the major, huge news….{tulsa photography workshops}

Well this is a long post….I am going to begin with some of my favorite family pictures from the last couple of years….

Big Brother (10 months) being tickled by Chris

Big Brother’s first bike ride

Biggest Brother kickin’ it on his tricycle

Big Brother at his 1st birthday – when I took him away from the cupcake

Biggest playing in the rain…he’s often serious even in play

When we moved into our house we had to add dirt to the yard….a boy’s heaven

the older two playing in a box

Biggest’s response to being snuggled by a girl

Last year’s ice storm…the car seats were in the house and they moved them to the back door and stared out in sadness that they were stuck inside

Their first ride on their Arctic Cat

Coming up the stairs at the park

Littlest Brother a couple of hours old

Littlest Brother taking a nap on my bed

at a splash park

building with legos while waiting to swim

This summer the boys loved eating breakfast in the backyard

playing at the park

So you are probably wondering what so many family pictures have to do with changes to my business…here goes. The pictures above are random moments I had my camera nearby and was able to capture. The boys aren’t dressed up in any, they aren’t posed in any….just my boys being themselves. They are the pictures that remind me of who they were at a particular age. I can look at these pictures and remember things they loved, what they did, who they were. It is pictures like this that I love to take and what I want to empower others to do. So what is the big change? Starting in 2009 Ashley Ann Photography will no longer offer portrait sessions, but instead will focus on teaching the basics of photography to others and helping local photographers grow their businesses. Simply stated….I am no longer offering sessions to current or new clients. I do have a few in 2009 that were booked months ago, but other than those I will not be offering sessions. You can now find under the “info” tab at the top of the blog a page listing local photographers. If you are a local photographer and want your name added, shoot me an email. As far as the teaching aspect goes…check back tomorrow for the official announcement and information.

I am totally pumped about this change, but I know many of you are not. I am fully aware that many of you were planning on emailing me in January to get on a new client list….I apologize for any disappointment this causes. If you are a current client and haven’t checked your email today – you are probably shocked by this. Please go check your email (spam folder too).

I love photography and I have been abundantly blessed by the friendships I have now as a result. I am also crazy about my family and am looking forward to no longer doing an endless juggling act between the two. I’ll still be posting on the blog…some charitable work, previously booked sessions, a couple of weddings, and so on. Thanks for your support and please check back tomorrow….the fun news will be posted then:)

My sister compared this to finding out The Gap no longer sells clothes….made me laugh, but I know some of you are pretty bummed. Sorry to start your Monday off rough, but the good news is it is also like finding out The Gap is going to teach you how to make their clothes! Okay, bad comparison but you get the idea:)

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  • José Luis - Wow! What a brave decision!! All the best and and a request…

    Please post more technical stuff with how-to’s and tips for us amateur photographers out there aspiring to take better pictures (don’t think I’ll ever be able to equal yours) of our kids!!!


  • melanie - I am so excited for you and your family!! I know this last year has been crazy for you, so I know this is a much needed change for you. Thanks for taking the time to teach some of the rest of us how to capture these special everyday moments with our families! We miss you guys!

  • Charissa - What beautiful memories you all have made there! You realize what this means though. All your friends are going to be inviting you over for “playdates”, hoping you’ll bring your camera along. :) You have been such a blessing to so many families.

  • Jeannette Swan - You are awesome!! I love and respect you and your decision to be with your family. Time goes by entirely too fast! Thank you for the time and sacrifice you have given us over the past several years. And, thanks for the camera recommendations – I will never be and Ashley, but I plan to try to learn to at least take decent pictures.

  • Emily Lusk - Since I am having a new baby I am sad that you will not be taking her picture like you did Brody’s, however I can totally understand why you are doing this! Family is important and we only have a short time with them while they are young! You are a great photographer and I look foward to more helpful hints about how I can take better pics of my kids!

  • Rachel - I am so proud of you. Congratulations on beginning this new chapter full of crazy, messy, beautiful memories! We love you.

  • Courtney Connelly - Ash, good for you and your family for doing what is best for the five of you, so important. I hope 2009 is a year full of amazing memories!

  • meg duerksen - huh?

    i look forward to hearing more….

    all those pictures were amazing. it’s similar to how we did christmas cards last year. all our favorite pics of the year – i think there were like 80? but it was a fun collage.

    i am disappointed…boo- hoo poor me.
    i hope you will still post lots and lots of pictures….of whoever. it’s just fun to see and be inspired.
    i know what you are saying about juggling. i feel a bit a stress already and i am barely into it. it makes me feel a bit tense. and i don’t like that part.

    feel free to send me your post early for tomorrow so i can read it first. :) ha.

    must get busy. december is ridiculous.

