My journey

In this moment, as I enjoy a moment of silence here at home by myself, I’m feeling totally blessed and amazed at all the past 4 years have brought into my life. 4 years ago, a little test presented me with the news that a sweet baby would be entering our lives. This. Changed. Everything.

I was scared and excited, but  to be honest, more worried than anything else. I was carefree and financially unstable. Takeout and shopping don’t support a healthy savings account after all. With a short time to get our finances in order and our household baby ready, James and I somehow evolved from reckless 20 somethings (or so we though!) to home owners and full time working parents. Careers. Low paying jobs. Late nights. What do I do with my life? I knew that putting my education on hold was the LAST thing I wanted to do, but I had made academic choices in the past that left me with more loan debt than I ever wanted and more confused than ever.

I’m not sure how things fall into my lap, and I’m pretty sure I’m not worthy sometimes but my photography journey has not been a sweet little walk in the park. This is how it began…

As fast pace as our lives have become I didn’t want my early memories of Lily be forgotten. I took thousands of pictures of her. I took so many pictures that I should have been getting paid for it. Guess what? That’s where Bella Baby Photography came in.

Eastern Maine Medical Center was the reason I found photography. With the birth of our daughter, this little photography seed began to sprout in my mind. A sweet girl came into my hospital room and asked if she could take my daughter’s pictures. Free? Yes. Adorable? Yes. this lifestyle approach to photography triggered something in my brain. I had the brilliant idea after one long night at the Olive Garden to contact this company, and tell them I NEEDED the job, that I didn’t have any formal training but that I was a fast learner and passionate. Guess what? They hired me. On the spot. Why? I have no idea. But I do know this, that first year of shooting professionally was the first building block for me and I will be forever grateful for Mike and Jessica Bettencourt- my boss’s in Ohio who gave me, an amateur photographer the chance to actually grow into a professional!

2 years ago, after leaving Bella Baby, a sweet client said something that had not even registered in my mind. “Ashley, why don’t you just start your OWN photography business?” Um, chyeah! That was the moment! If it wasn’t for Heather Evans.. my very first clients, I would not be doing this today. (Heather, thank you for those supportive words and motivation. I owe you for all of this!) Today I’ve shot over 220 sessions. can you believe that?! I do not have a photography degree, but I have totally worked my butt off to get where I am today and I’m darn proud of it. I didn’t know the first thing about running a business or marketing back then. So guess what? I researched. I read article after article, blog after blog. Interview after interview. Took out of state workshops. I read books on lighting and lenses. I stayed up night after night reading tips on shooting in natural light and the difference between every single canon lens. I don’t think I slept for that first year. I spent my days with Lily and every night with my laptop and my camera. Although, as much studying and opinions I read nothing would prepare me like actually going out and shooting. As my business began to grow so did my techniques and skills.

I’m always still learning and evolving, and although I feel totally defeated sometimes, I can’t help but be so content today. I’ve fought so many insecurities within myself and stood my ground in this extremely competitive market. After all, there are over 30 photographers in Bangor alone! I know this hasn’t always been easy for my family with all of my crazy hours and frustrations, but thank you ALL for the support over these past few years.

I’ve been so blessed this summer with more shoots than ever & the ability to photograph a ton of weddings alongside Sierra Jackson. I haven’t totally found my place in the photography world and am still learning how to balance life, photography, school and my family but I’m so glad that God has blessed me with this journey in life. I’m even more grateful for all of my amazing clients for supporting me and trusting me to document your beautiful families. You are what is making my dreams come true!

 

(August 2010, My very first session!)

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L Family

So, it’s been a wild week! My laptop died on me, which really held up all of my orders and editing. But, there is a silver lining! I bought a new 27 inch iMac, it’s AMAZING! After reuploading and editing 2 albums for the second time, I’m finally ready to share some shots with these awesome families! To start, here’s the L family. Their girls are seriously GORGEOUS so it was really hard choosing which photos to eliminate (they were all awesome!)

Check them out:

Exciting news! (and two lenses for sale!)

Ahh! I thought this day would never come! As satisfied with the photography that my current equipment is helping me create, it’s truely Christmas in July for me! I’ve made the decision to upgrade several of my lenses to better prepare for all of my upcoming weddings this fall through next year. I’m so excited to add 3 new L series lenses to my camera bag and possibly a Lens baby for some fun portrait effects too! I can’t wait to share more blog posts with example shots and reviews on my new babies. I’m not going to reveal the lenses I’ve decided to order until they come.. so ya’ll are going to have to patiently wait to find out!

In the meantime, I am selling 2 great lenses that I highly recommend to all photographers.

