Ashley Marston is a birth and family photographer from British Columbia Canada. Professionally her work has received notable awards from the international association of professional birth photographers and personally her work has been recognized by national geographic. In this interview we talk about shooting professionally and personally.
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In This Episode You'll Learn:
What drew Ashley into photography
The difficulties she faced when learning to use a camera
How she got 2 of her photos chosen by national geographic as photos of the year
The power of doing a 365 project
How Ashley makes time for a project 365
The difference between a lifestyle photographer and documentary photographer
When each would be appropriate
What excited Ashley about birth photography
What is a day in the life family session and whats the goa
Ashleys thought on the creative process
How Ashley puts herself in a creative mindset
Premium Members Also Learn:
How Ashley booked her first birth client
The best way to attract clients interested in birth photography
The biggest objections she faces and how to overcome them
What Ashley suggestions new photographers do to break into birth, with no experience
Did you enjoy this episode? Check out more recent interviews with other great guests!
Full Episode Transcription:
Disclaimer: The transcript was transcribed electronically and may contain errors that do not reflect accurately what the speaker said. Because of this, please do not quote this automated transcript.
Intro: 00:01 Welcome to the beginner photography podcast with Raymond Hatfields, the podcast dedicated to helping you grow your photography skills. Raymond interviews the world's top photographers in their field to ask questions that will get you taking better photos today. Now with you as always, husband, father, home brewer, La Dodger Fan and Indianapolis wedding photographer Raymond Hatfield. Okay, welcome back. An episode
Raymond: 00:31 Of the beginner photography podcast. As always, I am a Raymond Hatfield your host in Indianapolis wedding photographer. I'm excited today for today's interview. As you'll hear in the interview, I've, I've reached out to two members of the beginner photography podcast, Facebook group to ask them, who do you want to hear from this year, who would be your dream interviews? And this is, is starting on that path. So I last week interviewed a Andy Mumford, which was an incredible interview. This week I'm interviewing another incredible photographer at the suggestion of the group and I'm, I'm having a blast. My views of, I guess my, my scope of knowledge for other photographers is, is, is getting broader and broader by the day. And today's interview is, is one that I know that you will enjoy. So first though, if you're listening to this episode, the day that it comes out, like right now, I am probably at a Dodgers giant spring training game.
Raymond: 01:33 That's right. I am so excited for this. My the whole family. We are actually tonight and as the day that I'm recording this tonight, we're packing up the car and we're driving out to Arizona to surprise my mother, who we have. We, we haven't been out there to Arizona to meet her. She just always flies out to us cause it's easier for her. Instead of having, you know, the four of us get on a plane and go out there. So we're actually driving out to Arizona and while we are there, we're, I'm so excited to go to this Dodgers giants spring training game. And what's even better is that the other day there was a Dodgers giants spring training game and the Dodgers won eight to, to take that giants. So anyway, if a if you're listening and you Kinda wanna follow me along, I want to invite you to follow me along on Instagram.
Raymond: 02:21 My Instagram username is our Hadfield photo. It's all one word, R as in my name Raymond R. Hatfield photo and that's it. I'll be posting some Instagram stories, posting some a work as well and not work, but I guess like, like a family stuff, which I got inspired to do after today's episode and we're probably going out to the Grand Canyon. I'm excited for that as well. I've never been to the Grand Canyon. I heard that it's a pretty incredible place. So I know nothing about it though. So if you have been to the Grand Canyon, I want to know your tips. What should we do? What should we not do? These are the things that you know, I need to know. So if got any tips, shoot me a message once again on Instagram. That's our Hatfield photo. I would love to hear from you. Okay. So we are going to get on into this interview right now.
Raymond: 03:09 I'm going to keep it nice and short. We're going to get into this interview right now with, with, with Ashley Marston. This interview, like I said, came from a suggestion from one of the members, Carrie in the beginning of photography podcast, Facebook group where I'm trying to always answer questions or yeah, answer questions, but I also ask my own questions. So if you're interested in, you want your voice to be heard, join the beginner photography podcast Facebook group, but just search for it. I in Facebook, beginning of photography podcast and it will pop up. You answer three quick questions and you are in, so that is it. Okay. We're going to get into today's interview with Ashley Marston. Today's guest is Ashley Marston, a birth and family photographer from our neighbor to the north British Columbia, Canada. Professionally, her work has received notable awards from the International Association of Professional Birth Photographers and personally, her work has been recognized most recently by national geographic. And today I can't wait to get into talking about shooting professionally and personally. So Ashley, thank you for coming on the podcast.
Ashley Marston: 04:13 Thank you so much for having me.