  • Sarah - People will always need pictures taken, but we only get a few precious years of completely, wonderful babyness (I made that word up LOL!) Breathe in, Breathe out-you did good Momma! I will see you at the boy’s Christmas party! We can set up a playdate now! :) God is good… All the time.

  • Michele V. - I honestly don’t know how you have managed to keep it all together since your latest addition to the family. But I am very happy for you in making this decision. I am very much looking forward to the teaching tips for us beginners. Thanks for having a heart to share your ideas and tips and creativeness. There is just so much info out there when learning to use a camera and photographying not to mention the time it takes to decipher it all. It’s great to have someone like you shortcut it for us. God Bless

  • yvonne - As one of those who have a draft email ready to be sent on January 1st, 2009–I’m sad! BUUUUTTTTT, as someone who works outside the home & yearns to be home more with my lil’ miss everyday I understand how important those moments are! With that last tip, I tried it this weekend. I got off my butt & tried it! You’ll have to check out my blog to see how I did! SOOOO, I guess it’s a good thing because I want to learn more & look forward to take notes in 2009!

  • carrie - Oh I can’t wait. I wanted you to take pics next yyear, BUT I am excited about tomorrow!!!

  • Angie - I know this year has been tough and I appreciate all the time you’ve spent taking pictures of our kids. Your talent will always be there but your boys will grow up quick! Enjoy spending all the time you can with them. I’m looking forward to learning how to take great pics from you!

  • liz - Wow! I totally understand your decision. Just today I was thinking about how I don’t take the time to take pictures of my girls anymore. But I am definately going to change that. I think it is awesome that you are going to start teaching others something that you love and are so good at! You better keep posting on your blog! I always look foward to reading it every morning. Thanks for putting me on your list. I appreciate it.

  • Shannon Phillips - Oh Ash, you are such an amazing and inspiring person to know. Thank you for showing us all how great it is to be true to who you are and to put your family first. I also can’t tell you how appreciative I am for putting us on your list!

  • Jenn - It is a sad day for those of us who were anticipating pictures taken by you of our unborn children. Your work is an inspiration and I look forward to participating in one of your snapshops!

  • Stephanie - SO proud of you! Know it was a hard decision…You are so precious and so gifted. God has used you greatly to encourage and inspire my heart. Praying for you as your life becomes more simple!

  • elizabeth holder - Hi-
    was wondering if you will be offering your classes in 2010?
    If so will you post them on your blog?
    thanks – and I love your photos -

Biggest’s Christmas Performance

Thanks for all the comments yesterday. I’ll try to do more posts like that…lucky for you that means more pictures of 3 handsome boys:)Chris played the role of Super Dad last night. I am half way living at my church this week to work on The Christmas Gathering. The show is Thurs. & Friday night….Biggest had his school performance at 7:00 last night. The same time The Christmas Gathering began – and I am in charge of the stage! Chris was a rockstar and got all the boys ready, Biggest to the school on time and the other two calmly waiting in seats when I ran in the door at 7:00.

So there are MAJOR, HUGE changes happening at Ashley Ann Photography. If you are a current client check your email early on Monday morning – before you check the blog. Everyone else….check the ole’ blog on Monday…

Here’s a shot of my boy – he’s the one ringing the bells…all the kids in this picture make me smile (esp. yours Sarah)

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  • Rachel - Corbett looks so cute in his little button-down. Also, great job on the stage Ashley — it was perfect. Very classy. Your hard work was totally worth it.

  • Sarah - This picture blessed my heart and embarrassed me a little :) He played air guitar up there once too!! LOL I love the Christmas programs- and I cried during Silent Night! That was my last Christmas program for that school- so bittersweet. What a wonderful pic thanks for including my baby! LOL

  • jesse - They grow up so fast! He looks like such a big boy!

    BTW, Now I am going to be dying to get to my email on Monday! I don’t think I can stand the anticipation!!

  • bopha27 - Corbett looks so cute, he’s a natural bell ringer! I had no idea you did the stage, it looked gorgeous, I was trying to get a closer look at the magnolia candle holder things that were on the doors, were those just wired on?

  • AshleyAnn - Bopha, Thanks for the compliments on the stage! I used glass carafes (Walmart $2.50) and put a candle inside. Then I tied magnolia branches to the carafe using twine. I then tied it to a nail on the back of the door, but you could just as easily use a clear wreath hanger and attach it that way. I should have taken some close up shots of it. Actually, I brought it home to do on my front door….so maybe next week I’ll take some pictures and post..

