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
4. 25 main time capsules, 15 secondary
For Lustre Prints/ Canvases :
2. Type of print (lustre or canvas)
4. image number(s)
What a spectacular way to end of the 2018 wedding season with this unbelievably radiant couple! I was blown away by the thought and detail that went into each and every moment of the day!
To the couples I’ve documented over the years, thank you, from the bottom of my existence for your continued love, support and inspiration! Without you, Ashley Strong Photography, once a dream, now an all encompassing vibrantly blissful corporation wouldn’t be a reality. Thank you for your trust, your belief, your honor, your friendship. It is in each and every photographic exchange that truth is spoken. The truth of the unconditional love you share, the radiant beauty you exude, the compassion that shines through your eyes and the humbleness that you embody.
Thank you for shining your light so brightly, giving me space to shine and reflect mine. I am infinitely grateful for you. Thank you for being part of ASP’s community!
Florals : The Bouquet Florists
Getting Ready Location : Pechanga Resort & Casino
Venue : Longshadow Ranch Winery
DJ : Vision to Mission Entertainment
Tell us a little about you.
I’m Ashley Strong Smith, the oh-so grateful traveling photographer and owner of Ashley Strong Photography! I’m someone captivated by life and the experiences that occur within those moments. Deep within my soul lives the want, the need, and the passion for human connection. Those intimate moments where a friendship and a relationship forms. Me, seeing, honoring, documenting individuals, as them, and the beauty within their uniqueness. Being inspired by the author Dave Eggers in one of my all-time favorite books, “What is the What.” He tells a story of Valentino Achak Deng, a young man, once a refugee from Sudan, now a citizen of the United States. His vantage point, well it was told from the voice of Valentino Achak Deng in what would be the climax of this story. Eggers painted the pictures so vibrantly, and so passionately. A story. A true story within this life time lived by another soul, yet described as his own. Me, yes me. I am drawn to, connected to, and put on this earth to tell stories. The stories of my friends and clients. My vantage point being this moment, right here, right now.
Describe a situation that you faced that challenged and stretched you.
I was comfortably settled in a tiny studio within an old Spanish style building tucked behind slowly growing foliage on fourth street. Fourth street in Long Beach, California that is. I had this whole 9-5 job thing down. I excelled at my current job descriptions, making my way into a position that better reflected my skill sets in the community development world of public broadcasting. My weekdays were spent maneuvering through the office culture, while figuring out what it really meant to live within my skin. I was happy, or at least what I thought was happy.
I mean, how could I not have been? I was in a place where I truly enjoyed my job, my colleagues were some of my best friends, I lived in a beautiful studio apartment, I made a salary that sometimes supported my life, I ran and did yoga almost daily. I went on adventures when they presented themselves, I had this thing they call weekends, I drank lattes when I wanted, I made connections, I photographed weddings, families, and yogis on the weekends. I was happy. I was content. Content was the overall feeling. At the time, content is what felt like the right feeling to strive for. This reality continued for nearly four years. I kept asking myself, “Is this what life is supposed to be? Is contentment the greatest feeling?” Although I had so much excitement, so much going for me, there was something missing. I knew that my existence was meant to encompass more, much more.
I was sitting at my desk working on another community engagement grant, headphones on as usual, finding myself reading the same line of my soon-to-be submitted grant proposal, repeatedly. Although reading one thing, a very different, very loud question kept swirling around everything that was me at that very moment.
I paused. I listened.
Very loudly in my own skin, I asked myself, “Ashley, are you just existing or are you actually living?”
“Are you JUST existing or are you ACTUALLY LIVING?”
Deep, deep breath.
Please, pause yourself at this moment and ask yourself that very question.
ARE YOU JUST EXISTING OR ARE YOU ACTUALLY LIVING?
A few additional deep breaths danced through my body. I got up from my desk, walked to the elevator as quickly as possible without being suspicious and waited till the button dinged at the ground floor. I walked around our building, focusing on all the natural elements around me, witnessing the leaves sway with the breeze, the water splash around the fountain, the sun glistening that which it touched, the birds dancing about in the sky.
There was a calmness around me, yet a loudness within me. I thought to myself, “I am just existing.” Everything around me truly seemed to slow down.
That very moment.
Well, it was the shift.
The ultimate shift within my existence.
