Today’s wedding photographer interview is with Ashley of Apaige Photography, based in Georgetown Township, Michigan! Enjoy:
Tell us a bit about yourself and your company.
My name is Ashley, although I go by Paige. I started photographing at the age of 16, and interned with multiple wedding / studio photographers in high school. After that introduction, I fell in love with the reactions received from imagery, and decided to go to get further educated on the discipline of photography. From 18-22 I went to college, first at a community college (Lake Michigan College in Benton Harbor, MI), and then transferred to Grand Valley State University to finish my Bachelors’ in Photography, and Advertising. Within those years I also got a minor in Business so I could have the ability to run my own efficiently. The roots of my work have been providing confidence in (mostly) women. I began this body
image project around the age of 20, and it has been the focus of my non-clientele work.
Read more after the cut!
For two years (age 22-24) I ran my own business, photographing babies, families, couples and weddings, and conducted my own side projects to help overcome body image issues that I saw within the world. I had been inspired by this idea so much, that I decided to go back to school to get my Masters in Fine Arts with a focus in photography at Kendall College Art & Design, which eventually led me to now. My work has transformed into the same ideas, but a more personal aspect. I began to study more theory and started to learn the world in a much different way than I anticipated, so I decided to double master in Visual and Critical Studies as well as obtaining my Masters in Fine Arts degree. Last year I began to teach at Grand Valley State University, and this year I have got to expand that experience to Kendall College of Art & Design as well. It’s so incredible to be able to learn, spread knowledge, and apply it to your business all at the same time. I can’t explain my passion, and I can’t even begin to express how incredibly happy I have become. My work doesn’t even feel like work, and the compliments I have received from people about my work has just further created happiness in my life. However, my most important element of my work, is to promote confidence in men and women in front of my lens. How they see themselves is incredibly important to me.
When I was 18 I photographed about 4 weddings for free. I did it for the experience, but wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do in my future. The first 3 years I photographed these events, I wasn’t confidence, I got super nervous prior to the big day, and the entire idea of being an important element in a wedding was so daunting. By the age of 21, I became more confident in my original photographs, but my editing needed a little bit of work. However, through trial and error, as well as education and experience, I finally came to a point where I love my own work.
I personally adore bridal portraits. I love group imagery as well, however there is something about stealing the bride and groom and allowing them to just really enjoy each other and watch them interact during this big day. Sometimes, people forget that they are the reason for this event and never make time for themselves or focus on themselves, so I like to bring it back to them. However, I do think one of the most important things to capture is family and family photography. I never realized how extremely important that was until I got married myself. But from start to finish I adore it all… I just get the most geeked and outspoken (with joy) from getting to spend one on one time with the Bride and Groom.
I can’t say that I have had too many of them, however, I require family lists for photographs now because of one instance. Typically photographers will call off bride and groom’s family for photographs. One time, I called out ‘grandma of the groom,’ who I found out had recently passed within the week. No one told me, most people started to cry, and I felt extremely awful. It was a good time…So now I require family lists from the bride and groom of who they want to be captured after the
What is your favorite venue and why?
This year I got to photograph at Misty Farms in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and I was seriously blown
away. This venue is a venue anyone can make their own and it is just the most adorable location
with chickens, horses, and a quaint pond that just reflects the sunset like a dream.
What is your dream location to shoot a wedding?
Last year I got to travel to Las Vegas, this upcoming year I am able to go to Florida and New Jersey. I would adore to travel to South Lake Tahoe ( I went on my honeymoon there ), or even in a National Park somewhere. It would be ideal to hike with my clients, photograph at different locations, and just engage in the beauty of the natural landscape. However, I wouldn’t mind being able to travel to Ireland. That would be rad.
Rachel McAdams, and anyone she chose as her husband. But I also have a list I could go on forever; Neil Patrick Harris, Jennifer Garner, Hilary Duff, they’re all neat people.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned, and would pass along to other new wedding photographers just getting started?
Don’t be a drill sergeant, take command but know this day isn’t about you. The more chill you are, the more chill your couples and families will be. Most importantly, I believe that a little extra effort goes a long way. No matter what, I get my job done, regardless of if I have to stay an extra bit longer, or if I have to go an extra mile to see a bigger smile on my clients.
My main goal is to be my groom and bride’s BFF on their wedding day. That includes getting them beer if they need it, or fixing their hair if someone bails on them (this has totally happened). Be in the moment, laugh, make terrible jokes, and enjoy the day.
What tips or advice can you give to couples who are looking to hire a photographer to cover their big day?
Find someone you trust, find someone that gets YOU as a couple. There are so many photographers out there with their own marketing strategy that just want to showcase their work online and could really care less if they cover your entire event for you. I love moody images, but during your wedding there should be more images of you smiling and in love than trying to pose serious for a ‘model shot’. So find someone that represents you the best, as a couple, not as a cover of a magazine, but as an image that can be representative as how your day went, and how your future will go.
Thanks Ashley! For more information about Apaige Photography, please visit her WeddingLovely Vendor Guide profile or head straight to her website.
Do you have any questions or comments for Ashley? Add them to the comments below!