This is MY Story

Let me start by saying I’m not so great with words. I can explain things so much better with photographs. So, excuse me if I don’t make sense with everything I say. I’ve been meaning to write a post about how I got started in photography and what better reason to get that going than Katelyn James. She is offering a contest for a photographer to win a spot in her awesome workshop. How cool would that be?!?!

Anywho… on with the post.

When did this passion I call my therapy begin? I’d say it happened some time in high school. I was OBSESSED with pictures. When I was homeschooled I would spend an absurd amount of time on the computer just surfing creative photography on the web. I saved so many pictures to the hard drive that I even crashed my parent’s computer. OOPS (sorry mom and dad).  Some time, in my junior year, I became interested in taking pictures. I would always hide my mom’s digital camera in my backpack and take it to school with me so I could document my life. I was all about taking pictures and every now and then I would get a creative shot. Well, those creative shots spurred me on to taking MORE creative shots and I got really involved in taking pictures. Senior year of high school I turned my goal of taking pictures into the art of photography. I really focused on viewing things differently and capturing images from a new perspective. At that point I had practically claimed ownership of my mom’s camera. I took that thing EVERYWHERE.

Towards the end of my senior year, I had an accident. This was no usual accident. I’m not even sure if this has ever happened to anyone else before. It’s pretty bizarre. I split my finger open with a bowling ball. Now, you’re probably thinking, “What is this crazy girl talking about?” Well, basically I was goofing off with friends (definitely a no-no at the bowling alley) and my finger got smashed between two bowling balls. I thought I had only pinched it, but once I looked at my finger I saw the blood covering my hand. I went to the bathroom to rinse it off and I knew that this was gonna require a call to mom. She came to the bowling alley to pick me up and nearly fainted. She had no idea what to expect when I told her I smashed my finger with a bowling ball, but I’m guessing that was not it. By the end of a LONG night I was chilling in the ER about to go have surgery, but not before I snapped a picture haha.

By the way, here are some pictures I snapped with my (well, my mama’s) point and shoot camera:


Once I woke up from surgery, I learned that I would have to have physical therapy. Turns out, I had fractured my finger and they had to insert two pins to help set the bone straight. Unfortunately, my finger wasn’t growing straight and I had to have a second surgery. Physical therapy soon followed and that was my life for the next 6 months. WHOA! Who knew smashing one little finger would cause all that trouble? Anywho… I became pretty discouraged. Why would God let this happen to me? I couldn’t play soccer, I couldn’t write without my penmanship looking like a kindergartner, and I had to wear the ugliest green claw – my cast which went from my elbow to cover only two of my fingers. At one point I was SO frustrated that I just wished they would have amputated my finger. I mean, my senior year was being ruined by my stupid middle finger (oh high school problems). I just couldn’t understand why God let this happen and had no idea how this fit into His plan for my life.

Please bear with me, my story is about to have a purpose haha. Until then, take a look at these pictures. These can explain my story a little better than I can:

Not too long ago, I started thinking about God and how He has a funny way of making things work out for His glory and His purpose. Ha, silly me has SO much to learn. Although I talked about how much all of that stuff was a drag, I didn’t express how much I learned through it. I learned patience BIG time. Apparently not enough, though, because God still likes to show me more ways in how I can be patient. 😉 I also learned how to let go and let God be in control. Once again, He still likes to help me in that area haha. And finally, I met a lot of great people along the journey. I met so many people with inspiring stories in physical therapy. Much worse things had happened to them and they taught me to be grateful for what I have. I also had a wonderful physical therapist. She genuinely cared about every one of her patients, PLUS she had really cool dreadlocks. Another gift that I later learned she gave me was this.