Raymond: 04:15 Of course, this is, this is an interview that this is like a series of interviews that I've been doing where, where I've been reaching out to the listeners of the big enough photography podcasts and asking if you could have anybody on the podcast, who would it be? And your name came up. So I'm so excited to have you on. And it is, I know that it's just going to, as a wedding photographer, I don't shoot children. I don't shoot there really anything else. Yeah. So being able to talk to other photographers and hearing their stories is not only helpful to me, but I know that it's going to expand the horizons of our listener. So, so again, thank you so much for coming on. Like I mentioned in your intro, you are, you know, you've received awards for your work, but I'm sure that, you know, you did didn't just wake up yesterday and thought, Oh, I'm gonna give them to photography and start winning some awards. So can you share what drew you into photography in the beginning?
Ashley Marston: 05:09 Well, I think I started like a lot of mom photographers in the past five years. My son Noah was born 13 years ago. He's 13, my oldest. And my husband had an old film camera in the closet and so I dusted it off and that's kind of where it began. But I would just kind of experiment with that for about five years before I finally kind of went digital and that's where it took off for me. So
Raymond: 05:39 Why is that? Why did it take off for you once once you started shooting digital?
Ashley Marston: 05:42 I think that it's just a lot easier to experiment when you're shooting digital because you can see it, you know, instantly. Whereas with film it would definitely took the progress was a little bit slower for me, but it just got me used to composition and documenting life and documenting, being a mom and my son. And so we have albums and albums of photos of Noah just because of the, I just went through so many rolls of film.
Raymond: 06:07 So in the beginning when you had that film camera and you picked it up for the first time. Yeah. Do you remember what that, like what shot was it that you took where, where you thought, you know what, I'm really enjoying this and I think that I can take it somewhere.
Ashley Marston: 06:23 There was a shot. My husband is first nations and he's an artist. He's a carver. And so we have, you know, various sort of artifacts around the house. And we had a woven cedar hat and Noah was outside on the Sundeck and he was wearing the cedar hat. And he was just this sitting up like he was maybe eight or nine months old and the shadows coming through the hat and on his face. And that's one of my favorite pictures. And that was the time where it was kind of clicked for me. And it was like, okay, this is how, this is how I'm seeing this moment, you know? And then to get the film back and see that it actually had translated from my mind to, you know, to the image was like, Oh, you know, I felt like I was, I was doing something important. It felt like for our family and for myself.
Raymond: 07:06 How long do you think it was from the time that you first picked up that camera till the time that you got that shot and realize that the creative gap that you have in your head to the photo that you got in your hand, was, was very similar to that? Was that like a years long progression or, or was it
Ashley Marston: 07:24 Real quick? It was pretty quick. It was pretty quick. But like, I had been art, like artistically inclined throughout high school. I actually took photography in high school, so I think that made the gap a little bit closer for me that I had kind of had already a bit of a jumpstart on it. But like, you know, photographing children and things like, I mean, very different obviously. So but he wasn't moving too much at that.
Raymond: 07:48 It sure does. [inaudible] Yeah. So when, when, can you tell me again how long you were shooting film before you switched to digital?
Ashley Marston: 08:00 Oh, I guess four years.
Raymond: 08:02 Okay. So in that four years shooting film, shooting your family, the, the, these things that you loved w what would you say was the hardest part about the technical side of photography for you to learn?
Ashley Marston: 08:19 Mm, I don't know what the hardest the composition came, came okay to me. And I think just learning late was what I worked on the most for those years. And of course it, you know, it came a lot quicker and easier once the, once I was a digital camera in my hand and I can really kind of see where I was, what I was looking at.
Raymond: 08:47 Can you expand a little bit more on a, on, on, on learning to shoot with light? [inaudible]
Ashley Marston: 08:53 Well, I knew in my, like I could see in my mind, like I was noticing it all the time and this was kind of before things were, you know, on the Internet and it would just catch my eye a certain way. And so the kids and I would just move, you know, a certain moving the kids into the light and just expose, like exposing for the shadows and things like that where I felt that that's where I was kind of really honing in on what I wanted to do and see in the beginning everything was, you know, overexposed and I said, well, that's not right. That's not how I want to see it. That's not how I see it in my mind. So that was kind of how I moved in that progression slowly at first and then it Kinda just came and then I just, yeah, it clicks, right? It clicks all of a sudden and then you're like, right, okay.
