Well, it happened. I delivered my first wedding gallery of 2021.
The feelings, they’re everywhere. The tears, they’re in my eyes. The inspiration, it’s in my heart.
The love, it’s vibrating through my entire being. The intention. The connection.
This was the first full wedding I’ve documented since July of last year!
The day, was truly radiant, serene, playful, sincere. It was absolutely beautiful. Through and through.
The understanding that is interwoven between this couple and myself, all my couples and myself, it’s deep, really deep. My couples become friends, family.
I literally witness, document and preserve one of the most magical days of their lives. This, this is a reality, I hold so immensely close to my heart. So beautifully dear to my existence.
The amount of conversations I had with this amazing couple leading up to their wedding, was a lot.
Each one, shining light onto their love, their commitment, their beautiful souls.
With covid being so real, the changes that then had to happen where even more real.
From their dream costal venue, to their friends insanely gorgeous farm house. From having the beach as their backdrop, to that of the most amazingly custom wooden backdrop.
From not having a place for their first look and wedding party portraits, to literally soaking up the afternoon sunshine amongst a redwood forest, right here in Orange County.
From the bride not having her dad present as he passed just a few years ago, to his orb in SO many photos - his presence very much alive.
From having a large company cater their dinner, to having their family friends who so graciously offered their house cook the most incredibly delicious homestyle BBQ meal that literally had me going back for seconds as the Mac n’ cheese was the best I’ve ever had.
It all, leading them, to exactly where they were supposed to be in the most beautifully serene and loving representation of them as individuals, as a union, as one massive family.
My friends, believe in the signs, the messages, the changes. They are happening, they are there, for a reason. Each guiding you into the most authentic representation of the present moment.
Dom and Matt, you two are part of my heart. Thank you for this immense honor.
Keep shining your lights. Keep spreading that love.
Keep laughing so humbly. Keep living so intentionally.
I am inspired.
Rentals: Crown Rentals
Cake: Simply Irresistible Cakes
DJ: Vox DJs
Hair: Bianca Sara Vera
Makeup: Magnus Makeup
I see you. I hear you. I feel you.
Those words. That make up these phrases. That are recited as affirmations. That truly feel like the most supportive guiding light in my life is truly interwoven within everything I am, everything that I do.
The beauty of being an entrepreneur, a business owner, a very intuitive, intimate photographer, I then get to share my heart in a way that attracts and resonates with the amazing souls I am honored to call my clients, even more so my friends.
This past weekend I had the honor of both documenting and getting to be a part of a very special baby shower. The sweetest, most intimate, incredibly stylish, wholesomely thoughtful beach baby shower.
Every detail was sensational. The mama-to-be, the sweetest their is.
The weather was perfect. The company even more vibrant than the afternoon glistening sun.
It was quite frankly, perfect.
This day, was a huge confirmation of living in I see you, I hear you, I feel you.
What started as an exchange between two strangers a few years ago has now blossomed into the most beautiful connection where I’ve documented everything from their engagement through today all the while really getting to know the couple at hand, so much so, we’ve shared family dinners in my home.
When I say my clients become friends, it is truth, a very beautiful truth!
Florals: Wildflower Florist
Cookies: Creative Side Cookie Company
Food: Punch Drunk Platter
My couples are having babies and my goodness, it’s making my heart sing!
A few years ago, I documented their engagement, shortly after that one of my badass associate photographers documented their wedding (as I had a baby 2 days before), a few months ago I had the honor of documenting their announcement portraits, and now-their maternity portraitsl!
You feel me on my heart singing?
Gosh! It just melts me getting to witness, to document, to be an integral part of such monumental moments in souls lives that truly become friends, feel like family.
In Kileigh’s review after their engagement photos, she wrote,
“From the moment we connected, Ashley was nothing short of exceptional. She truly cares about your vision and wants to connect with you on a deeper level which shows in her pictures.
Ashley has a creative mind that takes your photo session to the next level. One of my favorite things about her style is how she plays with the sun and uses the lighting to enhance your photos.
She gives so much direction while making you feel so beautiful and comfortable in your own skin... Ashley’s passion for capturing life is so beautiful and shows in each photo she takes.
For me, establishing this relationship will be one that will last beyond the wedding day, as we plan to hire Ashley to capture all our big moments in life!”
The truth is these words have served as a inspiration since the day I met both of these two!
