Self-Love: Girlfriends Needed!!!

Sometimes the only thing that can help a girl out, is her girlfriends. We all need someone to talk to! Someone we can bare our souls to and not be judged for whatever crazy mess we’ve gotten our selves into, or help us get out of whatever funk we might be in. Even as a 33 year old woman, (who no longer gets into crazy situations) I still need my girls. I still need to bounce my crazy ideas off of someone who will say “go for it”.

As someone who moved a lot, my girlfriends don’t live near me anymore, so those Facetime calls are EVERYTHING! But, when we get the chance to all get together, there is something that just rejuvenates and cleanses my soul!

There is no one who knows you like your gal pals (or your dudes, basically I’m talking about your tried and true, down to the bone tribe). There is sure to be laughter, and I truly believe that is the worlds BEST medicine! So when you’re in a funk, when you’re bored, when you feel like your cup isn’t full, or you need some spice in your life, allow me to suggest a girls night in, or out! There is something to be said for getting gussied up and hitting the town, but also something really great about a bottle of wine (or a few bottles of wine, because let’s be honest), and delivery!

You may be like me and sometimes forget you have so many kick ass girlfriends. Let’s face is, we are way too busy adulting. If you just read that and said “girl I hear you”, then this is the sign you need. Grab that phone, call (or text because let’s be real), and plan a night out with your friends. You need this. You deserve this!

X O X O,

Ashley

Caitlin~ A Goddess, Inside and Out!

Referrals are THE BEST! Most of my photography clients have either grown up with me, or are a referral. When it comes to Glamour and Boudoir sessions a referral can go a long way, however, many times more research is needed. I mean, you are going to be going to someone’s studio, spending time getting your hair and make up done, then shooting, so if you don’t vibe, that can be 2-3 hrs of uncomfortableness.

As I get older I know that I can vibe on some level with just about anyone, especially if they trust me to do a shoot with them. On the same note, it’s a little rare that I am so connected to someone that it feels like I’ve known them my whole life, and I am laughing, more than I am pressing that shutter button.

Well, let me introduce you to the angelic and hilarious Caitlin! She was referred to me from my best referral source, Kristin, and within 24 hrs, Caitlin was booked, with a signed contract and the retainer fee paid. I mean, favorite type of client right there! Am I right?

As soon as Caitlin and her girlfriend Amanda stepped out of the car I knew I was in for a fun day. From picking outfits, to chatting as I did Caitlin’s hair, these girls were my type of girls! Fun, open, supportive, hilarious, driven, educated, and trusting. Getting ready and shooting lasted for a total of about 2.5 hrs, but I think we all hung out for about 4, just because we were having so much fun!

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So thank you Kristin, for sending Caitlin my way. Not only did we have a great time during the shoot, but we became fast friends. And as the story continues, thank you Caitlin for sending Jenna my way ūüėČ Stay tuned for that session!

X O X O,

Ashley

 

The Lost Art of Communication

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The Lost Art of Communication

Coffee, Cohorts, and Conversation

I have a challenge for you, go into a coffeeshop and look around. How many people are on a computer, their phone, or reading a book or the newspaper? I’m going to take a guess here and say about 75-80% Does that sound about right?

It seems these days people are looking down at a screen, they don’t look up and smile at those around them, let alone say “hello”. We are in a constant state of “hurry”, we are more often than not in a rush. And why? So we can work our lives away and forget to experience the life we have? We are letting special moments and connection pass us by without even understanding the blessing we might have recieved if we were just present.

I’m not saying that I feel the sands of time slipping through my fingers. However, I do know that life has become too chaotic, and new priorities are constantly popping up. I haven’t been as mindful as I would like to be. I have moved 6 times in 3 years and have found myself at a loss of connection. Now that I can call Sacramento my home, I wanted to challenge myself, and those around me. Because let’s face it, keeping to yourself is easy, reaching out and asking someone to take time out of their day to talk, isn’t. And I have this major fear that I am semi-awkward in social settings.

Coffeeshops used to be a place to relax, have a good cup of joe, and catch up with your buddies. Now it’s a workplace for most. It’s a change of scenery from the home office, it is an “internet cafe”. And I’m not a fan of the shift. I want to bring it back to the good old days, like Cafe Bacio in my hometown where the old farmers would meet every week. So I decided to ask some people out to a coffee date to talk.

I decided on the original¬†Insight Coffee Roasters¬†on 8th St to set the scene for these “coffee dates”. The decor lends itself to conversation with a beautiful communal banquet table, bar tops, and comfy couches. It’s a quick bike ride from my house, and I am always a fan of supporting local business. I asked three people who intrigue me and whom I’d like to get to know better, for a cup of coffee and conversation. ¬†I was stoked they all said yes!

In the coming weeks you will get to know some Sacramento locals who all have a story. I truly believe that there is so much we can learn from each other. This Coffee Shop Series “The Lost Art of Communication- Coffee, Cohorts, and Conversation” is an exercise in slowing down, listening, and connecting. I hope you will join me on the journey!