Raymond: 09:45 Yeah, I, there's always that Aha moment when it comes to photography of, you know, you feel like you're struggling so hard in the beginning you didn't like every little thing that you learned feels like you just like crossed over this mountain. Like, oh my gosh, this is totally making sense. And as time goes on, the mountains get smaller. That's the whole time. Exactly. Exactly. But at some point there's one mountain that is just so tall that when you get up to the top of it, you say, oh my gosh, why didn't I see this the whole time? Everything makes sense now. Yeah. And I love to hear that. Cause usually it's, it is a technical aspect, you know, either. Yeah. Like Oh, the relationship between you know, ISO and shutter speed. But, but hearing you say no, it was the light. It was paying attention, paying attention to the light attention, finally being able to see it. I think that's a great new take. And and I, I appreciate hearing a new perspective for sure. So this past year, like I mentioned earlier National Geographic chose to have your photos to be in the top 36 photos in a, in a year long international competition, which is just insane. It's insane. So congratulations. They're congratulating with over 19,000 injuries. Was that, is that right? I yours, yours. That's incredible. That must've felt amazing, right?
Ashley Marston: 11:03 Yeah. Well, yeah, it was a bit mind blowing. I kept like I saw the first one and then I always, of course I look through everybody's to see what's included in the, you know, the collection in itself. And then another one popped up and I was, did I see that? Like I, I kinda went back and forth a couple times. Like, no, that's not, you know, like it took a little bit for it to compute and then it, it definitely just kind of blew my mind for a second. So still is blowing my mind really. But yeah.
Raymond: 11:32 Well, I mean it should be. And congratulations again for that. And those two photos, they were, they were, they were personal works of yours. Correct.
Ashley Marston: 11:40 One was personal and one was a birth photography photo.
Raymond: 11:44 Oh, okay. Yeah. Okay. So how did, how did it come about to find yourself in, in, in, in this position to be chosen to have your photos to be chosen out of, out of more than 19,000?
Ashley Marston: 12:00 The beginning of 2018 I, I set goals for myself and nothing, nothing that I write down and whatever. It's just at the beginning of the year. I, I don't believe in resolutions, but I do believe in just goals. And so I, national geographic was on my list. I had belonged to the your shot community, which I think has like a million photographers in it worldwide for a couple of years and had been submitting here and there not, not anything that I had really focused on. And last year I decided to focus on that. And so I had been submitting to them over the course of the year and had seven, I think seven photos chosen throughout the year to be part of the daily dozen. So they picked 12 photos every day to, to feature. So those were huge moments for me. And then they kind of pop up these assignments that you can submit to or these competitions that you can submit to. And so those were what I thought, two of my best photos of, of the year. And so those were the two that I had submitted and [inaudible]
Raymond: 13:04 And they thought so too. Yeah, yeah, I guess so. It's awesome. So I kind of wanted to talk a little bit about personal work here because it's something that I know personally I don't do enough of I thought that it would be one of the like driving factors. It was one of the driving factors to get into photography. But then over time it just, it's, it's become more and more professional. And now I'm really, I just kinda stick with just my iPhone for like personal photography and stuff. It's easier. It's easier to share photos total. Last year I chatted with Jenny Stein on the podcast who she talks a lot about doing a three 65 project, three 65. So after that interview, some members in the beginning photography podcast, Facebook group started inquiring about a three 65 and even started at doing one this year. So in the group, Carrie who is just going hard right now on her project three 65 everyday, she uploads a new photo and, and it's great to see her work progress. But when I asked her what she would want to hear from you, what questions she would ask you, she wanted to know as an established photographer, what are your goals doing a personal three 65 and how do you make time for it?
Raymond: 14:22 I know that was a lot of time.
Ashley Marston: 14:27 My goals for the three 65 have changed every year. I'm actually in my fifth year of doing a three 65. So I'm at this point in time, like it would feel weird for me to not do it because it has just become part of our life and part of my workflow. And so what I've done every year is I have focused on one thing to work on. And in the first year it was light because that's where I was at. And then the second year I worked on composition and in the third year I worked on putting myself in the frame more. Because that was what I had noticed looking back on the project was that I was vacant. Right. and for photography, very common for photographers. Very good. I'll comment for mothers, especially with two young kids. I mean, we had, we have three children now, our two youngest are only 11 months apart.
Ashley Marston: 15:27 So like, you know, we were really in the thick of things and, and body wise and like, I don't want to put myself in front of a camera, but you have to because otherwise, how are they going to see you? Right. So I think the next year, like I movement, you know, things like that. Every year I kind of, I kind of honed in on something, something different every year and focused on that. Now in my fifth year, my goal is just to, I don't shoot as much anymore. I feel like in the past years I've been really like, I got, I got to get this, I got it. And I've relaxed. And so I'm just like, I'm just gonna Relax. My kids are six and seven and 13, so like, they're all in school, you know, and I don't feel as much pressure anymore. I'm just going to document, document us, you know, as I, as I see us and celebrate us. So that's kind of was my goal this year was to just chill out. I didn't know even if I was going to do another three 65, I feel like at the end of December every year, I'm like, I'm not gonna, it's not gonna do it. I'm going to take a year off. And then I kinda just, you know, I, I feel like I would be lost without it. So I just got some place. I just keep going. So.