Although the structure of my day job continued for another couple months, change was happening quickly. The immediate shift was through my awareness, being completely present in my feelings, actions, words, thoughts, desires, and wants. Consecutively, I would excitedly rush home after work, well, as quickly as I could with the 405 traffic to begin researching what I was focusing on with my time after work. I turned this research into inquiring, responding to in-depth essay questions, joining webinars, having phone interviews, and followed up by skype interviews. No, I wasn’t looking for a new job, a new apartment or a new boyfriend.
Yes, I was looking to discover this missing piece of my soul. It was time.
Several months after researching, inquiring, submitting and interviewing, I received a letter. I held it tightly in my hands, nerves running through my body, a smile splashed across my face. I paused for a moment before opening it, took a deep breath. “This is it,” I thought. “This is what you’ve been wanting to do since you started college. This is what you’ve known you were meant to do since you were a young girl.”
I opened the letter.
“Congratulations Ashley Strong, you have been accepted into WorldTeach for a semester of teaching abroad in Tanzania, Africa in January 2013.” I took another deep breath. “Please read the following letter.
Once you accept the acceptance, you’ll receive a welcome packet.” I quickly read the letter, went online and most definitely accepted the acceptance! A large envelope arrived a few short weeks later nestling a welcome packet, Swahili language book, needed vaccines, what to expect, and insight into cultural training.
It was really happening.
And happening quickly.
I had a few short months to prepare.
That day I couldn’t focus on anything but that very loud question at a time when I was happy, when I was content. I listened. I listened to that inner voice, that inner knowing and took the time to truly understand my answers,
and to truly understand what it all meant. I was very confident in the knowing of just existing. After all, I had yet to really feel what it felt like to be living- living fully. This very reality was quickly going to change as I was about to live out that which was once a thought, desire, want, and curiosity. I would soon be living with a local Tanzanian family, teaching their youth English and living in a country I knew nothing about, but was so excited to come and learn. This was going to be my new reality. This very idea, that of living in a country so different than the one I had been blessed to grow up in, inspired me, excited me, and brought a vibrancy into my life.
From the very moment of being accepted, there was no hesitancy, no questioning, no second-guessing, and no reservations. This was what I was going to do; this was where my life’s journey was going to take me,
this was where my soul was going to be stretched. Being a Cancer and a bit overly organized, I knew action had to be taken, immediately. I began brainstorming on ways to fundraise, ways to pay to make this happen although I was volunteering. I had to pay several thousand dollars for this to be a reality. I quickly gave my landlord my 30 days’ notice and sweetly asked my mom and Holmes if I could move in with them for a few months to save money. I hosted an Ashley Strong Photography fundraiser at my local yoga studio where I framed and sold time capsules I documented during my previous travels. I sent detailed personal letters to friends and families asking for donations.
After all, I knew nothing would cloud my vision in making this all possible.
Next, the largest piece, the hardest, maybe one of the scariest, my job. I asked myself, “Are you going to quit? What are you going to do when you get back? ” I reminded myself, “You need this money. You need insurance. You need...the list continued” I paused. “Ashley, trust, just trust that it will work itself out, it always does.” My dear boss, “I got accepted into a program to teach English in Tanzania, Africa, it starts at the beginning of the year.” Deep breath. She surprisingly replied, “Okay, what do you want to do with your job here?” I paused and I’m pretty sure I gasped too. I took another deep breath. “Well, you see, I would love to come back, I love my job.” She said, “Okay, you can take a sabbatical. Just write a formal letter including the dates you’ll be gone.” Yes, this was true. Yes, this really happened. At the time, I operated in shock as I never thought all of this would be a possibility, a reality.
Before I knew it, everyday a new letter and check came in the mail. An email was received, I had another donation through PayPal or the WorldTeach website. My community, the incredible community that existed around my existence truly humbled me. The support, the willingness to give a little and in many cases a lot towards another souls’ journey, my journey, created a happiness that quite frankly changed the lenses in which I chose to view life through.
In January of 2013, I embarked on a journey that has stretched, enhanced and brought a deep vibrancy to every aspect of the woman I am today. I joyfully paid to volunteer teach English at a secondary school on the remote island of Mafia Island, off the east coast of Tanzania, Africa.
I taught 132 students ranging from 12 to 18 years old rotating amongst myself and two other teachers.
Quite frankly, I fell in love. I fell in love with learning from my students, with being a teacher, with being a part of a community so completely different than that of what I had known. I fell in love with a handsome South African who is now my husband. I fell in love with being surrounded by nature, with being able to wake each morning with the rising sun, ending each day just a few short hours after the setting of the sun.
I fell in love with the Swahili language and the culture that carried that very language.