  • Lesley - This picture made my eyes tear up. I love Corbett’s smile, he’s just full of joy! The other kids are so cute too. Really great job on the stage, Ash. I really liked the doors you used and the light backdrop was great. We and we had a blast, can’t wait for next year!

  • meg duerksen - adorable.

    MAJOR HUGE changes? oh my.
    what could it be?

  • Emily Lusk - What a cute picture!! I also love the tip in the post below… for the past two years I have tried to get a good pic of Brody with the tree and they never turn out how you want them to. So I will try this! Now what is your trip on getting your two year old to stay where you want them!! :)*

Photo tip {Christmas tree pics}

UPDATE: 10.11

Welcome all those coming here from Pinterest. Funny how old posts find new life over there! This post is actually from 2008. You can find more random photo tips under the “Post Categories” tab > “SnapShops & Info”. Towards the end of November, I will be doing several posts related to capturing your holidays. Thanks for stopping by!


I thought I’d share a little tip on taking pictures of your kids (or whatever else) in front of the Christmas tree. Most that I see have the child right next to the tree and the picture is taken at night using a flash. I am guessing the reason for taking it at night is to see the lights on the tree. On the pictures below you will see the common way to take tree pictures on the left. On the right, I took this during the middle of the day. Our front window was to a bit behind and to the left of my boy. As you can see the lights still come out great and the lighting on him is much more natural.

To do this I recommend:

* Put your child a bit in front of the tree, not right up next to it

* Get natural light on your child’s face. This means you might have to move the tree a bit and put the child between the window and tree with you next to the window – if you don’t have great natural light already

* Use the Av mode (set it to the smallest number) and turn off your flash

Do you find posts like this helpful? Let me know and I’ll try to do more every so often if you like them…

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  • Ari - yes, I find this very helpful, Ashley. I love reading your blog! And your family is beautiful!

  • katie - Absolutely helpful! Thanks SO much for these wonderful tips! They are GREAT!

  • megan - Yes! I need all the help I can get.

  • Lesley - Rett looks so happy! Thanks for the tips, you’re so talented.

  • michele v. - Keep the great tips coming. I really enjoy your website.

  • Trinity - Your tips are SO helpful. Thanks!

  • Rachel - I definitely agree that the natural light picture looks tons better. Great tip. However, I have to mention that this before and after shot reminds me of the weight loss photos where, in the “before” picture the person is never smiling and then in the “after” picture the person has a huge smile (and usually tons of make-up). Anyway, I thought it was funny that Rett was smiling so big in the “after” picture.

  • yvonne - yes yes. love your helpful hints! i’m going to try it!! thanks. yvonne~

  • Jamin Garoutte - I love the feel that all of your images carry. As a photog-hobbyist, I know some about photography, but it’s the little details (like what you have outlined here) that make your images stand out. These techniques are the things that I miss and wouldn’t know without people like you being gracious enough to share. You won’t lose business by telling some of your secrets–Things like this will draw more people to your blog, which in turn can bring MORE clients.

  • sheridan - Yes Yes Yes these are so helpful and I feel like such a dork with how excited I get to see photo tip posts! Keep them coming and thank you so much! You are very talented and so generous to share with all us!

  • Lauren - We love your tips ASH!

  • Chelsea - Thanks so much Ashley! It was fun, they are super nice people.

    Your little guy is so cute!

  • Carrie Sowell - Very helpful, except we won’t have a tree this year. Moving the week of Christmas is too much stress. I’ll be doing good to get gifts!! :-) I’m going to have to borrow someone’s tree to take pictures!

  • Jeannette Swan - I don’t know anything, so here is a dumb question…is the “smallest number” -2 or zero? I love tips and look forward to trying them out?

  • carrie - Yes These are very helpful! I can’t wait to hear about your classes! Keep us posted.

  • meg duerksen - you are a rock star.
    so helpful and you will improve so many people’s photos! what a HUGE difference the light makes.

  • Lesley - I’m going to have to agree with Rachel on this one. Too funny!

  • Brandi - I really love these photo tips. You have such great talent. :)

  • jesse - This is great! You always have such great tips! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • bopha27 - Those posts are wonderful, I hope to one day attain photography greatness (although I put my camera on Av mode and have no idea how to adjust it down to the smallest, which is -2).