Raymond: 16:46 Yeah. So how do you you said that obviously the kids are in school now during the day and then you don't shoot as much can, can you, can you tell me what that means? You don't shoot as much cause obviously you're still shooting every day.
Ashley Marston: 17:01 Yeah, I'm still shooting every day. I'm very conscious now about getting my shot and then putting the camera down. Especially too, because now that they are older, I mean I've been really lucky that my kids are welcoming of it. You know, I've heard of photographer starting them and their kids just like hate the camera. Like they're like, get that away from me every time they'd pull it out. My kids are not like that at all. But I'm conscious of getting what I need and then just putting it away. Like, okay, now I'm just gonna carry on for my day. And then if I see something later on, then sure, maybe I'll take another shot. But I feel like in the past years it was out all the time and I was constantly striving to get something like maybe I didn't like that shot. Maybe I wanted to get another one. But I feel like my confidence has grown what I want to, what I want to capture and what I want to preserve for them. I see it, I take it and then I, and then I leave it.
Raymond: 18:05 So I want to do the picture to hone that bad discipline.
Ashley Marston: 18:10 It's only really been in the past couple of years, I feel like maybe year three it started where I was like, okay, yeah. Like, you know, I think that I'm, you know, I think night, so it's only like every so often out. Like, I'll come up to my computer at night when everybody goes to bed, I'll upload. And you know what, it doesn't happen very often where I'm like, oh no, I don't, I don't like that at all. Like I feel like I've, I feel like I've gotten it. But that really has only just been recent. But it's been a, it's been a good progression. Like it's, I constantly felt like I was getting better. So it's not as if there was this void where like I wasn't getting better. When you do a three 65 and when you shoot every day, there is no way that you are not going to progress. Like you are going to get better day. You, I mean, that's just the fact of it. You're picking up, you're experimenting, you're shooting everyday. You're looking through that view finder, you're working on your composition, you're going to get better. So that's what I, that's what I love about it.
Raymond: 19:10 So I think and I could be totally wrong. So this could be a terrible question, but we're gonna try it out anyway. Sure. I think that when, when you have the constraints of a three 65 like your goal is to get one good photo every day, right? And then you put a lot of weight on that. So you like that one photo has to be a great photo and every day you go out and try to get something. But and I'm sure it's, it's, do you guys get much snow up there and it's the western half of Canada, right?
Ashley Marston: 19:38 Yeah. We're on the very, very west coast.
Raymond: 19:40 Okay. So here in the Midwest it's very snowy and cold and you really don't leave your house like, unless you have to. Yeah. And in times like this, if we're stuck at home, what do we shoot? Like what, what should we be focusing on? What should we look for?
Ashley Marston: 19:58 Well, I'll tell you that like, not every, not every day is going to be a great photo. Not every day is going to be in award winning photo. And I think that a lot of people struggle with that. I have chosen, me and my husband have chosen to share my project on social media. So I'm literally posting my photo every single day and have for five years. And not everyone is amazing, but it's amazing to my kids, right? Essentially this project is for them. So while it's not going to get me 300 likes, it's going to, it's going to have a, have a connection and have a purpose for my kids and later years. So that's what I always have to think back on. And so that's where social media gets a bit tricky, where there's this like need to produce this mind flowing work.
Ashley Marston: 20:51 And sometimes you do, sometimes you post something and you're like, oh wow. Like that is my best work. And then sometimes it's like me, but that's one of that ends up being one of the photos that my kids will see and there'll be like, oh, I remember that day and I remember. And so you got to kind of bring it. I always, I was in my mind, I was like, you got to bring it back home. Cause that's, that's what this is for, this project is for them. And so for me, that's what it is for me. I mean, people can, can have their projects for different purposes, but for most photographers, that's generally, it's a keepsake, right? It's a story of your days. And so in regards to, you know, having crappy weather and having to stay inside, we get a lot of rain.
Ashley Marston: 21:36 And so I find that that's when my creativity comes through when I can't rely on the beautiful backlight or the stunning ocean views because it's pouring down rain. That's where I'm like, okay, what can I do inside? What can I capture? How can I see this differently? And after five years, like, you know, I've been photographing the same children in the same house for five years. So it's like, you know, how can I get, how can I reignite this space? You know, how can I see the same kind of subject and thing, but differently? And so I use things like prisms and double exposures. I've been working really hard on this year a free Lenzing. And I always I bring it back to the details because I, because we live on Vancouver island, which I don't know if you've looked it out, but it is gorgeous. I always do these big expansive, beautiful shots of my kids in, you know, in this wonderful place. But I often forget to photograph just the tiny details. And so and those dark gloomy days, I'll, you know, photograph the wisps of hair on my daughter's neck or you know, my 13 year old son's hands are, because those are things that are important as well. So that's always, you know, it just kinda bring it back to the details.
