Hello! I’m Ashley.

ashleyann400With a love for Jesus, family, hardware stores, art supplies and photography, I’m an Oklahoma resident who prefers country roads to city streets.  While I enjoy the thrill of scouring through antique stores, I completely lack the ability to walk away from vintage tablecloths, wire baskets and crocheted trim. My background is in Fine Arts and photography. After stepping back from the professional side of photography, I embraced other creative outlets and chronicle those on my blog, Under the Sycamore. Teaching photography through SnapShop has become an unexpected joy in my life. In the midst of raising 5 young kids who create wonderful (but messy) chaos, I use photography as a tool to celebrate the not so glamorous moments in life. I hold to the belief that creativity is essential for me as an individual, artist and mom. I find the most beauty in the mundane and relish the adventure of parenthood with my husband, Chris.

I’m honored to have had work featured in some of my favorite places: Design*Sponge, Design Aglow, HGTV.com, MSN.com, The Today Show, Parents, Family Fun, RealSimple, Fresh Style, Woman’s Day, Apartment Therapy, PetaPixel, The Savvy Photographer, CafeMom, Style Me Pretty and numerous design websites.

I wanted to take a minute (or several!) to introduce myself and give you some background on how SnapShop began. Unlike most photographers, my story does not begin at childhood with a love affair with photography. My introduction to photography (other than a disposable camera) took place in the yearbook room at school. In middle school, high school and college I edited my schools’ yearbooks. As Editor-in-Chief, it was my job to make sure everything was done correctly. Every now and then a photographer would fail to meet a deadline, and I had to go out and capture an image for a story. During those years, I was also heavily involved in fine arts. Art and photography became a natural fusion for me, but I lacked understanding of the technical side of photography. I knew in my head what I wanted to capture, but I did not have the knowledge to translate it into a photograph.

Fast forward several years to when I was pregnant with my second son. A few months before he was due, my mom gave me an Intro to Photography course at a local community college as a Christmas present. In that course, I used a standard film camera and learned the technical side of photography I had been missing. For homework assignments, I used my friends’ kids as models. It didn’t take long before other friends were asking me to photograph their kids….but using a film camera to photograph kids gets expensive! At the end of the course, my husband wanted to invest our tax refund in getting me a new camera. I’m a saver, so I thought it would be safer to invest in something with a guaranteed return. Thankfully, Chris believed in me and we purchased my first DSLR. From there, my life took an unexpected new direction.

Over the next few years, I built a photography business. I had the honor of capturing newborns, children, high school seniors, families and weddings. As my business continued to grow, so did my family. About six months after the birth of my third son, I reached a breaking point. Have you ever been there? I was at a point where I wasn’t the mom, wife, friend, photographer or woman I wanted to be. I felt like everyone in my life was getting second best, and I was barely keeping my head above the water. Something had to give.

While fretting over the decision to step back from my photography business, I found myself noticing others with DSLRs – when they used their cameras they only pressed one button. I saw friends, parents and grandparents around me at parks and parties using their fancy cameras, but only shooting in Automatic. I began to see a need for basic photography instruction. So, I stepped away from my photography business and stepped into a new venture: SnapShops. The curriculum you will find here is original – not purchased from another photographer and customized to fit me.

I’ve been teaching SnapShop workshops for eight years now and have enjoyed every minute. The course began as a Saturday workshop in my home. In 2011, I introduced the online version. And in 2013, I began offering an online phone photography version of the course. I love helping individuals gain a basic understanding of their cameras in order to be able to capture the beauty of their everyday lives.

Thank you for letting me join you on your photography journey!

My crew. Photo by Imago Vita Photography

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