This year, I've had the honor of documenting the first moments of life revealing itself as birth and newborn photography on multiple occasions. Each exchange, every interaction, I am in complete awe of the process of life, that of genetics, that of growth, that of the quickness of time.
A few weeks ago, I got to meet and document this little soul here just a few days after coming home from the hospital. Of course, I immediately wanted to hold her and after sometime, then got into documenting these ever so tiny features that in just a few months time are going to change, so much so that the newborn time capsules may not reflect her. That in itself, is the importance in documenting these early days of life as time has a way of moving quickly and changing the present.
I opened their email. It started with, "I heard you travel. Our wedding is in Mexico in May."
Music to my ears. Music to my ears.
We immediately connected, schedule a phone call to learn more about each other
and before we knew it, their engagement shoot was already here.
We spent a beautiful morning tucked within the hills of Orange County dancing amongst some ancient trees and this incredible earthly foliage. The two of them, together, had this calm, yet excited nature about them.
Their love shined through each and every smile.
My goodness, I cannot wait to document their wedding on the cliffs in Mexico!
To my beautiful clients… YOU, in yourself are beautiful just as you are.
These time capsules, they are to externally shine brightness onto the light that is already shining within you!
With this, I want your session to be a rememberable photographic exchange,
ultimately leading to a life enhancing experience.
Here are some suggestions as you prepare for your session….
: Coordinate, but don’t match
: Layers and textures
: Think about subtle props
: Shoes matter
: Play off the location
: Steer Clear of Fluorescents
: Wear what you feel good in
: Dress for the weather, and be flexible
: For ladies, hair and make-up done
: For guys, have you shaved?
: Dress on the same scale
: Most importantly, have fun, be yourself, breathe, smile a whole lot, be goofy!
: Let your true light shine!
Below is a bit of inspiration for various sessions! Click on the photo to see the full BLOG post connected to the session!
Engagement [Love.] Session Inspiration ...
Lifestyle [Life.] Session Inspiration ....
Family [Love. & Life.] Session Inspiration...
Also, have you checked out Ashley Strong Photography Pinterest boards for visual references?
: Welcome to the World
As guests began to arrive, the tunes of Reggae started to serenade those around. I started to sway, turned and looked at the DJ, "Is this your choice, or their choice?" He replied, "This is all theirs." My heart smiled. Souls on my wavelength. You see, Reggae moves my soul. This, this right here is no coincidence, this is a synchronicity as I spend a lot of time connecting with, getting to know and truly understanding the couples I get to document. It is so incredibly important for both me to get to know my couples in depth as well as them with me! Enough of that, let's get back to them.
The ceremony was about to begin, I stood in my spot, the perfect place to see the bride walk down the aisle and the grooms expression as they had yet to witness one another in their wedding bliss. As she came through the doors, his eyes began to water, as she neared the corner, to be fully visible, he was wiping the tears from his eyes as they were abundantly gathered. This, this was the first time, in their time together, she has witnessed him cry.
The amount of love, amount of admiration, the amount of pure joy, the amount of lets have the so much fun with the ones we love was so very present!
Venue : @olehansonbeachclub
Coordination : @leilaniweddings
Photography : @ashleystrongphotography
Catering : @24carrotscatering
Florals : @sacredromancefloral
DJ : @voxdjs
The day before, I gathered my equipment. Made sure my batteries were charged. My cards were cleared. The lenses, free of any of debris from the previous shoot. I pulled their file and reread through all of my notes. As I began, a giddiness filled my entire being. This is a couple, I have shared many moments with over the coming months that led to their wedding day. Something I kept reading was embrace, lots of embrace, embrace. The word, resonating powerfully as I understand the importance of fully being in one another presence, touching as much as possible and really taking in all this day symbolizes. Although, this time capsule here, isn't from their first look (don't worry, you'll see many of those), it is one that speaks volumes to embrace. How, you ask? It's one of those moments where I guided them into the pose, gave them a few cues, documented a some time capsules, went to say something more, and realized, nothing needs to be said. These two, just need to be.
