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My answer is No

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On this windy November night I feel as if the new year very close now indeed (I’m sorry, I’m sorry – I know we’ve not even had Christmas, I’m not getting ahead of myself – Honestly). This winter marks almost a year and a half of officially being ” in business” and I am finding my definitions of success and happiness, what I class as success and happiness and how I feel about my own success and happiness to be changing all the time. I am still very new to this game and I know it will change a lot more in the coming years but for now things are feeling like they are clicking into place and the learning curve I was on for the last 18 months is getting slightly (only slightly) straighter.

In the beginning success was saying yes. Yes I will shoot that, Yes I can do that, Yes I have time, Yes I will sometimes eat chicken, Yes I will go here and there and anywhere you want. It became more about saying yes to what other people wanted and more about what everyone else wanted and that quickly had to change.

I am coming to a place of looking forward to the near future and the new year and the changes I am starting to put into place in all aspects of my life.

At the moment success is becoming more about saying No, Not all the time of course – but where necessary. No I am too busy to do that, No I don’t ”do deals”, No I am not working this Sunday, No I do not eat meat, No I can not photograph your 20 member plus 3 dogs family in 40 minutes and still give you images like the ones your friend got of her and her daughter.

For a while I felt like my decision to do this was making me unsuccessful. People told me this wasn’t the way to become successful. Because obviously your success is only measured by how much money you make, how many clients you have coming through the doors, how many 5 star reviews you get on facebook. If I turn down something because it doesn’t align with what is going to make me happy and build my business in the way I want to, then I am not successful. If I do not earn X amount of money, whether I earned it from doing things I hated or not, then I am even less successful. This started to make me feel lonely and unfulfilled and I was starting to think I wasn’t successful.

Soon I began to see the benefits of saying no and defining my personal and my business’ success by the standards I wanted to. Things have shifted and the future is looking full of happiness and success. The society which makes me feel this way and makes others feel the need to define me like this, is the one I do not want to be a part of.

Don’t think I don’t say yes to things. Because I do, I love saying yes and I love doing things that make me and other people happy and/or successful too, people with similar definitions of those words as me.

Yes I want to go for tea and cake at that place you like
Yes I want to go for a walk in the woods with you
Yes let’s do your engagement shoot at that ah-mazing location
Yes I want tips on making my own vegetable patch
Yes I’d love to capture beautiful memories for you
Yes I want to make floral crowns with you
Yes I want to see your new (or old) cat

Yes I am on my way to success and happiness…

 

A little reflection

Ashley Edwards Photography - Provencal Wedding Styled Shoot-65For a while now I have been fairly quiet and not posting a lot, both on social media,and my blog. I  have thought a lot about things I wanted to post and then just not done so for several different reasons. I am currently going through some changes, some big and some small but all very exciting.

I have spent quite a lot of time reflecting on the last 14 months (I wanted to do this post 2 months ago so it would have sounded totally better to reflect on the past year – but part of me still things it’s August, time is going so quickly at the moment) and how things have changed since then too! In August of last year I made a huge step (for me anyway) and launched my website and facebook page to officially start my business and start to promote myself as a photographer. It has been quite a year with, I am thrilled to say, mainly up’s. Things are slowing down a bit now and I am happy for that to happen for both myself and my business, besides the summer of 2016 is crazy. There’s been beautiful weddings, awesome portrait sessions, newborn and maternity shoots, networking, network and shooting together (even better), wedding fayres, blog features, magazines features, styled shoots, trips to London and the south of France and so much more. I continue to learn how valuable my time and am actively taking steps to ensure I am setting up the kind of business I ultimately want to have. I am learning to say no to discounts, de valuing my prices and my services and shaping something I am really proud of.

Over the next few months like I said there are some changes happening…

– I am having new albums and print products made (possibly the most exciting thing on this list to me)

– Having a website update (FINALLY – Steffany – you’re fab!)

– Taking more time to not work at weekends and evenings

– New branding and literature too!

– Planning new personal (and business) projects

– Oh yes and moving house! To a new house with new things and best of all OFFICE/STUDIO/STORE FOR MY USELESS BUT PRETTY THINGS

The moving is probably the most exciting thing happening here and I cant wait to share pictures with you all. Keys are being handed over tomorrow and kitchens are being ripped out this weekend. I have been on a sort of crazed shopping high for a while now and it’s showing no signs of going away, why would it make any sense to keep old things when I have a perfectly valid excuse to buy new ones?! Or at least that’s what I am telling myself …and Tom. And by new things I mean old ones off ebay to paint – YAY!

