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Rising Stars: Meet Ashley Sylvera

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashley Sylvera.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
My story is slightly unconventional. Initially, I picked up a camera so I could take pictures of the Haitian food/recipes I’d make. I wanted to share my knowledge and teach people how to make authentic and delicious meals. So I bought a camera but never actually got around to taking pictures of my food. Instead May 2017, when one of my friends was graduating, I decided to take pictures of her ceremony and capture the occasion. It felt so good to be behind the camera. Seeing the beautiful smiles and different personalities memorialized with the click of a button. Once the thrill faded, I realized editing these pictures was a whole other beast. At first, I was so lost and confused navigating editing software like Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. Despite the confusion, I was loving what I was doing, learning a new skill, and transforming an image into something I didn’t think was possible.

That’s truly where my love of photography began. I realized I could do so much more with a camera. It wasn’t just showcasing my beautiful meals, but I could also display the beauty of the world from my perspective, showcase the smiles people are sometimes afraid to show themselves, and celebrate the big and small life events of others. I was continuously educating myself and learning more about my craft. I quickly realized how expensive a hobby it was, having to buy expensive lenses and additional equipment, but that didn’t stop me. For a long period of time, I didn’t have a mentor in the photography space, so Youtube University was my saving grace. I’d watch countless hours of technical photography content to get better, and I still do so today. After every shoot, I ask myself, “how could I have been better?” “What could I have done differently?” I don’t discredit myself for the work I’ve put in, and I see the progression of my portfolio over the years. I just never want to settle because there is always room for improvement. I am still learning but I am also honored to have been featured as it’s only further motivation for me to perfect continue doing what I love.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Being a photographer hasn’t always been easy especially considering I really started pursuing this while completing my master’s program. A challenge I’ve faced is retaining clientele and now juggling this passion with a full-time job. It’s a learning process for sure, but with time and more exposure, I believe I will be at a place I can be proud of.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I love photography, but in my professional life, I am also working to become a physician’s assistant. I am proud of how far I’ve come. Migrating to the States from Haiti at 7 to having my own business and pursuing my passions as a young professional here in Orlando, FL.

Do you have any advice for those looking to network or find a mentor?
Learn to treat your mentor as a friend and not reach out to them when you only need something. Continue to give your mentor update on your stage of life, making them feel included and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

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