We had the good fortune of connecting with Elisabeth Akly and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Elisabeth, what habits do you feel play an important role in your life?
It sounds a little counter intuitive, but one habit that has helped me succeed is learning to say “no”. As a photographer, I get asked all the time to shoot weddings, families, houses, babies, dogs, etc. When I first started the business, I didn’t want to turn anyone down so I said yes to almost every opportunity that came my way. I quickly realized the meaning of the saying, “It’s better to be great at one thing, then good at a lot of things,” and I started to focus my business on what I really enjoy — portraits. While it was helpful to experience different types of photography, it wasn’t until I started to specialize in headshots that my company really flourished.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
There are very few people that actually like having their headshots taken so it’s my job to make sure the experience is fun, quick and painless. The Hello Headshots process is unique in that every step is interactive and on-site. First, I guide my clients on how to stand, pose and smile. After capturing multiple looks at all the right angles, I sit down with the client to select their favorite photo. Once the photo is selected, I go to work doing the best part: retouching. With my expert editing skills, I am able to strike the perfect balance between a natural look and professionally polished. Want to be 10 lbs lighter? Sure! Need a little teeth whitening? No problem! How about some digital lash extensions? Let’s do it! After the client approves their final enhancements, I put the retouched photo on a flashdrive that is theirs to keep. The whole process takes less than an hour, and the photos are ready to post and print, making Hello Headshots the one-stop-shop!
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.
I absolutely love going out to eat, and Atlanta has options for every foodie out there. My husband, Jonathan Akly, operates a couple of restaurants here, and even though it makes me a little bias, these really are my top picks! Mission + Market, located at the Three Alliance Center in Buckhead is the perfect balance of sophisticated dining with a fun atmosphere. The chef, Ian Winslade, is always creating fresh, flavorful dishes that are just as delicious as they are beautiful. Three Sheets in Sandy Springs is another one of my favorite spots. It’s more of lounge setting which makes it the perfect place to grab a late night drink, and if you really want to party, the dance floor is always open. When I’m not enjoying the dining experience, I love to be outside. The Botanical Garden is always a fun place to visit to experience the ever changing installations. If I’m feeling a little more adventurous and the weather is nice, renting a kayak to float down the Chattahoochee River is always a good time. Atlanta also has some surprisingly beautiful hikes all around the city, and one of my favorites is Sope Creek in East Cobb.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Without a doubt, the person I have to thank for my success is Cammie Rice. Cammie is a long time friend that approached me back in 2013 about starting the photography company. While I was confident in my creative abilities, I had no idea about running a business, and Cammie was there to help me every step of the way. She not only coached me on being an entrepreneur, but she challenged me to dream bigger than I ever thought was possible. Cammie has always been an amazing visionary, and she continues to be a force for good as she pursues her many philanthropic endeavors.
Elisabeth Akly | Hello Headshots and Kelsey Butcher