  • AshleyAnn - It is brought to my attention that the Canon Rebel has an Av mode (on the turn dial) and an Av button (on the back). Use the Av that is on the turn dial (which is aperture priority mode if you need to look in your manual). Once you select this you will change the Av number. For most kit lenses (the ones the come with a camera) the smallest number is around 4.0. It will be listed as f/4.0. Anything that goes from -2 to +2 deals with your exposure – a entirely different thing. So check your manual, go to Aperture Priority Mode and choose the smallest f/#. Mine were shot at f/2.8. If your lens only goes to f/4.0, you will need to buy a different lens to get a smaller number.

  • Jeannette Swan - Thanks for the last explanation…I ordered the lens you told me about the other night. I hope you don’t get tired of my silly questions! Can you just sign me up now for the class???? Just kidding – but you know I need it!

  • tania410bery - nice!

  • Melissa - This will be my first Christmas as a mommy so this is a very helpful tip for when it comes time for fun Christmas pictures!
    Thanks for sharing!

  • B - Great post! :) For those wondering what the small number is, it’s your f/stop (ie f/1.8).

    It’s also worth mentioning that you might need to really increase your ISO (800+) in AV mode to avoid camera shake/motion blur if there isn’t enough light. You don’t want your shutter speed to be slower than 1/160 for handheld/living subject. A lens like a 50mm f/1.8 will be really beneficial as it can open up much wider than a kit lens (ie. 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6). Also, the kit lens opens up to f/3.5 on the wider end of your lens (ie 18mm), whereas the 55mm end of your lens only opens up to f/5.6, which doesn’t let much light in at all. So shoot on the 18mm end, although keep in mind there is more distortion with the 18mm end. If you need to use a speedlite, keep the power really low, drag your shutter, and increase your ISO. You don’t want the flash to overpower the Christmas lights. Focus on the closest eye to the camera by you manually picking your focal point.

    …Shoot as close as possible to your subject, and ditto keeping your subject at least 4-6 feet away from the tree, so the tree/lights are blurry (bokeh).

    Sorry if I was butting in, just thought I’d add some more info! :)

  • Becca - SO helpful! My cmas picks last year look exactly like yours on the left. I could see the difference right away I just don’t always think of making those changes.

    It would be helpful to know what kind of lens you are using or if you are using a point and shoot. You may have covered this in a previous post.


  • Maria - Thank you for this tutorial, I am going to try it out this year!!

  • Leslie Y - This is very helpful! This year is my son’s very first Christmas so this will definitely be a handy tip. By the way, how old is your son here? My Roman looks a lot like your son in this picture!

  • Tanaya - Very helpful I have a NikonD 3000 and love the camera but am by all means just a parent that enjoys taking phots of my daughter. Any good ideas would be appreciated.

  • Lauren - Very helpful! I would love to here more tips!

  • gretchen - Yes! I’m a sponge :) Thanks for the great, “enlightening” post.

  • Samantha M - Came here from interest. Such a great tip!! Loving your blog! :D

  • Diane - thanks for the awesome tip! Can’t wait to use it…..

  • Tiffany - Great tips, thank you! By the way, your blog is wonderful!

  • Brandi King - Yes, very helpful….Thank you for sharing! I’ll be watching for more useful tips from you! I love taking pictures and I love any info that I can get!

  • giozi - Heyyyyy I came from Pinterest too. I recognized your child and I just wanted to say HI


  • Aimee - I love this tip! I’ll be using it soon!

  • Dawn - Thanks for the GREAT tip, LOVE Pinterest! :) But I’ll be back to check out the rest of your blog!

  • Leighann - Great tips!!
    Thank you!

  • Tasi - Yes, this was very helpful!

  • Jacqueline - Yes, thank you! I saw this on Pinterest and am passing it along.

  • Fotografie-tip: bij de kerstboom - Kaartje2go Nieuws - [...] bron: Ashleyann Photography [...]

  • Carrie - You’re awesome. Thank you for sharing. You are an inspiration.

    Merry Christmas

  • Monica - Absolutely helpful, thanks.

  • Becky - Very helpful and by moving the subject away from the tree they are less tempted to touch said tree!

  • Lori - couldnt have been better timing. Thanks

  • cheryl @ nefotlak - super healpful tip! found you through Pinterest.
    thanks for posting this.

  • Jessica - Taking decent photos of the kids in front of the tree is so difficult. Thank you so much for sharing this great tip! I shared a link to your blog post on a blog for which I write. I hope that’s okay! I’m still new at this. :) You can see it here:

  • Kristy - What a difference in those two pictures! I am guilty of the type on the left, so glad to find you from Pinterest. :)

  • Photo Tips To Try Before you Take Down The Christmas Tree! — Julia's Kuku Parties - [...] looking for tips I stumbled across one from Ashley Ann photography about taking better photos in front of the Christmas tree. She recommends a few simple things that [...]