BE INSPIRED SESSION FEATURE BY Ashley Marston Photography

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Tell us abit about your approach to the work you do, your time in the business and a few personal facts about you.
AM : I have focused my business and client work around celebrating love in every way. I strive to document fleeting moments for my clients and tell their story so that they have something tangible to hang onto forever. I have been a Birth Photographer for over 4 years now, and the intimate & rawness of that work has slowly been integrating itself into all of my other sessions as well.
I am a mother of three, and three years ago I started documenting our own story as part of a 365 Project. As a photographer of almost 6 years now, I can truly say that every time I pick up my camera I am shooting what I love. Wether it be my own family, the anticipation of a mother and father about to welcome a new baby into the world, the fog of those first few weeks at home, or the beauty in your everyday with all of the people you love.

What about this session was most memorable?
AM: Vancouver Island, Canada is one of the most incredible places on this earth. We are blessed with the beauty of the Mountains, Ocean, Lakes and Rivers. This particular
stormy day the sky opened up for us and was spectacular. It was the perfect back drop for this glowing mamma, who actually ended up having her baby only a few days after these were taken.

Were there any hurdles?
AM : Not really…The ‘soon to be dad’ was a bit unsure, and didn’t like to be photographed. I find this with most men. I always assure them that all I require is that they love their wives and children, and that never seems to be an issue. It most definitely was not an issue in this session.

 Your best photographer/session advice?
AM: Let them be. Couples always find a way to ‘puzzle’ in together. Let them find that first. Then I always ask them to breath together. It seems silly at first and most rush through it. But after a few minutes, they melt into each other with collective breaths and that’s where the magic happens.

What gear was used to achieve these?
I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark IV with a Sigma ART 35mm lens and a Canon 70-200mm

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ABOUT THE ARTIST 
“Love and laughter comprise the primary subject matter for Vancouver Island-based birth and lifestyle photographer Ashley Marston. An award-winning Birth, Lifestyle & Documentary photographer (and busy mother of three), Marston strives for images that capture those two staples of family relationships, as well as the quiet moments that might otherwise go unseen. Always seeing life through a lens, Marston also photographs her own family daily, cherished images she shares on Social Media through her year-long A Daily Occurrence project. Whether the photographs capture moments with her family or a client, storytelling is the heart of all her work.”

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REDEFINE | Maternity Self Portraits feature by Anne Uebersetzig

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“There is only one sun. We can’t all claim to only have one way to use the light, but we can REDEFINE how we choose to express it. “

Why are you passionate capturing the beauty of maternity?

I believe that being able to help create, grow, and carry human life is precious, sacred even, and something not to be taken for granted. My love for capturing maternity probably stems from my own personal experiences with dealing with some infertility with trying to get pregnant with my second child, as well as having a miscarriage earlier this year. With each pregnancy I have been blessed to have has made me more appreciative of the amazing pregnant body, instead of less. And even though it feels long and hard when you are in it, I like to savor and embrace this time during pregnancy, and self portraiture helps me do that. It’s fun to see the belly grow in a different way.

What do you love about self portraits?

Self portraiture is a chance for me to play and be creative, as well as escape from the monotony of motherhood. It also gives me a chance to experiment with different kinds of light and camera techniques. The best part about taking self portraits, if none of the photos turn out the way you want, that’s okay! You don’t have to show anyone! There are no client expectations, and you can try again another day. Sure it’s disappointing when the portraits don’t turn out, but I try to focus on enjoying the process and experience of taking self portraits, and not so much on the end results.

What are the tips you would share with anyone trying to achieve this technique? (aim for at least 5, but any are welcome)

Use a fan for adding additional movement and emotion in the portrait.
To make the lighting dramatic and moody, I prefer to shoot in a room with only one window. This makes the light more directional and you can use that one window in a variety of ways to achieve different looks.
Move! Move your hands, move your tripod, move your body, just remember to move. You might be surprised at the different results you are able to achieve.
Don’t always feel that you have to shoot wide open all the time. My favorite aperture for self portraits is f/4. Shooting wide open is absolutely lovely, but if focus is a struggle for you, (and if your lens is up close to the pregnant belly and want to get all of that beautiful belly in focus), then I would recommend trying to close down your aperture. Sometimes I even shoot at f/7.1. It helps when I’m standing against a wall and exposing for the afternoon sunlight shining on me as well as getting me in focus, a win/win.
One of my favorite things to do when taking a self portrait is to crop out my head, or use my hair over my face to add some mystery and emotion to the portrait. This is great to do when you have no makeup on and don’t feel quite “camera ready”, but I do this even when I have makeup on, I just like it!
Using a tripod and wireless remote helps, but is definitely not necessary. With this picture, I had the camera on my bedroom dresser top, focused by autofocusing on my red sweatpants that I held out over the spot where I would be standing and locked my focus in by switching to manual focus. Then used the 10 second self-timer, pushed the shutter, and stood in place for the shot. One of my favorite maternity self portraits to date, no excuses!
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What were the challenges for you in the beginning?

When I first started taking self portraits about 6 years ago, I was still learning about lighting and my camera, so it was real hard! It took awhile, but through trial and lots of error, I learned what type of light I like, and what type of light I don’t. I learned that right now I prefer to wear neutral clothing for my portraits, instead of my sweatpants (unless I’m being more documentary). I learned that I don’t like being put in a creative box, and try and challenge myself through my portraits each and every time. I’m still learning, and hope I never stop.anne-uebersetzig-dear-photographer-1anne-uebersetzig-dear-photographer-2anne-uebersetzig-dear-photographer-3anne-uebersetzig-dear-photographer-4anne-uebersetzig-dear-photographer-5anne-uebersetzig-dear-photographer-6anne-uebersetzig-dear-photographer-9

About the photographer

I am a mother to 3 (almost 4) children and married to an architect turned organic dairy farmer where we live and farm in our small town of Lodi, WI. I prefer the simple things in life and am passionate about using my camera to capture the more intimate moments of mamahood. I also enjoy taking self portraits, especially during naptime.

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