Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashley Balderrama.
Ashley, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I am a Los Angeles born and raised Latina Freelance Photographer and small business owner. I officially started Moments by Ash in January 2018, but unofficially began in early 2017 when I started taking photography more seriously while working part-time and going to school full time, and even more unofficially when I used to take horrible pictures of flowers with my flip phone cameras lol. I used it as a form of creative release and enjoyment. I have come a long way since then, and have gone through so many life changes. Moments specializes in photography, website design, and graphic design.
When I first started Moments I was working at Rockwell Table and Stage in Los Feliz. I worked there from 2015-2019 until I decided to leave to pursue photography full time. I started there as an intern while still going to school in San Diego, then worked my way up to the Associate Producer and Box Office Coordinator. I worked alongside Kate Pazakis who taught me how to maneuver through the entertainment business as a woman in a very male-dominated industry. It was so hard deciding to leave a place I had been at for four years, but I have not regretted it once.
After taking the leap into being a full time artist at the start of this year, I became so aware of what truly made me happy. I spent the first couple months traveling. First to Puerto Rico with my mom, which was my dream travel destination. Then to New York on my own. After returning home, its marathon ever since! Booked and blessed as people like to say.
I started an AirBnB experience titled, “Professional Photos of your LA Vacay”. This experience is a tour of my beautiful city, based mostly in Hollywood and Beverly Hills. I take travelers to iconic and photogenic locations throughout the city and take photos of them with my camera/gear at these locations. I have found that travelers want more than just selfies on their iPhones while traveling, but don’t always feel comfortable handing their very expensive phones over strangers. While we’re driving from location to location I provide a little history on where we are at, provide recommendations, etc. I have met people from literally across the world, Thailand, Australia, Sweden, London, and all over the US.
I’ve also had the amazing opportunities to volunteer my talents as a photographer for Project Angel Food in Hollywood for the last two years. They are an amazing organization that are doing wonders for people all over the county. They are celebrating their 30th anniversary this year, growing and helping more and more everyday. PAF originated in West Hollywood, delivering specially designed meals to those suffering from the effects of HIV/Aids, and now serve anybody battling from critical illnesses. My mother and I have also delivered meals for them on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, meeting their clients and sharing the love. One of their mottos are “For life, for love, for as long as it takes” and they mean it.
This summer I started my internship with Kimberly Metz, an amazing and experience photographer based here in Los Angeles who’s been in the business for more than 20 years. I have learned more from her in the last couple of months than I did in any photography class I have ever taken. I have been on shoots with her, learned about client relations, pre/post production, etc. With her encouragement I have branched out and pushed my artistry to new extremes.
In August, I was invited to be a part of The Young Creators and Visionaries Collaborative. The YCVC was founded by Kubrat Salaam, who also founded Kubitees, based in Riverside, CA. The YCVC was an amazing opportunity to collaborate with other young creators and business owners of color. Creators came from so many different backgrounds: photographers, models, designers, singers, actors, directors, and small business owners. I felt extremely lucky to have been part of such an event.
On my own I have had the pleasure to shoot with some amazing people on so many different types of photography, building my portfolio every day. I now can say that I have photography experience in shooting events, portraiture, fashion, engagement/wedding, studio, prom/quinceanera, toddler, and pets.
I love every single day of being a full-time freelancer. I have more time to spend with my family and friends, all while doing something I absolutely love.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Absolutely not lol. But if it had, would I really be learning anything? No, not at all.
Any new adventure will have its challenges. But that’s what makes it so interesting. A quote I always live by is, “A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor”. I’d like to think I am where I am today because I have had my challenges. I’ve learned from my mistakes and taken my new found knowledge to do better and try and harder.
I again have to bring up my family, without them getting over any obstacle would be impossible. They support me but know when to tell me the truth. Which is just what you need to hear sometimes.
I started Moments with nothing. I had no small business experience at all. With the knowledge I had from working in the restaurant and entertainment industry for a couple of years, I got started right away on building Moments as a brand.
I think many people looked at me, and still do, and my decision to go freelance as me committing more time to a hobby. Which is in no way the case. I have built, and am still building, an official business from my passions, and that is much more than just a hobby.
Over my many years as a working adult, I have also come to fully understand that as a woman, I have to work 100 times harder in this world, especially including the business world than men. And I knew going into freelancing, that opportunities were not going to just fall in my hands like I had seen it done for men for many years right in front of me. I have had to work my butt off to make a name for myself.
There have been many deadlines, late nights, and literal blood, sweat, and tears in trying to get Moments to look legitimate in many people’s eyes. I know I still have so much more work to do, and it doesn’t scare me, I actually welcome it.
Please tell us about Moments Media Services/Moments by Ash.
Moments is a Los Angeles based brand, founded by a young hispanic woman.
We provide services in, Photography, Website Design, and Graphic Design.
Moments started as a photography brand and continues to strive as such. We specialize in many types of photography such as: Portraiture, Headshots, Corporate Headshots, Studio, Fashion, Editorial, Engagement, Graduation, Maternity, Toddler/Baby, Pet Portraits, Prom/Quinceanera, Travel, Live Performances/Concerts, and Events (corporate events, fundraisers, private parties, etc.). We also have a special photography Experience with AirBnB titled “Professional Photos of your LA Vacay!”. In this tour, Ashley provides a tour of her wonderful city of LA, while visiting iconic LA locations, and having mini professional photo sessions at each location!
Moments recently launched a fully designed website for The Unauthorized Musical Parody Of Series (UMPO) which is based here in Los Angeles and ran by Kate Pazakis. The website is theumposeries.com. Website design and some photo credit to Ashley Balderrama, and many photo credits to Byran Carpender.
Moments also has had a long standing relationship with Rockwell Table and Stage and has been designing their themed Cast Boards/Posters for their Main Stage shows since the end of 2017. Ashley has designed for shows such as: UMPO Jurassic Park, UMPO Clueless, UMPO Bridesmaids, UMPO Stranger Things, Scissorhands, UMPO A League of Their Own, Reefer Madnezz, Horror Camp, and most recently Rockwell Musical Parodies production of Stephen Kings IT.
Moments Media is so different than any other photography businesses right now. We cater to so many different peoples needs and are always striving to provide the very best in customer service. Moments main goal is to capture your moments so they are never forgotten and forever cherished.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Honestly, nothing. I have no regrets because everything happens for a reason.
I think every move I have made so far have been steps forward. They may seem like small steps now, but I know that they will pay off as big steps later on.
In small business, its all about laying a strong foundation for a business to thrive on. And Moments has done just that. In 2019, Moments as propelled forward and has yet to stop and never will.
- Website: momentsbyash.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: Instagram.com/MomentsByAsh
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/momentsbyash/
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/moments-media-services-los-angeles?uid=w-_dJIqGzOnetzSdKNriPg&utm_campaign=www_business_share_popup&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_source=(direct)