I truly am honored, have been so blessed to be a part of all their big moments. It’s the greatest gift and another reason of why I do what I do!
These two, damn did I miss them so much.
I fell in love with them the moment I documented their engagement session, even more so during their wedding and was so beautifully reminded and amplified by their love, their connection, their beauty, and let’s be real - their style the moment we started documented their maternity portraits!
My heart, gosh does my heart feel intertwined with my couples, especially ones who I am so honored to witness, to document, to be a spectator in awe of the fruitfulness of love, of passion, of immensely pure connection.
These incredible souls will be welcoming their little lady in just under a few months!
Oh my heart am I just going to melt documenting those newborn portraits!
Trust. Trust. Trust.
This very session had to be rescheduled due to the rains and timing the day of didn’t start as planned.
Let me tell you something, I believe in divine timing.
Through all the changes that occurred before this session, it led us to the most perfect location at the most perfect time creating space for honoring the present and creating magic.
My friend, trust, trust, and trust yet again!
Within that trust is where magic is created! ✨
Each and every time I am honored to document an inspiration shoot, I am consumed by gratitude.
You see, these shoots are truly remarkable in that everyone involved donates their services and time.
When running an already full business or life for that matter, the commitment, can be overwhelming.
Truth be told, I’ve never felt that sensation as for me the benefits are sensational.
The opportunity to work with badass industry professionals.
The opportunity to witness and be a part of a real couples love without the pressures of a wedding day.
The opportunity to document in a space, in a new way with a fresh perspective.
The opportunity to truly “practice” creativity.
The opportunity to grow my portfolio in a way that resonates with my soul.
Oh, I could keep going!
This particular inspiration shoot was extra special as it had an additional element, well two!
The amazingly talented @marcybrowe_photo documented me mentoring @ashleyleavittphotography - for the first time ever! You see, I am launching my mentor program! Ekkkk!
One of the elements most important to me was working with a photographer, my mentee I hadn’t worked with before.
That experience alone, was the greatest gift as it brought to life my strengths, AND so many weaknesses.
Friend, there has been some incredible advice I’ve received over the years of which are guiding posts in my life.
One of the greatest of those is the importance in both acknowledging my strengths AND my weaknesses because truth be told, the awareness alone can turn any situation, any reality into an opportunity for inquiry, which leads to growth!
Thank you to all the incredible souls behind this magical shoot - I am honored to know you, honored to work with you, honored to be in creative space with you. Thank you for your commitment, your passion, your dedication, your inspiration! You are incredible!
Photography : Ashley Strong Photography
Models : Joy and Theo
Dress : Bridal Showcase
Tux : Friar Tux
Makeup : Design Visage
Florals : Fantasy Floral Designs
Location : Mission San Juan Capistrano
Let your communication give space for empowerment
as we are all doing the best we can, with the resources we have, at this given moment.
These words are interwoven within my being as a result of this little loves teachings, every single day.
Her light, her love, her full presence has given my life, immense intention.
What does this mean and look like?
It looks like accepting and honoring the fullness that life is.
That I am both a mom AND an entrepreneur.
That all things are possible, in balance, in intention, in gracefulness.
That some days are smooth, others are insanely rough, yet each one will pass, the lessons will unfold, and the next - is an immensely beautiful opportunity to start a new.
That when one thing is succeeding, another is failing and that, that is okay.
That when it feels right, is an answer enough in itself even if what feels right, isn’t right.
That creating boundaries, is insanely important and its not only okay, it necessary to honor those boundaries.
That there is this unmeasurable strength within each and everyone of us, that opens itself like a peacock feathers in the times most needed.
That being vulnerable creates space for authentic connections and conversations and within those, truth is discovered.
That although it may appear a certain way on the outside, most definitely doesn’t mean that’s the reality of the inside as we are all maneuvering this thing called life, at our own unique unfolding.
That therapy, is a necessity.
That creating space for what is most important enables your dream life to unfold, every single day.
That perfection is in the moment.
That love, is the greatest force, vibration, currency in our universe.
That today, can be anything you envision it to be.
That dancing, oh does dancing bring about the greatest laughter.
That life doesn’t have to be nor really is all that serious.
That you, me, us all are truly dynamic, sensational, inspirational beings.
That you shining your light, gives others permission to do the same.
That being you, fully you, simply is enough.
That you are enough, just as you are.
Friend, let your communication give space for empowerment.
I hear you.