While living on the island, my space consisted of a quaint concrete walled room in a lovely local families’ home where I lived with the second head master, his wife and their son Raymond who was 3 1/2 at the time. The connection, the bond, the friendship that formed with this little soul was so uniquely special. He filled my days with so much light, so much love, so many questions, just as many answers, and so much pure joy. Our communication consisted of tickling, swinging and laughing as there was a deep language barrier. Most evenings after I would run, Raymond awaited my return on the front porch, would sprint to me for some swinging time and then say "picha!"
I would go inside, grab my camera and Raymond and I would take a long walk around the neighborhood taking pictures, pointing, giggling and laughing, truly just being in the moment.
My weeks were filled with teaching English Monday through Friday with alternating streams. I vividly remember moments being absolutely salama (peaceful) and a smile not leaving my face. While other moments were a bit frustrating and exhausting as the language barrier made it hard to say all that I wanted to my students. I wanted to share with the community how much I truly cared. My journal from this time reflected constant reminders. Reminders that words are not always needed, that it was my actions, my energy, my nonverbal communication, me being fully present, is what truly matted. My school was less than a two-minute walk from our doorstep. I walked along a dirt road to my cook and new friends house for morning chai and lessons preparations for the day. After school, my Tanzanian teaching partner and I walked back to the very house we began our morning and ate deliciously cooked local meals by our enthusiastic and loving chief. The food, the richness, the colors, the rawness, the culture, it vibrates loudly in my mind. Chai ya asubuhi (breakfast) was by far my favorite meal as it consisted of either mandazi (a glazed biscuit) or chapati (a tortilla like bread), mayai (eggs), peanut butter, chai (tea), kahawa ya rangi (black coffee), embe (mango) and ndizi (banana). Every evening around sunset, I ran around my neighborhood enabling me to reflect on the events of the day all the while physically and mentally regenerating and preparing for that which was. Runs were followed by bucket showers, yes, it was literally a bucket of cold water with a cup. Each bucket shower became more and more meditative. After mine and Raymond’s evening walk, we’d sit on the front porch, he would color, I would write. Sometimes the roles changed. These days, writing came very easily. The witnessing, the understanding, the fullness, the pure happiness, the euphoria of truly living vibrated my entire being. This, this is what living truly meant. This is what happy truly looked like. Contentment, it was a stale feeling of the past.
Throughout my time on the island, the word "community" took on whole new meaning. I was invited into so many people homes, just to sit in their living room saying all but a few words, just enjoying being in the company of one another. The community, the vibrancy, the purity, it was so inspiring. There was a synergy. Everyone just seemed to work together, to help one another, to look after each other. There was a hamna shida (no problem) way of life, where people were accepted for who they truly are and not by what they do or what possessions they own. The pace of life, it was very slow. People spent all day just being in the company of others, smiling, sharing, laughing, and telling stories.
Living and teaching on that island opened my eyes, my heart, my curiosity, my acceptance in many, many ways that unfolds daily and I know will continue to discover. While being engulfed in the Tanzanian culture, I observed, I listened, I explored, I discovered unfamiliar facets of my very being through that of being fully present with the community around me. You see, this community radiated compassion through opening their homes and hearts to others. There was a trust, an honesty, a purity, a life enhancing I’m-flying-my-wings-and-really- living exchange. I am humbly grateful for every aspect of this experience as it challenged me, stretched me, expanded my understanding of myself and lead me into the humbled woman I am today.
Upon returning to the States , I wrote, “ I can simply say I am absolutely in love with life. I have never felt so incredible, so beautiful, so free, so “me.” I have discovered a new me, a grown me, an open me. A me so full of love, light and gratitude. A me, so humbled. A me, thirsty for more.”
My soul had been stretched.
My heart had been opened.
My purpose has been discovered.
What did you learn about yourself and how did it shape you into the woman you are today?
On my flight from the States to Dar es Salaam, the capital of Tanzania, I watched a movie, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” Near the conclusion of the movie, I vividly remember tearing up as I was filled with so much inspiration, excitement, love and openness about this journey I was physically in route to embark on. One line that caught my attention and forced my hand into writing for hours was, “To chart a journey into the unknown, a map is required, yet the most unknown of journey’s is what we call life.” My journey had not just begun on the flight that afternoon, my journey began decades ago, centuries ago, well let’s face it, a life time’s ago.