The first of the 2, my Canon EF 70-200 f4 USM is a hard one to part with, but I’m ready to let her go. This lens has been awesome at weddings, and for the price I’ve found that it lives up to my expectations. Although the F stop only drops to 4, the bokeh is still awesome with this lens! It’s been my work horse for weddings in the past and will be an awesome addition to anyone’s gear! This lens includes the lens bag that it came with, both end caps and a hood. Asking $670 obo!

Here’s some shots of this lens along with one taken with the lens.

The 2d lens, my 28mm F2.8 USM is also a great lens. With this wide angle lens, there is a little distortion, but for the price, is a great lens for group shots at weddings or your family reunion. This lens would also be great for landscape and architectural photography as well. It’s fast & sharp for the awesome price! I’m asking $340 obo for this one!

Here’s a couple of shots of this lens and one I’ve taken with it!

Moose & Zi

I’m sure as soon as my mother reads this post all the memories of me, annoyingly begging for a pug most of my childhood, will unfortunately come rushing right back! Although we never ended up getting a sweet pup (Midge would have been his name for sure) these shots are satisfying my desire to run out and snag this sweet little guy up and never give him up! Moose was seriously THE sweetest dog ever and an awesome model!

Okay, okay,  now to introduce Zelli!

Zelli is an Idaho based photographer who, during her trip home to good ol’ vacationland, asked me if I would take some photographs of her and her buddy, Moose. Zi is seriously the bubbliest, sweetest girl! We had a blast at our shoot chatting about photography and of course all of the mutual people we know. It’s too funny how small of a town EVERY town in Maine seems to be! I’ve also been asked to second shoot and assist Zi’s first solo wedding in a few weeks and couldn’t be happier to get back into the wedding grove after a few stale months, I hope I’m not too rusty for her sake! Ha!

Zelli’s husband Tyler is currently deployed overseas, so this session was mostly for him. In all of the sweet details, little hints of Tyler shine through. It’s easy to see how strong their love is even though they’re so far apart. Zelli, I hope you and Moose enjoy your photos, you were fabulous! Tyler, thank you for your service and may you feel a lot of love from home this Independence Day!


Okay, so I’m hoping ONE of you out there recognizes the title reference! ;]

Chambers Wedding

So over the weekend, Lily was a flower girl in her best bud’s momma’s wedding! The girls were so stinkin’ cute I couldn’t help but kick into photo mode! I took the majority of these from my seat and really wish I had brought my gear. I had fun snapping shots of Katie and Greg on their special day! Congratulations you guys, xoxo

Cake Smash- Hannah turns 1!

It’s so exciting & a little sad when one of my newborns turns a year old. It means that the frequency of shoots will change & that this little precious baby is now a walking-soon-to-be-talking waddler! It also means that another whole year of my sweet Lily’s life has gone by too and proves again that she’s growing up.

Hannah is the most adorable little girl. When her mother whipped out her tutu & collection of 20+ beaded necklaces, I knew we had the same vision for her session. I’m so excited to work more on these images and to share them with you all! Isn’t she so cute?!

Lynn’s Chocolate Pizza

So as a lover of sweets, I was so excited when Lynn handed one of her chocolate pizza kits over to me after the product shoot the other day. I used to photograph her lovely cakes, but over the past year she’s sacrificed her cake skills for other things (her frosting was INCREDIBLE, such a bummer!) Fortunately, she’s ingeniously put together these chocolate pizza kits from a recipe she’s made for a long time. She sells her chocolate pizza kits for $15- they include everything you need to make the pizza, (chocolate, peanuts, coconut, marshmallows.. etc.) no mess, no clean up- it’s fabulous! It’s fairly rich, so I think it would go a long way (12 slices or so) and goes way beyond dessert for a family of 4.

This kit would be perfect for slumber parties, birthday parties & from what I’ve heard and after tasting it- I know it’s a HUGE hit anywhere it goes!

 

Brooke and Keith- Engagement shoot

I had an awesome shoot with these two! We had to reschedule due to weather and it fortunately worked out in our favor. The temperature was just right & the snow had melted enough for us to trudge up to this farm that was perfect for Brook and Keith’s rustic wedding theme. It definitely shows in their images how fun and in love these two are; you guys rocked!

Stay tuned for their gorgeous wedding this December, we’re going to have a blast!

It’s here!

Yay, my senior portrait stuff came in today! I’m so excited for winter to be over and to get the senior portrait season going in full swing. I’m loving my new luxe rep cards & new accordion print guides. I’ll definitely post a better shot of the accordion cards sometime soon, they’re awesome! I included tip and tricks for seniors & an info page, I’m planning on printing and adjusting all of this stuff for family & engagement sessions as well. Slowly but surely everything is coming together (finally). I still would like to update my business cards and get a logo stamp for my boxes, but I’m pretty happy with everything at the moment!

Oh, and a special thanks to Katie who rocked our shoot! You’re awesome!Check the new stuff out:

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A shot of the older stuff: