“Each person I work with stretches a different creative muscle for me…

it definitely keeps you on your toes creatively.”

Ashley also does a little myth busting about branding photography in this episode. Many people’s minds instantly jump to celebrity photoshoots, especially given her location, but Ashley’s got a different agenda:

“While I have shot celebrities (and I love those clients) I don’t really see them as celebrities…

you should really work with people who you wholeheartedly believe in their brand and what they are doing…”

Want To Learn More?

I can’t possibly share with you all that Ashley brings to the table in this episode. If you are looking to feel motivated and inspired, (and share a laugh or two about Ashley’s trip to my tiny, zero-stoplight town) you’re definitely in the right place. So, grab a blanket and some vino and settle in - I am so glad you are here!

I created an awesome resource to help you navigate through the podcast and to keep track of everything you’re going to learn! Watch the video above to tell you exactly how it works so you can best determine if it’s the right fit for you and how you like to stay organized!

Have I convinced you? Yay! Your episode tracker also comes with access to my productivity power pack… trust me, you will be SO happy you said yes to this free + totally amazing resource!

Emma Rose Company | Squarespace Website Designer for Photographer and Seattle Wedding and Portrait Photographer

Emma Rose is a Squarespace website designer and photographer based out of the Pacific Northwest.  She helps photographers not only stand out online, but dig deep to find the why in what they do.  She strives to work with like-minded entrepreneurs who want to grow an audience, start and thrive their online business and change the freakin' world.  She aims to help people create not only meaningful businesses but lives.  For more about Emma, click here!