When applying to WorldTeach, I questioned my qualifications. I was applying for a teaching program and guess what, I didn't consider myself a teacher. Yes, I had volunteer experience where I’d tutored youth, but to stand in front of a classroom, to have my own class, especially in a foreign country, that just seemed silly. Despite my questioning, life continued and I completed all necessary tasks to bring this vision into a reality. One task that created space for me to root down, dive within, discover this woman, that was me, included responding to three essays, each containing multiple questions, “What is your motivation for wanting to be a WorldTeach volunteer? What contributions do you hope to bring to the community?” I dove deep within my soul. “What was my motivation, what could I contribute?” I sat down. I listened. I did my very best to communicate this listening.
My response, “I am drawn to spreading knowledge, authenticity and compassion by working with communities of the world. I want a deeper intercultural understanding of humanity, unity and working together all the while teaching through my native English language. I am a very reflective being always wanting and needing to give back to society, to humanity, and to others. I have a love for life, for humanity, for existence, and for all people around me. I am creative, positive, vibrant, full of life, patient, open to change and ready for new challenges. I am intrigued by the power of humanity, energy, connections, influence and teaching. I am extremely open with a willingness to teach, to learn, to accept, to give my heart and to share my passion.”
While living, teaching and falling in love with Mafia Island, Tanzania, I put my heart out there. I loved deeply. I embraced the community. I put everything I had into my students at Kitomondo Secondary School. Yes, there were challenges. And absolutely yes, were there many aspects I could have improved upon. But, I am human. I experience. I make mistakes. I second-guess my nature. Most importantly, I live. I breathe. I respect. I understand. I love.
Oh, do I love so deeply.
When I think of the moments that made of this very experience, tears fill my eyes. They fill out of mere excitement, of joy, of love. These moments, the breaths within the moments created space for me to witness, to listen, to discover, to understand and ultimately put it all into practice. I rediscovered that our world is unfathomably huge with us; yes us, being a small speckle amongst it all. I tapped into openness. Embrace. Living in the moment. Breathing in the fresh air. Being okay in the presence of my own skin. Even more so, being okay in the presence of the company of all those around you even when words aren’t being spoken. Love, love as deeply as you’re being will release. With love, this world, our world, our existence is a far more beautiful place. Inspire, although you may feel exhausted at the task at hand, your presence alone is an inspiration. In simple terms, it shows you care. I exist in this world because you exist.
What advice would you share with someone who is facing a situation that is
challenging them to step outside of their comfort zone?
Life, life happens quickly. Your actions and choices of today directly affect that of tomorrow. And a year from now. Because truth is, that year from now is going to be today and when it is today, chances are you’ll find yourself asking, “How is it already (insert your date of choice here)? Where did the time go? What have I been doing with myself?” Those answers, only you truly know. Those answers are designed specifically for you, about you, of you. Because you have the very power to make your life, your reality exactly what you want. You can make all your dreams realities. You have the power, the choice to dive into simply existing or fully living.
The excitement is real.
The love is felt.
The inspiration is heightened.
The honor is vibrant.
The admiration is humbling.
When I spoke with Becca of the Living in Yellow team, we connected quickly. She told me about Erin's line coming out, about their visions for the session, about their mission. We strategized locations, dates, times and all the in-between that goes with two full days of shooting. The first including 12 different locations and 27 different outfits.
The second including 7 different locations and about 20 different outfits.
When I met them in person, it felt so right. We quickly started shooting, not long after the giggling joined in, the love, inspiration, excitement and commitment remained a constantly intertwining theme as we shared these two days together. When it came time to give hugs goodbye, I didn't want it to end. None of it had felt like "work." It all had felt like a bunch of powerful ladies spent two days together being their badass selves!
Erin, the founder and owner of Living In Yellow and her amazingly supportive team flew all the way out from Indiana for a two day lifestyle shoot throughout La Jolla and downtown San Diego
reflecting their Gibson and Living in Yellow clothing line that released at Nordstrom's!
It's truly soooo inspiring to document what was once Erin's dream and is now a vibrantly blissful reality!
I truly feel so blessed to document this monumental times in all their lives!
Do you want to learn more about Erin, Living in Yellow and the Gibson x LIY line at Nordstroms?
Explore Living in Yellow's blog post here!
Do you want to learn more about the inspiration behind naming the pieces? Explore here!
Locations : La Jolla, Gaslamp and NorthPark, San Diego
Hair & Make-up : Elwynn and Cass
For the past two years, twice per year, I've had the honor of documenting
and witnessing the growth of the adorable children's clothing company, Sweet Bamboo!
Sweet Bamboo is a vibrant youth clothing line with new styles, patterns and colors coming out several times a year.
