Aug 27, 2015

My Fur Baby

Published in Personal
In honor of National Dog Day yesterday, I wanted to post this recent photo of our sweet Remington! So many people have asked how Remington is adjusting to now having a very mobile, interactive, and energetic toddler in the house. To be honest, he is loving having a little shadow follow him around more then I thought he would! I mean whats not to love about having someone who conveniently drops yummy food on the floor for you every time they eat, always makes sure you have your bone and/or stuffed animal next to you wherever you are, thinks your tail wagging is the funniest thing since sliced bread and provides piles of clean warm laundry to nap on?! Yup, Remington certainly has it made! 
Remington is the sweetest, cutest, most affectionate dog I have ever met and he blesses our family everyday! He continues to remind me to have patience in every situation, love unconditionally, make people feel like they are the most important person in the room, look for the best in people and enjoy the little things that fill my days. Oh, and nap in the sun whenever the afternoon allows. Love our fur baby Remington!
My Fur Baby
2015 Mentoring Sessions - TWO MORE!
Aug 25, 2015

2015 Mentoring Sessions - TWO MORE!

Published in For Photogs
When a note like this comes in the mail, I feel bad for any of my neighbors who may be watching me read it as I walk back from our mailbox... I take three steps. Stop. Read some more. Five more steps. Smile. Read more. Stop. Try not to burst into tears. Read more. Say, "awww gosh!" out loud. Walk a little more and sit on our front stoop to finish reading with a lump in my throat as I read the sweet handwritten words filling the pages. Our neighbors must think I'm nuts but I don't care! When mail like this comes it stops me in my tracks, literally, and fills my heart with a thankfulness that Chris and I get to do what we do, which includes meeting and mentoring other photographers and helping them pursue their passion... To encourage them and let these photographers know that their dream IS possible. To take a hard look at their business and provide them with an actionable roadmap of how to proceed forward. 
We have been there. We know how overwhelming and frustrating growing a business can be. But we also know that anything is possible - that growth, success, and working with your ideal clients is achievable cause we have been there too. This is why we are passionate and love coaching photographers in their businesses! 
The timing of this note couldn't be any better as Chris and I are excited to announce we are offering TWO more mentoring sessions this year! To read more about our mentoring sessions, CLICK HERE. If you are interested in booking a session with us feel free to click here or email us at!  
Oh, and that sweet note that arrived in the mail? It was from Raleigh NC wedding and family photographer Lauryn Alisa! Thank you Lauryn - we just adore you and are so incredibly proud of you and where you have taken your business over these past few months! You have worked so hard and we knew you could do it! We can't wait to see all you are going to do next! 
"Ashley and Chris are simply put, wonderful! Mentoring with them was the best decision i made for my business. Before meeting with Ashley and Chris, I was feeling lost in y business. I knew where I wanted to be but had no clue how to get there. I felt like I had all these ideas and could not figure out how to bring it all together & accomplish something. Enter Ashley and Chris. They listened to me, took a look at where i was at, gave me advice on what needed to be improved, shared some of their own secrets and left me with a plan of action I could follow to help me achieve my goals. They didn't just sit there and tell me what works for them, but helped me figure out what will work for me and my business. 
Not only are Ashley and Chris smart business people, but they are also genuine and caring individuals. After meeting with them, I felt like I had just met with old friends who really cared about me and my success. They wanted to help me and take bride in teaching others. This is the best attribute you could ask for in a mentor, which is why working with them was an incredible experience. 
Since working with Ashley and Chris my business has improved dramatically. While I am still working through my action plan and towards my goals, I am finally starting to see my business evolve into what I want it to be. I still refer to my notes from the mentoring session daily. The biggest improvement is not just that I am booking more weddings, but I am attracting and booking more of my ideal clients.  
I cannot thank Ashley and Chris enough for all of their help with getting me heading down the right track. It was such a great experience mentoring with them and I would highly recommend them to anyone looking to head in the right directions with their business." 
Lauryn, Lauryn Alisa Photography
Aug 20, 2015

For Photogs: Telling Couples About A First Look

Published in For Photogs
I do not currently suggest to my couples that they do a First Look, however I would like to start doing so. I noticed many of your couples decide to do a First Look. How do you convince them to do one? 
Thank you in advance, 
I am so glad you asked! So for me, it's important to just share with my wedding couples what a First Look is so they know it is an option. I don't push our couples to do a First Look or really try and convince them, but tell them about the benefits so they can make an informed decision to do one or not. Even if they have heard of a First Look before, I make sure to explain to them what it is from my perspective - a sacred and intimate moment between you two where you can see one another on your wedding day for the first time in privacy, etc... Because to be honest, when Chris and I were planning our wedding and were simply told it's when you "see one another before the ceremony" with no explanation or benefits, we both decided not to do one immediately. Knowing what we know now, it's something we both wish we had done!  
If a couple has no time between the ceremony and cocktail hour and want to take a lot of photos of two of them and have a lot of family photos for example, then I strongly recommend doing a First Look and explain why and what the benefits are from a timing perspective. Most couple's don't want to be rushed and often want to attend their cocktail hour. This may be something they had not thought about so discussing this with them during their consultation can be helpful! There have been a few couples we have met with over the years that had such little time for photos after the ceremony and didn't want to do a First Look, we told them we did not feel comfortable with the timeline. We respected their decision not to do a First Look, but based on our experience we knew what was/wasn't possible in the time allotted and knew we could not provide our best work and what they would be looking for for their family, bridal party, and bride/groom photos in the very small timeframe they had. Having a candid converstaion about this upfront was important and better for everyone involved so that adjustments could be made to the timeline or they could reach out to another photographer. 
For me, the key is to educate and share options with couples and not convince or force. After all, it is their wedding day and what they want to do needs to be respected. : )  
Hope this is helpful!
For Photogs: Telling Couples About A First Look
Toxic Comparisons
Aug 18, 2015

