Interview with Ashley Holloway

Ashley Holloway is not only one of my best and oldest friends, she is also an outstanding photographer whose work I greatly admire. She has recently been gaining a bit of attention, and I was struck with the desire to interview her.

(all images in this post are copyright Ashley Holloway and used with her permission :))


Renae:  To start, how did you become interested in photography, and what kind of background do you have with it?

Ashley:  I have been interested in photography ever since somebody gave me a disposable film camera at a very young age. I always thought it was so exciting seeing the results that came in the little paper envelope after getting them developed. I started working seriously with photography in high school, although I really developed my present day style while attending college at USF, where I graduated with a BA in Studio Art. I took all kinds of different art classes while I was there, but I really focused the most in photography, as I felt it was my strength in the art world.


R:  How would you describe your present-day photographic style?

A:  My present day style is a mix of romance and dreams, although sometimes with a slightly darker and more isolated feeling. I’m heavily inspired by editorial fashion photography, fairytales, Nature, and Julia Margaret Cameron, among other things. I usually work with a shallow depth of field and often my images are slightly desaturated or B&W to achieve a softer and more dreamy feel.


R:  When did you start to use Photoshop as a tool in the finished product of many of your photos (especially the more dreamy ones), and what kind of editing process do you normally go through?

A:  I began using Photoshop in my first digital photography college course. I had never really had access to it before.  That’s where I was introduced to Lightroom and Photoshop and taught how to use them effectively. Most of the post-processing I do on my images to get my “look” is achieved in Lightroom on the RAW image. Adjustments like contrast and saturation mostly. In Photoshop, I retouch skin and if necessary get rid of distracting elements. I also dodge and burn, as well as do some selective adjustments with adjustment layers.

R:  And while you’re editing (as I know it can sometimes get tedious when editing large batches of photos), do you have any music playing or do you do anything specific to help keep you motivated?

A:  Usually the pictures keep me motivated! But I usually sit in my bedroom, where my computer is, with all of the lights off and my IPod earbuds in and the music blasting. I usually have the internet pulled up in the background so I can take little breaks, and not keep staring at the same picture for too long. Usually this is when somebody will sneak up on me and scare the crap out of me! I am not kidding, I get into my editing “zone” and I’m feeling so comfortable, and it’s like breaking from a trance when I’m interrupted!

R:  Haha, I hate it when that happens.  So, although I (personally) already know a bit about what you use, what kind of camera and equipment do you use?

A:  I actually use the same digital camera body that I’ve had since I graduated high school: an Olympus E-500. Instead of upgrading bodies, I’ve just been upgrading the lenses (although I do really need to upgrade one of these days). The lens that is on my camera 98% of the time is my Olympus 50mm 2.0. It’s pretty much my dream lens, and as I’ve told people before it’s like a child to me. Sometimes I use a reflector, although that is very occasional. Basically if I have my camera, my 50mm, a model, and some styling I’m good to go!

R:  I know that sometimes you use make-up artists and hair stylists for some of your photos—how did you get started with finding them, and what is a photoshoot like with and without their help?

A: I usually source makeup artists and hair stylists from Model Mayhem, but sometimes they contact me because they like my style. I just had to reach out there and see if anybody was interested in my work and would be willing to work with me. I’ve really only worked with two different hair/makeup artists, although I have a few more shoots planned with different ones. I really like working with a makeup/hair artist as they sometimes bring different ideas and contribute some great flawless work that the model or I might not be able to pull off on our own. I really like working with Chelsea Perez, for example, because we really work in sync and she contributes great ideas and we have a lot of fun. If I don’t have somebody doing makeup and hair, the model usually does it themselves. Sometimes, that’s perfectly fine, however then you don’t have somebody help you make adjustments while you’re shooting! I really like working with at least one other person besides the model, because it’s an extra set of eyes making sure everything looks good. It’s also somebody to hold a reflector or to block some light for you if needed! We all work together to make a shoot come out as amazing as possible!