With the launch of this past line, I had the honor of documenting her creative vision in local youth.
Each session is filled with the most adorable little models, the most complimentary locations we can find and this time, some super fun props! What makes this so excitingly special is every session encompasses anywhere from newborns to three months to seven years in the coming seasons ridiculously adorable clothes!
Each of the youth truly has such beautiful eyes and adorable little personalities.
Although these portraits were documented on a day when there were record heat temperatures,
the kids still did absolutely wonderful! It's been so inspiring working with another female entrepreneur and truly experiencing massive growth in both our businesses in just two short years!
On April 30th, 2015, I received an email from this dear soul, "Hi Honey, I've gathered from your posts that you've returned home? My heart is with you right now. I can only imagine what you're going through. Coming home is so...hard. My stomach still seizes up when I remember my first few weeks back after being away. It is a gut-wrenching feeling that sticks with you. My heart is so with you right now. If you're back in San Diego, I'd love to see you. We can get coffee and walk on the beach. xo." My heart smiled and she knew, she totally knew what my reality consisted of! I had just gotten back home after not living in the States for over a year and a half! A few days later, we got coffee and walked around a local market in Oceanside. It was, like incredibly connected sisters, reconnecting.
From this day, this very soul is what I call a sister. She gets me. I get her. It's incredible. Just recently, I was so honored to document her lifestyle portraits as she has launched her own consulting company!
Caitie, your passion, your love, your knowledge for life, connection and expression is truly so inspirational. I am grateful for your presence each and everyday!
2018 was a year of expansiveness as it's been one of the most gratifying and busiest season yet engaging in 150 photographic exchanges ranging from weddings, engagements, branding portraits for Nordstroms, anniversaries, families, lifestyle portraits, you name it.
The expansiveness comes into play as these sessions have been sprinkled with moving to
San Clemente, winning wedding industry awards, announcing our pregnancy, attended a life enhancing women’s retreat, becoming a corporation, documenting for Nordstrom’s,
hosting ASP’s first ever Cultural Art Show, sharing instagram/facebook lives,
celebrating my 31st birthday, traveling, road-tripping, hiking, spreading my grandfathers ashes, supporting my father-in-law’s immigration to the United States, expanding on development days, falling deeper in love with my husband,
ah, I could keep going with all the goodness that life has presented itself as.
Each moment, every interaction, every exchange, every client that became a friend, all the smiles that have been shared, every moment of overwhelming love and gratitude, has filled my soul! Thank you to my amazing husband who constantly supports the woman and business owner I strive to be everyday. Thank you to ALL my friends and family for being you and creating space for me to be me. Thank you to all the amazing souls, families, couples, empowering individuals and partners for your support, for your trust, for your belief in my passion of a profession, in allowing me to document your light and share it with the world!
Thank you to all those that continue to support, encourage, inspire, uplift, challenge and enhance this beautiful journey called life! I am grateful for each and everyone of you!
Cheers to an incredible 2019!
Much love, Ashley Strong Smith
: Love. Weddings
: Love. Engagements
: Life. Lifestyle
: Life. Families
The power of photography has been my vessel, my communication, contributing to spreading awareness of
and for the communities of the world to share, connect and uplift one another.
Another dream has been realized as three of Ashley Strong Photography's time capsules from Mafia Island, Tanzania
have recently been published in the November 2014 issue of Getaway Magazine.
Below you can see the four page spread about Mafia Island, Tanzania within the November issue.
You can see more time capsules from Mafia Island, Tanzania on Ashley Strong Photography's - Africa Travel Portfolio and read about my adventures living and teaching in a local village on my blog, Jambo From Tanzania.
Truly so blessed and thankful for this opportunity!
These two. I just can't. Last year, I so graciously had the honor of documenting their stunning wedding at the Darlington House. The day was beyond vibrantly perfect. There, there was this incredible connection. Over the year, we've stayed in close contact, went wine tasting and truly started developing an incredible friendship!
Just before their first anniversary, John messaged me with excitement wanting to give Chantel a gift certificate for an anniversary session! We started playing with ideas and before we knew it, he gifted her the certificate we had the perfect photographic exchanged planned! An afternoon date! The cutest idea ever! We spent our time playing around Pacific City in Huntington Beach as they ate lunch, did some break dancing on an epic staircase, skipped down another set of stairs and indulged in each others presence.
My friends, your session is completely for you! A reflection of you, your story, your union!
