Ashley Kelly Photography | what i've learned so far

what i've learned so far

May 13, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Hi everyone!! I want to start off with a huge apology for the break in posts! It’s been a crazy couple of weeks with traveling and other great things, but nonetheless, I’m glad to be back! It’s officially been over 4 months since I started this venture, and what a few months it’s been! There’ve been so many great things to happen, and I’ve also done a ton of learning. I’m so blessed to have had the best clients, and I look forward to growing that list in the future :) I can literally not say it enough - thank you SO much to everyone who has trusted in me so far. Without you, I wouldn’t be where I am today! 

I want to dedicate this post mainly to everything I’ve learned thus far. Working with each individual client is so great, and really gives me a unique perspective and takeaway from each shoot. They’ve all taught me something a little different, but here are some of the biggest takeaways thus far:


  1. Confidence is key - This is a HUGE takeaway for me and I think everyone can apply it to their lives too! When I started my first few shoots, I was so scared of failing. I had these expectations of what a photographer was in my mind and what the finished product should look like. I was comparing myself to what I thought I was supposed to do. And naturally, when you’re overthinking every detail (for those who know me, this is laughable), you lose track of your confidence. The first few shoots I did, I literally had no confidence that I would succeed. But it’s all about changing your perspective. My whole life, I’ve been afraid to fail, and thus, overthink all the time. But instead, take a leap of faith and understand that at times, you will fail. That’s part of life. My new mindset heading into shoots is if I am confident in my abilities, there’s no way I’ll fail. Believe in yourself! As cheesy as that sounds…
  2. Take your time - I think it’s just natural in society these days, but we are always rushing. We rush to wake up and get ready. We rush to get to work. We rush to be finished work. We rush to get home. And before we know it, it’s tomorrow. Life is short, and we should enjoy every minute instead of rushing all the time. This applies to where I started with my shoots as well. I had this mindset that the photo shoots should be as quick as possible and to just shoot away to come across as “quick.” But it’s not always about limiting yourself to a time. And for that, I don’t charge by the hour or minute. Some shoots will naturally take me less time than others, but that’s ok. In order to ensure I’m capturing the best moments possible, it’s about taking my time and not always living minute-to-minute. And I ask that my clients take this approach too. When you show up for your shoot, don’t watch the clock. Take your time with the shoot and enjoy it! How often do you have pictures done? It’s a special time no matter what the occasion, so sit back and relax!
  3. Positivity - This one has probably been the biggest learning yet, and I’m trying everyday to apply it more and more in my life as well. There was a time when I would focus so heavily on negativity. And it’s so easy to do it. But instead of always complaining or thinking something could be better, remember all that is so good in life. A few of my shoots have really reminded me this, and for different reasons. Some of my shoots have more positive feedback than others (and I am always open to all feedback - that’s how we grow!). And I’m going to be completely honest - not all feedback has been what I expected to hear. For a couple days, I was focused so heavily on some of the negative voices. It was as if they were louder than the positive ones. But I reminded myself that this is how we grow! While it’s easier said than done, I try to remind myself of all the great things that are happening before I think about the more stressful things. Again, it’s about your mindset. So I challenge you to try and always think of a positive whenever you feel like complaining or thinking about the negativity around us - and watch how quickly your mood can change!
  4. Be unique! - I cannot stress this one enough! In the world of Pinterest and social media, it’s so easy to want to copy those around you. When I first started, I would look at Pinterest before every shoot. I wanted to see what the latest trendy poses were to make sure I included them as well. But to be honest, just because someone else (or lots of people) are doing something, doesn’t mean you have to as well. As a photographer, I want to be remembered for what I did differently rather than conforming to the latest trend. I’ve stopped surrounding myself with Pinterest and the latest poses and try to approach each shoot in the moment. In a time when it’s so easy to be like everyone else, be yourself and be unique!!
  5. Find your passion - I saved the best for last :) At times, I think we all feel like a car on a train track not able to change lanes. As if once we choose one path in life, we can’t choose another. Nearly 10 years ago, I made the choice to “leave” photography and head to the world of math. And for the past few years, I felt like I made my choice back then, and changing it wasn’t an option. I have always done photography as a hobby (but casual at best), and just told myself it could never become a career. But just because you chose one path at one point, doesn’t mean you can’t re-choose. Find your passion! What makes you excited about life? What do you love doing no matter what?? While photography is only my part-time career, it never gets tiring! Some weeks, I work 7 days with photoshoots on weekends, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. This is my passion! And when you’re doing what you love, it doesn’t feel like work. If you feel stuck, don’t feel like you can’t change. Life is short - we should all be doing what we love!

So there you have a list of some of the biggest takeaways from my photography venture thus far. I’m so blessed with the last few months and I can’t wait for all the things coming up (hello - weddings!!). With all that said, I have a few goals for the next few weeks and months:

  1. Build my social media followings - This has for sure been my weakest point thus far. I’m not going to lie, it seems like I’ve always been behind the rest of the world in social media. It took me so long to catch on to what Instagram was all about. With that said, my biggest goal for the next few months is to build a larger presence on Facebook and instagram. One of the best ways at doing this is through all of you! Please share my pages with friends, family, or anyone you know who may be interested in a photoshoot! I appreciate all the shares so much and cannot thank you enough! At the same time, you’ll start to see more posts popping up. I’m making it my mission to post more engaging things, so be on the lookout :)
  2. Post more blog entries - This kind of goes hand and hand with the above goal, but I want to start posting a larger variety to this blog. If there’s anything you might be interested in reading about, send me a message and I’ll add that to the list in the coming weeks! It can be anything from how to prepare for your photoshoot to how to take better pictures yourself! Let me know what you would love to read about!!
  3. Marketing - Social media is great to get the name out there, but I want to begin developing larger scale marketing materials to use for the future. And this is where you come in! I am looking for a couple models for the following categories for a FREE shoot! If you or someone you know may be interested in any of the following, send an email to with what type of shoot you’d be interested in! There’s a limited number of needed pictures, so first come, first serve!
    • Engagement/Couple Portrait 
    • Family Portrait 
    • Baby Portrait - sorry, only girls!
    • Maternity 


Thank you all so much for reading! Be on the lookout for more to come :)



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