Ashleigh Amoroso's photographs can best be described as captivating. She is a food stylist and photographer living in Austin, TX and we're thrilled to have discovered her on Instagram! Ashleigh's photos tell a story on their own, but we wanted to dive in even more and learn about her process and style when it comes to taking photos. She offers an amazing food photography workshop a few times a month for those of you who are interested in learning more. Read on to find out how she conquered being her own boss and continues to inspire others through her gorgeous photography.
Hi, Ashleigh! Your work is exquisite. How did you get started in food styling and photography?
I've been a photographer for ten years, full time for 3, and food has become more of a focus these last two years. I started as a portrait and fashion photographer and had a friend producing a cookbook ask me if I was able to shoot food. Being young, naive, and brave I said "sure!". I fell in love, and I've been working on my craft ever since.
Your photography has a very distinct style. How did you develop your style and how would you describe it? What is your favorite type of photography?
Thank you! I strive for my work to be identifiable. I developed my style by studying work I was attracted to. I'd ask myself what exactly it was about an image I loved. I found myself drawn to dark portraits, bright colors, stories, pictures of hands, texture, movement, and negative space. Then I took all of those things and created my personal style which I'd describe as dark, moody, and whimsical. My favorite type of photography to both admire and create is food photography. I could style and photograph food for days on end without taking a break, and I'd be as happy as a clam at high water. I do also have a special place in my heart for portraiture. Beautiful images that tell a story reach directly to my heart and make it skip a beat, I live for that feeling.
Your food photography workshop are fantastic! What made you decide to start hosting these unique events?
The workshops are so much fun! They're something I started doing about two years ago, and I adore them. Teaching isn't something that was originally a part of my plan. Several people reached out asking if it was something that I offered, so I thought I'd give it a shot. After hosting my first one with the help of Austin Learnshop, I knew it was something I wanted to continue and grow. I'm currently working on finishing my online class due out by the end of the year!
How do you manage content creation and what to post on each of your Instagram accounts? Do you have any tricks that you stick to when it comes to planning, editing, and creating swoon-worthy Instagram content?
@ashamor is my personal/portrait/fashion/travel account. I've had that account the longest, and it serves as more of a life overview (aside from food of course). And on @ashamorskitchen it's only food related posts. One of the workshops I teach is called The Curate Workshop in partnership with my gal pal Katie Jameson. We teach folks how to curate their feed for their brand or business. One thing we stress is how important it is to think about your account page as a whole. It's the first thing people look at when they click on your name so making sure it always looks aesthetically pleasing and cohesive in style is essential. Consistency is also hugely important. I try to post once a day or once every other day. And we recommend PLANOLY to help with both planning and staying consistent!
As for editing - less is more! Basic adjustments to exposure, contrast, white balance and sharpness go a long way. You certainly don't want people looking at your images and thinking, "Oh, there's a filter on that... maybe two". Ya know? Balance, color, texture, and movement are the main components that I keep in mind when taking a photo as well.
Being your own boss can be fun, but it's challenging as well. What are your tips for staying organized and on top of everything?
Fun indeed, and challenging - absolutely. Staying organized isn't my strong suit. iCal keeps me sane and organized, and I don't know what I'd do without it. Typically I start my day with coffee, calendar management, and emails. I plow through them as quickly as I can, and then make a to-do list for the day (sometimes adding unfinished items from the previous day). Lately, I've found that taking a little pilates break in the middle of the day helps me clear my mind and return to the grind refreshed.
What advice do you have for aspiring photographers and what keeps you inspired?
I wish someone would have told me this: spend as much time learning the business side as you do perfecting your craft. My sweet husband, my friends, travel, Austin, nature, and Instagram!