After receiving the time capsules, Chantel said, "My goodness, Ashley!!! You did it once again! I am so in awe of all the amazing shots you were able to capture of us. Having worked with you before and knowing your style, I already had a good feeling of what to expect. However, you have gone beyond my expectations and were able to create so many wonderful, fun, and touching time capsules that just made my heart glow! Seriously, I love all the pictures you took and can‘t stop looking at them. They perfectly represent the good time John & I had during this shoot and how comfortable you made us feel. You just have this really positive and warm aura that is so fun to be around and brings out the best in everyone. I can‘t thank you enough for being so awesome and gifting us with these lovely pictures of us! You are simply THE BEST!!!❤️"
This duo right here, truly exudes compassion, understanding, love and a deep sense of gratitude. Immediately upon connecting, it was like old friends, simply reconnecting. The similarities, the parallel realties, the shared values and connections has truly been one of my greatest inspirations! How did our worlds connect? Through that of messages, sensations, a knowing. My friends, you see, ASP been extremely intentional on its branding, its messaging, its communication and ultimately connecting with such radiantly, dynamic souls behind the lens. These two, are in complete alignment with it all.
Their engagement session, was truly radiant, filled with laughter, smiles, adventures on not so comfortable rocks, all the while telling their unique stories, their personal expression. This time capsule, right here, is one of my favorites as there is this immense realness to delicacies of life. Just weeks before our session, Tim was off fighting the vicious fires in Northern California. The lack of sleep, the close calls, the immense passion, the dedication to helping, is life giving! You two, are truly such a powerful duo! This is what life looks like, when a nurse and a firefighter combine forces. They're unstoppable!
Congratulations you two, I am honored to be a part of your story!
Jackie and Alex's oh so very romantic wedding was an incredible expression of humble love and appreciation!
They were so incredibly gracious to each and every soul in attendance.
After sending their teasers, I woke to the sweetest email,
"How can words express the gratitude we have for you!? You are so full of love and joy that it beams from every inch of you. Besides hearing congratulations all night, the 2nd most common remark was- OMG, your photographer is absolutely amazing!! Thank you so much for putting 1000% into our special day!"
Congrats again you two! I am infinitely grateful for documenting this special day!
Venue : @stonebrewing in @stoneescondido
Photography : @ashleystrongphotography
Coordination : @dayof.love
Florals : @branchesfloralstudio
Music : Tinifu Loa Grey
Hair & Makeup : Ana Boggiano Hairstylist and Make-Up Artist
Photo Booth : @unionbooth
Cake : @nothingbundtcakes
Where do I even begin with this family? They really are, now, part of my family, me, part of theirs.
Back in the day, before ASP became my full time career, I worked for PBS and met Ryan (the incredible dad you see here). That expanded into me documenting his company events, being referred to document his dear friend wedding and then. And then, getting asked to document the birth of their sweet, sweet daughter.
That, that day, changed it all. As Mary (the incredible mom here) was being wheeled into her room, she looked at me and said, "My sister!" Yes, we are most definitely sisters! I've then went on to document her newborn pictures in their beautiful home and most recently, their holiday portraits.
Seeing them, is music to my eyes, inspiration to my heart!
It's incredible the connection I have the souls that make up #aspcommunity!
Thank you for being my family.
Thank you for allowing me to be such an intimate part of your story!
I appreciate you all, so very much! .
This family is seriously soooooooo incredibly special and dear to my heart!
Over the years, I've documented their wedding (my first EVER solo wedding), the welcoming of their first daughter, then her first birthday portraits, family photos just after daddy got deployed! Then, maternity portraits when mommy was pregnant with their second, newborn portraits and most recently holiday portraits!
My, oh my, has it been such an honor getting to witness and document so many life enhancing moments for this incredibly beautiful family!
Congratulations again on all the amazingness happening in your worlds!
I couldn't be more grateful for all of you!
This weeks Tips Tuesday is truly so dear to my heart!
My world, you see, is very intentional, filled with immense depths.
Each day, a number or rituals are exchanged.
Some days, its just one, maybe two and other days, it's all of the below mentioned!
That of affirmations, I AM statements, meditations, nature walks,
tarot/oracle card pulling, reading, writing, intention/ goal setting, reflecting.
Why am I sharing this?
Because these very universal exchanges, have brought so much clarity,
so much vibrancy, so much beauty into my very existence!
And my goodness, do I want to share it with all of you!
As we approach the end of another incredible year, I truly believe in not only setting intentions for the New Year, but honoring and reflecting on all that came this past year
as its so important celebrate all that has brought us to this very moment.
My friends, here are the tools I personally use as I reflect on 2018 and prepare for 2019!