The reflecting I have been doing is something I plan to continue with. It allows me to re focus and re direct where necessary and ensure I am putting my efforts into the rights parts of my life, which I have been guilty of not doing in the past. Sorry computer, I need to spend time with actual people now.

So good things are happening here and I am excited to share the journey with you all.

 

Yes I lay on the floor to take photograph and no, I definitely didn’t have to be removed because I actually quite enjoyed it.

Calligraphy for Weddings – Manchester Workshop

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This post is so very long overdue but I have finally found a 5-minute gap from the craziness to get myself together and share some images with you.

In June, I attended a calligraphy workshop. Hosted by the amazing Claire Gould who’s not only a phenomenal artist, she also runs the awesome english-wedding.com and I am glad to call her a fellow industry creative and friend. We have worked together several times now and I know it won’t be the last as she perfectly captures my ideas and brings them to life in beautiful hand lettered form.

I am so pleased to have attended this workshop, as not only did I learn so many things about calligraphy which I am trying to put into practice (pictures to follow if I ever feel I have any good enough…) but I also met some of the most amazing and talented ladies EVER. Whom I called upon 5 weeks later to get involved in my latest styled shoot! Networking at it’s finest.

Claire bestowed some of her flourishing wisdom on us and I think we all left feeling really inspired and as though we will be able to continue to grow our calligraphy skills. It’s such an amazing talent and to see her work and have her help me where I was having a mental block was really useful. If anyone is wanting to develop this skill and learn something new I cannot recommend going on one of her courses enough.

Huge thanks to Claire for being generally fabulous and hosting such a great workshop!

 

 

 

 

Hyde Bank Farm Wedding – Helen and Andy's preview!

I’m not going to talk too much as this is only the preview and I will save the waffling for their full wedding blog post, but I will say that from the moment I received Helen’s email I knew we were a great match. The second and third email confirmed it and meeting up with them and their two beautiful children only made me realise how wonderful they are and how please I was to be working with them.

It was such a fab day and I cant wait to share more of it. Congratulations Mr and Mrs Peacock. Have an ah-mazing honeymoon,

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Happy Anniversary Georgina and Kevin!

On the 23rd of May 2015, I was making my way to the beautiful Waterton Hall in Yorkshire to capture the lovely wedding of Kevin and Georgina. It was a typical rainy spring day which smelt like fresh rain and newly cut grass, but luckily we managed to get outside at a few different times to take pictures of the new Mr and Mrs W in the beautiful grounds their venue had to offer. I remember this day so clearly and it it crazy to think it was a year ago today. Georgina was the calmest bride I had come across on her wedding morning. She had a moment of realisation (which lasted about 40 seconds) where her nerves showed but the rest of the morning she was elegant and relaxed as she got ready with her 5 bridesmaids, mother and a few other family members who came in and out. The rest of the day followed a similar pace and the wedding guests were so much fun!

A year on I decided to share their pictures, as I only made the facebook page and blog in August last year and times passes so quickly before I knew it, it was Christmas and it only seemed fitting to wait until their anniversary and share the images with a congratulatory message.

Congratulations Mr and Mrs Wilbraham, I hope your have had an amazing first year of marriage and are as happy as you were on your beautiful wedding day.

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The dreaded Head Shot

Last night Tom was faced with one of the most difficult tasks known to man. Taking MY head shot. When I explain to people that I physically am incapable of having my photograph taken, or looking into a camera for more than one nano second they really don’t understand – and neither do I honestly. I usually make a joke telling clients, this is why I became a photographer so I don’t have to be in the pictures. But now I am thinking about it, it seems bizarre to ask people to do something I can’t even do myself.

So far I have only ever had my picture taken once for my website, by a dear friend and talented photographer. Now although she was happy with several of the images, I only found one I could bare. I know that this issue is entirely my own and anyone else seeing the pictures she too would say there was nothing wrong with them. I decided I was just lacking confidence and that next time would be fine.

Next time came around far quicker than I was comfortable with. However I was faced with the decision of having it done and getting over it. Or passing up a really great opportunity. So I sucked it up and stomped to our local park, scowling the whole way. Some how Tom managed to get a few images where my arms were crossed tightly across my chest or I wasn’t looking just plain miserable. And they are dare I say it, bearable.

I went on a course in January and the main thing I took away from it was the power of goal setting and imaging what it will feel like when you achieve this goal. Now I cant imagine it just yet – but I am trying. This year I am going to make a point of having professional photographs taken by some one I DON’T know (as I am hoping this holds the key to my problem) for…fun…

Wish me luck.