R:  What is your favorite person and/or thing to photograph?

A:  I guess I don’t really have a favorite person to photograph, as long as I have somebody that works with my style and that is enthusiastic about what we are doing, then I am extremely happy! But favorite photographic elements? Forests/trees, pretty girls, nature in general, dead branches, vintage dresses, the Golden Hour, and kitties. If we have at least one or two of those things, then usually things will turn out well!

R:  Haha, gotta have the kitties!  What has been your favorite theme that you’ve photographed thus far?

A:  Kitties for the win! That’s such a hard question! Every shoot I’ve done is a favorite and I have sentimental value in all of them! If I had to choose a specific theme though, it would probably be shooting my “Black Magic” series with Ali Pruitt. We had SO much fun doing it, and we used this amazing sheer vintage gown that I bought from Etsy. It was inspired by the idea of a crow that had lost its feathers and become a young woman, or at least that’s the general idea of the story that I had rolling around in my head. It had most of my favorite elements named above actually, except for the kitties. Sadly, we didn’t have any of those on hand.


R:  What equipment is currently on your photo wishlist, and why?

A:  SO many things are on my if-I-won-the-lottery wishlist, such as the new Olympus OM-D E-M5, some pricey Olympus glass (specifically the 12-60mm F2.8-4.0 and the 45-100mm 2.0), and the more manageably priced Olympus 14-54mm F2.8-3.5. I’m also up for trying some external flash modifiers, because I really need to make more use of my external flash.  I’m planning on buying a used Olympus E-3 or possibly a new E-5 in the future though.

R:  If you could describe the last year of your photographic life in 3 words, what would they be and why?

A:  Surprising, Inspiring, and Accomplished. I feel like I JUST graduated from college, I can’t believe it’s officially been a year now! During that time, I feel like I’ve gotten so much done, and yet I find myself surprised how much I’ve grown during that time. I was finally starting to break out of my shy shell in my senior year of college, due to an internship, and now I’m photographing almost complete strangers, so that’s pretty surprising. The attention that I’ve gotten has been surprising too! It’s inspiring and exciting that somebody can relate to my photography, and essentially me, enough to want to be a part of it!

R:  What kind of future do you see yourself having with photography, and what kind of goals are you currently working towards?

A:  I would really like to make photography my livelihood eventually, whether it’s in portraits, fashion, or art. But right now, my big dream goal is to be a published fashion photographer. That would make me super excited, especially for a publication like Teen Vogue, which is a magazine that I feel like my style really works well with. Being published anywhere for fashion would make me very excited though! 


R:  Where can people find your work online and contact you?

A:  I’m all around the internet! These are the main pages I keep up to date though:

Facebook page:
Model Mayhem:

I’m also always checking my email, so you can be ensured a fast response:

My Facebook page is always updated first though, so that’s the best place to keep an eye on my work!


R:  I know you have a show coming up—when and where can people come to see your work, and can you tell me a little bit more about your show?

A:  I have a solo show coming up from June 11-22 at USF’s Centre Gallery titled “Dream Land.” Included in the show is a selection of my work from the past year focusing exclusively on female models ranging from 6-23 years old. There will be a little over 20 images shown divided up among different series. It focuses on the idealistic fairy-tale world that my “characters” inhabit, but also reflects on themes like isolation, narrative, and Nature. If you were to walk into my show without ever seeing any of my work previously, this would be the perfect introduction.

R:  Is there anything else you would like to add?

A:  I’d like to thank you for conducting this interview, and I want to encourage anybody who is interested to check out my work and if local, come check out my show! The gallery holds a reception on the last day of the show, June 22nd, to wrap-up, and there will be food, beverages, and pretty photographs of pretty girls! Sounds like the perfect night, right? And also, if you have any questions about pretty much anything, I’m always up for answering them! So, email me, message me, leave a comment, etc! Thanks for reading!




~ by jeezycreezy on May 17, 2012.

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