Kayla and Gino, congratulations again! Your tribe, the community that surrounds you, was one of the most welcoming I've experienced. My last interaction that night, was being in a massive group hug with all the bridesmaids.
Thank you for the honor. Thank you for the trust!
Getting Ready Location: @catamaranweddings
Hair and Makeup : @shear_chic
Marquee : @mymarqueesd
After being in business full time since April 2015, I've had the honor of being mentored and inspired to dive deep within the layers of myself and those we support! With this, I've become very clear on our commitment to our clients, on the values of our clients and the deep desire to continually share these life enhancing photographic exchanges.
It has been time for a new brand, a visual representation, a logo, a tagline and mission that truly reflects the clarity behind this incredible brand where we get to share exchanges with and call friends!
My friends, we are....
Ashley Strong Photography : Vibrantly Blissful.
Love. Life. Culture.
The logo, is a visual representation of "Wings of a Flower."
The lotus being the flower. The leaves being it's wings.
Vibrantly Blissful is a reflection of each and every time capsule.
We document, share and tell the stores of love, life and culture.
There is a tattoo on the inside of my right arm.
In cursive, "Wings of a Flower." Often, I get asked what it says. I joyfully share.
Rarely, do I get asked what it means.
Wings of a Flower to me, represents discovery, strength, courage, interconnectedness, an expanding awakening, jumping outside of my comfort zone, truth, trust, community, rebirth, growth.
You see, I had this scribed on my arm in South Africa after living on Mafia Island, Tanzania the first time.
While there, I had so much space and time, to be fully present.
To sit, to listen, to take walks, to bare witness to all that was around.
There were no distractions of a TV,
no convenience of having my car, my friends, the job I had known,
everything that had made my what I thought whole at that time in my life.
This, this in itself created the space for me to truly reflect on the interconnectedness of ourselves,
each other, nature and the universe as a whole.
As one flower, tree or even individual releases itself into the ground,
it transforms, it creates nutrients, it supports, enabling one another to grow.
We are constantly evolving, growing new flowers, expanding our branches,
loses peddles, loses leaves and ultimately growing.
Not only in the life time, but many others.
This, this is Wings of a Flower.
My wings, help grow your flowers.
Your flowers help expand my wings.
Below, is a piece I wrote while living, loving and teaching on Mafia Island, Tanzania back in 2013.
These very words, this very experience contributed immensely to understanding of myself,
therefore the way in which I communicate with the world and now,
the representation my brand, the passion of a profession, the reality I live and share daily!
- With so much love,
Grateful Owner and Passionate Photographer, Ashley Strong Smith
A moment of warmth so pure, so new.
So new to the spirit.
Not the warmth of a mother's hug.
Not the warmth of an infant gripping onto your finger as tightly as their little limbs can do.
Not the warmth of your loved ones expressing their appreciation for your existence.
I am talking about the warmth of our universe.
I am talking about the warmth of a young soul's smile within our universe.
A smile with so much admiration and excitement to have an English conversation with the schools international English teacher. This warmth, it is almost indescribable.
Although you were not present for this specific sunset walk around my Kitomondo neighborhood,
I will do my best to explain what I mean by this form of warmth.
What I experienced that very evening.
Warmth from the universe.
Warmth of a young soul's smile.
Taking a solo walk, getting lost and consumed by the African forest.
New faces carrying their loads.
Exploring the emotions throughout my body.
Words swirling around in my mind.
My camera has been my form of communication for several years now.
It has been my vehicle.
It is my vehicle.
Allowing me to express my innermost being.
To the world.
To the world at large.
My photographs tell a story.
Tell my story.
One in which I experience and live each and every moment.
One in which I feel blessed to share with my community.
With all communities.
In the states, a desired weekend day is spent getting lost amongst the trails of a botanical garden.
Not one in particular, just one open for an explorer.
Taking in all the colors and reflecting on the talents of our dear mother nature.
Circle of life.