Toxic Comparisons

Published in Personal
As much as we may not like to admit it, we all compare ourselves to others at some point or another. Our competitive nature and desire to measure up can come through in all areas of our lives. Being a photographer and business owner, I am no exception to this tendency. Especially when I was in my first year of business... I was insecure in my work and talent and wasn't 100% confident in my business and the direction I wanted to take it.  
When I started my business, there were so many folks I looked up to in the industry that truly inspired me. Their work, their story, their writing style, their brand. With my breakfast and cup of coffee, I would religiously read their blog every morning and swoon over the photos they posted from the latest wedding they photographed. I would look at the way they used light and shot from different angles and challenged myself to continually improve and become better. However, something eventually changed. I found that these very people that used to inspire me were now a huge source of self criticism through no fault but my own. Instead of being a source of inspiration, they soon became a source of self-criticism and doubt. I found I was comparing myself to them and constantly found myself falling short. Even though I knew they had more experience and an established brand, after my daily blog reading I felt more depressed then inspired. I am never going to be where they are. They are so much better then me. I am not growing or getting better. I am never going to book the kind of weddings they do or be able to charge what they do. 
I was becoming disheartened and bitter by the very people that used to inspire me by my own doing. I felt myself having these destructive comparisons and knew I needed to do something about it. I was at such a vulnerable stage in my business these thoughts could have ruined my creative spirit and desire to grow my business and pursue my dream. So just like that, I stopped. I stopped reading other photographers' blogs all together. I stopped looking at other folks work that used to inspire me. I stopped going online looking for inspiration. I needed to refocus. I focused on why I was a wedding photographer in the first place. I wasn't doing this to be a better photographer then so and so or have more amazing weddings then X Photography. The core of my why was and is about connecting with my couples in a real and meaningful way and capturing what was unique and special about them. I read through thank you cards from past clients and called to check in on some of my brides to see how their planning was going. I focused on the important relationships and gave myself photographic challenges to help myself grow as an artist. 
This was a turning point in my business. Instead of focusing outward, I focused inward... On myself, my couples, my why and my work... my business, however new it may have been. It wasn't until months later when I was in a much better place that I went back to occasionally reading photographers' blogs again and flip through industry magazines. They were now a source of inspiration again for me instead of a place to criticize myself and compare. I could and would cheer on other photographers and route for them as they travelled along their journey and accomplished great things! 
So for those of you that feel yourself getting caught up in the comparisons, you aren't alone. I was there. The comparisons can be toxic and self destructive. But it's your decision to let it continue or not. Some may feel like they just need to unplug for a while like I did and some may need to do something else. Whatever you decide, realizing the need for change and then doing something about it is a beautiful and sometimes very necessary thing!
Aug 13, 2015

Norwalk Shore & Country Club Wedding | Kristen & Rich

Published in Weddings
Kristen kept an eye on the new teacher, watching him interact with the students and demonstrate his teaching abilities. After all, she was supervising and making sure that the new teacher was following procedure and performing at the level expected. Weeks turned into months and the teacher, Rich, began to invite Kristen to attend events with him, to which she declined. Kristen declined twice, but if you ask Rich it was at least three times! Her reasoning? She was busy. Like very busy. Anyone who knows Kristen knows that she puts her heart and focus 110% into what she is doing, which at the time was solely her teaching career. But anyone who knows Rich, knows that he was quite smitten with Kristen and wasn't going to let her get away. And Rich, well he definitely caught Kristen's eye too and eventually they went to the zoo on their first date. It was from then on their beautiful love story bloomed... 
Kristen & Rich wed in a beautiful ceremony in Kristen's hometown in Westport CT followed by a gorgeous waters edge celebration at Norwalk Shore and Country Club! The sunset that evening was like the ones you only think exists in paintings. That rich golden light just streamed across the water and flooded over the candle lit tables filled with family and friends. It was simply breathtaking. 
Kristen & Rich - Your wedding was an incredible and beautiful celebration of love and the beginning of your marriage! We are so honored and grateful we got to be a small part of it and witness the beginning of the rest of your lives together as husband and wife!
Norwalk Shore & Country Club Wedding | Kristen & Rich
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