January 2, 2023

Behind the Scenes 2022

Posted in: Behind the Scenes, For Brides

Between Collin’s birthday party blog and my Girls’ Trip to Palm Springs blog (and traveling for 17 days in December), I didn’t get to post my Behind the Scenes blog as my last post of the year. So for the second year in a row, it’s my first blog post of the new year!

I’m sure many of you feel my pain when I say that the last few years have been challenging. Last year was no exception and I had a few of my own unique personal challenges that made running a business more difficult than usual. For starters, Collin was born in December 2021. That means that for all of 2022, I was either breastfeeding or pumping every single day. Plus, I was documenting his first year, which you can see in his first year blog that I documented very well haha.

In the middle of my busy wedding season, I developed Bell’s Palsy. It happened the day I was taking pictures to celebrate 11 years in business. I slowly started losing feeling in my face until half of my face became paralyzed. It was difficult to eat and drink. My right eye could not squint or wink, so it was constantly burning. I had to close my eyelid with my fingers or tape it down to get a break. Thankfully, my left eye is my good eye, so I was still able to take pictures and edit. Although, editing definitely took much longer than usual. Over the next few weeks, the Bell’s Palsy got worse and then got better. I’m grateful it only lasted about three weeks!

During that time, Collin was also hospitalized. We had to take him to the emergency room while we were in Mobile one weekend. They gave him a breathing treatment and sent us home with a nebulizer and instructions to follow up with his pediatrician. His pediatrician immediately sent us to the hospital where Collin received treatment for three days for bronchiolitis, flu, and a type of coronavirus (not COVID).

Then at the end of June, I had to go to the emergency room. It was almost midnight when I had finished editing and I got in the shower. My left eye was itching, so I started rubbing it. When I got out of the shower and looked in the mirror, my eye was swelling and it looked like the outer layer of my eye was peeling off. Weston stayed home with the kids and I drove myself to the emergency room. Almost three hours later, I was finally seen. The doctor numbed my eye and pulled one of my long hairs out of my eye. I fully expected it to be much worse than a hair, but I was also thankful it was something minor. I took a picture each hour I was at the hospital and you can see my eye swelling. It was almost immediate relief when the doctor pulled the hair out!

Even though this was one of the more stressful years as an entrepreneur, it was also one of the most rewarding. I photographed so many smiling faces and worked with other creatives to create timeless images!

Shoutout to my second shooters (and some clients!) for getting some action shots of me doing what I love!

Cheers to the many creatives I worked with this year 🙂

BONUS: Camryn has taken an interest with photography and loves helping me prep my gear for weddings and photo sessions! And Collin loved to wake up while I was editing haha.

And finally, YOU! You are the reason I get to do what I love everyday. Thank you for trusting me with your memories year after year. Thank you for supporting my small business and helping me accomplish my goals.

This still isn’t everyone I photographed this year! One year I’m going to take selfies with 100 percent of my clients. It’s going to happen.

One wedding was extra special to me because there were SIX ABP brides in attendance! The most I’ve ever seen at a wedding!

Also this year, I introduced my Fine Art Silhouette Portraits! I am so proud of this type of photograph and I appreciate everyone who invested in these this year! More info here in case you missed it 🙂

I had some of my photos featured in a few different magazines with the most noteworthy one being Focus on the Family Magazine.

I was asked to teach an Intro to Photography class at Martin Middle School – so fun!

Thank you again for supporting my small business! I hit record financial goals in 2022 and I’m starting 2023 with a fully booked wedding calendar! It is truly an honor to serve every one of you!

  1. Pam Bjelke says:

    Ashley, thank you so much for sharing! The pictures are beautiful, and, despite being somewhat sad, it’s a glorious story of your life! I can see your passion through your work and fir your family. So proud to call you a friend!

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