We had the good fortune of connecting with Ayesha Lakes and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ayesha, let’s start by talking about what inspires you?
I am inspired by my environment and the people I am photographing. Being a creative person, I am constantly inspired by what I see and feel. My inspiration formulates my photographic vision. Normally, I don’t have a concrete plan of how I am going to photograph my clients. I’ll start with a base from having met them and then my inspiration kicks in once we’re all together. The energy I feel from my clients is another big inspiration for me. Children have such wonderful, authentic and usually positive energy. When what I see induces a positive feeling, that’s when I click the shutter. I create images that make you feel something.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
When you own your own business, everything keeps you busy. I will tell you this, there is never nothing to do. Between client work, office work and networking, I stay pretty busy. In addition to this, I have a few other things going on as well. There are so many things that I am proud of that I don’t know where to start. One thing that I am proud of is the relationships that I have created with my clients. I have several clients who have been with me for years. They are not just my clients, they are my friends. Some of them feel like family. I truly enjoy the connection that we have. Something else that I am excited about is that I published my first book in 2019 about natural hair. It is currently on sale at barnesandoble.com. The title is If God Gave It To Me, It Must Be Good. What I’m excited about is working on moving my photography in a slightly different direction and my new book project. As for how I got to where I am today, that’s a very good question. I suppose it was with hard work, honing my craft and with the support of my family, friends and clients. It hasn’t been easy because of the ebb and flow of business and the ebb and flow of the photography business, specifically. Trying to master social media and SEO has certainly been a challenge. I combat these issues by investing in myself and my business by getting training on how to optimize my website and other social media platforms. It is still a work in progress because things are always changing. What I’ve learned along the way is that perseverance is a necessary trait to have. Sometimes giving up seems the way to go because it’s easy but in actuality, it’s not. Support systems are very important as well. If you don’t have support then you are likely to fail. Lastly, know when to ask for help. We all would love to be able to do things by ourselves, but many times it’s just not possible. The thing that I want the world to know about me and my brand story is that it is and I am authentic and I bring out my clients’ authentic selves. I put emotions on display.
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.
Well, being that I like to eat, most of the places I would take them would be restaurants. One of my favorite places for sushi is The Green Ginger in downtown Decatur. During the spring and summer months, it’s great to sit out on the patio and enjoy our meal. Just recently I visited this great place in Stone Mountain called Urban Trend Cafe. That is some really good eating. Had it not been for COVID, we would have enjoyed our meal on their patio. Ponce City Market is a cool place to hang out or to get food. Being that it’s right across the street from Old Fourth Ward Park is a plus. That park is a really nice place to relax and take pictures. Since I do enjoy a bit of education and culture, the High Museum and Fernbank Museum are at the top of my list. There is always something fabulous going on in both places. If you want to people watch, Piedmont Park and midtown in general is a good place for that. It’s also nice that it’s down the street from the Atlanta Botanical Gardens which is an absolutely beautiful place to visit. Another excellent place to explore and people watch is Little Five Points. It is so filled with cultural and very eclectic. My son really loves pizza so I had to take him to Cameli’s once I saw the gigantic slice of pizza they had. He loved it. Speaking of pizza, my fav spots for it are Nancy’s, Pi-Bytes and Mellow Mushroom. The Beltline would be fun to explore too. And how can I forget the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. That is definitely a place to go and spend time. There are so many wonderful things to do and see in Atlanta, I don’t think I could name them all. Sadly, I can’t say that I’ve done them all but I still have time.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are so many people that are deserving of a shoutout. I have a very supportive community that includes my husband, my son, my family in general, my best friend, and a very large community of photographers that I’ve met over the years. They have all provided support and encouragement in different ways. My husband got me started on this journey. Once I decided that I wanted to school for photography, he bought me my first SLR. My son is usually down for being my model when I want to try out a new idea or equipment. My best friend tells her friends about me and my business. The photography groups provide information, support, mentorship and fellowship. I couldn’t ask for a better community.