at the beginning… | photography

i’m not really sure how to start this post. i have so many ideas about this topic, but not sure how to tie them all in. i guess i’m gonna start writing and see where it goes from there…

photography is big right now. i mean, BIG! so many people are doing it. it’s awesome! i love that people want to be able to capture their memories in the blink of an eye. the only downside to everyone being a photographer nowadays means it’s harder to stand out.  if you want to make a career out of it, how do you get noticed? what sets you apart from everybody?

i am one of you. i’m trying to get noticed in a room full of people with the same dream. i think the same thoughts you do. how do you get the ideal client? how do you even get clients in the first place? how do you get people to love your work? these thoughts STILL cross my mind all the time. i haven’t been in the business that long. maybe they’ll subside with experience and security. i’m sure even the big time photographers still have these thoughts. they’re human too, right? haha. even though i see them as photography gods, sometimes, and their power is producing beautiful and moving images! 😉

here are some of my thoughts and ideas, from a beginner’s perspective. now, obviously these are just my opinions and you a free to feel differently. just letting you know what it’s like from my viewpoint. 😉

Be Yourself Quote

1. BE YOURSELF. in an industry with everyone trying to get their name out there, be you. stand out. don’t be a copy. it’s boring seeing the same type of photographer all the time. yes, we all have our favorite photographers that we look up to, but there’s a difference between getting inspiration from them and downright plagiarizing. it would be boring if we all had the same style. that’s why it’s so great in this business! you can have 10 photographers in the same genre of photography, but they can all be completely unique. embrace your originality. express yourself. be YOU!

see the potential

2. THERE IS NO WRONG. to me, photography is an art. art is a form of expression. i feel that when you use art to express yourself, there is no right or wrong way to do that. maybe that’s just me. i always got so frustrated in my high school art class because my teacher would always tell me to not do my project a certain way. i was so confused. isn’t art about expression? how can i be creative with all these rules and guidelines? don’t get me wrong, i wholeheartedly believe in knowing the fundamentals. at a certain point though, you have to forget about technicalities and just feel. haha. it’s important to know the technical side of photography, but after that i feel there is no wrong way in how you express your art. we all have different perspectives and editing styles. it’s awesome! i bet if you took a bunch of photographers to the same location, they would all produce something different and unique to them. that’s what’s so great! we can all be at the same place but see it in a totally different perspective. again, these are just my opinions. 🙂


3. SPREAD THE LOVE. again. because this is such a competitive industry, there are some people out there trying to weed out the newbies. they get offended by everyone out there trying to mark on their territory. it can be a cruel world out there full of harmful words instead of valued critiques. let go of the negativity and stop sippin’ in the haterade (thanks for that word amanda hedgepeth photography). 😉 everybody has to start somewhere, right? if we all encouraged each other and were more supportive, we would have a lot more fun! can’t we all just get along? 🙂

way to learn

4. ALWAYS BE OPEN FOR LEARNING. this art, industry, business, WORLD of photography is ever-changing. if you think you’ve learned all you need to about it then guess again. that’s probably part of the reason i love it so much! it’s always growing and evolving and finding new ways to improve! i LOVE it! 🙂

this is amazing <3

5. SHOOT FOR YOU. while it’s wonderful to shoot loving families, beautiful weddings, and sweet kids, doing it too much can drain you. if it starts to feel like a job, SLOW DOWN! regain your creativity and passion. shoot something for you! go on a nature walk and gain a new perspective. plan a styled shoot of something you’ve wanted to capture, but haven’t been able to yet. this is what will fuel your fire and keep you in love with your “job”.


6. STAY INSPIRED. listen to music. follow other photographers. read. dance. journal. brainstorm. go on pinterest (to get inspiration, not copy haha). laugh. dream. shoot for yourself. watch movies. travel. try new things. all of these things and more can help you stay motivated to dream. 🙂

Believe it can happen.

7. BE HUMBLE. i never ever ever want to forget the reason why i’m here and doing what i love. Jesus. without Him, i am nothing. He gave me this passion and it is through Him that it’s come to life. may all the glory always go to Him.

don't be afraid

8. NEVER GIVE UP. 3 small words that mean something so monumental. a moment in the olympics that stuck with me was from the gymnast, gabby douglas. i remember after she won her gold medal she said this in one of her interviews, “hard days are the best because that’s where champions are made, so if you push through the hard days you can get through anything.” wow! those words impacted me so much because it’s true! on her toughest days she pushed through and that’s what made her a champion. now, i know i’m not an olympian haha, but it can totally still apply to photographers (or any dream for that matter). when you’re going through a rough spot, don’t give up! this time will only make you stronger and improve you for later on. trust me. it sucks while you’re going through it, but God has a plan. learn from your mistakes and become better. don’t give up. make it through the hard days and be a champ! 😉

i hope at least one of these was helpful to one person. that’s all that matters. feel free to share if you feel it might help others.

if you’re just starting out, i hope this encourages you to keep pushing! don’t give up, be yourself, and follow your dream! you’re worth it! ♥


  • Well said, girlfriend! It’s so easy to get discouraged in this industry, especially in the beginning. Way to stay positive and remember your purpose 🙂

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I’M  Ashley

a Richmond, Virginia WEDDING & PORTRAIT Photographer

I’m Virginia Ashley, but my friends just call me Ashley! I’m a wedding photographer based in Richmond, Virginia. Even though I live in RVA, I travel all over for photography, which is awesome because I LOVE to travel! I’ve been as far as California and have my passport burning a hole in my pocket!

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