When I told her about my love for photography she introduced me to one of her friends who was a fellow photographer. He needed someone to photograph a wedding and offered me the opportunity to shoot it. Just the fact that someone believed in me enough to let me photograph a monumental day in their lives was beautiful. Thankfully, for my graduation, my parents gave me my first DSLR camera. Needless to say, I was STOKED! 🙂

Some of my first pictures with my DSLR:


Now, I can be rather slow at times and it just recently clicked for me why my bowling accident happened. If I had never injured my finger, I would have never met my physical therapist. She would have never introduced me to her friend and I might have never had the confidence to carry on my career in photography. WHOA! God was taking care of me after all. It’s crazy how He always plans things perfectly. 🙂

Long story even longer, my passion for photography grew even more. I began photographing friends and having model shoots with my sisters. I would constantly photograph sporting events at my high school. I also researched (a.k.a. “stalked”) blogs like it was nobody’s business. I practiced and practiced and practiced. I took a basic photography class at a community college to complete my associates degree. Sidenote: I encourage EVERYONE to learn about film photography. It helped me learn so much and I gained a new respect for photography and the early photographers altogether. I went on to Longwood and studied psychology, but kept up with photography like it was my job. I constantly did photo shoots with friends and even started taking baby steps in my business. Now I am in the process of turning my passion into a lifestyle.

Here are some of my recent shots from my new camera:


I still have SO much to learn and that is not an understatement. I am a firm believer that you learn something new everyday and that is totally true in my world, especially in photography. Without photography I would go insane. The inner psychology-nerd inside of me likens photography to my therapy. Photography is my outlet. It helps me express myself in ways I can’t do without a camera. I am such a shy person when I first meet someone (normally) but when I am behind a camera I have a confidence that surprises me. People don’t see me as that “weird shy girl who seems afraid of people” but more like that “girl with the camera lying on the ground trying to take a cool picture”.

Now, I’m not saying that photography defines me. My God defines me, but He gave me this gift and I need to bring glory to Him with it. As I learned in Bible study last night, at the top of every list I have I need to make sure that being fearless for Jesus is first. I hope that with my photography I can use God’s beauty to bring Him glory and show people His love.


Thank you for this opportunity. You are so inspiring, not just in your photography but in your walk with God. You are a great example to fellow Christian photographers and for me personally, I feel you help keep me accountable to keep God first. Thanks, friend! I know that if I were to be chosen to attend your workshop I would be forever grateful. I literally talk about photography so much, that people have asked me multiple times to talk about something else. I am so determined to learn more and become more skilled at what I do. I want to grow and I want to do the best I can. If I could attend your workshop, I would soak up as much information as I could. I learn so much from your posts already, I can only imagine what I could learn from you in person. As someone just starting out in the photography business, I feel this would be extremely beneficial. I feel like I would learn how to run a successful business, to be the best photographer/entrepreneur I can be for my clients and myself, and to do all of that while bringing glory to God. To me, you are the Reese Witherspoon of the photography world. You are sweet and adorable, and extremely credible/knowledgeable in your art. If you were an actress, you would for sure have an Oscar. Wouldn’t an aspiring actress want to learn from one of the greatest? As an aspiring photographer I would like to learn from you. I would really love to meet you, but if I don’t win the contest I’ll just have to get you to photograph my wedding (whenever that may be haha). You have definitely achieved celebrity status with me haha. I mean, when you responded back to my Facebook post I tagged you in,  I was like a 12-year-old girl at a Justin Bieber concert. No joke. You are a truly special person and I pray for great blessings throughout your life. Thank you for sharing your gift with everyone. May God bless you and keep you in all you do. 

Ashley Link

Thanks for reading everyone! Never forget you are loved! 🙂

Chow for now!


  • I loved reading your story! I am sure your Mom and Dad are soo proud of you. Good Luck! I miss you, but at least I can kind of keep track on facebook.
    I love looking at the photos you take too. They are really cool.
    I’m sure God will continune to Bless you.
    love ya!

  • Even though I already told you last night, I know I love getting comments so I thought I’d leave you one:

    The End 🙂

  • Ashley this is amazing! Gosh!! What a story you have girl!!! Way to share it!! God is so so good!! And He’s FAITHFUL! I’m so excited to see where your business goes in the future! THANK YOU for sharing some of your life with everyone!!! Keep sharing!! xoxo

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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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