Meet Ashley Blake!

When a couple comes to me requesting recommendations for photographer's, one person in particular always comes to mind. Her name is Ashley Blake (A. Blake Photography) and she is awesome! She has shot some of the most amazing weddings I've seen and is such a asset and talent to the profession. My expectations (as a coordinator) of a photographer are very different from that of a bride and groom. I am looking for someone who is a team player, who strives to be the best at what they do, and who understands it takes an army of vendors to make the couples wedding day perfect. Ashley understands all that. In addition, she is one of those photographers that puts her clients at ease by her relaxed and gracious demeanor. She has a true passion for the art. I asked Ashley to share a little about herself with us..

Q. Who are you and what makes you FABULOUS?

A. I am a woman who loves people. I am a woman who loves being a mom to a beautiful baby girl who has the best giggle and big cheeks. I am a woman married to an amazing man with a heart like no other and a passion to serve. I am a woman surrounded by friends who have become family and support me in all I do. I am a woman who strives to love others the best I know how. I am a woman who loves coffee and the warmth of a coffee shop. I am a woman who loves family traditions for each holiday (especially Christmas). I am a woman who tries to use my talents to bless others.

Q. How did you get started in photography?

A. I joke with people that God blessed overnight with the love and growing talent for photography. All throughout college I had a passion for photography and would laugh that my dream job would was to be a wedding photographer...little did I know that it would come true. My husband bought me a film SLR camera for my birthday gift the year we got engaged (yes, it took all his savings) and it all sprung forth from there. I met an amazing photographer at a wedding where I was a guest and learned she was looking for an assistant...I jumped on the offer and was shaking at the thought. A year later another talented photographer in the area walked with me through my every growing learning curve and later hired me as his associate. I suppose the rest is history and here I am today.

Q. Why is an engagement session so important?

A. Engagement sessions break the ice and awkwardness of having a camera pointing in your direction. We have all experience when someone tries to take our picture and we duck or block the view of our faces...engagement sessions make us loosen up. I as the photographer learn more about how the bride and groom-to-be interact as a couple (what makes them laugh, get shy or even makes them feel silly). On the flip side, the couple learns how I work and how non-painful getting your picture taken can be. The best compliment I received from a camera-shy-groom was him saying, "That was not painful at all! I actually enjoyed myself." I also feel it is a time for a couple to relax and not feel the pressure of the wedding planning and just enjoy "being" together.

Q. What do you say to someone who isn't comfortable in front of the camera? What do you do to loosen them up?

A. I laugh as I write this since Miss Sweet Jenn is the very person who does not enjoy her picture taken! (She is right; I am NOT one for my photo taken!) Funnily enough, it's often photogenic people who are shy around a camera. In all honesty though, it's natural to not want to be captured on camera. My husband and I (of all people) were probably the couple my photographer was cringing at because of how nervous we both started out as. However, it is my job as the photographer to help facilitate a fun and peaceful environment that encourages a couple or individual to relax and feel at ease. I try my hardest to read the client(s) and see what helps them have that peace. If it's me chatting the whole time I shoot like I often do with teenagers in their senior pictures, I do it. If it's stepping back and letting the couple chat and recapture their wedding they just experienced and laughing at everything that went right and/or wrong, I do that. Truthfully, it's all about knowing my clients and them feeling comfortable with me (and my camera in my hand).

Q. What do you love about photographing weddings? What is your favorite shot(s)?

A. Weddings were always enticing to me because it truly is one of the happiest days of a couple's life. Yes, stress is present but there is such joy in a wedding. A bride glows. A grooms has a subtle smile of pride. And families celebrates the thrill of their group expanding. There definitely are certain couples that cause me to walk away myself with a giggle in my step and my heart spurring to capture more...that's why I love weddings.

My favorite shot of a couple has to when I capture them in utter laugher at each other and they have that moment where they forget a camera is close by. They are real. They are themselves.

Q. What do you feel is the difference betweeen a wedding with a coordinator and one without?

A. Talented coordinators who can balance efficiency with graceful communication are a blessing. A sense of teamwork with the various different vendors is promoted and everyone is working towards the goal of a perfect wedding for the couple. People know where they need to be when they need to be and a couple can truly enjoy the event they have been planning for months. Coordinators provide a filter for the couple so the million different last minute decisions and questions may be addressed without creating unnecessary stress for the couple. I know the weddings I shoot who have topnotch coordinators will run smoothly and I can see a difference in the couple's demeanor throughout the day.

Q. Share your funniest wedding story...

A. Funniest story...wow, where to start?! It's almost like telling my most embarrassing moment since I have a million...I think each wedding has some sort of humor to it. However, the first one that came to mind was a beautiful wedding I shot at the Mission in San Luis Obispo over three years ago. Both the bride and groom were a joy to be around and had a contagious laugher to them...I found myself laughing behind the camera. At the ceremony while the vows were being said, the groom in his strong, successful marketing voice repeated after the priest, "Jen, I take you as my awful wife." What?! The priest said "lawful wife"...the guests and bride all started dying laughing and the groom as a bit mortified but quickly corrected himself with a bashful expression. Immediately after the ceremony he asked the videographer to ensure that the slip up would be edited out, but later he realized the humor in it all and had it included. So grooms...it's lawful and not awful.

THANK YOU, Ashley, for sharing your thoughts and comments with us! Keep being the ultra professional you are!

Attached are some of Ashley's favorite moments captured in time. Enjoy!

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