I truly hope these rituals bring about abundance, clarity, vibrancy and inspiration.
Before you dive into these very universal exercises, get a notebook and pack of pens that inspire you! Then, take a moment to create a safe and sacred space. Light a candle and/or incense. Put on calming music. Sit down with your pen and paper. Before even beginning to write, close your eyes, place your left hand over your heart, your right hand over your belly. Take a deep inhalation as you fill up from the stomach, ribs, chest. Pause. Then, slowly exhale, as you release from your chest, ribs, stomach. Take a minimum of three breaths like this. Pause for a few moments and when you're ready, open your eyes and begin!
Enjoy and discover your very depths!
Much love friends, so much love,
: 2018 Reflections & 2019 Intentions
: Specific Goals & I Am Statements
: Vision Board
: New Year's Tarot Spread
This time of year, truly fills my souls! From the beginning of October till just before Christmas, I get to spend such intimate time with dozens, upon dozens of families, individuals, you name it! This year, ASP has four different locations and dates for holiday mini sessions!
When initially sharing this, I felt a bit over ambitious, that's a lot of spots to fill.
32 to be exact. To my surprise, with the incredible souls that make up
#aspcommunity, all the spots were filled. Ekkkkk!
Each shoot truly filled my soul with such a vibrancy.
It is within these moments, these very exchanges,
that I am honored, and oh so very aware of why I do what I do.
Quite simply put, I witness, document and then share
some of the most pure expressions of love and beauty.
This couple, oh my goodness, this couple! Have I mentioned how much I just LOVE LOVE!?!?
This review from the incredibly gorgeous woman here, pretty much sums up our experience, one in which I hold dear to my heart.... "Our first experience with Ashley was a friends wedding, she was LOVINGLY nicknamed Bulldog after the guys realized she meant business! Don’t let the size fool you, this woman runs the show! I loved her interactions with everyone throughout the evening, and then seeing the final product really solidified my obsession. I decided to book her for my own engagement shoot. I was clear from the beginning, I’m not a frilly, picky, sassy gal, I just want a comfortable shoot, and please dear god don’t make me smile for too long. She immediately suggested scheduling a “holiday mini shoot”. Done. She’s the sweetest, easiest person to work with. I didn’t have to think about anything, how do I pose, does my hair look ok, what’s my best side? We walked away feeling relieved and excited! Geoffrey and I have been together for 9 years, we’ve never had professional photos taken before, and I’m so glad we waited for Ashley to do them! Ashley, you are perfection!"
Congrats on your engagement! I am honored to be able to document and assist in telling this part of your story!
One of my favorite parts about photographic exchanges are the depth in which these souls, couples, families, individuals, companies, you name it, become my friends, become part of my heart.
As I witness the time capsules from the various sessions, the words I wrote early last year that make up "ASP's Commitment to You" sings so loudly. "Our photographic exchange is that time the very time for me to witness, take in, capture, process and share that very moment, that very part of your story. My communication will always be honest, sincere, humbly truthful. As your connection, your love, your support and mirrored vulnerability will be cherished, valued, heard and held dear. It is my honor to document your story and to tell it, share it, through the most vibrantly unique vantage point."
This my friends, couldn't be more true. I cherish these sacred moments as they become tools in telling your story, that one that is incredibly unique to you, that one that makes your existence shine. Thank you for sharing this honor.
My goodness, this photographic exchange was one filled with creative inspiration!
I was blessed to be connected with the rad owners of 87 Spirits through a dear friend Teasha (thank you so much sweet soul)! This team recently released Pier View Gin, a hand crafted gin created right in North County San Diego!
Although not usually shared, I get so inspired with working with entrepreneurs in this sphere! We connected, discussed the ideas that they had and before we knew it, found a local bar, a few models and documented vibrant cocktails showcasing this very gin!
My friends, if you're a gin lover, go out and try Pier View Gin!
You won't be disappointed!
My friends, my gratitude expands each and every time I have the opportunity to be on the other side of the lens!
Truth be told, (although I may be biased), I think every soul should have a moment or two behind the lens, no matter what your current reality reflects.
To tap into your uniqueness, your greatness, your individual expression,
your love, not just for your loved one, but for you,
all the while creating a deeper understanding of your vision, purchase and why.
My goodness, does that sound so incredible magical, or what?
When prepping for a photographic exchange, one in which I am on the other side of the lens, I become inquisitive of these EIGHT (8) aspects :
1. What is Your VISION?
: Do you have a location in mind?
