5 Reasons Why I Re-branded for Weddings
Fact: Ashley Jane Weddings and Portraits is a sister-brand of dance photography company Ashley Ciona Photography.
Fact: I, Ashley, love shooting dancers just as much as I love shooting weddings, and vice-versa.
Fact: No, this does not mean that I'm leaving dance photography or that I've given up on my dream to one day shoot for ballet companies around the world, but instead it just gives me another creative avenue to pursue my love for photography.
Five Reasons Why I Re-branded for Weddings:
1. I wanted to work with real people.
Dancers are beautiful people. More often then not, they've got legs for days (just check out this photo below of Veronica, formerly known as @gotlegs), perfectly long hair, and muscle on muscles. They know how to do their makeup with their eyes closed, and their costumes are absolutely extravagent. They also look fantastic in the most simple bodysuit - I could photography them in a dumpster and they still would look good.
Being a former competitive dancer myself, I know how to relate to them. When they say their muscles ache, I get it. When they complain about competition hair or cracking bones, I get it. But I've also met so many people in life that I've wanted to photograph that aren't dancers. And sometimes, it's just a little bit more fun to get someone 'normal' looking behind the camera. Someone relateable. It's fun to capture the moment instead of worrying about how pointed your subject's toes are, or how high their leg gets. I love working with real people. And you know what? I get the same kind of magical feeling whether I'm shooting a couple purely enjoying a moment together, or a dancer living through her movement.
2. Shooting styles.
My mum always said I had a pretty short attention span. My attention to detail was always high, but I'd simply get bored if I had to repeat the same challenge over and over again. The same goes with shooting. As much as I love shooting dancers, I would get bored really fast if that's all I ever did. Same with weddings. I would get bored if I was shooting the same subject matter over and over. The fact that I get to work with both couples and dancers keeps my creativity flowing and challenges me to push for new work in both brands.
3. Planned vs. Unplanned.
Maybe this has a little bit to do with needing to challenge myself, but I absolutely love the challenge of walking into a situation with little-to-no control over lighting, timing, or location. My dance work is planned: we spend weeks before the shoot consulting on locations, wardrobe, colours, poses, etc. I pre-plan some shots before going in there and use the dancer's strength to capture the very best of them.
Weddings are a little different. I do my very best to plan as much as I can before the big day, but as anyone in the wedding industry knows that weddings rarely go exactly as planned. There is always some kind of last-minute switch: the weather takes a turn, the bride is late, there is a last-minute venue switch or something gets lost. And you know what? The best thing to do is embrace it - it has become part of your very special day, and I will capture it just as it is.
4. The Stereotypes
There is a stereotype involving wedding photographers versus commercial shooters. It's an unfortunate one really, but one that comes from the rise in hobby photographers claiming to have a 'business' and shooting weddings for half the price of professionals. Wedding photography, in the commercial photography industry, is looked down on for being the 'easier' of genres. Really, anyone could say they are a wedding photographer - you would see the difference in work quality if you looked, but for clients on a tight, tight budget, it sounds great. Technically speaking, wedding photographers don't traditionally carry around large strobe lights and softboxes and instead capture the day as-is, something that takes less technical know-how versus commercial photography, where a studio is used 90% of the time (yes, even for outdoor shoots!) I'd argue that wedding photography takes a different skill set that a lot of commerical photographers lack, ie thinking on the spot without pre-planning, and being able to capture people other than models, but that's not the point. I keep my work seperate because, well, it is. It's very different work. I approach it differently, the clients are different, and the end product is very diverse between the two genres.
5. I Love Weddings
Lastly, and probably most importantly: I love weddings.
It's as simple as that.
I love being such a big part of your day. I am honoured, in fact, to have such a role and take my job very seriously - this is your day, and you only get one chance to capture it all. It truly is one of the best days of your life and I am blessed to be able to share it with my clients.