One feeding another through the death of their leaf.
Spreading the seeds.
In many cases, the wings of a flower.
Our world is abundantly interconnected.
Each part working together or in some cases against one another.
But, all creating a whole.
Providing to those whom cannot provide for themselves.
And yes, being selfish and taking only what they need with no intention of giving back.
This is our society.
This is our world.
Humans, you ask?
Not just humans.
The dirt we walk on.
The trees that provide our oxygen.
The sun creating and sustaining life.
The fish in the ocean.
The coconut way up high.
Yes, all life.
Every living thing on this earth.
In this earth.
Around this earth.
We are minuscule to that which lies beyond our present physical existence.
These gardens I speak of.
This desired weekend day is not one that is desired.
Nor is it just a weekend day.
This botanical garden I talk about is that which I am surrounded by everyday.
That which I wake up to and lies right outside my bedroom window.
That which blows above me as I walk to school in the mornings.
That which glistens in the evening sun as I run down the dirt path leading to the next village.
That which surrounds my walk into town.
Oh yes, it is true.
I am living in one ginormous botanical garden.
One that is more than the art of mother nature through that of flowers, plants, trees, birds and cows.
It is one of a human botanical garden.
Faces with smiles bigger and more curious then seen by my two eyes prior to this reality.
Ones in which colors of fabrics radiate every vibrant color known to man.
Ones with skin so dark.
Ones that sing when they have the chance to have an English conversation.
Simply saying hello, ask my name and where I'm from.
That's all they need.
That alone will do.
Everyday is a new discovery.
A more clearer realization.
A point of growth.
A moment of confusion.
Even with the confusion being thrown into the mix, I go to bed each night with so much peace in my heart.
Calmness in my body.
Openness in my mind.
I wake each day with even more inspiration and determination than the day before.
I am here.
I wake up each morning in Kitomondo on Mafia Island in AFRICA!
I am here. "
There are souls in this world, that I am so incredibly honored to call a sister, a friend.
This radiant soul here, @nikki.speaks has this vibration, this dynamic vibration. Immediately, her presence was known. Immediately, I was drawn into her unique expression, her inner and outer beauty, her confidence in leaving an inspirational footprint within our world.
You see, I was connected with Nikki through a dear friend and fellow badass female entrepreneur @mynimage (go show her some LOVE) as she is her "Image Consultant!" Both Nikki and Myaann live and work in Dallas, Texas, but these state lines draw no boundaries when it comes to bringing to light the fire within us! We scheduled a shoot in Southern California at one of my all time favorite locations, @thelabantimall!
Myaann and Nikki so diligently prepared outfits to compliment the inspirational environment and my goodness, was the morning a beautiful combination of badass with love, fun with sass, realness with bold expression!
I'm humbled to have experiences such as this one!
Nikki, I cannot WAIT to watch you speak!
Gift giving season is upon us!
We all have those hard to buy for friends and family members!!
Did you know that Ashley Strong Photography offers personalized Gift Certificates?!?! You better believe we do!
Gift Certificates are customizable in amount and we will even send it in super cute packaging, ready to give!!
Let Ashley Strong Photography help make your Holiday Season a little brighter!
Send us an email and we will work with you on all of your Gift Certificate needs!!!
This moment! This couple! They're just the best! You see, although they've been together for some time and have two super fun and beautiful daughters, they're newly engaged and couldn't be more excited (as am I)! Jami and I have known each other for YEARS! Want to know how many? I won't give away the exact amount, but since elementary school! It's been decades!
She inquired and we quickly planned the PERFECT engagement session on the sand in Laguna Beach! The tide was so high, but that didn't stop us from playing along the coastline and capturing intimately blissful and vibrant time capsules such as this one!
You two incredible souls, it was an honor getting to document your family and engagement portraits!
This, right here, is truly a dream come true!
For years now, I've wanted to do an African inspired shoot
as so much of my roots have grown in Tanzania and South Africa!
What exactly an African inspired shoot would look like, I had yet to know!