Raymond: 22:58 Wow. That was a, that was an incredibly personal answer and I think that it's going to be one that that, that the listeners are really going to appreciate because it is, I know from experience that, you know, just shooting inside it can, it can become a chore and hearing your take on it, you know thinking about the future rather than, than, than how many likes you're going to get Ted Day on social media is really something that you know, we gotta learn how to, when and how to control, you know, ourselves and that, that, that was just I got a lot out of that that statement and again, I really appreciate that. Yeah. okay, so next question on, on your website it says that a, you are a birth documentary and lifestyle photographer. So real quick, for those who are unaware, can you clarify the difference between documentary and lifestyle photography?
Ashley Marston: 23:54 That's a bit of a tricky one. And a lot of people want to like sort of put themselves in a box. They're either documentary or they're either lifestyle. I choose to put both on my website because I am a little bit of both. And so documentary essentially is like not changing, not directing, not changing the scene, not turning off any lights, not decluttering that sort of stuff where his lifestyle has a minimal amount of direction with your families. And so I really do I shoot day in the life sessions, which are like strictly documentary. I just an I, I'm just an observer. I'm just documenting what I see. And then I, my, all of my other family work, maternity, newborn families is all lifestyles. So there's really minimal, minimal direction. I focus on the connection and the love and families and I, that's, you know, I, I've just chosen and the birth work is documentary obviously as well. And so it kind of just all mixes really well together and I've just tried to not put myself in a box and just allowed myself to capture love essentially in all of its forms. So that's what, that's what I've built my business around.
Raymond: 25:15 So you said that for, for, for your day in the life sessions they are primarily documentary type work. Yeah. So when would it be appropriate to do more of a lifestyle type shoot? Like how, how do you, how do you define not, not, how do you define, how do you, how do you decide between the two? If you were to show up to a house today, you know, family, I saw very recently a, you posted a, I believe it was a child's like first birthday, like their day in the life session with [inaudible]. So if you were to show up in, in that situation, do you make a conscious decision on whether or not you're going to just let the day unravel in front of you or if you are going to make some small adjustments to the scene in front of you or, or is it, or is there a hard line and when you do it? Sure.
Ashley Marston: 26:06 There it's their choice. So when they're booking the session, they're either there, they're either booking a day in the life or they're booking a lifestyle family session. And that's, and I can do, you know, we have the choice to do lifestyle, family out in the wild or we can do it in their home. And so that's just a bit more of like, Hey, we're going to go, we're going to go in the bedroom now we're gonna come and sit on the couch, come and tickle on the couch. Whereas like documentary, I'm literally just like, I'm just sneaking in and they're going about their day. So that, that's decided at booking. And so that's how I plan out. That's how I map out my session. Wonderful. I love it. Okay, so then what drew you into birth photography, birth photographer for six and a half years? I I started my business Sophie, our youngest, our third was only just a few months old when I had discovered birth photography.
Ashley Marston: 27:04 I I came across an article online on the, in the New York Times while I was nursing her on Lindsey stone who was the first birth photographer. And it was Kinda just my, like, it was my Aha moment because I had been shooting families for probably about three years, kind of on and off as I was having babies. And I, I was kind of stuck. I was stuck doing what I thought I should be doing. I was stuck doing what everybody else was doing and I thought, well, this is, this is the way that my photography is supposed to be. I guess this is what everybody else is doing. What do you mean by that? You mean like style of just, yeah, like it was mostly just posed family photography. You know, you'd go out to a park and everybody would sit down in a blanket and they turn and smile at you and that was it.
Ashley Marston: 27:58 And so I would still be shooting the in between moments. And then I would deliver them to the clients with their turning and smiling photos. And I was finding that those were the moments that I was more drawn to. And it seemed to be the moments that they were more drawn to. And so it was kind of a slow progression into a change in my business where I felt that I didn't have to stick with what was kind of expected. And so and then I'd had my babies and I actually pondered becoming a labor and delivery nurse because I felt so at home in that environment, but I knew that I needed to be, I needed a creative outlet. So when I came across the article on birth photography, it was like a light had just like gone on off in my world.
Ashley Marston: 28:47 And so I had called my husband and said, I think I know what I want to do when I grow up. He was like, oh, okay. And then I said, you know, I'm gonna need, I'm gonna need your support. Like you gotta be 100% on board because there is like, there's an on call component, right? Or like, I'm on call. And that affects our life greatly. And also that means I'm building a business from the ground up, you know, and educating the public on what birth photography is. So it was, it was a hustle for sure. And I knew that if I didn't start it then that I would kind of miss, I would kind of miss the boat on it. And it was a tricky time. Like my, like I said, my two youngest are only 11 months apart. My youngest was only three. Like I was raising these two tiny babies and starting a business and up in the middle of the night shooting births and just trying to get the work out there to show people what it was. Because at that point in time, there was only a handful of us that were shooting birth and it was unknown really. Now of course it's more mainstream. So so that was my, that was my start into birth photography and that's where my business just went. Like, it skyrocketed it it took off from there.