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Is there someone you would like to nominate to grab a cup of joe for part 2?

Xoxo,

Ashley

 

5 Reasons Photographers Need to Get Out From Behind the Camera

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First shoot ever! By Connie Leal

I said it, and I believe it! There are a handful of photographers I have spoken to throughout my career who have never stepped in front of the camera. Yes, pictures have been taken of them, but they have never been a subject or a client. If they are a talented photographer then what does it matter? In my opinion, it matters a LOT! A gifted photographer, Connie Leal, asked to take my picture many many years ago and a modeling contract followed, along with my desire to become a photographer. Having been on both sides of the camera I’ve learned a few things and want to share a few of them with you. So, photographers, put down the camera and start working those angles!

#5- If you expect it, you shall do it.

As a photographer you bank on people paying you for your services. Whether you shoot fine art, capture portraits, or document events you are providing a service and in exchange for that service your get paid, right? How can you expect someone to pay you for your work, if you’re not willing to pay for the same service yourself? I can almost bet that as a photographer you have been asked to work for free at least once. We want to be valued as an artist and as a business person, so let’s spread that karma around and value our fellow artists.

 

#4- It will make you feel amazing!

Have you ever had a reveal and your client is moved to tears? Or once the gallery link has been opened your phone blows up with texts of thanks and praise? That is such an amazing feeling! As a photographer that is a gift we are able to give, we freeze time! Memories are captured and will be shared for lifetimes to come. ¬†But, have you been moved to tears, or blown up a photographers phone with no regard for your data plan? Has seeing a picture of yourself made you say, “wait, what? That’s me” with a smile across your face? You deserve to experience that euphoric feeling that you give to others. You’re worth it!

#3- Communication!

Photography isn’t about ISO, aperture, shutter speeds, golden hour, rule of thirds, and so on and so forth. It’s about communicating with people, and building a rapport so memories can be captured, art can be created, and so that people can build relationships. Being in front of the camera you are the subject and the photographer will guide you into poses and looks. Have you ever had a client that just didn’t understand your direction? Saying the same thing over and over won’t help. So slide into their shoes, and see what works and what didn’t make sense. Does your photographer say, “Move your head this way,” or do they mirror you, gesture, and guide you into the pose? “Bring your chin forward, now tilt your head down, roll your shoulder forward, and weight on your back foot, perfect! Now small smile! Fantastic!” The last statement doesn’t allow the client to think about how uncomfortable they might be, they simply follow directions. And if you’ve experienced getting this direction, you’ll be better at giving this direction.

#2- Actions speak louder than words

Now this one may be a little controversial. I follow a lot of photographers on¬†Instagram,¬†Facebook,¬†Pintrest, and different forums. One thing that I see that makes me cringe is when they say something like “I am a master at ______ an expert at_____, etc. And those ______’s could be “styling”, “posing”, “lighting”, “communicating”, “editing”, you get the idea. Instead of making these declarations, show them. Your portfolio is huge. It shows the work that you’ve done and more often than not will show future clients if your style is a good fit for them. In addition to your portfolio, show them you are a great stylist by coming up with a concept shoot, that you style, (hair, makeup, wardrobe, props, etc), show them you are a master poser by POSING in FRONT of the Camera, not hiding behind it! We have all had those clients that move so well with little direction from us. It’s like a gift from the heaven’s (Hello¬†Gerald)! So show your clients you can move, you can pose, you understand that it might a little nerve-wracking getting your photograph taken, by GETTING your photograph taken!

 

#1- Being behind the camera doesn’t show future generations who you were, it shows what you did.

A common sadness that every member of my family has, is that there are not more pictures of my Mimi. She passed away when I was a junior in college and we wish that she could have lived a longer life. We wish she would have been around to see us all grow into the human beings we are now. I know we aren’t the only ones that feel that way. As photographers we do a really good job of capturing memories for those around us, but not for us. I am sure we are all the designated picture snapper for our families, but are you in the photos? Is anyone capturing the fact that you were there? I know my Mimi was behind the camera, and now that she is gone I really wish she were in front of it. I know your family will wish that too!

Everyone has their own reasons for being behind the camera and in front of it. I am honored to have captured some special moments for the following photographers: Brittany Deacon, Alexyss Marie, Tamara Picazo, and Matt Spanne.

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X O X O,

Ashley

 

Life is Unexpected

From “Corntown” to “Hippyville”, the “City by the Bay”and now “Cowtown” I’m a girl who’s made some epic mistakes, who does not have it all figured out, nor do I feel like I have to. I know that love comes and goes, and the hardest situations don’t have to break you. I know that there are lessons to be learned if we listen and there is something to celebrate even in the darkest moments. This blog isn’t just about me and what I’ve learned so far, or what I am working on, but it is about the many people who have embraced the “unexpected” and are living gratefully. Like I said before, I don’t have it all figured out, but I’m living life on purpose and embracing the journey.

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