I reached out to the ever talented Amanda with @ivoryandlacecreative to tell her about my idea! We met for coffee and my goodness, was I humbly surprised by her having drawings, plans, rental company inventories and ideas galore for this very shoot.
I was blown away and ecstatic to say the least!
Styled shoots are the ultimate form of collaboration as it involves so many souls coming together to bring this every vision to life. The shoot, our shoot, this long time vision truly turned into an impeccably perfect reality! We spent the late afternoon, tucked within the hills of @astwinery as the glowing sun brought this radiance, this vibrancy to all it touched!
My soul was seriously on overload as each and every moment documented had me gasping with love and excitement!
My friends, community, the vendors involved in this very shoot, this is the first of MANY time capsules of which will be shared from this magical shoot!
I am infinitely grateful!
Production and Design | @ashleystrongphotography @ivoryandlacecreative
Coordination | @ivoryandlacecreative
Photography | @ashleystrongphotography
Venue | @astwinery
Rentals | @sundrop_vintage
Florist | @flowersbykendra
Catering | @flavorsofeastafrica
Hair | @mirellamanelli
Makeup | @jamie.michele
Dress | @archive_bridal
Suit | @friartux
Calligraphy | @something.lettered
Jewelry | @brookeaustintorres with @noondaycollection.
My goodness, it seems like just yesterday I was documenting these two love birds say, "I do" in front of all their loved ones! Alyssa was documenting the guys, I was documenting the girls, the excitement kept rising as the time to walk down the aisle was quickly approaching.
I stood as I normally do to catch the very anticipation, the very expression on the grooms face as his bride started walking down the aisle. Matt's face was one filled with so much love, so much excitement, so much sincerity! Tears fell from his eyes as she neared. What touched me most, was during their ceremony, they stepped aside, just the two of them, sharing their vows in private. This, this was so truly beautiful and truthfully, one of the first times I had witnessed vows being exchanged in this very way! Their sincere ceremony ended, guests went to cocktail hour, we documented family and bridal party portraits, a few romantics and then went into the reception.
But wait, where am I going with all of this?!? The sunset time capsules.
They were taken while guests were eating dinner and we snuck out for some sunset portraits in the fields behind the very venue in which they got married! With this cowboy boots on, the glowing sky and their over joyous smiles, we played around in this field for sometime.
A lot of magic was created, but for now, I will leave you with this one!
Christy and Matt, congratulations! I couldn't be more excited for you both!
2nd Shooter: @alyssaboyntonphotography
Videography : @lloydfilms
Florals : @oceansidefloristinc
Dress : @somethingbleusocal
DJ : @djextremesd
Cake : @thecrimsoncake
My friends, you asked and my goodness, wouldn't you know, we've happily replied.
Looking for the PERFECT location to bring your photographic vision to life?
We've got you covered!
Explore below for some of our favorite locations throughout Southern California.
They're organized by location and type of location!
Enjoy my friends!
Do you have any that are not on here? Let us know and we can add them!
Orange County / Los Angeles : Nature
Thomas F. Riley Wilderness Park : [San Juan Capistrano]
Los Rios District : [San Juan Capistrano]
Caspers Wilderness Park : [San Juan Capistrano]
Laguna Canyon : [Laguna Beach]
Orange County / Los Angeles : Beach
Pearl Street Beach : [Laguna Beach]
Calafia State Park : [San Clemente]
Montage Beach : [Laguna Beach]
Orange County / Los Angeles : City & Downtown
The LAB (Anti-mall) : [Costa Mesa]
San Juan Capistrano Mission : [San Juan Capistrano]
The Noguchi Museum : [Costa Mesa]
Santa Monica Pier : [Los Angeles]
Walt Disney Concert Hall : [Los Angeles]
San Diego : Nature
Hosp Grove Park : [Carlsbad]
Myrtle Creek Botanical Gardens : [Fallbrook]
Torrey Pines Nature Preserve : [La Jolla]
Leo Carrillo Ranch : [Carlsbad]
San Diguito Park : [Encinitas]
Felicita Park : [Escondido]
Old Poway Park : [Rancho Bernardo]
Balboa Park : [San Diego]
San Elijo Lagoon : [Encinitas]
Olivenhain Town Council : [Encinitas]
Live Oak Park : [Fallbrook]
San Diego : Beach
Scripps La Jolla Pier : [La Jolla]
Oceanside Pier : [Oceanside]
Encinitas Beach : [Encinitas]
San Diego : City/Downtown
Credos Ave : [Solana Beach]
Oceanside Library : [Oceanside]
Downtown Oceanside : [Oceanside]
Downtown La Jolla : [La Jolla]
North Park : [San Diego]
Southern California : Misc.