Raymond: 30:01 That's awesome. Can you tell me about your, your first birth client having never shot a birth before. Can you tell me how they found you and any ways to, and just tell me how [inaudible]
Speaker 4: 30:16 Turned out. Hey guys, Raymond here. I just wanted to take a quick break from today's chat to let you know that you are listening to the free version of this interview and if you like what you hear from today's guest, you can hear the full interview and get access to the entire back catalog of past interviews by simply becoming a premium member of the podcast for just $10 a month by signing up email@example.com forward slash beginner photography podcast. And if you're driving, we'll know where he is. The link is on our homepage at beginner photography podcast, [inaudible] dot com also, so sign up now and if it's not everything that you hoped it could be, no worries. Cancel anytime within the first 30 days and I will happily give you your money back. That's it. I appreciate you all. I hope to see you on the inside. You,
Raymond: 31:04 You talked earlier about shooting a day in the life sessions, which I think is so cool. That's gotta be something that I've always had this dream of like when I was in high school, to be able to just like follow a band around, right, for like six months or like have some sort of like longterm project to where you don't know what's going to happen by the end of your journey, but you want to be able to capture it all so that you can go back and tell that story. And when it comes to like Dana Life family sessions, that's Kinda how I see that as well. Right? You show up in the morning, you don't really know what's going to happen and then by the end of it you're hoping to have, you know, a nice little portfolio of images to, to deliver. So can you kind of walk me through stuff like time requirements for something like that? And then also what is your goal for those day in the life sessions?
Ashley Marston: 31:52 Well, my, a day in the life sessions are booked in for eight or 12 hour sessions. So the family gets to choose how long they want me there for. And then they also get to choose what they want me to capture. So questions that I ask them or like, what's important to you in your day? Like what, what are some things that you want to capture? Do you want to go somewhere? Do you want to just stay at home? So these are all conversations that I have with my clients beforehand. And I find that a lot of people, it's the morning, the mornings are very sacred to families and they're sacred to us to like our Saturday or Sunday mornings or, you know, they're, they're wonderful, right? I mean, I'm sure I would love to actually cast or capture the hustle and the craziness of a school morning. But, you know, Saturday mornings are slow and they're easy. And so you know, when I say to them like, we can go to the park, we can go to the beach, we can go to the grandparents house, we can, we can, I follow wherever you go. I follow, I can go to the grocery store, you know? And so they decide kind of how the day is going to be mapped out. And I just document all the, all the little moments in between. Sorry, what was the second half of the question? Okay.
Raymond: 33:05 As far as, as, as, as a goal for a day in the life session, what are you, what are you trying to capture?
Ashley Marston: 33:15 I kind of started doing these because I knew that it was something that I would want for my family. So when I'm capturing these families, I kind of put myself in that position where I'm like, what, what kind of keepsake would I want to end up with? And so it's, it's kind of a mixture between the conversations I have with them, what they w what they want to capture, and then what I think as an end product, you know, when they're looking at this, when their kids are graduating or when they're having grandchildren, like what is, what is the memory that you want to preserve for them from this one day? And so, you know, often at the end, and not every client chooses to have film, but I do do these little short family films for them. And so in my, the end product, I want them to be able to feel, feel the feelings they felt that day. I want them to be, I want it to trigger memories, smells, tastes like, you know, the creak of the floorboards in the house or just things like that. So I want to make sure that I'm capturing those things because you never, you never know for people what, what part of an image is going to trigger that memory for them. You know, what sound is going to bring them right back to that moment. So that's kind of my, my goal is to provide something timeless for them to watch 20 years from now. So,
Raymond: 34:43 And to just be able to immerse himself back in that moment. Yeah,
Ashley Marston: 34:45 Totally backed back in that morning, back in that day. Yeah. Yeah.
Raymond: 34:49 So if you've never been to like a client's house, this is, this is something that that I've kind of become very interested in just recently. And it's kind of like this, this creative brain. I, I really want to know more about how the creative brain works and there's, there's more than just one way for, for that creatives work. So do you think that creativity for you involves just putting your heart and soul into your work, just planning out every little detail, becoming a perfectionist, or is it letting your mind just flow freely to witness whatever happens?
Speaker 5: 35:34 [Inaudible]
Ashley Marston: 35:35 Hmm, that's a good question.
