We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashlyn Cathey Kasten and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ashlyn, what do you want your legacy to be?
I believe that many photographers fall into the trap of comparing our work with others in the industry. Naturally, the perfect photo becomes the forefront of our minds and the objective of our pursuit. However, taking a step back, I have to ask myself the extremely difficult question of “why does this photo really matter?” There, I find that my framing and edits do not suffice that pressing question. I believe the answer to that question lies within the photo and not the photo itself. My photos matter because of the people I get to capture, the stories I get to hear, and the moments of love that I get to witness. I hope my legacy is rooted in the way that I loved on those that stand inside the four walls of my viewfinder. I hope I am remembered by those people as a photographer that invested in them and celebrated the most precious moments of their lives. I pray for my clients, care about their experience, and try to go above and beyond for them. Ultimately, I hope that the couples I shoot have long, healthy, and vibrant marriages. After years together, I hope they look back with joy on photos filled with their younger selves, and just for a second, remember that crazy photographer who made that moment possible.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Well, it all started back in high school in NE Atlanta. I served on yearbook and I had an incredible teacher named Mr. Ulrey that allowed me to take home the yearbook camera to capture school events over the weekend. That simple act by him changed my life because I absolutely fell in love with photography. From there, I started capturing my friends and people in my high school. At the time, I was too young to drive so my parents would drop me off at shoots and pick me up after! I just loved how people felt when they saw a picture of themselves! My clients would light up and that made me want to learn more. So, my senior year in high school I did dual-enrollment at a local tech school and learned everything from photoshop to Lightroom from my instructor, Carissa Griffin. It was such an invaluable part of my development as a photographer because I was in a structured environment learning all the details of editing. I went to Georgia Southern University and decided to major in marketing. A mentor of mine told me that a business degree would be helpful in turning my passion of photography into a sustainable business. I expanded my community in college by joining the incredible ladies of Alpha Delta Pi. This network was instrumental in building my business as the lifestyle and senior shoots of my sorority sisters turned into engagements and weddings. Obviously, the more I shot, the more exposure I got. I really do love the people that stand in front of my camera. So, with every shoot, I try to make the people standing in front of it feel like the beautiful and valued people that they are. My emphasis on client experience and my consistent posting about recent photoshoots really grew my business. I think the most important thing that I have learned is the blessings that come from loving on other people. Just by serving my couples to the best of my ability, I get more bookings than I can handle from word of mouth and recommendations. It is such an honor, yet unbelievably humbling to be able to build a business from referrals. I guess I could say that what makes my brand successful is that I put people first and photos second.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Atlanta is filled to the brim with things to do. Activities change through the seasons, so I’ll pick my favorite season. Fall! Chateau Elan and Montaluce Winery are a quick trip up 85. They are the perfect spots for a glass of wine and beautiful views! Hiking up Kennesaw Mountain or Stone Mountain are great spots to enjoy an afternoon picnic. Last, Atlanta is filled with fall festivals galore including Music MidTown and hot air balloons.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to thank my family, teachers, and mentors who supported me in the early days of my business. Learning and growing my passion for photography would not be possible without them. Shoutout to the other photographers in the industry who have been such a support in serving my clients. From being a sounding board to assisting at weddings, I am so thankful for such an incredible community. Shoutout to my wonderful clients who have trusted me to capture their important moments. I love you more than you could know. Shoutout to my incredible husband, Connor. His love, patience, and leadership keeps me going, even on the toughest of days. Most of all, shoutout to my Heavenly Father because without his love and grace, there is no way that I could have the strength to run this business!
Ashlyn Cathey Photography