Joshua Tree National Park : [Joshua Tree]
#rad! It's been the word most on my mind lately! The people, the experiences, the places, the moments, that have been encompassing this past month (and beyond) have all around been RAD! The more I commit to honoring myself and wholeheartedly my life path, the more I experience these rad, in-depth, life enhancing photographic exchanges with unique souls shining their lights so vibrantly!
This incredible babe here, @cassla11 is such an inspiration! She has created a deep commitment to her health and fitness all the while being a school psychologist, learning Spanish and relocating with her family to Southern California. Immediately upon meeting her in person, it was as if we were old friends, reconnecting. I couldn't get enough of documenting her being such a badass!
This little soul and her older sister have created such a special place in my heart! I've had the honor of documenting this little souls older sister, whom is now almost four, every six months for her portraits. And now, this little lady is on the same rhythm. I got to meet her just a few days after coming home from the hospital and just like that, it was time for her 6 month portraits and NOW, her year portraits! Oh my goodness!!
I am in AWE every time I see these little ladies and how quickly they're growing! She is so happy and giggly and just LOVED listening to her mom sing to her!
My goodness, thank YOU SO MUCH to the Myers family for the honor of getting to document and more excitedly witness your little ladies growing up! I cherish these moments, dearly!
You had your photographic exchange with Ashley Strong Photography.
Now, you want to show off those beautiful time capsules, right?!?!
Did you know…...you can order directly from Ashley Strong Photography!?!?
You will get professional lustre prints and/or uniquely high-quality albums!
See what one of our happy clients had to say about their experience with ordering a personalized album!
“Ashley, we wanted to send you a quick note to let you know our moms were blown away by the albums you created for us. Our initial thought was that they were a bit costly, but the delivered product was the nicest album we’ve ever seen! One could describe them as heirloom quality. We will for sure be ordering more from you in the future when we have more life events to document. Thank you again…”
Why would you trust your beautiful photos with anyone else?!?!
Order yours today!
Albums come in either leather or linen, with over a dozen colors (scroll below for color swatches)
to choose from ranging in size from 5x7 to 12x16 (pricing below)!
To order, email with the following:
For Albums :
2. Color & Texture (leather or lenin)
4. 25 main time capsules, 15 secondary
For Lustre Prints/ Canvases :
2. Type of print (lustre or canvas)
4. image number(s)
Do you know what I find so fascinating?
Connection through many aspects.
One, how quickly connection occurs.
Two, how souls become connected.
Three, how we're all so incredibly connected to one another, each other.
Four, how connection is the thread that reminds us how similar we really are.
Five, how connection gives us meaning, gives us purpose, enables us to feel so vibrancy alive.
I could keep naming all the ways connection vibrates around this incredible existence, but for now, I will let this very time capsules bring about a resonance for connection.
These two souls, so interconnected, so intertwined, so incredibly in love.
I look at moments, such as this one in such awe as our world, the beauty that we all are and that we witness on a daily basis is truly such a miraculous inspiration.
Hannah and Brett, congratulations on your engagement and upcoming wedding! Barbados is going to be rocked by your love, your enjoyment, your enthusiasm, your beauty!
They arrived, we quickly made our way down the steps.
Before I knew it, our photographic exchange had begun!
