thursday thirteen: why i LOVE being a photographer

i LOVE shooting in graveyards. since i first started out with my love for photography, this was one of my favorite places to shoot. call me weird, but don’t knock it till ya try it.

1. the locations: i love all the places i get to shoot at. seeing new places is great for rebooting your creative juices. it keeps you on your toes too. if you’ve never been there before, you have to go with the flow. you can’t plan ahead and i LOVE that. usually, i feel stressed out in situations i can’t plan, but these are so fun! no stress at all. shooting in these types of places, allow you to have an endless world of creative possibilities. it’s also good to have your favorite places. you know the best spots and where the light hits “just right.” you have an extra boost of confidence in a zone of comfort. embrace it. 🙂

2. fun adventures along the way: i don’t know about y’all, but i am always down for an adventure. some of the best times i have with my friends is when we do a spontaneous adventure. on my way to a shoot, my friend ashley and i saw this abandoned, miniature amusement park. it had this gorgeous purple storage shed, which initially drew me in, so we HAD to stop there. if you see a fun picture opportunity, grab it! you don’t want to pass opportunities like that up.

3. my clients: i am so blessed with the clients in my life. i love meeting new people and making new friends. at the VMI wedding, i had such a great time with the bridal party. the bride was so kind and her bridesmaids made me feel like one of the gang. it was so surreal. i loved it. they were so genuine and sweet. at the end of the wedding a bunch of the bridesmaids even asked for me to get a picture with them. i don’t know if they knew this, but it truly made my night. 🙂

4. creativity/ fun shoots: while i LOVE shooting important life moments, i also like to let go and try new ideas. i remember one day, last summer, i got up and told my sisters they HAD to be my models. i made amanda get splashed with paint. i also made alexi and her friend alyssa cover themselves in mud (do i have the best family or what?!). 🙂 this was such a fun shoot and they looked (in the words of miss tyra banks): FIERCE!

5. learning: pretty much every evening when i get off from work, i come home and immerse myself in the world of photography. i get on all of my favorite sites and read their latest posts. i scan for ideas and inspiration. i absorb the business aspect of idea and jot down notes to stay in tact with my accounting. to be honest, i really love EVERY aspect of photography. i even like the so-called “boring” stuff. i find it interesting. i feel like there is basically a big formula to plug in all the aspects of photography to keep it organized. it’s all very intriguing. keep this in mind when i’m pulling my hair out over all the tax forms i’ll be organizing later…

6. weddings: weddings are so beautiful. i LOVE love. having the honor of capturing a bride and groom’s monumental moment is SO special. while there can be some stress involved in getting all the right moments captured, it is worth it in the end. i can’t even decide my favorite part. the ceremony is sweet, because it reflects the two as a couple becoming one. the reception is always very entertaining and the food is usually uh-maze-ing! haha. plus, the portrait session time is  fun and always me to add some stylized shots for the experience. getting to enjoy the yummy wedding cake doesn’t  hurt much either! 😉

7. laughs & genuine expressions: not to be all “negative nelly”, but i hate when the people’s expressions in pictures don’t feel real. to me, it’s so important to make your subjects come to life. you never want them to look like they’re forced to do a pose or like they’re saying “cheese.” haha. definitely a “no, no.” thankfully, i am naturally goofy and that tends to lighten everyone up. another tip from miss tyra banks, that i like to use, is her “laugh-out-loud tactic.” to produce a genuine smile on america’s next top model, she instructs her models to literally “laugh out loud.” now, the first laugh is usually a bit awkward, because they feel weird. BUT after the awkwardness they then produce a genuine laugh, then smile. you’re welcome! 🙂

8. not being shy/ feeling in my element: when you first get to know me, i am generally a very quiet and shy person. thankfully, behind the camera, i am not. i get in the zone and feel like the real me. i can be a goofball and have so much fun! i don’t feel awkward or shy. i feel amazing. one of the best feelings in the world, to me, is being behind the camera.

9. making something ordinary into something extraordinary: that is what is so great about photography. to you a rusty old storage bin can be seen as junk, but to me it is pure treasure. i love that you can take something as mundane as the blacktop of a road and use it as the perfect setting for a photo shoot. it’s awesome. remember: it’s not about what you see, but how you see it. <— i can’t remember where i saw this quote, but it is so true.

you can check out this full wedding: here!

10. eating yummy food at weddings haha: again, this really is a great perk to being a photographer. i love food and being a photographer at a wedding, you sometimes get to sample the yumminess. my clients have great taste (pun intended).

11. capturing important life moments: i like to consider myself a “life moments” photographer. i don’t like to stick to one genre, but anything and everything. life is special. life is wonderful. life only happens once. i believe it’s important to capture these moments, big and small. i love being there every moment of the way. i love weddings. i love senior sessions. i love photographing families. i love documenting birthday parties. i love being a fan/capturing moments at a sporting event. taking the first photos of a newborn is priceless. i. love. all. of. it. end of story.

12. how broad it is: noted above, there are so many different parts to photography. there is the personal side of photography, with portraits and candid shots of loved ones. the artistic side of photography can show someone’s creative and emotions through their art. some photographers capture the big picture, while other pictures focus on the details. there is also a business side to photography. i have a lot of respect for my fellow photog friends. keeping up with a business is no easy task. i applaud you all for your hard work. keep it up. 🙂 photography is great because the possibilities are limitless. you are free to roam. you are free to be who you want and create what you want. to me, that is true art. that is beautiful!

please help me figure out how this is work. getting to spend time with a cutie, like this, is no job at all! 🙂

13. it doesn’t feel like a job: this is my passion. the greatest job you can ever have is one that doesn’t feel like work. i would do this for free, that’s how much i love it (but free don’t pay the bills, so here we are… 😉 haha.) i am so blessed that God allowed me to have this passion. i love it so much and it gives me so much joy. i know i say this a lot, but photography truly is my therapy. if i don’t have photography, i don’t know what i would do. if i’m having a bad day, i get behind the camera and almost instantly feel better. photography is my outlet. it allows me to be creative and learn. i am so blessed and i pray that there is never a day that i have to live without. it. thank you, God. 🙂

tell me some of your favorite things about being a photographer or what you love about photography. i would love to hear from you! 🙂

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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