Don't be a Perfect Social Media Robot - an interview with Photographer Nicole Ashley
It’s obvious that social media isn’t a simple, easy to manage endeavour anymore. With thousands of bloggers, photographers, marketing companies and the like, how do you stand out from the crowd? We caught up with Nicole Ashley, a lifestyle, wedding and boudoir photographer based in Edmonton, Alberta. She’s exceptionally skilled at photography, but it’s her personality that shines a light on what she’s good at online through social media marketing.
Noravera: How would you describe your work? Why do you shoot the way the way that you do?
Nicole: I lean towards the moodier side versus the bright and airy (even though I appreciate both styles). And I do this because it’s just something that feels natural to me. I’ve always gravitated to moodier tones and aesthetics. Aside from the look of my images, I really enjoy photographing the in-between moments. I’m very much so a director at my sessions, but I pose and direct clients to set them up in a situation that allows me to capture all of those little moments. I feel like that takes away the stress of not knowing what to do in front of camera for clients and it allows me to capture really incredible moments for them.
Noravera: That’s deep.
Nicole: Haha – Those little fleeting moments are what people love the most – those are the ones that stand out and make me excited!
Noravera: What makes you tick? Why do you do this?
Nicole: It’s all about people for me. I love meeting new people, I like making people feel good. For some reason I am able to do something that can make people view themselves differently. It’s incredibly empowering helping others feel good about themselves.
Noravera: Let’s talk social media – Do you have a method for the way you post your content? And why?
Nicole: Instagram is the most popular by far. I’m finding Facebook is more for personal connections (for friends, family etc.) Some of the up and coming networks like Vero might turn out to be pretty cool, but who knows. I’m not as calculated with instagram in that i’ll only post at certain times, but I’m calculated with colours – I get really caught up on colours and how things appear collectively on my feed.
Noravera: How do you synchronize this?
Nicole: I didn’t notice this until after a while, but a lot of people associated my images with pinks and blues. I find that if I have a series of images that have cooler tones, then i’ll post them together, then i’ll throw in a bright image to brighten it up and add hints of pink here and there. As long as it blends cohesively, it’s okay. That’s my personal preference.
Noravera: What about your instagram stories? Is there something there that captures your personality?
Nicole: At first, I used Instagram stories for professional behind the scenes and I showcased more of my personal life on platforms like snapchat. I eventually decided to put everything on Instagram and now it’s more of a blend of my life and business. Surprisingly, this has been really beneficial for clients because it’s another method where they can get to know your personality before they hire you. I’m in a service-based industry, so people want to know who’s behind the service. It’s really cool when I meet someone new, and they remember something funny from an Instagram story that I posted months ago. I appreciate that people take the time to watch them and ultimately it makes me feel connected with people all over the world.
Noravera: Why should you post your work on social media?
Nicole: People can get a good sense of your humility when you post your work. If they see your personality and it matches theirs – it’s not as intimidating when they meet you!
Noravera: Being artists, comparison to others comes up often. How do you curb this?
Nicole: I think comparison is a tough thing to deal with. I’m one of those people that – luckily – it doesn’t make me feel insecure. I know that’s not the popular response to that. I analyze it and I want to know how they did it. I view other people’s work and I get inspired, not defeated. I know a lot of people who don’t feel this way. I think you have to take it with a grain of salt and realize that they might have so many years of experience compared to you. Especially at first.
Noravera: Is there a point where Social Media can be too much?
Nicole: Sometimes I think that I just need a break. So i’ll take a break for a while. I think it’s better to be thoughtful about what you’re posting then to just put it out there to show “you’re busy”. I think a lot of people harness the fear that if they don’t post that day that it’s defeating somehow. You can’t beat yourself up in life. Post things that are definitely you – you are not a perfect robot, and you know what? People won’t buy it if you are one on social media.
The Takeaway: People are becoming more and more transparent with their personalities online. It’s incredible to see how Nicole’s marketing efforts (simply by being herself online) have led to an extremely successful career at being a freelance photographer. We’re excited to see where Nicole ends up – she’s a very skilled photographer, but even more fun to hang out with. Looking forward to the next time we can make a video together.