He was swinging her around, she was giggling, he couldn't keep his eyes off her, she couldn't stop smiling.
There was just this contagious love. You see, this is the love that truly ignites my inspiration.
One of truth, one of playfulness, one of unconditional love, one of realness.
The more I documented, the more I felt like I've documented them before, which truthfully wasn't the case.
You see, when couples reach out to ASP to document this weddings,
there is this very intimate process that takes places.
One of not just emails, but one of conversations, either over the phone or in person.
That of details. That of depth. That of creating this understanding, this trust, this truth.
I am extremely honest with all those I come into contact with,
especially my brides and grooms as this is such a monumentally special time in their lives!
For some, it isn't the right fit, but for those, such as this couple,
whom I am honored to document this time in their lives, it is ultimate bliss.
It is my commitment, my sincerity, to truly get to know them individually and as a union.
With doing so, I can document their love, in this humble, serene, sincere, intimate way.
My goodness, congrats you two love birds! I cannot wait to document your wedding next year!
I woke this morning to an email from the incredible lady you see here.
She said, "You captured all of the details so perfectly. I mean the colors, wow.
Thank YOU for all of your work organizing this and making this such a fun experience.
We really enjoyed seeing everyone's talents come together.
You are so so talented and good at what you do.
It just seems to come naturally for you and your comfortability is contagious."
My heart smiled.
It's moments like this that I am reminded why I do what I do!
I absolutely love community.
I love connection.
I love watching the spark in souls eyes light up.
I love witnesses two souls deeply in love.
I love reminding people of how beautiful both they and this world truly are.
I love being able to continually witness the vibrancy of our existence.
I just love being engulfed in love!
Watching this styled shoot come together so seamlessly really was a humbling experience.
The amount of dedication, time, communication and organization to go into a shoot like this can quite frankly be intense with an already full load. But, when time capsules such as this one come to life, all I can do is smile and be so incredibly thankful. Thank you to the incredible village behind this shoot, I am grateful for all of you!
Photography : @ashleystrongphotography
Coordination : @ashleystrongphotography
Location : Erica & Peter @succulentcafe_carlsbad
Florals : Erica of @succulentcafe_carlsbad
Rentals : @adorefolklore
Hair : @hairby_jalisa
Make-up : @makeupbyadrianne
Invitation Suite & Ribbons : @featherandfigs
Dress : @archive_bridal
Tux : @friartux
Models : @kr1st1nmarie and @huntertuck09
Jewelry : @bealive04
Cake : @petitemadelinebakery
My oh my, this incredible couple here had the most serene backyard boho wedding and I couldn't get enough of the goodness. As you might have witnessed from my time capsules and writings, I wholeheartedly dive into each and every session as there is this love, this excitement, this joy of being able to witness and document the serene and sincere moments of our existence!
This couple's love and vibrancy truly shined through all afternoon as they joyfully introduced their five month old daughter to extended family members and celebrated their wedding in the most down-to-earth passionate way!
I excitedly sent her teasers, then went about doing one of the multitude of tasks at hand. Before I knew it, I was opening an email that said, "You’re doing a great business out here. You have a fantastic eye, and such talent. Your photos have a personal, ethereal, almost spiritual look about them. Just breathtaking. You can feel the love behind the camera and know that it’s not just a job for you."
My heart truly smiled! You see, this is it. This reply, this feedback. The feeling that was left on her and her experience brought be back home to ASP's mission. That of, "Creating vibrantly blissful and intimate time capsules for those lovers, families and female entrepreneurs breathing in the joyful and beautiful depths of our existence!" I am able to bring to life this ethereal, this spiritual feeling by being, being fully in the moment. By enabling souls to take in the depths and joyfulness around them. All the while remembering to breathe and empowering them to step into their truth, to shine their beauty!
Michelle, I am ever so grateful @mynimage connected us! I am inspired by your inspiration, your dedication, your craft and art!
Thank you for the honor of documenting your bliss while in Southern California!