Ashley Marston: 35:40 I feel like it's a little bit of both. Am I allowed to say [inaudible] option? I pick C. Um, I am very controlled. Like I, I, I, you know, I have that like sort of a type personality. But as a documentarian I have taught myself to step back and observe and document. And so part of me is trying to be creative but also be true to what's happening. So it's a bit of a balance especially with those kinds of sessions. And it's sort of true for my three 65 project too. Like I'm trying to, I'm trying to document what's happening but also in a creative creative way. So I don't know if that helps your [inaudible]
Raymond: 36:36 For a little bit more clarification. Can you give me an example of maybe a personal shot that you've taken where, where maybe you wanted more strict, you know, following of the rules for a photo or, or the complete opposite where maybe everything was going to, you know, down the line and you wanted it to be more whimsical
Speaker 6: 36:58 [Inaudible]
Raymond: 37:00 Or if you don't like, if you can't think of one off off the top of your head, what would you do in, in that situation?
Ashley Marston: 37:08 In a situation where I was documenting something but wanted to like put a different spin on it. Is that,
Raymond: 37:16 Yeah. Yeah. I suppose like, like you were having trouble putting your own spin on it.
Ashley Marston: 37:22 Well, I think it kind of takes me back to like, like the indoor rainy, you know, raininess of west coast of Canada. And where, you know, I remember this one time, it was like rain, it rained for like a week, like it just rained and right in, right in. Right. And we were, we were going squirly like we were going squirrely inside the house and I wanted to document that, but I didn't want it to be, you know, like, it's like, oh, I guess I could bring the kids out in their umbrellas, you know, that, you know, whatever you know, and then, and then that's where they create, I'm like, well, I could, I could somehow like do a double s do a double exposure with this, right. Like, I could, I could create sort of the somber look of what we're going through inside, but then bring the rain in.
Ashley Marston: 38:15 And so I took a portrait of my son, a black and white portrait of my oldest son inside. And then I photograph the rain I, and then did an in camera double exposure and I photograph the rain on our windows and then, you know, put them together. And so that was where, and that was a few years ago. Like they were kind of double exposures were Kinda just coming out at that point in time. And it was, I had to Google how to do it, you know, I'm sure people still today do and we're still googling. Yeah. We're still googling how to do it. It's very tricky. So that was when I was kinda trying to, you know, capture it, but then wanting to kind of break the rules and mix it up a little bit, so.
Raymond: 38:54 Okay. Yeah, that makes sense. That makes sense. Is there something that you do to put yourself in a creative mindset?
Ashley Marston: 39:03 There's not something that I specifically do. No, I think that I don't leave that space very often. Well, because especially with, with capturing your family everyday, like, you know, the cameras out and I'm constantly looking and I'm constantly aware and, and so and, and as, as a house of creatives, I mean my head, like I said, my husband is an artist and the kids are like playing music and drawing. I mean, it's just can't, this is a creative environment. So we're always kind of in that. We're always kind of in that creative cloud. Yeah. Happening.
Raymond: 39:36 Do you ever feel like you show up to a, like a day in the life session or, or, or, or a birth and think to yourself? Like, just feeling like you're not feeling it that day. I'm like, Ugh, I got to go to work, you know?
Ashley Marston: 39:48 Okay.
Raymond: 39:49 I'll be honest. I feel that way. Sometimes you want them to weddings, you know, and it's not, it's still, you know, a good day, but you know, you do it for, for several years and, and, and you're bound and determined to have at least one of those days. Is there something that you do in those moments to to, to kind of put yourself back in line?
Ashley Marston: 40:10 I'm always like, I think for birth that's true for birth, especially because often, you know, you've been on call for months at a time. Often you're called out in the middle of the night. You don't want to get out of bed. You know, maybe it's been a rough day at home and now you gotta like go to work and you got to be on like you can't, there's no, you can't do this half it halfway. Right. and so I, there's been times where I've definitely sort of slugged my way along. But once I get in, once you're there and you're in it, it just like, it just turns on right. It just kind of turns on and that's Kinda what I rely on where I'm like, I know that once I get there and I get going, it's not going to be an issue.
Ashley Marston: 40:56 Right. And so day in the life, like, you know, there was just re actually the, the, the little boy who turned one while I was there that weekend I shot his birth and I had actually had a birth on the Friday, so the, I was scheduled to see them on the Saturday and I had a birth happened on the Friday. And so I just emailed them and one was like, if we could change it to Sunday, like you're going to get this best version of Ashley Marston that you possibly can because if I come Saturday morning, like it's going to be like, I'm just going to be honest, like it, you know? And they're like, oh yeah, no big deal. It's total, it was not an issue at all. And that's, you know, that's a conversation even that I have with my clients because I mean, there's always a chance that I'm going to get called out to a birth. And so if you're gonna book a session like that, and, and there's always a slight possibility that we might have to change things up. So everybody's pretty onboard. And I think it's just being, you know, being, you know, knowing yourself and being like, okay, if there's room, if there's room to change this then let's just make some, make some adjustments. And then I showed up Sunday morning and was mine was 140 is your best hundred percent my my best self. So
Raymond: 42:05 Yeah, no that was a a, I looked through the whole blog and it was a great, incredible photos and I know that I would be thrilled to have photos like that of our family, especially with photo with everybody in their robes with mom and dad drinking coffee with that. That was such a great photo.
