Design: Tracey Ayton
She's a creative in her own right; the photo above is Tracey's own kitchen designed, styled, and shot by her for the latest Kitchen and Bath issue of House & Home magazine. And here's the thing - she is also one of the sweetest, most genuine people you will meet. If that's not 'having it all', I don't know what is! I was honored to have the chance to interview Tracey and find out more about how she began in the world of interior photography.
Nancy Marcus: What do you love most about your career?
Tracey Ayton: I just love working with people that are passionate about what they do. When I have the opportunity to photograph someone else’s passion …….. it’s amazing how far the photographs go to inspire others.
NM: What led you to the field of photography?
TA: I took a graphic design course and during the first week of being there, I was failing miserably. A fellow student recognized that I was struggling and recommended that I drop the course, get my money back and try photography. I will forever remember that moment and wish I could thank her for suggesting I try photography because she forever changed my life. Once I started taking photography courses, I was asked to photograph someone’s wedding, which turned into a lucrative business of photographing weddings for 15 years. After 15 years, it was time to wean myself from the wedding business. I didn’t even want to look at a camera because I was so “done” with photographing weddings. I have always loved interior design and immersed myself in every interior design publication ever printed…. well A LOT of them…. While reading one of those magazines one day, I had an “a-ha” moment….. Why am I not photographing interiors???? So, my passion for photography reignited and I never looked back. In order to get a website up of beautiful homes, I would actually go to some homes that appealed to me in my neighborhood, knock on the door explain to them what I was up to and ask them if I could photograph their home. Not one single person said no to me. Yup, it took courage but it worked and in the end it got me published and a roster of clientele. Someone once told me to figure out who I am and then do it on purpose.
NM: How would you describe your personal style? And do the interiors you shoot influence your own décor choices?
TA: I would say as much as I would love to be “Fancy”, I’m more laid back and casual in my personal style. I’ve always liked the traditional side of things but more recently am loving the modern beach feel in which my own home is starting to evoke. I shoot so many different types of decors and it’s really nice to be inspired by all of them. I can take that inspiration and mix it in with my own sense of style. I also thrive on finding things that no one else has.
The home of Laurie Phillips
Tracey's own kitchen styled in collaboration with Floralista
NM: Who or what has been your greatest professional influence?
TA: I have every single Martha Stewart publication …… I’ve poured over the photographs over and over again. I’d say that her magazines are my textbooks. I love her! You can see her influence reflected in both my home and my photography style.
NM: What project are you most proud of?
TA: Recently my husband and I purchased a home, renovated it by taking it down to the studs and designing it ourselves. We had an architect help us with the drawings and engineering side of things but we knew exactly what we wanted for the design of the home. Having to work within the existing “foot print” was a bit limiting but I’m pretty happy with the results. Needless to say, the kitchen has my “stamp” on it so when Canadian House & Home Magazine approached me to see if they could feature it in their Kitchens Special Publication Issue, (July 2016) I was very flattered. Not only did I photograph it but I styled it too. The whole experience was so much fun which makes me want to do a lot more styling in my work.
Design: Tracey Ayton
NM: What is your next career venture?
TA: The further I am in my career, the more opportunities arise. Interior photography has evolved into styling shoots, photographing food and more recently, I have been asked by several people when I will be putting on styling and photography workshops. So preparing for my first workshop is something that I am super excited about and can’t wait to announce when it will be.
Design: Enviable Designs