: A Color?
: A Feeling or feelings?
: Time of day?
: Time of year?
: What type of environment?
2. What is Your Purpose?
: What are you going to use these time capsules for?
: What do you want to reflect from this shoot?
3. What is Your Why?
: Why are you getting these portraits taken?
: Why are these time capsules so important to you, your family, your business, you name it?
4. LOCATION is so Incredibly Important.
: Do you have a location in mind?
: Do you have
: Does that location tell your story?
: Need help finding a location, check out ASP's favorites in Southern California!
5. Plan your Outfits Accordingly.
: What are your brand colors?
: What type of environment are you shooting in?
: What do you feel amazing in?
6. Include Personalized Details!
: Do you love accessories? Bring them!
: Do your kiddos love their new hats? Bring them!
: Do you need time capsules with your laptop, phone, book, you name it? Bring it!
7. Build a Connection with Your Photographer!
: Do you have a favorite side?
: Feel good in a certain pose?
: Have questions.
You better believe photographers want to hear it. The more I (we) know, the better we can bring your vision to life!
8. Be in the moment!
: Truth in the process
: Have fun
: Just be YOU!
Still want to learn more about preparing for your session? Explore here!
Example Session #1 :
: Vision : Updated, personalized, uniquely expression brand and couple time capsules.
: Purpose : Have content to share information that has been on my mind and heart.
: Why : To express the immense love for my partner and bring light into my daily rituals.
: Location : Our Living-room and fields behind our house.
: Outfits : Three different outfits to reflect three different visions.
: Vendors Involved : Marcy Browe Photography and Makeup by Adrianne.
Example Session #2 :
: Vision : Light-hearted, colorful, dynamic, showcasing multiple aspects of ASP!
: Purpose : Updated branding portraits for 2018!
: Why : Connect to my audience in a deeper way, show various aspects of my soul.
: Location : In Marcy's studio and outdoor off the side of a highway in Fallbrook.
: Outfits : 3 different, to showcase my three different styles.
: Vendors Involved : Marcy Browe Photography, Makeup by Adrianne and Scissorous
Example Session #3 :
: Vision : Dynamically, vibrant time capsules representing various aspect's of ASP's art show!
: Purpose : Document ASP's first ever Cultural Art Show.
: Why : Bring to life something so very dear to my heart.
: Location : Legacy Brewing Company
: Outfit : Fun, expressive, complimentary to ASP's cultural time capsules.
: Vendors Involved : Rachael Smith Photography and Makeup by Adrianne
Want to witness more from ASP's first ever Cultural Art Show? Explore here!
Example Session #4 :
: Vision : Real life branding portraits with some of my greatest inspirations (books, writing and my hubby)!
: Purpose : Dynamic portraits with my husband in one of my favorite locations!
: Why : I love my husband and get so giddy with getting to tell this part of my story, our story.
: Location : Caspers Wilderness Park (Orange County)
: Outfits : Casual, everyday life type of outfits!
: Vendors : Maria with Olive Light Images and Makeup by Yildiz
Example Session #5 :
: Vision : Professional, yet reflective of my connection to Africa (my skirt) and deeper insight into me!
: Purpose : First every ASP branding photo shoot (believe it or not?!?)
: Why : Start to share more about myself, the woman behind the lens.
: Location : A random field in Oceanside (I have a thing for finding locations off the beaten path)
: Outfits : Professional dress, African skirt and a hat that I just live!
: Vendors : Marcy Browe Photography and Kelly Dawn Stylist
Example Session #6 :
: Vision : To bring to life our global realities of meeting half way across the world!
: Purpose : Document our Wedding!
: Why : To share the love we are blessed to experience on a daily basis with our closest friends and family!
: Location : Oceanside Pier and Hello Betty's
: Outfit : Wedding dress from Bridal Showcase Salon
Want to learn more about our love story and witness time capsules from our wedding? Explore here!
This wedding literally had me in tears as my soul was so truly inspired! These two beings are radiant bursts of light! Immediately, I was graced with Ken's calming presence and Lidijak's goodness flavor. They shared a first-look full of so love much and such deep embrace. The ceremony started as a "special performer" serenaded her down the aisle of which she danced the whole way through. It also included that of intentions, affirmations, combining of precious stones and beautifully mindful vows.
A love like this brings me home.
Thank you Pat of Zperfect Party for embracing me on this journey! I am forever grateful for getting to witness and document such a sacred union.
Coordination: Zperfect Party
Photography: Ashley Strong Photography
Location: Lux Art Institution