Ashley Marston: 42:21 That wasn't like a totally like they synchronize like was not even remotely, I didn't even tell them to do anything. I just took the photo. I laughed and I said to them like, you guys completely like synchronized coffee drinking. And then he looked right at me and I was like, that is the like that is the perfect shot about time's up parenthood with a one year old all in one year.
Raymond: 42:45 I love, I love those happy accidents. For sure. For sure. I'm, well actually I have, I have taken far too much of your time. You've been so gracious with me and answering every question that I have thrown at you. I got one last question and that is I want to know what advice you would give to somebody just breaking into photography. It doesn't necessarily have to be Barth, but just, just somebody who's smart and they're driven and they want to make it go with this, whether through a business or just do personal, what advice would you give them?
Ashley Marston: 43:19 I would tell them to shoot what they love, find what they love to shoot and, and go for it. Because if you're trying to be somebody else, if you're trying to, to go with the masses and shoot what you think you should be shooting, then your success will not come as quickly. I think that it really shows in your work when you are shooting things that you are really passionate about and people see that right away and they're drawn to it. And so just be yourself, be yourself and shoot, shoot what you love.
Raymond: 43:53 Beautiful. Beautiful, beautiful. Ashley, can you let the listeners know where they can find you online to follow along and check out your work?
Ashley Marston: 44:04 Well I'm on Instagram and Facebook and I post every single day so you can definitely follow along with what we're doing daily. So.
Raymond: 44:12 Perfect. Ashley, again, thank you so much for coming on the podcast. I truly appreciate you and I can't wait to, to follow along more in depth into your own three, six, three 65. I was gonna say three 65 and then I decided halfway through your own project and, and hopefully hopefully start doing something like that for myself. So would actually thank you for coming too late. Thank you so much. Oh man, that was, that was one of those interviews where, you know, you go into it in and you think that you've prepared and that you've asked these questions that you hope are having a black and white answer. And unfortunately it's just not. No, I take that back and fortunately it is not that way. I, sorry, I misspoke. It is not that way and it is, it's incredible because you get answers that you weren't expecting in the first place.
Raymond: 44:56 And just my biggest takeaway for sure was hearing Ashley's take on doing our three 65 she's been doing it for five years. So if anybody knows about doing a three 65 it's her and you know her saying that you are going to have some days where you are struggling, where you are having a hard time creating a photo but you've still got to do it and you've got to push yourself creatively and you got to create something. The photo might not be the best thing in the world, but you did it. You know, you're capturing these things in the future. These photos are going to be so much more important than they are to you now. That was definitely my biggest takeaway is as I've tried doing the three 65 before and I always found myself to be discouraged for that exact reason. You go out, you know, especially cause you usually start one in January and here in the Midwest it's very cold.
Raymond: 45:44 And you know, you're all excited for like a month and then after that month you're like, what else is there to take pictures of around this house? You know, we can't go outside. And once again, hearing her take Ashley is W W it was great. It was great to hear and in very inspiring as well. So Ashley, if you're listening, if you know, if, if that's the one thing that I took away, I truly appreciate it. And it's something that I'm going to incorporate into my own life. So again, thank you. But if you are thinking like bad days, like singularly singular bad days, you know, shooting photography that's everyday for me. I know nothing of what I'm doing. I'm here to learn more about photography than I want to invite you to sign up for our free two day photography bootcamp video series, which you can do over at beginner photography, podcast.com you will learn things like how to shoot manual.
Raymond: 46:39 You will learn the basics of composition and even lighting and what goes into telling a story through a photograph. So that's it. If you're interested, once again, head over to beginner photography, podcast.com to sign up, so I'm going to keep these nice in short, that is it for this week. I hope that you enjoyed today's episode. Until next week, I want you to get out there. I want you to keep shooting, even if that means that you know you're just going to a get photos that today you don't think are important because in the future they will be. So that is it keeps shooting. Focus on yourself and stay safe. All right, I love y'all.
Intro: 47:18 If you enjoy today's podcast, please leave us a review in iTunes or your favorite podcast player and continue the conversation with Raymond and other listeners of the podcast by joining the beginner photography podcast Facebook group today. Thank you. We'll see you again next week.