I see you.
Friend, my heart has been on fire.
The honoring of the present.
The beauty of the subjects at hand, the nature that surrounds them and the glistening sun that engulfs them.
It melts me, every single time.
Frankly, my couples are amazing.
They’re badass, rad, radiant, kind hearted, genuine, very in love souls.
You see, this didn’t “just happen.”
This isn’t “coincidence.”
No, not “luck” either.
This is me, intentionally connecting with myself, with my craft of a profession, with the why behind what I do, every single day. In this connection, I have very humbly, very proudly been able to communicate that with the world - through my branding, though my photographic style, through each and every time capsule created, through the extensive conversations I have before booking a wedding.
Truthfully, I could keep going. I share this, not to gloat.
I share this, as I am immensely inspired by each and every soul I meet, photographic exchange that is shared and long lasting trust and connection that is built. I share this, as through living intentionally, sharing intentionally, I attract those who do the same. There is the understanding, this synergy, this trust that is truly so life giving. It is beautiful. It is confirmation of the cyclical nature of our existence - what you put out, you get back, tenfold. I put myself out here, each and everyday as I know the most perfect souls will receive it and they will become family!
These time capsules, are truly the culmination of this all.
Andi and Matt, you two are truly incredible!
I had so much fun documenting your love.
Cannot wait for your wedding in 2022!
Where are you in this present moment?
Have you really taken the time to not just think about, but to truly feel the present moment?
I’ve been asking myself this, a lot lately.
Im not sure if it’s all these long runs, being a mama, witnessing and being a part of my business expanding, maneuvering fire wife life or the insanely inspirational and rad clients I’ve been exchange with.
Either way, everything that is creates this expansive space for me to be present, fully present.
Why am I sharing this on a newborn post?
Because within this presence, is the ability to truly feel while documenting.
To be supportive. To be expansive. To be aware of the energy within the space.
To be present, really feeling what is present.
Throughout my photographic exchanges, I’ve always been committed to slowing down time in honoring the breath.
I have both my clients and myself close our eyes, take a deep inhalation and exhalation and then open to document. That moment, is powerful.
The moment, feels so real, so raw, so true to our authentic selves.
The breath interwoven with full presence has really created space for such sweet magic to be created.
In this moment, mama sat close to baby, comforting her by her touch and sweet voice, I kneeled quietly and we waited for her to settle. Very quickly this little love sunk into her comfy spot, so much so - their puppy was able to join!
Friend, anytime you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, ecstatic, consumed, joyful, exhausted, energized, disconnected, euphoric, you name it - check in to the present moment.
Where are you?
How does this truly feel?
The results, are immensely beautiful awareness and acceptance of being right here, right now.
With each inhalation and exhalation, I, you, me, we are becoming a different version of ourselves.
What do I mean by this?
Every interaction, every exchange, every podcast listened to, every book read, every realization, every conversation, every experience shapes us, evolves us, expands us.
For me, I truly hope that within these breaths, within this expansion, I am becoming a more intentional, committed, grounded, sincere, loving, kind soul - a mother, wife, entrepreneur, photographer, creator, friend, daughter, sister, community member and oh so much more.
My business, from it's very initiation has been very intentional. It has been one of my deepest commitments to truly express myself in both written and visual forms bringing to life my heart, my soul - into the physical world. As I've done this, so too has it expanded into my brand, my logo, the representation of the business I so passionately run and the clients I sincerely serve. Over the past five years, my logo has evolved to coincide both mine and by business evolutions. Friend, let my introduce my new logo (and therefore website) really reflecting and expanding on everything I've worked through and towards, leading me to today! I am so insanely proud of this new representation of my brand, my business, my passion, my profession, my love, my connect to and with each of you.
This logo comes in two parts.
One to reflect the photography aspect of my business -
Ashley Strong Photo : Documenting love. Spreading love.
The other, Ashley Strong Smith : Photographer. Creator. Mentor -
to reflect the human, the passion, of intimately personal side of my business.
All intertwining the sunburst, one of the reasons my clients fall in love with my work, that of intimately connecting with my clients, while sharing the suns magnificent rays and bursts of light! It feels so right, so incredibly right.
With sharing this new logo, I give honor, respect, acknowledgment to all that have come before.
A massive shout out to Juliet with Lunations, Inc. for being the absolute best at what you do
and bringing this all to life and full circle!
Logo 6 (part I):