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Kate and Steve's cosy winter wedding

 

Kate and Steve’s wedding way back in January was warm, intimate and relaxed. Their choice of venue and down to earth friends and family helped make their reception super fun and friendly. Kate looked stunning in her knee length lace gown and white fur coat with her unique nude shoes she was flawless, and  of course young daughter Lola in a glittery number. I must admit the boys looked pretty good too, wearing blue suits and son Fin in his little bow tie they made quite the pair. On a frosty morning in January (and only a tiny little bit late) we set off for Stockport town hall where Kate and Steve we married! At the pointing dog in Cheadle Hulme the evening that unfolded was understated and elegant to suit their style perfectly, with lots of D.I.Y details they had put a lot of love into their wedding. Just two months after their wedding they welcomed baby oscar to their brood so congratulations are due all round. It was Lovely to be part of your gorgeous day.Ashley Edwards Photography- Kate and Steve, stockport town hall wedding-2 Ashley Edwards Photography- Kate and Steve, stockport town hall wedding-3 Ashley Edwards Photography- Kate and Steve, stockport town hall wedding-4 Ashley Edwards Photography- Kate and Steve, stockport town hall wedding-5 Ashley Edwards Photography- Kate and Steve, stockport town hall wedding-6 Ashley Edwards Photography- Kate and Steve, stockport town hall wedding-2-2 Ashley Edwards Photography- Kate and Steve, stockport town hall wedding-7 Kate and Steves wedding Kate and Steves wedding Kate and Steves wedding Kate and Steves wedding Kate and Steves wedding Ashley Edwards Photography- Kate and Steve, stockport town hall wedding-8 Ashley Edwards Photography- Kate and Steve, stockport town hall wedding-9 Ashley Edwards Photography- Kate and Steve, stockport town hall wedding-10 Kate and Steves wedding Kate and Steves wedding Kate and Steves wedding Kate and Steves wedding Kate and Steves wedding Kate and Steves wedding Ashley Edwards Photography 1 (183) Ashley Edwards Photography 1 (129) Ashley Edwards Photography 1 (132) Ashley Edwards Photography 1 (134) Ashley Edwards Photography 1 (131) Ashley Edwards Photography 1 (130) Kate and Steves wedding Kate and Steves wedding Kate and Steves wedding Kate and Steves wedding Kate and Steves wedding Kate and Steves wedding Kate and Steves wedding Ashley Edwards Photography 1 (135) Ashley Edwards Photography 1 (136) Ashley Edwards Photography- Kate and Steve, stockport town hall wedding Ashley Edwards Photography 1 (67)

Ella and Kyra's sun soaked portrait shoot

On a sunny evening not to long ago I arrived at Ella and Kyra’s home, armed with a selection of wild flowers and hair clips to style the hair of two very excited young girls. With hair we done, we set off to take pictures at sunset in a park near their house with a secluded area of wild grass and flowers. The girls were a joy to work with and expressed how much they enjoyed the shoot. we ran through the grass, played hide and seek in it and got some gorgeous pictures of the girls playing together and enjoying themselves. A lovely shoot with two lovely girls.

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15% off all wedding collections until August 2015

I have recently re branded my business and gone on-line, until now all my bookings had come from word of mouth and there was nothing on-line to say me, or my business existed! August 2014 is the month that all changed and to celebrate I’m giving all couples who book before my website turns one year old, 15% off all wedding collections!

It doesn’t matter when the wedding is or where is it, as long as you have booked before August 2015 then you will receive 15% off any wedding collection. Please spread the word to brides to be and share this link on facebook.Untitled-10

Laura and Blake Engagement session ft. Lady

On possibly the sunniest day to date of the summer, I had the pleasure of meeting Laura and Blake at Bramhall park to take their engagement photographs. Laura and Blake wanted photo’s which they could share with friends and family and have printed to display in their home. We decided to go to Bramhall park for some portraits, but that wasn’t it, there was one other place Laura wanted her photographs taken, at the farm! Laura’s horse Lady is her pride and joy and she just couldn’t have family portraits taken without Lady. Although slightly more interested in the glass, Lady obliged and actually seemed to quite like having her photograph taken. Thanks again Laura and Blake and of course lady, I look forward to working with you again! Here’s a selection of the pictures from the session.

 

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Welcome to my blog. This is a great place to keep up with my current work, thoughts and musings.